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Kruger Private Reserves
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The Kruger Private Reserves


... are located in the Kruger area in the Northeast region of South Africa.

Upsides ...

Compared with the busy and rather watered down safari experience of the main Kruger National Park, these private reserves really do come as something of a relief. There are virtually no sealed roads here, no enormous restcamps, no self-drivers and no crowds.

Safari here is generally done properly, with most guests flying in to bush airstrips and being picked up by their guides in open Land Rovers to gently safari their way into camp. A nice clean wilderness experience.

The area is particularly well known for its intense wildlife viewing, with many of the animals here being quite habituated to vehicles, so close approaches and excellent sightings are commonplace, particularly good for wildlife photographers seeking portrait style imagery.

The area is also well know for the range and quality of the camps and lodges. Safari here can be very comfortable indeed, with many of the lodges being stylishly designed and elegantly delivered, with features such as aircon and private plunge pools being widely available. There are also more earthy camps for those so inclined.

Downsides ...

The main potential downsides include the fact that some people may find the area to feel considerably less wild than safari areas further north on the continent, that the weather can be quite adverse at times and that getting availability in many of the lodges can be a real mission.

Premium reserves ...

The premium reserves are generally those further east, which have removed the fences between themselves and the main reserve, making them part of the greater Kruger eco-system.

Sabi Sand Central Reserve ... is a prime wildlife area which contains a total of eight small camps from two of the best know safari operators, Londolozi and Singita. There are no lower cost options here.

Sabi Sand South Reserve ... is perhaps the area best known for its superb mix of landscape and wildlife and contains a total of thirteen lodges from six different safari operators including Mala Mala, AndBeyond and Sabi Sabi and offers a reasonable range of prices.

Sabi Sand West Reserve ... is a little further removed from the main reserve and closer to human habitation along the western border, but is a lovely area with pretty landscapes and great wildlife. The nine camps come are operated by seven different safari companies and offer a reasonable range of prices, although the lower cost camps here are a little weaker.

Sabi Sand North Reserve ... is a slightly less premium area, but does offer some of the best lower cost options in the Sabi Sand area. There are six camps in total, plus around a dozen further facilities which are used by private owners.

Timbavati Reserve ... is a massive private reserve which lies a little further to the north and bordering the national park. It contains around eighteen camps offering a very wide range of styles and. The area is a little less well known and is therefore a little lower priced across the board.

Lesser reserves ...

The lesser reserves are generally those further to the north and east, which tend to be largely or completely fenced and can therefore feel less authentically wild.

Thornybush Reserve ... is perhaps the best known of these lesser reserves, but is relatively small and completely fenced. It contains fourteen camps across a wide range of styles, many of which offer really good value for money when compared with the premium reserves listed above.

Kapama Reserve ... is another relatively small and completely fenced reserve which contains five camps, four of which offer similar value. The fifth camp is an upmarket lodge which specialises in offering elephant-back safari.

Makalali Reserve ... is a decent sized reserve, but located a fair distance off to the northeast. It contains a total of six camps, two of which are very highly rated and represent good value for money for the high levels of service provided.

Balule Reserve ... is a relatively large reserve which contains a total of eleven camps, around half of which offer a decent standard of safari at a reasonable price level.

Karongwe Reserve ... is a relatively small and little known reserve out to the west, below the main escarpment. It contains eight camps, most of which offer a decent level of safari at a reasonable price level.

Klaserie Reserve ... is a very substantial reserve which contains nine camps, most of which are relatively low cost, so this represents a potentially interesting entry level area.

Manyeleti Reserve ... is a good sized reserve which borders the main national park and contains four camps, of which two are highly rated.

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