Greater Kruger National Park – An Area of Private Luxury

Greater Kruger National Park is the realm of luxury! The area is filled with private lodges, almost all of them 5-star!

Ostriches at duskIf you want to go on an African safari where superb service and fine quality surround you, the private lodges in Greater Kruger are definitely an option for you.

Greater Kruger is a collection of private game reserves and within these reserves are further privately run lodges.

At a Greater Kruger National Park private lodge, you should expect immaculate accommodation with a safari flavour and special touches. Think of the following things as typical:

  • A private deck with plunge pool with a view into the bush
  • All meals included and fine dining
  • Safari game drives and walks
  • Optional extras like spa treatments and massages
  • Airport transfers

Private reserves are also popular locations for weddings and honeymoons.

The reserves in the Greater Kruger Park area are all to the west of Kruger National Park, about mid-way up. Greater Kruger doesn’t have any fences with Kruger National Park proper, so the same animals that you could see in the main park, could just as well be in the private reserves.

The Private Reserves

There are several private reserves in Greater Kruger National Park. Here’s a list of them, along with the private lodges within them:

Balule Private Game Reserve

The reserve is about 60km (37 miles) south-west of the regional town of Phalaborwa. The reserve is 40,000 hectares (99,000 acres) in size and has mountain terrain, open plains, woods and river forest. Olifants River flows through the reserve.

Lodges within Balule are:

  • Giraffe familyAmukela Game Lodge
  • Baluleni Safari Lodge
  • Cambridge Private Nature Reserve
  • Drifters Game Lodge
  • Ezulwini Game Lodges
  • Grietjie Nature Reserve
  • Jejane Private Nature Reserve
  • Kurhula Lodge
  • Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge
  • Naledi Game Lodge
  • Olifants North Game Reserve
  • Olifants River Game Reserve
  • Olifants West Game Reserve
  • Parsons Private Nature Reserve
  • Pondoro Game Lodge
  • Toro Yaka Bush Lodge
  • Tremisana Game Lodge
  • Tulani Safari Lodge
  • York Game Reserve

Kapama Private Game Reserve

The name of the reserve comes from a Swazi chief whose tribe lived in the region in the 1880s. The reserve is 13,000 hectares (32,000 acres) and the Klaserie River runs through it. Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit is north of the reserve.

Kapama’s lodges:

  • Camp Jabulani
  • Kapama Private Game Reserve

Klaserie Private Nature Reserve

The reserve is around the Klaserie River and is 60,000 hectares (148,000 acres) in size.

Lodges at Klaserie:

  • Africa On Foot
  • Angela’s Safari Camp
  • nThambo Tree Camp

MalaMala Game Reserve

The Sand River runs down the middle of the reserve, which shares a border with the main Kruger National Park. The reserve is 13,500 hectares (33,000 acres) and you can only enter the reserve if you’re staying at it.

Riverine forest, acacia-combretum savannah, open plains and rocky outcrops are common in the reserve’s landscape.

Manyeleti Game Reserve

In the local language of Shangaan, the name of the reserve means Place Of The Stars. It’s 3,000 hectares (7,500 acres) and right next to Kruger National Park proper.

Mayeleti’s lodges are:

  • Honeyguide Tented Safari Camps
  • Pungwe Bush Camp
  • Tintswalo Safari Lodge

Sabi Sand Game Reserve

The reserve is one of the largest which make up Greater Kruger National Park and has 65,000 hectares (160,000 acres). The Sand River flows from north-west to south-east through the reserve. Sabi Sand adjoins Kruger National Park in the south, along the Sabie River.

Private lodges in Sabie Sand:

  • ElephantsArathusa Safari Lodge
  • Cheetah Plains Private Game Reserve
  • Chitwa Chitwa
  • Djuma Private Game Reserve
  • Dulini Lodge
  • Elephant Plains Game Lodge
  • Exeter River Lodge
  • Idube Game Reserve
  • Inyati Private Game Reserve
  • Kirkman’s Kamp
  • Leadwood Lodge
  • Leopard Hills Private Game Reserve
  • Lion Sands Private Game Reserve
  • Londolozi
  • Nkorho Bush Lodge
  • Notten’s Bush Camp
  • Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
  • Savanna Private Game Reserve
  • Singita
  • Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
  • Umkumbe Safari Lodge

Thornybush Nature Reserve

The reserve has 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) and is predominantly open bushland.

Timbavati Private Nature Reserve

A famous attraction of this reserve is its white lions. They’re white due to a recessive gene, rather than being albino.

The reserve has 53,000 hectares (131,000 acres) and shares a border with Kruger National Park.

Timbavati’s private lodges:

  • KuduBateleur Mobile Camp
  • Kambaku Lodge
  • Kings Camp Private Game Reserve
  • Motswari Private Game Reserve
  • Ngala Private Game Reserve
  • Shindzela Tented Safari Camp
  • Simbavati River Lodge
  • Tanda Tula Safari Camp
  • Umlani Bushcamp

Umbabat Private Nature Reserve

Accommodation similar to time-share is in place at many of the lodges in this reserve. Mopani bush, river beds and water holes are common here.

Private lodges at Umbabat:

  • Buffelsbed
  • Ingwelala
  • Manzimvula
  • Ndlopfu Private Game Reserve
  • Ntsiri Nature Reserve
  • Op Goedehoop
  • Si Bon

Each of the private lodges may run several camps within their own reserve.

Because the lodges have such quality and are 5-star, expect the price tags to match. It’s an expensive outing to stay at most of these reserves, so they’re ideal places to treat yourself on a special occasion, such an anniversary.

If want to stay in a luxury reserve within Kruger National Park proper, there are some scattered about the park to choose from. Most of them are in the southern region though, as this is the most accessible part of the park for most tourists.

Kruger Park has been so successful that everyone wants a piece of the action. Hence, you’re spoilt for choice (and it can be overwhelming to make a choice) when it comes to accommodation in Greater Kruger National Park (and in time there’s bound to be even more reserves added to the area).

Your decision on where to stay may ultimately come down to price range, availability and experiences on offer, such as camping out under the stars or just staying in the sanctuary of your own chalet.