Located to the east of Johannesburg in northern South Africa, the Kruger is home to a network of tarmac roads that enable a unique self-drive market to explore the park. The roads are also used by camping safaris and overland group tours, altogether creating a high build-up of traffic and a style of safari experience we prefer to avoid. However, within the Kruger National Park, there are a number of private concessions; which only guests staying within the area can explore. The self-drive market cannot reach these areas, and the result is a wilderness experience that remains as exclusive as possible within the Kruger itself.
The private reserves that run adjacent to the Kruger National Park – such as the Sabi Sands and Timbavati in particular – are home to some of Africa’s most luxurious safari properties and a number of ultra-exclusive game-viewing areas. We cannot recommend them highly enough, and we find that most of our clients choose to stay there rather than within the park itself. Guests staying at the properties within the Kruger private concessions also have access to the national park and your guide might choose to take you into the park for special sightings. We do find, though, that there's an incredible wealth of wildlife to see in the private areas, and most guests opt to stay within their concession to enjoy the more intimate encounters on offer.
It's worth mentioning that the activities available in the Kruger are very similar to those offered within the private reserves adjacent to the national park – and in addition to the usual game drives, you could opt for a selection of night drives, walking safaris and off-road driving, none of which is possible within the park.
The Singita Concession is situated on the remote and mountainous border with Mozambique, at the confluence of two rivers. This over 16,000-hectare concession boasts possibly the highest concentration of wildlife in the park and is home to two of the finest lodges on the continent – Singita Lebombo and Singita Sweni.
Farther north you will find the Makuleke Concession, named after the Makuleke people, to whom the land has been returned and who benefit from any profits from tourism. This remote and seldom-visited part of the park is over 24,000 hectares in extent and is home to almost 80 per-cent of its biodiversity. Big-game sightings are certainly good, but the main attraction of this area is its feeling of true wilderness. A recent flood has meant that there is now only one high-end option – The Outpost.