Game Reserves & Safaris

  • Excellent Big Five game viewing in these parks
  • 23,000 hectare Manyeleti Game Reserve
  • 13,000 hectare Kapama Private Game Reserve
  • 11,500 hectare Thornybush Private Game Reserve
When To Visit Surrounding Reserves:
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Surrounding the Kruger National Park are a number of fenced reserves that house a couple of unique properties and also lower cost safari lodges. Here we cherry pick our favorites.

  • 23,000 hectare Manyeleti Game Reserve
  • 13,000 hectare Kapama Private Game Reserve
  • 14,000 hectare Thornybush Private Game Reserve

Neighbouring Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, there are three reserves that are seriously good for Big Five viewing! These are Manyeleti, Kapama, and Thornybush.

Manyeleti Game Reserve is situated between the Sabi Sand and the Timbavati reserves, boasting an open border with the Kruger. Easily accessible by air and road transfer, the properties in the reserve offer a ‘lodge hop’, a short light aircraft flight during which the plane flies at a low altitude and passengers benefit from amazing views!

In the local language, Manyeleti means ‘place of the stars’, a name chosen to evoke the remoteness of the reserve. Much quieter than the Kruger and Sabi Sand areas, Manyeleti nevertheless has plenty of wildlife. It covers 23,000 hectares of savanna, shrubland, and woods, and these are home to all Big Five mammals, many more predators and herbivores, and over 300 species of bird!

There are just three properties in Manyeleti, all offering game drives and game walks. Keen photographers will relish opportunities to take some superb snapshots! The accommodation ranges from authentic tented safari to five-star exquisite lodge and even a luxury lodge for groups, so there is something for everyone here.

Kapama Private Game Reserve contains four properties, also including adventurous and sumptuous styles. This reserve is west of the Kruger. Typically guests fly in to Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit and then receive a complimentary road transfer. The latter journey takes place in a safari vehicle, providing a great introduction to the area!

Totalling 13,000 hectares, Kapama is smaller than Manyeleti, but it has no fewer species of wildlife. In all, there are more than 40 varieties of mammal and 350 types of bird! All Big Five are in residence, as well as oodles of antelopes and other herbivores.

All properties offer game drives, bush walks, hot air balloon rides, photographic safaris, elephant interactions, and romantic sleep-outs. You can visit the Hoedspruit Centre for Endangered Species, to see such rarities as king cheetah, serval, caracal, and wild dog. Kapama’s lodges also provide spa treatments, so in between safari activities you can relax with a lovely massage. And for those who like to keep fit, there’s a gym too!

Finally, there’s the Thornybush Game Reserve, also close to the Kruger. Again, most guests opt to fly in and are collected by a staff member from their chosen property. This reserve has 11 properties in total, ranging from bush camps to large deluxe lodges. Many of the lodges include a spa!

With 14,000 hectares, Thornybush is the same sort of size as Kapama. There’s a lot of wildlife to see here too! All Big Five roam the region, as do cheetah, wild dog, hyena, hippo, giraffe, zebra, and lots of antelopes. There are also over 500 migrant, resident, and nomad bird species.

The Thornybush properties provide game drives and walking safaris. A handful of lodges offer activities especially for children, including educational walks with rangers, poolside picnics, baking, face painting, and treasure hunts!

A safari in any of these reserves surrounding the Kruger and Sabi Sand is an excellent experience. To find out more, just get in touch with a member of our team!

View All Lodges