On Safari in the game reserves of South Africa

My guest post today is for lovers of wildlife and the great outdoors who dream of a safari in Africa. Ker & Downey, the luxury holiday company for exotic locations, offer their advice on the best game parks to visit in South Africa.

Many of us dream of taking that once in a lifetime vacation to Africa, to experience a safari and see all of the unique game and wildlife along the way. When beginning to plan your trip to Africa, there are many things to consider, many areas of the country to look into, countless possibilities of trip locales. South Africa has an abundance of game and nature reserves, and is considered to be one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. If you have been looking for some game reserve options in the area, here are a few to consider:

Leopard, one of the big five animals

Leopard, one of the big five game animals

Timbavati – Along the western edge of Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s prime wildlife viewing areas. Established in 1956 by a few game farmers, the reserve encompasses 680 sq km. No fences or barriers separate Timbavati from the Kruger National Park, so the animals are allowed to roam freely between the two. 40 different mammals, including the Big Five: elephant, lion, leopard, black rhinoceros and buffalo can be seen within the park’s boundries. A rare breed of lions with a recessive gene which causes their coats to be snow white reappeared in the reserve in 2006 after being absent for many years.

Mala Mala – Mala Mala Game Reserve is the largest private game reserve containing the big five animals in South Africa . Mala Mala shares 19 km of unfenced border with Kruger National Park and lies in between the national park and the Sabi Sand Reserve. The reserve ensures the finest game viewing on the African sub-continent and is regularly used as the subject matter for a vast collection of international and local wildlife documentaries, including some for National Geographic. 33,000 acres are undisturbed, save two safaris which travel through the wild with no more than 6 silent passengers per vehicle each day. Only guests from at one of the Mala Mala camps enjoy this privately-owned game land.

Phinda – Sitting in the Maputaland region in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Phinda borders the iSimangaliso/Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Phinda is made up of 23,000 hectares of prime conservation land. Seven distinct habitats shelter a myriad of wildlife including the Big Five and over 380 different bird species, and the marine diversity off the nearby coast of Sodwana is said to rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Samara Game Reserve in South Africa

Samara Game Reserve in South Africa

Samara – With four of the country’s seven biomes contained in it’s borders, Samara’s abundant wilderness preserves an intricate and diverse ecosystem, providing habitat for over 60 different mammals. While traveling in the reserve, you’ll see more common species like the Kudu and Duiker but the secretive Aardvark and the once-endangered white rhino roam. Samara also houses one of the world’s most endangered species: the cheetah.

Manyeleti – Located in the western portion of Kruger National Park, Manyeleti means “Place of the Stars” in the local language of Shangaan. The reserve is tucked away from the mainstream tourist areas and managed by the Mnisi tribe, who are committed to retaining the integrity of the game reserve and unlocking the tourism potential to the benefit of the Mnisi people and surrounding communities.

Sunset in Manyeleti Game Reserve

Sunset in Manyeleti Game Reserve

There is so much to see and do in South Africa, you have plenty of choice when it comes to taking that safari of a lifetime. You don’t have to rough it either! Many luxury travel experiences await you on safari in South Africa

Ker & Downey is a luxury travel company servicing not only Africa, but other exotic locations around the world. For more information visit Ker & Downey

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Photos by Ker & Downey, Champagne for Monkeys and lebeccio

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  • Reply
    jen laceda
    July 10, 2009 at 2:23 am

    Hi, I’m a big fan of Ker & Downey and hope to book a tour with them in the future. I want to stay at Mala-Mala!

  • Reply
    jen laceda
    July 10, 2009 at 2:24 am

    P.S. I heard cheetah sightings at Phinda are particularly strong. The Phinda Getty house is so dreamy…Can you tell? I am obsessed with safari and lodge designs!

  • Reply
    Safari Vacations
    January 8, 2010 at 8:11 am

    South Africa is truly a land of adventure and fun.If you have the choice of places to visit SA,I am sure you will have no choice but to visit all of them.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I’m wondering why someone with so much experience on SA safaris is using my photographs?

    I appreciate the compliment but I would prefer an official request for the usage of my photography in the future.


  • Reply
    Heather Cowper
    April 22, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    @ Joe

    Apologies – this was a guest post for which I searched for suitable photos which I always credit as you can see. I thought that these were with a Creative Commons Licence although now I’ve checked again I see I was mistaken.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Africa has great places and its one place where if you had a choice you would choose and visit one of these countries. The people and the scenaries are great.
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    May 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    @gianmarco You’ll find my contact details on my about page

  • Reply
    Shannon Marshall
    May 31, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Some beautiful destinations,last time we were on tour we saw cheetahs!Thanks for the post.

  • Reply
    June 2, 2011 at 8:55 am

    @ Shannon Glad you had a great time and saw some of those beautiful animals, that must have been a thrill

  • Reply
    August 18, 2012 at 2:30 am

    As always, really interesting and additionally helpful information
    On Safari in the game reserves of South Africa | Heather on her travels! Thank you…
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