I use affiliate links on my blog. When you click on my links, I may make a commission. Thank you!
Kruger National Park in South Africa is massive, with an area covering 7,523 sq miles. However, first-time visitors looking for a luxury lodge experience, should note that the park size also includes more than 20 private reserves that border the acclaimed park itself.
These concession areas are where you will find most of the luxury camps. Kruger National Park itself, managed by the government SAN Parks department, mainly caters to those who enjoy a self-driving experience and either camping or rustic cottage accommodation.
Most Luxury Lodges adjoin the main Kruger Park
Credit Frank Flowers (With permission)
The concession areas sometimes disappoint first-timers, who expect free range across the Kruger Park proper. However, the concession areas each have their own patch of ground. Or, in some circumstances, share an area.
First up, you need to know that if you stay in these private lodges you are not actually within the ‘official’ park itself. There are a few exceptions, but overall, expect to stay outside it. Nevertheless, the removal of fences between the reserve and some concession areas mean so you do get good animal sightings. An added attraction is that the game viewing tracks don’t become cluttered with cars. Above is what a typical Kruger National Park accommodation looks like.
South Africa 4 and 5-Star accommodation
Most of the lodges in the private concession areas offer luxury packages in beautiful accommodation. Firstimers to Africa pushed for time and who can afford it, find some comfort in the knowledge they don’t have to self-drive. Additionally, the inclusive price covers most of the activities on offer.
Flight transfers from Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport can be arranged as well. This does away with the need for driving on the left-hand side of the road. Added to that, the top lodges make for light travel as just about everything comes with the booking.
Most of them come with at least a 4 to 5-Star rating and you should expect the usual private viewing decks, pools, bars, dining service, waiter service, bathroom essentials etc that you would in any such rated accommodation.
View this post on Instagram
At Rattray’s Camp, each luxurious freestanding and spacious Khaya (Zulu word for ‘home’) offers an atmosphere of lush seclusion and boasts spectacular views of the Sand River where wildlife of all shapes and sizes can be viewed whilst taking a dip in the private plunge pool, cooling off in the outdoor shower or enjoying a massage on the deck. #malamalagamereserve #itsallaboutthewildlife #safari #bucketlist #meetsouthafrica #southafrica #nature #wildlife #photosafari #luxurysafari #africansafari #travel #explore #wildlifephotography #roomwithaview
Meals and routines in the African wilderness
Early morning and late afternoons see the lodges offering game drives in open 4 x 4 safari vehicles or even walks. The routines of private lodges mean plenty of downtime in the heat of the day. Fans, air-conditioners, breezy decks and sparkling swimming pools with ice in delicious drinks is not a bad way to pass the time.
The water holes near these lodges always see a stream of animals and birds seeking water as well, and you can view them from the comfort of your cool lodge. Some lodges also fill that downtime with offers to visit local sanctuaries or go on short cultural outings to nearby villages.
In the most luxurious camps, there may be a spa on hand where you can tone up and relax. Of course, most lodges come with three meals provided and lunchtime brings a delicious range of cuisine to enjoy.
Usually, snacks come with the morning game drive, followed by breakfast upon your return. Similarly, after the late afternoon game drives with snacks and drinks, dinner follows.
You should expect that your meals are of excellent quality and most lodges employ experienced chefs. Of course, as you go out on game drives with a group of up to ten people, you probably will meet and make new friends over meals.
Game drives and the Big 5
Advantages of a luxury lodge stay include the fact that you are accompanied by experienced and licensed guides. While you may wish to focus on snapping the Big 5, it’s not always guaranteed.
However, your professional guide’s expertise introduces large numbers of other lesser-known species. Hyenas, wild dogs, small cats, hundreds of birds and other animals are there to enjoy. As your guide knows where to find the animals, many of which are territorial, the chances of getting some close-up photo opportunities are more likely.
View this post on Instagram
What a brave cheetah! This is just one of the sightings that make MalaMala is the best safari experience on the continent! Image – courtesy of MalaMala game reserve. Contact us today to take advantage of our great deals on accommodation at Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Sabi Sands Reservations Team www.sabisandslodges.com firstname.lastname@example.org
In Africa, the Big Five game animals are the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. These are the animals that are hardest to hunt on foot, but they also use it when you are out on a safari to explain the animals you will see.
Children and medical tips
If you travel as a family, make sure your safari operator accepts young children. Not all of them do because of the possibilities of encountering dangerous animals or insects. Those in the top luxury range that do accept children as guests sometimes offer special activities for them and family-style accommodation units.
Before you sit down and explore your luxury lodge options in the Greater Kruger Park online, speak to your health professional about options for anti-malaria prophylactics, and additional prescription medication from your home country.
In the USA, confirmation of visa requirements can be made via the South African Consulate General Office in New York, Chicago, Washington, and Los Angeles.