When people think of the Greater Kruger, instantly their mind rushes towards the Sabi Sands. And who could blame them? Filled with a copious amount of wildlife, the Sabi Sands offers some of the most incredible game viewing, especially of the Big 5, across the continent. I would even argue and say that for frequent and relaxed leopard sightings, it is the best destination.
However, since the Sabi Sands is renowned worldwide, often other parts of the Greater Kruger are either disregarded completely or not even mentioned. Away from the Sabi Sands, there tends to be fewer visitors and often some incredible deals to be taken advantage of. And even better still, the game viewing is still just as incredible. In some areas it goes without saying you may need to work a bit harder for your sightings, but this should not let you be put off. Half the fun of going on safari is extensively searching for the wildlife, finding spoor and other signs before finally finding the animal. Teamed with your guide and tracker, safaris in the Greater Kruger offer some of the best all-round safari experiences one could wish for.
Ngala Tented Camp
Located on the Western border of the Kruger, and not far from Orpen Gate, Ngala Tented Camp is situated on the banks of the Timbavati River. This seasonal river attracts an abundance of wildlife throughout the year.
The camp comprises of nine luxury tents overlooking the riverbed meaning game viewing can be undertaken from the comfort of your own room at any time of day. The main area comprises of an open dining area, a well-stocked bar and a swimming pool, all overlooking the riverbed.
As with all &Beyond properties, you can expect a very high standard of guiding, service and hospitality and game drives take place in the private Ngala concession which is exclusively for those staying at Ngala Tented camp or the larger Ngala Safari Lodge. Game viewing is incredible and with the presence of white lions on the reserve, sightings can be truly spectacular.
For those wishing for a romantic night under the stars, Ngala Treehouse is a must visit. This luxury tree house experience is the perfect romantic extra for any couple wishing to make their safari even more special.
The Timbavati is one of the Greater Kruger’s most beautiful areas and its name is reminiscent of this, in the local language it translates as ‘the place where something sacred came down to Earth from the heavens’.
Tanda Tula is located in the heart of the Timbavati and their three camps can offer something for everyone. For those who want an adventurous and walking-filled safari, the Field Camp is rustic and authentic which still gives you the comfort needed at the end of a long day of walking. Here you can track big game with expert guides and experience a raw safari experience.
If a more luxurious setting appeals, then Tanda Tula Safari Camp combines the perfect blend of luxury and authenticity. Canvas tents under thatch provide an incredible setting in which to enjoy the South African lowveld’s beautiful flora and fauna.
For families or bigger groups, the Nkarhi Homestead is their exclusive property equipped with all the facilities one could wish for.
Singita are known for being the crem de la crem of safari, and this extends to their properties within the Kruger National Park itself. Placed in a private concession on the Eastern boundary of the park, Singita have two beautiful lodges, Sweni and Lebombo.
As with all Singita properties, the first-class food, service and guiding are all part of the package here. Sweni is home to seven suites and overlooks the beautiful Sweni River, whilst Lebombo is built into the rocks and suspended over the N’wanetsi River. All suites are modern and contemporary with stylish elegance that still retains a true safari essence.
Game drives take place in a thirty-three-thousand hectare private concession giving you maximum exclusivity and privacy when on game drive. Game viewing in this part of the Kruger is renowned for its abundance of wildlife including large herds of buffalo and elephant, plenty of lion and leopard as well as extraordinary birdlife.
Tintswalo Safari Camp
Sandwiched between Ngala Reserve and the Sabi Sands is a private reserve called the Manyeleti. Home to very few lodges, the Manyeleti is one of the Kruger’s best kept secrets. With fantastic game viewing and very few visitors, it is the recipe for an unforgettable safari.
The pick of the lodges in the reserve is without doubt Tintswalo Safari Lodge. With 8 suites, the lodge provides an intimate and personal feel. All suites come with their own plunge pools and the rooms are equipped with every amenity one could need. The main deck area is the perfect place for an open-air meal and more often than not you will be joined by the local wildlife. From nyala to elephants and the cheeky vervet monkeys, time in between game drives is certainly not boring!
For bigger groups or families, Tintswalo Manor House is a great exclusive use option. Running as a separate entity, this house has enough room for ten guests. Complete with its own swimming pool and fenced garden, the children can run around without any worry. Overlooking its own private waterhole as well, you never know what you may see from the house windows! Complete with its own private guide, tracker, butler and chef, this is the Manyeleti’s most exclusive and luxurious homestead.
Lion Sands Tinga and Narina
To the very South of the Sabi Sands lies a private concession within the Kruger National Park. Just North of the famous Skukuza Airstrip lies the concession that sits between the Sabi and the Sand Rivers.
Aside from the extraordinary game viewing that the area offers, Lion Sand’s lodges Tinga and Narina are beautiful and offer an opulent and lavish experience.
Tinga is open, spacious, and airy. As soon as you walk in a sense of awe overcomes you. The river frontage allows you to enjoy beautiful scenery and wildlife no matter where you are in the lodge. Be it in the swimming pool, the main deck area or in your room. Narina also exudes a sophisticated and calm atmosphere with its river frontage and beautiful décor.
Game drives occur in a concession that is rich in both flora and fauna. From all members of the big five, to incredible bird life, you never know what is going to be around the next corner. You can even drive into the Sabi Sands for a morning or an afternoon which will give you a change in scenery and some more excellent game-viewing opportunities.
Marc Harris is Managing Director of Africa Odyssey. Africa Oydssey is run by a team of award-winning experts offering tailor-made African safari holidays.
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