Private hunting reserves: why we choose them

by MMC
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A self-drive tour in the Kruger National Park or a safari in a private game reserve? This is a question our guests ask us time and time again. Surely the animals are the same? We could even say that between the Kruger and a private game reserve like Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, you might see the exact same elephant since the wildlife has the luxury of moving freely between the two reserves. But that’s not the case, and here’s why…

Sighting a cheetah during a safari

Guests in a safari vehicle observing two cheetahs, image credit: Shumba Camp

A hyena puppy – Too many people

Let me paint a picture for you. My first sighting of a hyena was on a main road in Kruger National Park – it was a puppy. What a view! But instead of being able to follow the hyena through the bush in a 4×4, we were scrambling to find an observation point with a group of other tourists.

In a closed Volkswagen Golf, our heads and cameras were strained in a clumsy attempt to get a half-decent photo. After half an hour we reached the front of the queue and our reward was a 30 second view of the adorable puppy before being booed – yes, booed! It’s time to go in search of our next impala.

La risa de la hiena, mucho más que un innocent sonido

Fighting for views of hyenas in a closed car – the struggle is real, image credit: Simon Watson

Private reserves take experiences to new heights

A real safari is all about the overall experience. The stories of the rangers around the aperitif and the sudden use of the flashlight during dinner to see the hippopotamus in front of the lodge terrace all create memories that keep us coming back at the first opportunity.

It’s about immersing yourself in Africa while experiencing true nature in all its spectacular (and sometimes brutal) splendor. It involves boarding a safari vehicle in search of the Big 5and about the thrill of marauding through the bush chasing a pack of African wild dogs in pursuit of an impala.

Löwen im Überschwemmungsgebiet des Chobe National Parks

Safari vehicles become tanks in the quest for the elusive Big 5, image credit: Camp Savuti

So, why opt for a private hunting reserve?

In a nutshell, it’s about what makes the experience of a private private preserve different. Countless benefits come from this, and we’ve rounded up a few highlights that stand out.

1. Game viewing is best on private game reserves

Why would watching the game be better? Well, it’s private! No cars of other tourists in a garish palette of blinding colors. Additionally, safari vehicles can be driven off-road, whereas in a national park you will be limited to animals visible from main roads. The best and most skilled rangers also work here and are not limited to hours. Therefore, they can go on night walks and stay as long as you want during a sighting!

Excursions for Sambia: South Luangwa National Park is a paradise for the African world

Ranger-led walking safaris get you up close for that perfect photo, image credit: Puku Ridge

2. Best Photo Opportunities

Sitting in an elevated, open-top safari vehicle gives you the best possible view to get the perfect photo. Or, if you stay closer to the ground, rangers can organize walking safaris and other exciting activities so you can put that photo in the rhino’s nostril! Some luxury lodges even have safari vehicles tailored specifically for photographers and their equipment.

3. You get crossing rights

You will often hear about “rights of passage” in reference to your safari experience. So, what are rights of way? It allows neighboring lodges to circulate on each other’s land, meaning more space to explore and find animals.

The larger the crossing area, the better! More land equals more biodiversity. For example, Phinda Private Game Reserve In KwaZulu-Natal is home to seven different ecosystems, each attracting a unique variety of life.

classic appetizers on a safari in Phinda

Simply magical classic appetizers on a safari in Phinda, image credit: &Beyond Phinda

4. Private game reserve lodges are world famous

South Africa’s best (and often award-winning) lodges are located on private game reserves. For example, luxury private lodges such as Singita, Lion Sands, Safari Sylvain And Londolozi sets the standard for style, service and cuisine.

Imagine being led around a marula tree – after your second or third leopard sighting of the day – to arrive at appetizers and canapes lit by lanterns hung in the tree. Or maybe a pancake breakfast or a bush braai (barbecue). Well, these are treats reserved for private game reserves.

Evening bush dinner at Lion Sands River Lodge

Romantic dinner under the stars, image credit: Lion Sands River Lodge

5. There is something for everyone

A variety of lodges means there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for contemporary design, fine dining, and health spas like Royal Malewane Or Tintswaloor you are looking for a rustic atmosphere in NottensAfrican chic Rhino Post Safari Lodge or a luxury tent safari at Ngala – you will find a home perfectly suited to your needs and tastes.

Many lodges are also family-friendly, with children’s programs to keep little ones entertained and able to enjoy some well-deserved relaxation.

Malewane Royal Swimming Pool

A royal setting in the bush, Image credit: Royal Malewane

6. Private game reserves are all about luxury

Wherever you choose to stay, a private game reserve will create memories that will last a lifetime. But be careful… Africa will put you on edge and your next trip could happen sooner than you think.

The general rule about the safari experience is that you get what you pay for. For many, a trip to Africa is a unique opportunity, the result of years of daydreaming and sacrifices from those essential weekends in Paris. So why compromise the experience by cutting costs where it counts?

Safari aperitif

Enjoy luxury experiences on your safari in South Africa’s private game reserves, image credit: Singita

Ready for your own safari in a private game reserve?

Our travel experts have first-hand knowledge and will be able to tailor your safari to your style. They are here to give you all the advice you need, so Contact us today and let’s start planning the African adventure of a lifetime!

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