The Kruger National Park and its private concessions is one of the finest game reserves in Africa, a vast wilderness of thorn trees, prolific game and sub-tropical heat.
The Kruger National Park is one of the finest game reserves in Africa. It offers a vast wilderness of thorn trees, prolific game and sub-tropical heat. It stretches some 400km from north to south along the border between South Africa and Mozambique. Thus making it the largest game reserve in South Africa.
The Kruger Park is home to the Big Seven – elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, cheetah and wild dog. It is also home to an abundance of smaller, equally fascinating animals and birds.
It can be divided into three distinct areas. The southern area from Skukuza to the southern border of the Kruger Park is busy and game-rich. The slightly more remote central Kruger Park between Skukuza and Letaba also offers good game-viewing and fewer vehicles. Finally the wild far northern Kruger Park with the Makulele private concession has less game density but the scenery and authentic sense of wilderness more than makes up for it.
The Kruger National Park also has open borders (ie. no fences) with the adjacent private game reserves of the Sabi Sands, Timbavati & Manyeleti. (The Kruger Park and its adjacent private game reserves is referred to by the safari trade as the “Greater Kruger Park’.)
Several luxurious private safari concessions operate within the Kruger National Park. These safari lodges offer a private safari experience within the Kruger National Park itself. All offer early morning and evening game drives in open 4×4 vehicles. Unlike the traditional Kruger restcamps, these private safari lodges can conduct night drives after the park gates are closed. Occasionally they can go off-road to Big Five sightings such as lion or leopard.
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Lion Sands Narina Lodge was THE find of the safari as I had always wondered about the game-viewing in this Kruger Park concession. I stayed at Narina and also visited Tinga Lodge.
I preferred Narina Lodge because its the lighter, more romantic décor, but both were really super in style and ambience, each with a stunning setting on the Sabie river.
As the game-viewing was pretty good in their own concession, my guide said that they very rarely needed to go out into the open roads of the Kruger. Thus their game vehicles were completely open to the sides. We enjoy a stunning encounter with a leopard conserving its prey in a tree. However they now have the flexibility to be able to go into the Sabi Sands (via a private ‘gate’) if there is a particularly good sighting. We did this just to see a pack of wild dogs which was just within the Sabi sands.