Few have been to Africa’s largest private game reserve as it only takes few guests at a time – on 400 square miles! It’s the “Green Kalahari”, which means arid savannah rather than desert – scenically magnificent, with rare species like desert black rhino and black-maned lions. You can get close to meerkats at one of their colonies. Don’t expect abundant herds, it’s too dry for that. The camps are very lux, with pools and a/c. South Africa.
A big reserve with wide open plains have that big Africa feel but it’s malaria free. Plenty of game, especially lion and elephant, and some of the desert species like gemsbok as this is a dry area, and I’ve seen rare wild dogs here too. All camps share the same reserve, but you won’t have more than 3 vehicles at a sighting. Camps are mostly under thatch with pools and a/c, and some as luxurious as those around Kruger. South Africa.
Close to Johannesburg, mild climate and malaria free, this is a great first or family safari option. I helped out at at Welgevonden when it was being set up, and i think it’s one of the most scenic safari areas – mountains, plains and treed valleys. Lots of rhino, the others of the Big 5 are there but leopard are elusive, and herds are small. Camps are usually cosy under thatch, with pools, a/c and all the trimmings. South Africa.
At the end of the Garden Route which makes it easy to combine with Cape Town, and it’s malaria free. Plenty to see for a first safari, but reserves are smaller and numbers of animals are lower. Addo’s elephants are so peaceful I’ve walked right up to them. It’s not classic acacia & savanna Africa, with dense bushes and undulating hills, and not all reserves are Big 5. Gentle, comfortable camps are child friendly, with a/c and heating for chilly winters. South Africa.
I like this area for the variety of habitat for wildlife – forests, plains, mountains, wetlands – and it’s close to unspoilt beaches for a safari & beach combo. Downside is reserves are smaller, so the herds are smaller, and denser vegetation can make sightings more difficult. Camps are very comfortable, with pools, a/c and the lux trimmings. Malaria is on the decline here and some reserves are malaria free. South Africa.
Kruger National Park is surrounded by the most private luxury safari lodges in Africa – because sightings of all the Big 5 are almost guaranteed, and it’s easy to get there. I’ve spent a lot of time at a friend’s camp in the Sabi Sand, which is the best – animals allow you to get real close, and you can drive off-road to them. Pricier camps are not only more luxurious – a/c, private pools, butlers etc – but also have larger traversing areas. South Africa.