We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

london
Level Contributor
12 posts
2 reviews
Save Topic
Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

We will be travelling to South Africa in September 2013 and plan to spend three nights in one of the private game reserves.

We are a family of six, parents +4 "adults" aged 16 to 24

We are considering Sabi Sabi, Thornybush and Timbavati

The top range lodges are beyond our budget but there seem to be plenty of options in each of these places that are affordable for us (looking to spend about $6000 to $ 7000 for six of us for three nights)

We would like to avoid places that cater to younger families and retirees

There are so many sites and amazing options

We would greatly appreciate any advice that will help us choose

Many thanks

Bradenton fl
Level Contributor
74 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

Just came back from Sabi Sands region.. This was my second time back to Londolozi and it did not disappoint. I stayed at Varty camp last year and Founders this year. I stayed 4 nights this year and then visited Ulusaba for 4 nights. I started out at Safari Lodge and then moved to Rock lodge. Although most of the reviews say to stay down nearer to the animals i preferred the vistas and from the private plunge pool at Rock lodge-the food was awesome -I loved the hospitality and the wildlife and guides were great! The wildlife at Londolozi a bit better. That is what I know personally-what has been recommended by my travel agent in the Timbavati region I believe is Ngala Tented camp. All the camps in Sabi Sands area have spectacular game viewing but Londolozi has a very large piece of land that they only share traversing rights with SIngita-which i hear is absolutely lovely and your budget affords you. Good luck and enjoy- you will have fun no matter where you go

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
8,363 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

I think the writer above may have misinterpreted the budget. I understand it to mean $6000 to $7000 total for 6 people for 3 nights. Singita for 2013 would be more than $6000 for 2 people for one night! Londolozi - great reserve indeed. But the least expensive lodges - Varty & Founders - are still more than $1500 per night per couple in the lower-priced suites there.

Thornybush will be the best fit for the budget. They offer a 3-for-2 discount, very good wildlife, and a range of lodges, each with its own special nature. Monwana, Serondella, Chapungu, and n'Kaya are all priced at R14,000 for th3 nights - about $1625 at today's rate of exchange (ROE) of 8.6. That would make your total a little less that $5000! And that's the same ROE used in the computations above for Singita & Londolozi. The actual cost you would pay will depend on what the ROE is the time you pay next year.

There are some very good properties in Timbavati also.. and some may have a winter 3-for-2 that extends through September next year, but perhaps not. Bookings this past September were generally good, and special offers may not continue after the end of August.

If I correctly understand the budget, then I would strongly endorse Thornybush.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

london
Level Contributor
12 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

Thanks Dave - yes our budget is for all six of us

(...Londolozi will have to wait for when we travel without family)

South Africa
Level Contributor
1,412 posts
89 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

A great lodge is www.casartamelodge.com check them out, they are also on TA.

There are in the privat game reserve of Grietjie, in the North. Got spot to stay with the family. Good service crom fhe onwers too.

Edited: 06 November 2012, 06:23
Randburg, Gauteng...
Level Contributor
977 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

Hi, check out these three lodges which you will find within your budget. www.africaonfoot.com. they offer walking safaris and are in the Klaserie Reserve which is adjoining the Kruger Park. Also in the same area is another lodge, www.Ntambotreecamp.com. they have lovely tree houses and also within your budget. the next one is in what is considered the premier game reserve area where many other top expensive lodges are situated in the SAbie Sand. this is www.umkumbe.co.za. You will get rates on their site and this will fit into your budget. i recommend the last one, but all are very good value for money, with excellent game viewing.

london
Level Contributor
12 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

Thanks for all the recommendations - we actually have no problem finding place to suit our budget but I'm still confused about the differences between the reserves

Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
8,363 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

Sabi Sand regularly turns up as the most recommended. Mostly (in my view) because leopard sightings there are more reliable. But in reality, I think Timbavati and Thornybush are going to give you experiences that will match your expectations. And if you look here - http://www.motswariblog.blogspot.com/ - and read the leopard 'sighting' by one of the Rangers at Motswari, you will see that leopards are found at Timbavati, too. Though in his case the leopard found him! (notice the 'portraits' of the leopards in their area on the same page). Motswari is a little above your budget.. but Umlani might work. http://www.umlani.com/ - It's a sort of funky and authentically old-school sort of property, and it traverses some of the same areas as Motswari & Kinga Camp - all of these within Timbavati.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

den haag
Level Contributor
2 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

I can definitely recommend Pilanesberg park. Sun City is very near and has excellent lodging. Enjoy!

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
452 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

I personally find that Sabi Sands is one of the best places for game viewing. We have been to most game reserves in South Africa always with a group of friends and Sabi Sands was always a "reliable" game viewing area, especially if you are going into the bush the first time.

Our favourite lodge is Inyati in the Sabi Sands reserve because it has one of the best locations as it is pretty open and you see the animals roaming around and even come into the lodge.

Thornybush is an alternative as they are not too pricey. We stayed in the Chapungu Tent Camp which really is a lovely lodge and staying in a luxury tent gives you a totally different feeling for the bush. The only "problem" with this reserve is that the bush is extremely dense which makes game viewing pretty difficult.

We enjoyed the game viewing a Kapama Game reserve better. Here we saw the big 5 and the bush is not as dense. We stayed at the Kapama Buffalo Camp which is nice and intimate. The River Lodge is also a beautiful lodge, but they have 64 rooms so that "bush" feeling does go missing here.

Regards

Michelle from Cape Town Guide

York, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Help choosing private game reserve and lodge

There is the Kruger National Park (govt / publically owned), all self catering camps, or private concession with luxury lodges, then you have what is know as the Greater Kruger park or Kruger park management area (KPMA). There are no fences between these reserves and Kruger National Park, which has created a much larger reserve area for the wildlife.

the private game reserves which form part of the KPMA are Balule, Thornybush, Kapama, Klaserie, Timbavati, Manyeleti and Sabi Sands. Sabi sands is the southern most, Manyeleti sits directly to its north, Balule and Klaserie are the northern most reserves.

As a general rule as you move from south to north the vegetation is less dense, what I think you need to consider to water. If you travelling in September it is the end of the dry season, for approx 6 months there has been little or no rain, the wildlife tend to be congregated near to perennial water sources, rivers and waterholes. I would choose a lodge with either views of a river or there own waterhole or dam.

Jayne *consultant* Kruger Tours