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Private reserves fenced?

New York City, New...
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Private reserves fenced?

I have read a few reviews suggesting that some reserves have fences, and you run into them on a drive sometimes. In fact, I saw a website and it seems to list almost every reserve around Kruger. When I search for fences around Kruger, results come up mainly on the removal of fences between private reserves and Kruger National Park so they roam "free". Wait a minute...ok, but how about animals being able to leave private reserves? This is my concern about choosing Kruger over the Serengeti, for instance. I am concerned about what some say is a bit of a manmade set up, even if well intentioned for "conservation" sake of the animals.

Any private reserves that are not fenced at all and also not associated with hunting?

Adelaide, Australia
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21. Re: Private reserves fenced?

I think the ideas you have may be about small game reserves, here you are talking about massive national parks or reserves - most certainly nothing like a 'zoo' experience. You are romanticising africa thinking there should be no fences - maybe a century ago but not now in most places (there are exceptions) and for sound reasons but this does not make them zoos. As tryhard says it is the luck of the draw what you will see on any given day and of course the guides know the animals in the area - it's their job and the animals are territorial. Doesn't make them any less wild. Our third day in botswana last year on a private drive in a private concession in the delta we came across a pride of lions - our guide pointed out it was the eighth pride and which ones looked particularly ferocious to him. Just because he was familiar with this group didn't mean they were less wild - and if he didn't know about them then he wasn't doing his job properly!

In short not sure exactly what experience you are after. If it is a luxury private safari experience in remote private concessions think about a fly in in botswana perhaps.

Pickering, United...
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22. Re: Private reserves fenced?

We took over a week to drive the length of the Kruger last year, putting its size in perspective.

Rest assured, hms917, the fence is not there to corral the animals so that the predators can munch more happily on their prey. In fact sanparks tried to remove the border fence with Mozambique to give the animals even greater roaming. Sadly an increase in poaching from Moz means the end to the programme. The fence on the other side protects the animals from poaching,the park from land grabbing, trees from deforestation and locals from having animals damaging crops and injuring people. It is hard for some people to imagine the levels of population density bordering the Greater Kruger area. Like everywhere on earth SA is having to balance population pressures and land use with the ethical treatment of animals. IMO they are doing a decent job. If you want Utopia, you aren't going to find it.

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23. Re: Private reserves fenced?

Mana Pools is very wild with few people. Plus visitors can walk around without guides. Luck of draw how much game one sees.

Gold Coast...
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24. Re: Private reserves fenced?

Everyone has provided excellent advice. As has already been said the total perimeter around Greater Kruger Park is fenced apart from a Frontier Park border along Moz which will be put back up thanks to poachers. It would be disastrous beyond belief if it was not, and certainly there would be no wildlife left as all the predators would have been shot by local farmers and others protecting their stock and families.

There is not a lot of fences within that perimeter, yes some of the smaller reserves as has already said are fenced but not many. So you simply choose to stay in the bigger reserves such as Timbavati or Sabi Sand where you can drive around for days and the chances of seeing a fence are very slim or nil. In fact we have sighted fences only once or twice ever and that was simply because a particular sighting was there. It did not detract from the experience at all and I cannot see how it would, when a country is heavily populated there has to be a fence somewhere. These two reserves are unfenced to main Kruger Park. Yes this does mean animals can move through but as the big cats which are the main attraction in private reserves are territorial, they do not just regularly wander backwards and forwards. Yes it does happen that lions will cross between, for example some have just moved in from Kruger to Sabi Sand recently, but pride dynamics change constantly and its usually when there is a takeover or similar happening that they move a long distance.

In Kruger Park itself we have never ever seen a fence once we have crossed into the Park.

This is of course why the rangers in private reserves will often know lion prides, leopards etc by name, although its usually just a general family name rather than individual names. Not because they are 'pets' or in any kind of zoo, or not wild. In fact I would go so far as to say that anyone who calls the African bush a 'farm' or gets upset at the sight of a fence in the distance keeping wild animals and humans apart, should maybe have picked a different type of holiday.

Most often lion prides are named after the area they were first found, such as the Otthawa pride which was first found on an old farm by the name of Otthawa, the Southern Pride, because they roam the southern sector of Sabi Sand and so on.

Actually probably the most famous lion pride of all is the Marsh pride, yes they have a name and have been documented for over thirty years, and are located in the wild plains of Kenya.

Another famous pride is the Dubas, known for their buffalo hunting skills, also yes have a name, and found in the remote wilderness of Botswana.

Actually many people take such an interest in the Sabi Sand and other lion prides that they have set up web and fb pages for them so people can keep up with pride dynamics and check the latest photos. Would be a bit hard without a name.

Neither are the prey animals kept within fences to keep predators and tourists happy, such a shame you think this. It is pretty rare that a kill is witnessed by tourists and unless you are talking about small private parks, the prey occur naturally, this is how the balance of prey and predator works.

You must also remember to differentiate between the main Kruger Park itself which as said already is massive and has the biggest quantity and variety of wildlife you will see, and the private reserves mentioned in your question, which offer much less quantity and variety but often provide a much more intimate encounter, being able to go off road for a special sightings and also having the animals habituated to the vehicles that use their patch. Of course you pay top $ for this priviledge.

Kruger Park is simply unbeatable when it comes to do it yourself safaris, by way of accessibility, variety and cost of accommodation, flexibility, and ease to get around. You can drive in your own car and there is no guide needed.

As for Serengeti etc, it has already been said that you will see a lot more vehicles there at a cat sighting and yes cheetahs do use vehicles as look out points and camouflage. During last years migration a herd of wildebeeste was blocked from crossing the river because so many safari jeeps were gathered there, some 120+. Would not happen in Kruger.

Serengeti and Kruger are fairly similar for Big 5 sightings, although the Private reserves like Sabi Sand are the one place where leopards are virtually guaranteed. On the other hand cheetah are few and far between but more prolific in the main park. Kruger is an important stronghold for the highly endangered African Wild Dog and Black Rhino, while at the right time of year the Serengeti is unbeatable when it hosts the annual migration.

So yes Kruger is fenced, all 20000 square kilometers of it, does not mean you will see any of it.

Bloemfontein, South...
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25. Re: Private reserves fenced?

Lions eat cattle and elephants destroy crops. South Africa has an extensive developed commercial agriculture sector that is vital to the country. The Greater Kruger is a vast wilderness area ,larger than Belgium, that is fenced on the South African side.

The East African (and Botswana) reserves are not fenced because they are located in extreme rural areas. These reserves are usually bordered by a buffer wilderness area that are used for hunting or other tourism activities. But I can assure you, at one stage there is a always a fence.

Do you think elephants and lions walk freely in African cities?

Edited: 30 December 2013, 13:19
New York City, New...
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26. Re: Private reserves fenced?

Thanks the sandsman for providing a great perspective on the dynamics at work in these parks and reserves and what I can realistically expect...which still sounds worthwhile.

120 vehicles blocking a migration! Wow, will have to think carefully about the timing and place if I go to the Serengeti.

At the end of the dayit is a balance between humans (biggest predator on the planet) and other animals. Balance between tourists who want luxury and assured sightings vs. those who want to rough it, and see nature in its most unadulterated form.

With everyones thoughts on the matter, I am re-evaluating the kind of safari I will do, not whether to do a safari or not.

Gold Coast...
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27. Re: Private reserves fenced?

You are welcome and I do hope you will put a lot of thought into what you want to do. The way I see it is that you are asking questions and doing research and to me that is just so important, you are on the right track.

We very recently met a young couple from NYC in a private reserve. They were having a good time but could not understand where all the large herds of animals were, it was not what they pictured. It seems like so many they did not research beforehand and rather just went by what their agent told them… they were going on safari to Kruger. Unfortunately they had no idea they were not in the 'main' park and did not even realize they were in a private reserve. This is not unusual and is the simple reason why I just try to explain things somewhat.

Good news that you are still going ahead and all the info here has helped a bit, you seem to have a fondness for animals, and if so it will only increase when you experience the wonder and magnificence of African wildlife as it is meant to be.

Enjoy planning

Bangalore
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28. Re: Private reserves fenced?

hms ......I have just returned from Sabi Sands ( Lions Sands ) ......there is no fence 'between' private lodges ...if that is what u mean by your question ......the fence is only ( as many have explained ) along the outer perimeter to prevent animals from entering villages / farmland .

These fences can only be seen on the way to the airport .....never during the game drives ....Lions Sands and Kirkman share a very large area and there is no question of any fence coming in the way of game drives ...

Gold Coast...
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29. Re: Private reserves fenced?

Exactly

In fact the borders between the individual lodges are most definitely there and cannot be crossed by those without traversing rights. they are usually defined by roads or tracks and it is the rangers job to know exactly where these borders are, hence no fences needed.

Mumbai (Bombay...
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30. Re: Private reserves fenced?

Hi theSandsmans,

Absolutely phenomenal information, you have awesome knowledge.... I am travelling to KNP in the month of Aug'2014, 2nd week more precisely. I have done bit of research before blocking my accommodation in Kruger. I was to be staying in Elephant Plains Lodge, unfortunately it went full at the time of booking same with Gomo Gomo and Simbavati game lodge. The tour operator has now booked in Kapama River Lodge. I would like to know your views on Kapama. I will be grateful to you..

Regards,

NT