Digby returned from a great visit to Kruger where they stayed at two intimate lodges. The first is a wonderful camp in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve called Xanatseni Private Camp. Klaserie shares unfenced borders with the Kruger National Park and the Timbavati Game Reserve as part of the greater Kruger area. They then moved onto Kwa-Mbili Safari Game Lodge in the Thornybush Reserve.
Here is their feedback:
Yes, we had a great visit to Kruger!
Both lodges were really pleasant. The hosts in both camps were very good, particularly the Xanatseni couple. In both cases the tracker/guides put in the extra miles to find the animals for us, as they were fairly spartan due to the drought (reducing numbers) and then substantial rain the week before which spread out the surviving animals.
Meals were very good, with a good range and more than adequate serving size. We did not go hungry. There was a choice of food at breakfast, but lunch and dinner were set meals, all of which were very good. We do not have any dietary issues, but they did ask us at the initial briefing if we had any, so more fussy eaters should still be satisfied.
Xanatseni has a very experienced guide and a very capable tracker. They have a big area for game viewing (10,000 hectares on the Klaserie Block), but cannot cross over onto the Timbavati Block, even though it is just across the access road. Xanatseni looks very new as it has just been refurbished. They have a large established lawn area around the lodge which gives a feeling of openness. The bedrooms are large, the communal area is very spacious and the pool is big. They have a small waterhole right outside the dining area and an elevated hide and large waterhole out the front, which kept us entertained when not on the drives.
KwaMbili has a less experienced younger guide and a very capable tracker. They have a more modest game viewing area and are similarly limited in access to adjacent concessions. They had similar issues regarding drought and recent rain, but we had very good game viewing. KwaMbili is a more established but intimate lodge, with a much smaller lodge area and smaller pool. The bedrooms are smaller than Xanatseni but are adequate. They have a hide and waterhole very close to the lodge which is floodlit at night. The staff are more formal than the other lodge, but they looked after us very well and did go out of their way to make our stay pleasant.
We would definitely recommend both lodges.
I will send you a few photos in a following email for your files