One of our safari experts, Natasha Allan, is as passionate about her own safari experiences as she is about creating the best safari itineraries for her guests, and her knowledge is rooted in her first-hand experience. The Kruger Park is South Africa’s greatest destination for wildlife, and its surrounding private game reserves offer some of the greatest close encounters with the Big Five in Southern Africa. Natasha has equipped herself with 10 exceptional accommodations in the Greater Kruger Park, which suit clients with varying desires, dreams, and limitations. We have already shared five of Tash’s top 10 recommendations, and in this blog, we’re covering the next batch of Kruger safari lodges. If you want to know what else was on Tash’s list, click here.
Shindzela Tented Camp, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
This is the first choice for a truly valuable safari in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. It is affordable and offers a lot in terms of comfort and quality. The game viewing potential of the Timbavati is enormous, and the reserve constantly churns out breath-taking and spine-tingling wildlife encounters, so Shindzela is ideally located. It is quiet and intimate with only eight canvas tented rooms on offer, so the setting is tranquil, small, and private – a hugely sought after feature for young couples travelling to Africa. Families can be accommodated at Shindzela, but no children under 10 are permitted. Fantastic walking safaris are reserved for guests over 16 years old, purely because there are risks to walking in the wild and each guest needs to be capable of adhering to the camp’s guidelines for trails safaris.
The camp is run on solar power and gas, and there are no electrical outlets in the rooms, but there is a device-charging facility in the main lodge area. Shindzela offers all you need in terms of accommodation, privacy, relaxation, wildlife, and value for money. It’s been one of Natasha’s favourites for many years, and her clients continue to enjoy their experience there.
Budget: US$ 160 (2018) – US$ 200 (2019) (*all rates are per person sharing per night)
Kambaku Safari Lodge and River Sands, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
Two sister camps offering up some spectacular quality in the Timbavati are Kambaku River Sands and Kambaku Safari Lodge. These two are operated with the same meticulous attention to detail, environmental consciousness, and professionalism, but Safari Lodge is more affordable and is surrounded by a perimeter fence, which is often ideal for families with children. River Sands is more exclusive at a higher rate and is unfenced to the wilderness, adding a thrilling element to the nocturnal goings on at camp. Each of these relaxed and welcoming lodges caters for only 16 guests at a time, allowing the opportunity to truly bond with the guides, staff, and general surroundings.
Walking safaris are celebrated as much as game drives at Kambaku, and guests are able to choose whether they would like to take two game drives a day or change it up and go on an early morning walking trail and an afternoon safari. Kambaku Safari Lodge really pays attention to the young safari guests, going to the extra mile and supplying a children’s programme which is aimed at occupying kids in a nature-orientated way, enriching their experience, and allowing parents to make use of the spa for an hour or two!
Budget: River Sands US$ 540 (2018) – US$ 570 (2019)
Budget: Safari Lodge US$ 400 (2018 Adult) – US$ 420 (2019 Adult)
Lion Sands River Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Lion Sands River Lodge wouldn’t be what it is without the presence of the Sabie River that flows in front of the lodge, giving the opulent suites a view to remember. The wild inhabitants of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve roam the banks of this river, feeding on the vegetation surrounding the lodge and can be seen wandering the sandy banks from the comfort of the main lodge and the individual suites. There are 18 rooms at River Lodge, of which eight are luxury rooms, six are superior luxury rooms, and four are exclusive River Suites. A handful of the rooms caters for families with children over the age of 10, while some are geared for romantic seclusion. Rooms that do not look over the river look out into the bush, which – let’s face it – is hardly a disadvantage.
This exclusive Lion Sands property is what has been referred to as the ‘elemental safari’ – the origin of the Lion Sands brand. It’s signature riverbed dinners, glittering lights, and glowing boma fires will stick with you for a long time after your safari is over.
Budget: US$ 800 (low season, standard suite) – US$ 1200 (high season, river suite)
Kings Camp, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
This place is, quite simply, fit for a king. Everything from the zebra-skins on the floor to the golden drapes in the windows, the chandeliers hanging from the roof, and the crystal glasses, the lodge oozes royalty and opulence. King’s Camp, as it is so aptly named, seeks to please the luxury seekers on a deep level. It combines the rugged beauty of the natural Timbavati bushveld with the rich interiors one might find in an African palace, and the result is breath-taking. There are six luxury suites, two honeymoon suites, and one family room, and then there is the supreme Waterbuck Private Camp, which – let’s face it – is nothing short of majestic.
Natasha’s guests who check in to Kings Camp are confronted by a magnificent view of open savannah, complete with a waterhole, which quenches the thirst of all wildlife that passes it. Dining is an affair to remember; from the private breakfasts served on the verandah of your suite, alongside your private plunge pool, and thoroughly enveloped by the rustling, singing bush. From the exceptionally conducted game drives to the extravagant spa treatments and the champagne sundowners, Kings Camp is the place you haven’t even dared to dream of.
Budget: US$ 630 (2018 luxury suite) – US$ 920 (2019, Honeymoon suite)
Budget Waterbuck Camp: US$ 7700 (2018 villa per night) – US$ 8840 (2019 villa per night)
Chapungu Tented Camp, Thornybush Game Reserve
One of the newest additions to the revered Greater Kruger Park is Chapungu Tented Camp, which is one of the Thornybush Collection’s intimate luxury tented camps sleeping guests in only 8 canvas suites. Thornybush Game Reserve recently dropped its boundary fence with the Timbavati and is now included in this great conservation area, so Chapungu Tented Camp has become even more appealing! Each of the luxury tented suites has a feature bathtub, which is supremely relaxing and invigorating. Wooden boardwalks join each of the tents to the main lodge area, keeping things gently wooded and natural against the wildly tangled surroundings. Chapungu is not open to guests under the age of 16, so the environment is suited to those seeking an adults-only experience. It is synonymous with peace and quiet (as long as you don’t mind the birdsong and the hyena chorus in the evenings!), and there is a fantastic day spa to encourage relaxation all the more.
Budget: US$ 375 (2018)
See the first instalment of our Top 10 Kruger Safari Lodges here. Let us know which one you love the most!