Greater Krugerpark

The Greater Kruger Park consists of a large number of (originally) private game reserves located on the western side of the world-famous Kruger National Park. There are no gates that separate the Kruger Park and these game reserves and all animals (including the Big Five) can move freely between these areas. The best known reserves that are part of the Greater Kruger Park are: Timbavati, Sabi Sands, Klaserie and Balule. Below you will find more information about the different reserves. In most areas you will find beautiful luxury and exclusive accommodations. You pay a gate fee and / or conservation fee when you enter the parks.

Timbavati Game Reserve

The Timbavati Game Reserve is one of the private game parks that is part of the Greater Kruger National Park. Timbavati was founded in 1956 when a number of local farmers decided to restore the flora and fauna on their territory. In 1993, the fences that separated Timbavati Game Reserve on the east side were removed from the Kruger Park so that the animals from the different areas were given more freedom to migrate. You will find Timbavati about a 5 to 6 hour drive from Johannesburg in the province of Limpopo.

The 53400 hectare reserve consists of a hilly landscape with heights between 300 and 500 meters above sea level. The area is classified as ‘savanna forest field’, the vegetation consists mainly of mopane, acacia and mobretum forests / shrubs. The reserve includes the entire Big Five (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino), but also hyenas, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, jackals, wild dogs and a wide variety of goats and antelopes. Bird watchers can see a total of 360 different bird species in the reserve.

Summer is called the wet season with the most chance of rain from December to February, this is also the hottest time of the year with an average temperature around 32 degrees. During the day it is warm and often late in the afternoon you see clouds gathering together for a thunderstorm in the early evening to cool you down. In the winter months (April-September) the chance of rain is very small and the temperatures vary considerably. In the early morning and evening it can be relatively cold, around 10 degrees, while during the day when the sun is shining it is very pleasant (above 20 degrees). Because of the drought, wildlife is often easy to spot at the water sites.

When you take a safari in the Timbavati Game Reserve, take a good look to see if you happen to see a pair of white lions. These lions with a remarkably light fur are seen here with some regularity. These are not albino lions since their skin and eyes are normally colored. The white color of the coat is caused by a gene defect.


Sabi Sands Game Reserve

The Sabi Sands Reserve is 65,000 hectares and borders on the Kruger National Park with its 50 km long east side, all animals can move freely between the different parks since there are no gates. Sabi Sand has two rivers that supply the area with water: the Sand River that runs from north-west to south-east and the Sabie River along the southern border. Because of these rivers, the reserve has a wide variety of game, even in the dry winter months. The entire Big Five can be seen (elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino and lion) and also giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, wild dogs and many different antelopes. In total there are more than 145 different mammals, 110 different reptiles, 330 tree species and more than 500 bird species (including migratory birds).
Game drives are done with open 4×4 safari vehicles in groups of 6 to 12 people. These safaris are accompanied by expert rangers and a so-called ‘tracker’ who knows where wild animals are hiding through the smallest signals. During the game drives you have the opportunity to get to know the African wildlife up close, to learn a lot from the rangers and of course to take beautiful pictures. The morning game drives leave early when the bush wakes up and the sun rises. The safaris in the late afternoon leave when the sun sinks towards the horizon again, most animals are now active, the carnivores are preparing for hunting. After a sun-downer, the game drive continues but now with the use of the strong spotlights on the safari vehicle. On average you can go on safari for about 6 hours a day in the bush. There are also opportunities for bush walks where the emphasis is more on birds, flora and smaller animals.
There are a number of beautiful luxury lodges in the reserve, all of good quality and well cared for.

Klaserie Game Reserve

The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve borders the Kruger Park in the north, the Timbavati Game Reserve in the east and the Balule Game Reserve in the west. The Klaserie reserve is 60,000 hectares in size and the Klaserie River runs through the park, which is important for the water supply for flora and fauna. It is dry and warm most of the year, after the summer rains the vegetation regains its green color.

There is a lot of wildlife in this reserve, including the Big Five: lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard and elephant. In addition to these infamous five animals, you can also see giraffes, zebras, spotted hyenas, monkeys, hippos, impalas, kudus, waterbucks, wildebeest, klipspringers and many others. Animals that are seen less regularly, but that occur in the area are: wild dogs, cheetahs, caracals, honey badger and civet. In terms of birds, vultures, owls, bee-eaters, eagles, hornbills, starlings and many others are regularly seen.

This part of the Greater Kruger Park shows well the beauty of the African bush and its wild animals with all the sounds and smells that go with it. The sunsets here are also beautiful!

In the Klaserie reserve are beautiful lodges where you can stay during a safari, the Africa on Foot Camp is known for its different daily routine. The highly knowledgeable guides take the guests on a walking safari in the early morning and later on for a game drive later in the afternoon, in the heat of the day you can relax by the pool.

Balule Game Reserve

The Balule Private Game Reserve, or Nature Reserve, came into being when six small reserves decided to remove the fencing around their property for the benefit of wildlife. From then on the animals could migrate over a larger area and also reproduce better and the danger of overgrazing became smaller.

The reserves at the time were: Greater Elephant River Conservancy, Elephant West Game Reserve, York Game Reserve, Parsons Game Reserve, Elephant North Game Reserve and Grietjie Game Reserve. Many of the names refer to the Elephant River that runs through the area and supplies the many animals with water. The reserve covers around 40,000 hectares and is very suitable for safaris.
All animals that live in the Kruger Park can move freely to and from the Balule Game Reserve, including the members of the Big Five (lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard, rhino). Remarkably enough, lions with their prey are regularly seen in the Balule reserve.

The largest and best-known accommodation in the Balule reserve is the Tremisana Lodge consisting of 15 chalets and a two bedroom guest house. The closest places are Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa.

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