Private Reserves near Kruger
Within South Africa's Kruger National Park and along its western border lie numerous privately owned wildlife reserves. Like the national parks, these private reserves are home to large populations of the Big 5, as well as zebra, greater kudu, giraffe, impala, hippopotamus, cheetah, African wild dog (painted wolf) and spotted hyena, among others. Most of the predators and big game have become extremely habituated to game vehicles. As a result, some of Africa's most spectacular wildlife sightings occur here.
Going on safari in one of these reserves or concessions rather than the national park has several advantages. For one, these reserves use open vehicles, which provide unobstructed views of the bush. Second, guides are accompanied by a game tracker and are in constant radio communication with other guides. Therefore, guests maximize their chances of seeing what they want. Third, guides can take guests on night drives and go off-road. In addition, all these factors mean that these reserves are an excellent year-round safari destination.
Sabi Sand is Kruger's most renowned private reserve. Bordering the southwestern part of Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is a collection of many smaller private reserves. The Sabie River form its southern border, while the Sand River courses its way through many of the smaller reserves. Many years ago, they removed the fences that separated the reserves from the national park. This effectively allowed wildlife greater freedom of movement. Several of the reserve's lodges and camps are among Africa's finest, including Singita and MalaMala. Because these reserves are more densely forested than the reserves to the north, the Sabi Sands is particularly good to spot black and white rhino.
In recent years, private concessions located within Kruger National Park itself have been created. The same breadth of game viewing privileges and similar levels of luxury are afforded to lodges and camps within these concessions. Accessing these private reserves and concessions is very convenient: many have direct scheduled charter flights to and from Johannesburg.