The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s iconic safari destination, and there are excellent game reserves bordering the Kruger itself, as well as some private fenced reserves nearby. All safari options we offer have a similar format, with game drives in the morning and afternoon. However, there are differences in the experience, so it is important to understand the factors which make each one different, and what their implications are for your safari experience. Graham from the Llama Travel sales team recently travelled to the Kruger to check out the three different lodges we offer in and around Kruger National Park. Keep reading to find out which lodge suits you best.
Shiduli Private Game Lodge
The Shiduli Lodge is set against the grandiose of the Drakensberg Mountain Range and is located in the 9,000 hectare Karongwe private game reserve in the Kruger area. Within an hour’s drive of the local airport at Hoedspruit the lodge is home to the Big Five amongst an abundance of other smaller creatures and birdlife.
Why Stay Here?
The lodge offers great wildlife opportunities all year round with its perennial rivers and lush vegetation. Two game drives per day are offered; the morning game drive will commence at 05:30 and return to the lodge at 09:30 whilst afternoon game drives will depart at 16:00 and arrive back at the lodge at 19:30. An assortment of hot drinks and rusks are served from 05:00 before all morning drives, and sundowners are provided at sunset on the evening game drives. All game drives are operated in open safari vehicles. The safaris are led by a qualified, English-speaking guide with a knowledgeable tracker.
All meals are provided during your stay with a ‘boma* experience’ provided on at least one of your nights. The lodge boasts a main pool area to relax in during your free time as well as lounge areas with the main lodge. Meals are served on an elevated decking area (weather-permitting).
*A boma is a classic part of a South African safari, consisting of a candlelit barbecue with storytelling and entertainment.
The lodge comprises 24 luxury suites each with a modern en-suite and a relaxing patio area. Rooms are brick-walled with thatched roofs and are equipped with air-conditioning/heating, mosquito nets, a fully stocked mini-bar with tea/coffee making facilities and a safe.
“My favourite destination was the Kruger Region. I spent six days travelling around the national park and various private reserves and witnessed some incredible wildlife; having a leopard circle our vehicle from two foot away, seeing two huge lionesses devour a Nyala (spiral-horned antelope), seeing a lioness nursing two young cubs and witnessing the sheer scale and beauty of a full-grown bull elephant silently approach and brush past our vehicle.” - Graham
Kapama River Lodge
The Kapama River Lodge is located within the 13,000 hectare Kapama private game reserve nestled between the Blyde River Valley and the Kruger National Park. It offers the perfect sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife with over 40 different mammal species – including the Big Five – as well as 350 bird species. The reserve is just a 10 minute drive from Hoedspruit Airport making it easily accessible.
Why Stay Here?
The River Lodge offers 5* luxury accommodation in a festive and sociable environment. Game drives are taken twice daily with a skilled and experienced ranger and tracker. The lodge also offers bush walks for those more adventurous individuals looking for a different perspective to the typical safari.
All meals are provided throughout your stay with a traditional ‘boma’ experience set up on the dried river bed on one night. The lodge offers a relaxing African themed bar and two pools; one overlooking a nearby watering hole where you may be luck to spot thirsty elephants whilst sipping on a craft gin from the poolside bar. The lodge also has a dedicated spa facility with a host of treatments available. Whilst the lodge boasts these facilities, the wide open spaces and airy design are a constant reminder that you are sleeping under the African sky.
The lodge has 64 rooms. 40 of these are spacious suites reminiscent of Hemingway’s Africa with large bathrooms. The rooms have private balconies that allow you to take in the beauty of the surrounding reserve.
Hamilton’s Tented Camp
Hamilton’s Tented Camp is set within a 10,000 hectare private concession within the Kruger National Park. The camp epitomises luxury and offers an outstanding safari experience in some of the Kruger’s most spectacular landscapes. Guests will arrive in Hoedspruit Airport and take a transfer of approximately three hours before reaching the camp. Much of this transfer will be within the Kruger National Park itself and will act as a safari where myriad animals can be viewed including the Big Five.
Why Stay Here?
The camp is situated alongside the remote N’waswitsontso River within the Kruger National Park. The camp offers a highly luxurious vintage style safari experience with butler service a truly remote region of the National Park.
The lodge offers a truly private experience in the African bush. Aside from the individual plunge-pools located in each of the suites, the lodge has a main pool where guests can take a refreshing dip while enjoying the view over the savannah. Spa treatments can also be taken in the spa facility overlooking the pool.
The six exceptionally private luxury tents are finished with traditional fittings and features that exude a ‘turn-of-the century’ ambience. The magnificent tented suites are finished with teak flooring, outdoor showers and private decking with a hot-tub over-looking the river. The rooms are reached by a raised wooden walkway from the main lodge.
Whichever Kruger lodge you choose for your safari holiday you will follow a similar itinerary, although game drives will be local to the lodges. A typical day in the Kruger comprises game drives in the early morning and late afternoon, sundowners in the bush, plentiful meals back at the lodge, campfire entertainment, and plenty of time to relax in between. On all of our Kruger safari holidays you’ll spend time in Cape Town and Johannesburg, with flights, game drives, transfers and accommodation included in the price.