Clients often ask where the best place in Southern Africa is for a safari experience, the answer is anything but straight forward. The reason for this is because there are so many different and uniquely exceptional experiences available.
The Sabi Sands takes some beating and is widely regarded as the pinnacle safari experience in the region. It is impossible to argue against this and I would not even begin to try.
Shamwari in the Eastern Cape is so incredibly special with numerous achievements in conservation and the successful reintroducton of the Big Five into the region. The Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is unique and the TV documentary based on this has achieved global acclaim.
Chobe in Botswana is an incredible wilderness and the river is something quite mystical. The large elephant herds, hippo pods and lion prides leave you truly breathless.
The Okavango Delta definitely deserves a mention and is one of those real bucket list experiences for many people. There are many exquisite high end boutique stlyled lodges to choose from.
Along with the above heavyweights some of my other personal favourites are:
The reserves of Northern KZN particularly Phinda and Thanda with their sublime hospitality offering and amazing wildlife are both highly recommended. As a KZN boy, I suppose I have a degree of bias but the experiences I have seen many of our guests and groups enjoy over the years has given me some of the most incredible life memories, which I will treasure forever.
The Pilanesberg with the wide range of lodges and probably the best value for money is as good a natural environment as any of the very best mentioned above. The game somehow seems to have a unique wildness, you get a sense of the harsh competitiveness of the bush where survival really is a daily achievement.
In conclusion there are a plethora of options and each is unique and has it’s own individual nuances and features. The one thing that is certain is you will have one of the most incredible, authentic and memorable experiences of your life. As a motivator it is still incredibly successful as an incentive choice, achieving phenomenal success across group profiles everytime.
With all that Southern Africa has to offer it’s not always easy to stand out as a top contender. If Zambia Victoria Falls with its natural heritage and spectacular landscapes, including one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, isn’t enough, some extraordinary activities and experiences should leave you with a lifetime of exceptional memories.
The Royal Livingstone Anatnara Hotel has easily got to have one of the best sun-set locations in the world, on the deck overlooking the top of the Victoria Falls. Guests gather as if in a spiritual ritual daily and sit memorized by its tranquil beauty.
If you prefer the sunset from different angle, we invite you to join us on the Royal Livingstone Express train onto the Victoria Falls bridge. The initial brain child of Cecil John Rhodes, the significance of visiting the bridge and the “Cape to Cairo railway scheme” will see you fulfil Rhodes dream of “crossing the Zambezi River on a train, where as they pass, will catch the spray of the Falls”.
Pilanesberg South Africa’s most underrated Game Reserve
When most people think of The Pilanesberg Game Reserve the first thought that comes to mind is Sun City, understandably so in some respects as the two are in close proximity and both benefit heavily from having the other as a neighbor and programmes at the resort almost always have a visit to the Pilanesberg included at one or more points.
There is though so much more to this incredible reserve, which is home to the Big 5 and it is situated in a Malaria free area.
Ivory Tree Game Lodge with 60 suites and conferencing facilities.
The very exclusive and boutique Lodge up on a hill with panoramic views named Tshuduku.
Of course there is also the family friendly Bakubung and KwaMaritane Lodges. These lodges offer exceptional value for money to both local and international visitors.
For the more adventurous we can build luxury mobile tented camps like we did in May this year (150 en suite luxury tents).
Enough about the accommodation offerings though it is the game experience that makes this park exceptional. Sightings are almost always out of this world we have had a group see the big 5 plus cheetah in two drives. Most drives see at least three, on my last visit in early November, we saw elephant, rhino and lion as well as abundant giraffe, zebra, kudu, impala, springbok, warthog, hippo and crocodiles.
With my family a year ago we saw two young leopards playing on the side of the road for about twenty minutes and later a female leopard out hunting as the sun started to set, yes on the same drive. On the other drives we did (from Ivory Tree Lodge) we saw so many breeding herds of elephant, white and black rhino as well as lion on a kill (one lion and three lionesses). Amazing stuff, our ranger was rightfully hugely pleased with his performance as we said goodbye to him after delivering an outstanding and special experience for us all. Not quite so for everyone though as my young son then 8 year old son said goodbye he said “thank you so much, I had a great time, just so you know though we didn’t see any buffalo”! He was in fact correct but incredibly misguided all the same.