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Some 50km west of the Kruger National Park lies the well-appointed Karongwe Private Game Reserve, a study in unsurpassed extravagance where a series of luxurious accommodations are located in a game park for visitors to enjoy safaris from a refined base. The majestic Drakensberg Mountains add to the scenic splendour of the reserve which is home to the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo), African wild dog and cheetah.
The lodges in Karongwe offer a range of facilities, from a 5-star manor house to tented camps where no expense has been spared. Animals frequent the Makhutsi River that runs through the reserve, a prime game viewing spot.
Karongwe Game Reserve’s handpicked game rangers and Tsonga trackers are on hand to expertly guide visitors through the bush to experience nature at its very best. Renowned for leopard sightings, the reserve is small enough to guarantee a variety of game viewing.
Top 6 reasons to visit Karongwe Game Reserve
1. Book a daily open vehicle game drive to experience the bushveld and to see the many animals that reside here. No trip is ever the same and there’s always that YouTube moment…
2. Try game viewing on foot! Follow an experienced tracker to learn more of the predators in the park. The main prize would be an encounter with the solitary and elusive leopard.
3. Sit on your elevated private deck and watch game, cool off in the swimming pool, enjoy a late afternoon spa treatment and end the day off with an African-inspired meal around a cosy fire in the boma.
4. Spend time around the river or at a waterhole to watch the skittish animals drink from the shores, ever vigilant of Nile crocodiles waiting in ambush.
5. The area has magnificent scenery best seen from the skies. Travel to Hoedspruit to arrange a hot air balloon trip. The preferred times are early dawn or at dusk when the animals are most active and the sun paints the mountains with vivid colours.
6. The night skies are awash with millions of stars. Find a comfortable chair out on the patio to stargaze while listening to the sounds of nocturnal animals out hunting or foraging. Be on the lookout for the crafty honey badger on the prowl for a sweet treat.
The nearest international airport to Karongwe is the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit (Mbombela), 227km away. The Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit is 80km away for flights arriving from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. There is a car rental agency located at the Hoedspruit airport and several in Nelspruit, otherwise order a vehicle online. Shuttle operators and metered taxis offer transport between Hoedspruit and Karongwe, however, it’s best to hire a vehicle.
Did you know?
The Karongwe Game Reserve carefully manages its lion population. Lion sub-adults are regularly relocated to other parks to ensure that the carrying capacity of the reserve is not overextended and that the lion prides remain healthy.
Karongwe began in 1998 when 7 landowners decided to create a Big 5 conservancy. Wild animals were introduced and the farmland has slowly but successfully returned to natural bushveld.