The Makalali Conservancy is a private Big Five nature reserve outside of the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Morning and sunset game drives offer visitors the opportunity to encounter the incredible game that call this conservancy "home". Sit back and relax as experienced guides track down incredible wildlife encounters. Garonga's holistic philosophy is to offer a safari for the soul, an unhurried and intimate wildlife encounter, a time to reflect and find inspiration in nature.
The Makalali Private Game Reserve is a beautiful 26,000 hectares located to the west of the Kruger National Park.
All of the lodges on the Makalali Game Reserve are five-star, so whether you’re staying in the gorgeous Main Lodge or in one of the three intimate River Lodges, you will be well-looked after! The lodge is perfect for honeymooners and families alike, and they are expert at catering to both. Those with young kiddies can rest assured that the guides will give them a thorough and warm welcome by organising a ‘Bush Course’ for them to really learn all the exciting things the bush has to offer. With two game drives a day, plus guided bush walks, this is the perfect reserve to truly get the ‘Africa Bug’ – and we’re sure you’ll be back…
Makalali Game Reserve is just an hour’s journey from Hoedspruit airport which is incredibly well connected with regular flights coming in from Johannesburg and Cape Town – perfect for the beginning or end of an itinerary. As part of a Tailormade Africa trip, we will make sure you’re welcomed at the airport and transferred directly to the lodge so you don’t have to worry about a thing!
This lovely 26,000 hectare reserve has a wealth of game including the big five (lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant as well as the elusive leopard) and for those who are keen to spot (ha) a cheetah, you won’t be disappointed! The reserve is also home to wild dog – aka Painted Wolves – as seen on the BBC’s Dynasties programme with David Attenborough and a true gem to find. The great thing about including Makalali in an itinerary is that you will also have the opportunity to see those other iconic African mammals such as giraffe, zebra, kudu and a variety of other gorgeous antelope – not to mention the hundreds of species of our beautiful feathered friends who call Makalali home!
This is where we ask you the question – ‘what for’? From a photographic perspective, the rainy season (November to March) can be incredibly beautiful, with lush green grasses and leaves popping out in colour against a looming dark sky. The temperature during this season, the summer, is pretty hot and this brings storms which are short and sharp giving relief to the ever-increasing heat. If you want an ‘easier’ safari, where the animals are less dispersed from easy pickings, then you’d want to visit during the winter, when temperatures at night can plummet to freezing but the bush is thinned out and water is scarce which forces many different species to find the same watering spots. This in itself causes an amazing interaction and can be truly very exciting! But, the game never does go away, so ultimately we can guide you on what to expect but you’ll definitely have the most remarkable game experience no matter when you visit.
As a private game reserve, there is a lot on offer here at Makalali. The name of the game is safari, so with two game drives daily and bush walks included, you’re most definitely going to get your fill! In between all that ‘being out and about’ you’ll have the chance to lounge in your gorgeous room with views out over the reserve, jump into the pool for a quick ol’ dip or pop into the spa for a well-deserved massage (or three!). Another key thing about being on safari is eating – a LOT. A stay will always include tasty rusks to enjoy with a cuppa, delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and if that isn’t enough you’ll also be filled up with afternoon tea (because sure, why not?) and even a few snacks when you’re out in the bush. Expect to go home with a few extra kilos, and we aren’t talking luggage!
Doing a self-drive is less rich as you have to concentrate on the road, so let us take you on the adventure while you take a well-earned rest!
Garonga Safari Camp is an exclusive camp ideally positioned in the greater Makalali Conservancy, west of the Kruger National Park. Garonga Safari Camp's philosophy is to offer a distinct, relaxing and holistic wilderness experience allowing you the time to reflect and find inspiration in nature... Learn more
An unassuming and intimate sanctuary offering guests the opportunity for a unique wildlife encounter and to relax in a serene safari landscape. Little Garonga is a luxury and private lodge boasting three individual thatched suites and ideally located on the private Makalali Private Nature Reserve, just west of the Kruger National Park... Learn more