GarongaMakalali Private Game Reserve, Kruger / South Africa
As the auburn sun sets over the peaceful plains of the Makalali Conservancy, the Garonga Safari Camp is starting to wind down for the evening, with its guests gathered in front of the fireplace of the main lodge. This quiet resort offers an easygoing environment in which to unwind, explore the 22,000-hectare wildlife reserve at your leisure and soak in the resplendent South African climes.
What to love
- With a desire to reflect the reserve’s bush surroundings, the Garonga Safari Camp’s interiors have been designed with earthy tones, natural materials and traditional African artefacts.
- The private game reserve is home to the ‘Big Four’ (at present there are no free-roaming buffalo), as well as offering the opportunity to see cheetahs, hippopotamuses, crocodiles and spotted hyenas.
- Dinner is served either in the resort’s main lounge or in the Boma. Arrangement varies between private tables or a shared, communal table. Staff can also arrange an outdoor BBQ or picnic upon request.
- The resort’s Sala offers a range of aromatherapy and reflexology treatments from their resident therapist. Hot stone therapy and a special Honeymoon Couple Instructional massage are also available upon request.
What to know
- The Makalali Conservancy, where the Garonga resort makes its home, is situated west of the world-famous Kruger National Park – one of the largest wildlife reserves in the world and home to an exceptional number of animal species.
- The Garonga resort is located approximately a 75-minute drive away from both Phalaborwa and Hoedspuit airports.
- Guests of Garonga have the choice of staying at the Safari Camp – made up of six luxury en-suite tents, Little Garonga – a luxury, three-suite camp, the Hambleden Suite or one of the Chiltern and Buckingham Suites.
- The resort has plenty of facilities to help guests unwind, including a full-time massage therapist on-site, an open-air bush bath, a swimming pool and a large open lounge with a ‘help yourself’ bar.
Located to the west of Kruger National Park, one of the most densely populous areas for wildlife in South Africa, the Makalali Private Game Reserve is an effervescent hive of flora and fauna, with four of the big five game animals (lions, African elephants, leopards and rhinos) spotted on regular occasion. It’s perhaps surprising then that located at the heart of this hotbed for life is a resort as relaxing and tranquil as the Garonga Safari Camp.
Built with an eye to mimic its pictorial surroundings, the Garonga resort permeates African authenticity, with earthy tones, natural woods and traditional artwork spread throughout the entirety of the central hub and accommodation. With living options varied between one of six luxury tents or one of Little Garonga’s luxury suites, guests are ensured a carefree stay, with all of the resort’s light and airy rooms fitted with plush furnishings and luxury en-suite bathrooms.
This relaxed atmosphere continues with Garonga’s main lounge and dining area, where guests are welcomed to sprawl out in front of the open fireplace, help themselves to the well-stocked bar or sit out on the wooden veranda and gaze across the open plains. The resort’s expert kitchen staff serve a range of themed gastronomic dinners with the setting ranging from the main lounge, the boma, a bush BBQ or a communal round table setting with the resort’s other guests. Bush breakfasts, outdoor picnics and health options are available on request.
In addition to having an outdoor pool to help cool down under the warm South African sun, guests are also invited to book an appointment at the Garonga resort’s Sala, where a range of massage, aromatherapy and reflexology treatments are on offer from a person therapist. Alternatively, there is the option of using the resort’s bush bath – a secluded, treetop level, outdoor tub – where visitors can revitalise their body and even take a picnic to enjoy on the deck.
When to Travel
Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing year round, however the experience does change depending on the season. In the summer months (October to March), it gets very hot. The rains which are not normally prolonged or too heavy, mean that the scenery is quite spectacular but the foliage is more dense, water is more abundant and wildlife can be tricker to see. However there are lots of beautiful migratory birds during the summer months. The dry season is from April to August with warm days however it does get a little chilly at night and in the early morning.
Garonga Safari Camp is situated in the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve in the Limpopo Province, west of Kruger National Park.
The closest airports to Garonga are Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa both approximately 75 minutes drive. Kruger (Nelspruit) Airport is approximately 3 hours drive and Johannesburg is approximately 6 hours drive.
Whilst Garonga does not provide any specific childcare, families can enjoy an intimate wildlife encounter in an unhurried environment. The Hambleden Suite at Little Garonga Camp is idea for families with two separate sleeping areas.
Please note that children under 8 years are not permitted.