5 Reasons to Visit Makalali Private Nature Reserve

by Harriet Nimmo

Known as the Greater Makalali Private Nature Reserve, Makalali is located in the lowveld region of Limpopo, about an hour west of the Kruger National Park. It offers a great experience for first-time safari goers and, with some romantic lodge features, it is also a special destination for honeymooners. There are many reasons to visit the Greater Makalali Private Nature Reserve but just the top five are listed here.

  1. Remote and wild

The Greater Makalali Private Nature Reserve is one of the country’s major privately-owned conservation areas. Its mission is to expand South Africa’s green frontier and the reserve is involved in trying to re-establish the ancient wildlife migration routes that link Kruger National Park in the east to the Drakensburg Mountains in the west.

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Encountering rhinos

At over 22 000ha/54 400ac and with a very low density of lodges, it feels very wild with few, if any, other vehicles at sightings. The lodges have unlimited traversing rights across the whole reserve – very few lodges in other reserves have access to such an unfettered space.

  1. Breathtaking scenery

Makalali’s scenery is stunning, with a varied terrain including undulating rocky hills (known as kopjes or koppies in South Africa) and open areas.

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Enjoying sundowners

There are beautiful viewpoints, with panoramic vistas across the reserve – the perfect setting for a sundowner (evening drink).

  1. Wildlife watching

Makalali is home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) and has a great reputation for close-up sightings. As well as white rhino, it is also home to the rarer and far more elusive black rhino. You also stand a chance of seeing cheetah here too.

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Glimpsing a cheetah

Because it is a private reserve, your guide can drive off-road to follow the animals into their world, away from the road, for optimum viewing, which can make for fantastic photographic opportunities.  You can also go for private guided nature walks in Makalali.

  1. One-of-a-kind experiences

Although the Big Five wildlife encounters and going on game drives are thrilling, it is only part of the safari experience. Equally important is the whole lodge experience – taking time out to relax, unwind, switch off and nurture your soul.

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The star bath

There are some very special experiences on offer in Makalali at Garonga Safari Camp. This small, exclusive lodge provides luxury accommodation in en-suite tents. Sleeping in a tent is a far more intimate experience than being sealed inside a brick chalet, as you can hear the noises of the African night.

In addition, Garonga Safari Camp offers the Star Bath, which is a whole new alfresco bathing experience. Your private free-standing bath is under the glittering African night sky; enjoy a glass of wine and the sounds of the African bush.

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The yoga deck

To continue the theme of a ‘safari for the soul’, Garonga Safari Camp also offers a tranquil Yoga Deck – an enclosed tented structure, which allows the breeze to pass through while you stretch and contemplate the view of the African bush, and (if you’re lucky) passing wildlife. You can also relax and enjoy a massage by the camp’s resident therapist in the Sala Room in a beautiful bush setting.

  1. Sleeping under the stars

Finally, there is the opportunity to spend the night on Garonga Safari Camp’s Sleep-out Deck.

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The sleep-out deck

Spend a night under the African stars, on your very own luxurious sleep-out deck with a four-poster bed and private dinner, overlooking a waterhole.

If you’re headed to South Africa, then a safari experience at Makalali Private Nature Reserve is highly recommended.

Harriet Nimmo is a member of the SafariBookings Expert Panel and founder of the Wild Shots Wildlife Photography Conference in South Africa. You can read her South Africa country review on SafariBookings here.

Garonga Teams Shine in New Uniforms

All of our teams at Garonga Safari Camp have been decked out in new uniforms and are wearing them proudly! Just take a look below at our supremely stylish and smiling teams…

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Safari Guide Team: Phineas, Kaizer, Richard, Jaffeth, Derrick, Josia and Sophie

Meet the Safari Guide Team – the ones who hold the dreams of our guests in their hands, when they set out in search of the perfect safari experience.

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Security Team: Douglas, Lloyd, Collen and Thomas

Meet Garonga’s Security Team – the men who watch over the camp, because lions don’t sleep at night.

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Housekeeping and Laundry Team: Dolphine, Damaris, Margret, Eunice and Dorah

Meet the Housekeeping and Laundry Team – the angels who miraculously make up the rooms and public areas but nobody sees them.

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Kitchen and Scullery Team: Virginia, Caroline, Phumzile, Kensane and Reineth

Meet the Kitchen and Scullery Team – the ones that take your tummy’s satisfaction very seriously.

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Waiter Team: Aldrin, Eric and Bongani

Meet the Waiter Team – these charming fellows ensure that every delicious meal served at Garonga is matched equally by fantastic service for an all-round unforgettable dining experience.

Chat to us about booking your luxury Big 5 safari experience with the warm hospitality and outstanding guiding that South Africa is so well-known for.

Introducing the All New Star Bath and Yoga Deck

Just when you didn’t think your safari could get any more relaxing, we go and prove you wrong!

Here at Garonga we pride ourselves on our motto of being a ‘Safari for the Soul’. While the Big Five game drives and encounters with wildlife is a huge drawcard, it’s only half the safari experience at Garonga. Equally important is slowing down the pace of life, nurturing yourself, and ‘resetting your system’, so to speak.

That’s, of course, why we offer the Bush Bath and Sleep Out Deck, which are complimented by luxurious accommodation and nourishing, hearty food. And it doesn’t stop there. A stay at Garonga isn’t complete without a visit to the Massage Sala, and not to worry, very few people come out without a bad case of ‘pillow face’.

We’ve upped the relaxation ante with two new features added to the revamped existing luxury facilities:

Star Bath

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Introducing the Star Bath

It’s time to get starry-eyed! We bring you the dreamy Star Bath – a whole new alfresco bathing experience. We’ve added a special touch to the original Bush Bath experience. Now you can get lost in the view of a dazzling African night sky as well as our very own galaxy of twinkling stars, all in complete privacy. Soak away your troubles, let go and look back on the sightings and experiences of the day with a glass of wine in hand. It sounds like bliss because it is!

Yoga Deck

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Introducing the Yoga Deck

Those already familiar with the practice of mindfulness and meditation, or those that just love a good stretch or daytime nap, will be excited to see our new Yoga Deck. An enclosed tented structure designed to allow air to flow freely, perfectly frames an exquisite view of the valley. You can step onto the mat and practice in privacy surrounded by only the peaceful sounds of the surrounding bush. If you’re lucky you might even get some of the local wildlife passing by!

Bush Bath

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Welcome back to a revamped Bush Bath

Not forgetting our existing Bush Bath, which continues to be a much-loved feature at Garonga. It received the full luxury treatment and make-over with a brand-new freestanding bath.

If you’re looking to leave your troubles behind, completely unwind and indulge your senses, then we can certainly help you by offering the ultimate in soulful spa/safari experience.

Namaste