Garonga, Big 5, Star Bath, Bush Bath

The Other Big 5 at Garonga

These are the Big 5 safari experiences that are the icons of our special ‘safari for the soul’ ethos.

We are lucky enough to share our home in the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve with Africa’s magnificent Big 5 (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino) and all manner of wildlife beyond these more iconic beasts. A Big 5 safari is a classic South African adventure, which we decided to make extra-special with another, different type of Big 5 of our own. These are five of our signature Garonga experiences that make up a large part of the essence of our ‘safari for the soul’.

Scrumptious safari dining

‘Soul food’ is a real thing at Garonga and it is as much about the atmosphere as it is the food. Each time you take up a seat at the table, whether with a group of close friends, family or your special someone, there will fun, laughter and many memories made, all while tucking into a fresh and delicious offering from the kitchen.

Garonga, Safari Dining, Bush Breakfast
The Bush Boma – our festive al fresco dining area in the bush © Garonga

Food is one of our most favourite things and very well-deserving of a place in our other Big 5. We always delight in creating a safari dining experience that combines all the best things South Africa has to offer. This means a beautiful bush setting, plenty of delicious local wine, a meal with local and international influences, and that special thing that South Africa is well known for, warm hospitality.

Bubbly safari baths

There is nothing quite like a long soak in a warm bubble bath to send your worries floating away. Add a bottle of bubbly to that and you may never want to leave the sudsy heaven. Our very first bath, the Bush Bath, is partially enclosed by a high wall so that your gaze is directed either upwards into the evening sky or out across the bushveld. The Star Bath is our second bath and is characterized by the glowing starry alcove that creates an intimate setting.

Garonga, Bush Bath, Safari Bath
The Bush Bath – the original and beloved safari bath © Garonga

Both baths are set on wooden decks within the bush and overlooking the game reserve from an elevated viewpoint. Both baths are remote enough for full privacy yet within a safe distance to the camp, because we are, after all, in a Big 5 game reserve.

Sweet, starlit dreams  

A classic safari tradition is sipping on chilled gin and tonics while watching the sun dip below the horizon beyond. Now, imagine sharing this moment with your loved one from the vantage point of a raised wooden deck, completely secluded and surrounded only by the wilderness. This is the Sleep Out Deck experience and it is where special memories and sweet dreams are made, all while under the vast African sky.

Garonga, Sleep Out Deck, Star Bed, Big 5 Safari
The Sleep Out Deck – like something out a fairy tale, except in the South African bushveld © David Benedict

A four-poster bed that envelopes you in soft, luxurious linen is what awaits the two of you after a private, lantern-lit meal on the deck. Sit out under the stars, chatting and drinking wine while the nocturnal wildlife of the game reserve wakes up around you. Then, get cozy under the covers before drifting off into a peaceful sleep. Wake up with the sun and maybe even an elephant or two enjoying a morning drink at the waterhole below.

Plentiful pampering

Set your sights on a leopard at dawn and then, just a few hours later, unwind under the hands of our massage therapist as she works her magic on you. Having two Big 5 experiences in one day is what a ‘safari for the soul’ is all about. The perfect holiday serves up good helpings of both exhilarating adventure and relaxing downtime. Taking time out to enjoy a massage is a must if you are to have a well-balanced safari in the bush.

Garonga, Massage Sala, Mindful Travel, Big 5 Safari Spa
The Massage Sala – lie down and enjoy a ‘hands-on’ approach to relaxation © Garonga

Massage therapy pairs so perfectly with nature therapy, which is why the massage sala has been carefully positioned in our Big 5 wilderness. Not only is the bush setting gorgeous to look at, it also offers some of the best ‘music’ to listen to while enjoying your treatment. We don’t blame you for falling asleep in the middle of a massage at our sala – you certainly wouldn’t be the first!

Natural mindfulness

Whether you want to stretch out on the mat or meditate in the peace and quiet, our Yoga Deck is a welcoming sanctuary to reconnect with your mind, body and soul. The Yoga Deck was built as we understand that bringing with you the practices that you do back at home and continuing them while on holiday is an important part of staying healthy and balanced.

Garonga, Yoga Deck, Mindful Travel
The Yoga Deck – connect with yourself while stretching it out amidst the tranquility of nature © Garonga

Or, perhaps it is at Garonga that you will develop new ways of taking care of yourself and take them back home with you. It is the simplicity of the Yoga Deck and the seclusion of where it is situated in the Greater Makalali that makes unwinding effortless, even when stilling the mind or stretching the body feels a little harder to do.

Contact us if you are in the mood for the perfect balance of Big 5 safari adventure as well as a total relaxing experience with Garonga’s other Big 5,

The feature image is of the Star Bath – because why have one bath, when you can have two!