Makalali Private Game Reserve is located on 260km (162mi) of bushveld near the town of Hoedspruit on the western edge of the Kruger National Park.
While the styling of the main lodges at Makalali features more contemporary design elements than your typical safari lodge, the wildlife experiences are as quintessentially African as elsewhere in the greater Kruger area.
It’s home to the Big Five and zebra, kudu, cheetah, and wild dog populations.
Makalali’s main lodge caters to the mid-range traveler looking for a safari experience with a touch of luxury, while the river lodge is a private 5-star affair. The river lodge also caters to families, as do the more luxurious accommodations at Garonga.
The Little Garonga Camp is an intimate and exclusive affair with only three suites, each with its own platform decks overlooking the bushveld. At the Safari Camp, the setup caters to couples with six private luxury safari tents overlooking a dry riverbed frequented by animals.
Highlights of Makalali
- Nature walks and game drives in open 4×4 vehicles, led by expert guides, are the ideal way to experience the wildlife of the African bush on a safari.
- Take to the skies in a hot-air balloon and experience the stunning African savannah from a unique perspective. The more adventurous can also enjoy flights over the reserve in a microlight aircraft.
- Golfing excursions can be arranged to the superb Hans Merensky golf course next to the Kruger National Park. Wildlife like giraffes and hippos can often be seen on the course.
- The reserve is involved in a cheetah research project, and a visit to the facility allows you to see the world’s fastest land animal up close. African wild dogs, lions, and wild cats can also be seen here.
Practical Information for Makalali
- The nearest international airport is OR Tambo International in Johannesburg. Several daily domestic flights service smaller airports, and it’s possible to fly to Hoedspruit. From here, it’s a short journey to the reserve. Alternatively, some lodges offer direct air transfers.
- Bring warm clothing as it gets cold at night and a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect against the heat in the day. Dull colors like khaki, brown, or green make you harder to spot by animals and don’t attract insects as much as bright colors.
- Consult a healthcare practitioner about preventative medication, as the Kruger is a Malaria zone.