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Formerly Hluhluwe–Umfolozi Game Reserve, Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park is the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa (1895) and, for many, certainly the most scenically beautiful reserve in southern Africa. It's also the only state-run park in KwaZulu-Natal province with the Big 5.
This 332,000-hectare park has three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700-year-old fishing traditions, the majority of South Africa's remaining swamp forests, Africa's largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25,000-year-old coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this special and scenic place.
The Greater Kruger National Park is South Africa's premier safari destination: it's the largest wildlife conservancy in Africa, set in one of the most accessible yet unspoilt wilderness areas in South Africa. It encompasses the Kruger National Park and a number of adjoining private reserves which share unfenced boundaries with the park; including Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Klaserie and Balule Game Reserves, which are home to a wide variety of private game lodges, each with its own brand of style and luxury.
Madikwe is one of South Africa's popular Big 5 safari destinations for those looking for a malaria-free safari. It's especially family friendly as there's no need for malarial prophylactics. Most lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve welcome children and offer specially designed child-friendly programmes to keep the little ones busy and to help them really enjoy their safari experience, too.
Phinda Private Game Reserve is not far from the well-known iSimangaliso/Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Phinda offers you abundant wildlife, courtesy of its incredibly diverse habitats. There, a handful of private lodges share excellent game sightings in a 23,000-hectare wilderness. Within easy distance of the warm Indian Ocean and its pristine beaches, Phinda makes for an ideal "bush and beach" safari destination.
Framed by three concentric rings of hills rising from the surrounding plains, malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park in North West Province is one of South Africa's most popular game reserves. Located in an ecologically diverse transition zone between the Lowveld and the Kalahari, Pilanesberg attracts visitors looking for an easily-accessible Big Five safari experience close to Johannesburg that offers a wide range of accommodation options.
Bordering Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is a collection of privately-owned game reserves which have dropped their fences by mutual agreement. There is also no fence between the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger, allowing the free movement of animals through the reserve. Sabi Sand is without a doubt South Africa's top luxury safari destination and the best place in the world to see leopards in the wild.
South Africa's largest malaria-free private game reserve, Tswalu Kalahari in the Northern Cape, offers a luxury safari experience against a backdrop of sweeping grasslands, red dunes and towering mountains. Cheetahs, the famous black-maned lions of the Kalahari, white rhinos, desert black rhinos and smaller mammals such as aardvarks, pangolins and African wild cats are some of the game you can expect to encounter on this beautiful game reserve.