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Private game reserves

© SA Tourism© SA TourismPrivate game reserves, as the name suggests, are owned and run by private enterprises. This certainly does not mean that they do not practice good conservation strategies and, in fact, some are adjacent to national parks, particularly Kruger. As a rule, the private lodges have far more luxurious accommodation and offer a high level of service and cuisine – at a correspondingly higher price of course. If you want to be pampered, well fed and generally spoiled, the private game lodge is the way to go. Some private lodges have concessions within national parks, with a chunk of land set aside for their guests. This may sound a tad elitist - and it is - but they pay handsomely for the privilege, and all that money goes to conservation.

Almost all game lodges follow the same basic schedule, although it might vary a bit according to local conditions or season.

Usually, you will be woken long before dark, and will then assemble for tea or coffee before the morning game drive. (Take a warm jacket and a woolly hat, it can be very cold in the morning.) After an hour or so, you stop somewhere pretty for more coffee and pastries of some kind. The game drive usually ends about 10 or 11 and, once back at camp, you have a short while to freshen up before a long, leisurely brunch. It's usually free time then until late afternoon. More and more lodges have attached spas to make good use of this time, but you should take the opportunity for at least a short nap. Then, after a scrummy afternoon tea, you head off on the evening game drive. At sunset, you stop somewhere pretty for sundowners and snacks, and then continue the drive into the dark. The drive can end quite late if there is a lot of interesting game around, but the kitchen knows not to cook a souffle. Once back at camp, it's a big sociable fireside dinner and then bed.

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