5 KZN game reserves to visit this winter
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Winter is one of the best times to spot animals - and with KZN being a safari paradise, there are plenty of game reserves to choose from for your next adventure.
Here are five to consider:
Babanango Game Reserve
Babanango Game Reserve, one of KwaZulu-Natal’s newest reserves, is set on the White Umfolozi River in the grand Babanango Valley in Zululand, Northern KZN. The malaria-free reserve is home to three lodges: Valley Lodge, Zulu Rock Lodge and Matatane Camp. Dubbed a “bush lover’s paradise”, travellers will get to see buffalo, giraffe, hyena and zebra. Besides the daily game drive, guests can enjoy birdwatching, hiking and mountain biking. Babanango is big on community development. The reserve works closely with the local Emcakwini, Esibongweni and KwaNgono communities. Visit https://babanango.co.za/.
andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda is among the most sought-after safari establishments in South Africa. Described as “Seven Worlds of Wonder”, Phinda is home to 1 000 hectares of Africa’s remaining rare dry sand forest and is close to unspoilt beaches. The five-star reserve has six lodges: Mountain Lodge, Rock Lodge, Forest Lodge, Vlei Lodge, Zuka Lodge and Phinda Homestead. Travellers will encounter the Big Five and 436 bird species. Activities include two daily game drives, nature walks, conservation and community experiences, sleep outs, village tours, night drives, specialist safaris and ocean activities. Visit www.andbeyond.com/destinations/africa/southafrica/kwazulu-natal/phinda-private-game-reserve/
Thanda Safari is another private game reserve in Northern KwaZulu-Natal that prides itself in environmental conservation and celebrates the Zulu culture. Meaning “love” in Zulu, Thanda is a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World.
The 5-star safari attraction is home to nine bush suites, 15 luxury safari tents and state of the art Villa iZulu. Thanda offers game drives, photography safaris, nature walks and spa treatments. Or you can frolic at the pool with a good book or go bird watching.
Falaza Game Park and Spa
Falaza Game Park and Spa is located near Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve in Hluhluwe. Boasting luxury tented accommodation with en-suite bathrooms and private sundecks, guests can immerse themselves in the natural setting.
The attraction offers daily game drives, walking safaris and boat cruises. For those who want some pampering, the Spa @ Falaza offers a range of treatments for men and women, from advanced skin and body treatments to massages and holistic spa treatments. According to its website, the bar, lounges, outdoor boma and swimming pool all “encourage intimacy with the environment”.
Tala Collection Game Reserve
An hour drive from Durban is Tala Collection Game Reserve that spans 3 000 hectares. You can spot 380 bird species, as well as game animals like kudu, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest and eland when you visit. The malaria-free reserve boasts a collection of lodges and cottages perfect for all types of travellers. Among the activities available at Tala include daily game drives, mountain biking, freshwater fishing, paintball and target shooting, archery and segway tours. Visit www.tala.co.za/