Guests per Safari Vehicle
Whenever we think of big game reserves conveniently close to Gauteng, almost inevitably we immediately think of the Pilanesberg and perhaps Welgevonden. Here is a better option definitely worth considering – Nkomazi Private Game Reserve, located near Badplaas and Nelspruit in an exceptionally scenic part of Mpumalanga. Just 3-hours’ drive from Gauteng, Nkomazi Private Game Reserve offers a tempting combination of easy accessibility, gorgeous and luxurious tented accommodation, lovely scenery and the chance to see the big game.
With such a gorgeous location, it is a good thing that Nkomazi Private Game Reserve has been built here as it matches the splendour of its surroundings! With 14 luxury tents accommodating a maximum of twenty-four guests at one time – and they are some of the loveliest tents we have seen. Expect an enticing combination of old-world style and luxury with modern touches that strikes just the right note.
Boasting richly polished wooden flooring covered lavishly in Persian rugs, dashes of pastel green, greys and light reds provide an attractive colour palette. Natural hardwood furniture - mahogany dressers and side-tables polished to a bright gleam - lend a feeling of opulence to the rooms. One of the features we particularly loved was the indoor shower using an old zinc bath as a base in which you stand, a unique and witty touch that adds to the authentic feeling of staying in a traditional safari camp of bygone years.
However, just because you are in a tent it doesn’t mean you have to give up all the conveniences of the modern era. Ceiling fans and comfort cooling and heating keep the temperatures within a pleasant range, while tea and coffee and station and a minibar provide hot and cold drinks as you require. But it’s when you venture onto your private outside deck overlooking the river that the “wow” factor really gets turned up to the max with an outdoor bath, outside shower and private plunge pool – we ended up spending the majority of our time relaxing here (and especially enjoyed the exhilarating feeling of showering in the great outdoors!) There are family tents also available, perfect if you want the ultimate safari experience with your family.
The rest of the lodge exhibits the same style tented structures as the rooms. You can relax in one of the comfy sofas in the lounge (or enjoy views out over the river from the outside deck). Our recommendation though would be to book a massage at the River Retreat spa where you’ll enjoy being pampered to the soundtrack of the African bush!
The other aspect that we noted was the sheer variety of game that we saw. Nkomazi Private Game Reserve lies in the transition zone between the bush of the Lowveld and the grasslands of the Highveld which means that it is home to animals from both areas. An abiding memory for us was looking out over one massive plain stretching from the river up to a hill and seeing a dozen different antelope species visible at once! Of course, for lovers of big game, lion, buffalo and elephant are regularly sighted.
The good news is that if you fancy doing more than the usual 2 daily game drives by 4x4, a number of interesting other options exist. Perhaps ditch the 4x4s for an afternoon and join one of the fully qualified guides on a walking safari to discover the smaller, often-missed beauties of the bush. Alternatively, why not laze the day away casting lines into the Komati River that runs some 30 kilometres through the reserve (if you’ve never tried this, there isn’t a better opportunity to do so, since rangers will be there to show you a thing or two about the graceful art of fly fishing). After your dinner, the stargazing deck is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet nightcap and discover the profound beauty of the southern skies by night.
An untamed African experience awaits at Nkomazi Private Game Reserve, surrounded by towering mountains, broad river valleys and impressive grasslands. This piece of land, south-west of the Kruger National Park, stretches out over 15 000 hectares is home to a diverse ecosystem that supports both Highveld and Lowveld game species, as well as an abundance of birdlife.
6 Deluxe Tents
6 Luxury Tents
2 Family Tents
3 hours from Johannesburg
Nkomazi Game Reserve, South Africa