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Good Safari options?

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Good Safari options?

Hi there,

I'm looking at going to SA on honeymoon and we want to go on safari (for the first time) while we're there. Our travel agent has recommended Kariega Game Reserve but I wanted to know how this would compare to other safari options?

Would really like to hear from people who have been there and somewhere else for comparison if possible? Would prefer to avoid malaria areas.


South Africa
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1,761 posts
23 reviews
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1. Re: Good Safari options?

The best safari destination and most popular game reserve in South Africa is of course the Kruger National Park, and you cannot compare Kariega with Kruger. For starters, Kariega is 9000 hectares in size compared to Kruger's 2 million hectares. But, Kruger is a malaria area (low to medium risk, depending the time of year). Keep in mind however that well over a million people visit Kruger each year and cases of malaria are very rare. Malaria is relatively easy to prevent and easy to treat, so I would say don't let the fear of malaria stop you from visiting Kruger or the adjacent Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

If you prefer malaria free game reserves I think Madikwe is a better option than Kariega, but it is in a completely different area so perhaps Kariega fits in better with your itinerary. Other popular options in the same area as Kariega are the Kwandwe Game Reserve (more than twice the size of Kariega), Shamwari Game Reserve and the greater Addo National Park. In Addo, there are numerous lodges to choose from like Riverbend, Nguni River Lodge, Gorah Elephant Camp, Kuzuko Lodge, etc. You should at least compare these with Kariega.

Other malaria free reserves in other parts of the country include the Waterberg region (Welgevonden Game Reserve) and Pilanesberg, as well as Gondwana Game Reserve closer to Cape Town. Of all the above malaria free options, I would go with Madikwe as first choice. And Kruger would be my first recommendation, in spite of the mild risk of malaria.

A great number of the malaria free game reserves (welgevonden, Madikwe, greater Addo, Kwandwe, Kariega, etc) are all rehabilitated farm land (farms that were restocked with wildlife and turned into a game reserve). While this is fantastic for conservation, it is also true that in many of these reserves you don't get the same sense of "unspoilt and untouched" bush that you get in greater Kruger, or in Botswana for example. Sometimes, what used to be an agricultural field is now a square open "patch" in the game reserve, with short grass and few or no bushes. It seems a bit unnatural, even if you have a few zebra grazing on the short grass. This to me is the biggest drawback of visiting such reserves. And in these smaller reserves, you will almost always see other farms, buildings, towers, roads and other man made structures in the distance (or lights at night) which also spoils the sense of remoteness and wildness. It feels a bit artificial, almost. Or maybe that's just me. There are some exceptions.

Having said all that, Kariega does get very good reviews and I'm sure you will have an enjoyable safari there if you decide to go with Kariega.

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

South Africa
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1,761 posts
23 reviews
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2. Re: Good Safari options?

Here are some reviews about Kariega. Mostly positive, but a few complaints too, including about the game viewing:


3. Re: Good Safari options?

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