A place rich with history, nature and adventure, South Africa is teeming with options for safari opportunities. But with over 40 game reserves and seven biomes, it can be a bit overwhelming to know exactly which experiences will best suit your clients.
Lodges around Kruger National Park may seem like a no-brainer, however some visitors prefer others that are more off-the-beaten-path.
Nkomazi Game Reserve, part of the Newmark Group of hotels and restaurants, can definitely tick several boxes that can appeal to your clients, as it is more budget-friendly then its Kruger counterparts and it is also conveniently located within a 3.5-hr drive from Johannesburg. It is found in the Mpumalanga region, just southwest of Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Impressive From the Very Start
As you enter through the gates of this majestic 37,000-acre property, guests are met with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, enormous granite outcrops and sweeping grasslands that inspire a sense of untamed exclusivity. Of course, you can’t forget the game. From giraffes, elephants and wart hogs to antelope species, like impala, kudu, and wildebeest, the ride to the lodge from the gate is a proper game drive. You never know who will be waiting to greet you at every turn.
Luxe Safari Glamping
After an exciting drive in, your clients will find the kind staff waiting for them with cool towels and a refreshing beverage, eager to show them the way to their luxurious tent. Nkomazi is no ordinary glamping experience. It feels odd to even call these canvas accommodations tents, as they are beautifully outfitted with handcrafted furnishings, indoor and outdoor showers, claw foot bath tubs, air conditioning/heating and plush bedding. Although this lodge in South Africa has no special offerings specifically for children, guests of all ages are warmly welcomed at Nkomazi.
We visited with our three children and stayed in a Family Tent, which has an additional tented sitting area that can be used as a second bedroom. The Family Tent boasts a plunge pool and lounging deck that is perfect for cooling off between game drives on warmer days.
A stay at Nkomazi includes two game drives daily and all meals, with a very traditional safari schedule. The reserve holds four out the Big 5 (there are no rhinos), and our guide was a wealth of bush knowledge. Offering tidbits of information about local plants, the land and the animals on the reserve, he kept us engaged throughout the day. But standard game driving is not the only activity on offer. At Nkomazi , guests can enjoy a unique horseback safari or fishing on the beautiful Komati River, which runs directly through the property. For a more relaxing option, the property has an onsite spa with a variety of treatments to soothe aching muscles or relieve tension after a day of safari excitement.
The cuisine at Nkomazi is good. Dishes are tasty and well-prepared, but options are quite limited, with a fixed lunch menu and two options for dinner entrees. All meals are served either at the main dining room, which affords stunning views over the Komati River, or at their outdoor boma. Served buffet style with fire pits going by every table, the Boma dinner affords a beautiful ambiance and is a lovely way to end a day of safari adventures.
Off-the-Beaten-Path Safari Experience
Overall, Nkomazi Game Reserve is a wonderful off-the-beaten-path safari experience for guests that may prefer a property more easily accessible from Johannesburg, one that is also easier on the pocket book. Nkomazi Game Reserve can easily be paired with a night or two in Johannesburg upon arrival to or departure from South Africa. Newmark Group’s newest Joburg location, The Catalyst Hotel provides a great jumping-off point. Comfortable accommodations that include studios with kitchenettes and interconnected rooms for families, a gym, a spa that provides anti-jet lag relaxation and a proper onsite restaurant make this boutique hotel ideal for a quick stop in Johannesburg.
For more information, visit newmarkhotels.com/accommodation/nkomazi-private-game-reserve.
For Mayra Bazavilvazo’s family adventure in Disneyland Paris, click here.
This story originally appeared in worldstompers.com, a family travel website created to inspire families with kids to expand their idea of adventures. You can follow the adventures of the Bazavilvazo family @worldstompers on Instagram and The Worldstompers on Facebook.