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EEvery year South Africa's private game reserves win international awards for service excellence. Thousands of visitors enjoy the finest game-viewing that the country has to offer from these exclusive reserves located in some of the most beautiful corners of the country.
These establishments offer travellers in South Africa unsurpassed game viewing in an exclusive and pristine environment. Where else could you track leopards, lions and elephants in an open safari vehicle, enjoy a bush breakfast surrounded by the African wilderness, be serenaded by the morning choir of birds, enjoy a relaxing spa treatment back at the lodge and savour the delights of world-class cuisine?
That annual crop of international tourism awards for hospitality excellence are no accident, either. The friendliness and enthusiasm of the staff, the unique bush activities on offer and the luxury of the private camps and lodges are a combination that sets South African wildlife tourism apart as truly remarkable.
A riverside villa with private splash pool and elephants browsing just a stone's throw away? South Africa's private game reserves make dreams like this come true.
Most of South Africa's private game reserves boast the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo. These animals were the most feared by hunters in the past but now serve as a major tourism drawcard, because they instill awe in anyone who encounters them.
Other animals typically spotted in the country's wildlife areas are giraffe, zebra, blue wildebeest (gnu), greater kudu, hippopotamus and thousands upon thousands of impala – the most common antelope of southern Africa.
There is, however, more to the African bush than abundant wild animals, luxury accommodation and terrific food. Be prepared to be amazed by ancient trees and awed by expansive landscapes, to admire colourful butterflies and listen to the amazing sounds of bush.
For anyone who wants to shed the stress of everyday working life, a break at one of the famous lodges such as Shamwari in Eastern Cape, Singita or Londolozi in Mpumalanga, or Phinda in KwaZulu-Natal, is all the tonic one needs.