A recent two day safari getaway saw us headed to Garonga Safari Lodge, located just to the west of Kruger National Park in South Africa. As seasoned safari goers, we were completely blown away by our brief, but blissful visit to Garonga and simply had to share just ten reasons why we think you should also pay it a visit!
1. It’s home to the Big Five – Garonga is located on the 22'000 aha Greater Makalali Private Nature Reserve. While this private reserve isn’t linked to the Kruger National Park like some of the better known reserves in the area, it is home to the Big Five as well as a variety of other game. We enjoyed fantastic sightings of elephant, lion, leopard and hyena during our visit, while other guests that had been there longer had also seen cheetahs!
2. It’s easily reached – Garonga is located just an hour and a half from Hoedspruit Airport. Thanks to Airlink, daily connections between Hoedspruit and Cape Town or Johannesburg are possible, making Garonga the perfect destination to add to your tour of South Africa. These flights are convenient, taking just over 2hrs from Cape Town or 1 and a half hours from Joburg, but also really comfortable and while travelling, we always appreciate when a short flight includes a good meal service and a drink!
3. You can swap a night for a sleep-out – While many other safari lodges offer sleep-out experiences where you can enjoy a night out on a deck in the bush, with the stars overhead, Garonga allows you to enjoy this unique experience at no extra charge. This allowed us the chance to forgo a standard night in our luxury safari tent for a night on the sleep-out deck, adding another dimension to the safari experience.
4. It's small and personal – At Garonga Safari Camp there are just six luxury safari tents so the experience is always a personal one. We quickly became friends with other travellers at the lodge and never felt like we were just one of the crowd. Families and groups can also book Little Garonga entirely for themselves and enjoy the convenience of a private chef and game drive vehicle.
5. Unique experiences abound – Along with the sleep-out experience; Garonga includes a bush and star bath in the rate. This means that you can do something different every day. We enjoyed a lantern-lit bath under the stars on our first night – it was like we were on honeymoon again!
6. Swap a game drive for a bush walk – Garonga allows you to swap the standard game drive for a bush walk should your heart desire. The two hour bush walk on the morning of our departure was led by a fascinating guide who regaled us with stories of his ancestors and pointed out interesting trees and shrubs along the way. We even got to see a giraffe on foot which was an exciting experience!
7. Everything is taken care of – Garonga’s rates include all meals, which change in format daily. Certain evenings are set in the boma around an open fire, while other afternoons include a high tea affair. You will never get bored, or hungry, with this ever changing selection of food on offer. All drinks are also included with a help-yourself bar system that keeps things simple.
8. The devil’s in the detail – It’s the luxurious details at Garonga that will keep you coming back for more. From outside showers, to sundowner safari stops, a rim flow pool overlooking the river and the delightfully lemony welcome drink – every detail has been thought through!
Janine Avery is the brains behind 5 Star Stories, a digital marketing company offering bespoke content and social media services to the luxury and travel trade. Janine is first to confess that she has been bitten by the travel bug… badly. Raised by a menagerie of Artists, Creatives, Scientists, Researchers, Biologists and Botanists she is a lover of all things travel from basic tenting with creepy crawlies to lazing in luxury lodges. Among her other passions, dabbling in digital marketing, spreading messages on social media, and taking audiences on a journey through her travel stories rank high on her list of priorities.