Rwanda in June: An Unforgettable Journey of Luxury and Wildlife

Rwanda in June: An Unforgettable Journey of Luxury and Wildlife

Rwanda in June: An Unforgettable Journey of Luxury and Wildlife

Blog post with #NANANtravel
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Are you seeking an extraordinary travel experience? Look no further than Rwanda, a country renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and luxurious accommodations. 

June is the perfect time to visit, offering pleasant weather and incredible opportunities to explore Rwanda’s natural wonders. From gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park to immersing yourself in the stunning surroundings of Lake Kivu, Rwanda promises an unforgettable journey tailored to your preferences.

Luxurious Lodges in Rwanda:

When it comes to luxury accommodations in Rwanda, three lodges stand out for their exceptional service and captivating settings:

Bisate Lodge:

Located near Volcanoes National Park, Bisate Lodge offers a unique and immersive experience for travelers. The lodge features luxurious villas with breathtaking views of the Virunga Mountains. You can witness the awe-inspiring

beauty of the surrounding landscapes while enjoying world-class amenities and personalized service.

One&Only Gorilla’s Nest:

Situated on the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest provides a luxurious haven in the heart of the wilderness. The lodge offers spacious and elegantly designed rooms, blending modern comforts with a traditional Rwandan aesthetic. With its close proximity to Volcanoes National Park, you can easily embark on unforgettable gorilla trekking experiences.

Singita Kwitonda Lodge:

Nestled on the edge of Volcanoes National Park, Singita Kwitonda Lodge combines luxurious accommodation with a commitment to conservation. The lodge features stunning suites, each offering uninterrupted views of the majestic volcanic peaks. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings and enjoy the lodge’s world-class facilities and services.

Captivating Places to Visit in Rwanda

 

Rwanda is a treasure trove of natural wonders and vibrant wildlife. Here are some must-visit destinations during your trip.

Volcanoes National Park – Gorilla Trekking:

One of Rwanda’s most iconic experiences is gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. With expert guides, you can embark on an unforgettable adventure to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Witnessing the gentle giants up close is a truly awe-inspiring and humbling experience.

Lake Kivu:

Located in the western part of Rwanda, Lake Kivu offers a tranquil escape amidst stunning scenery. The lake’s crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches provide the perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. Enjoy a boat trip, indulge in water sports, or simply unwind while taking in the breathtaking views.

Mount Bisoke Hike:

For outdoor enthusiasts, a hike up Mount Bisoke is an exhilarating adventure. This dormant volcano rewards hikers with stunning panoramic views from its summit. Traverse through lush forests and encounter diverse flora and fauna along the way, making it a memorable and rewarding experience.

Chimpanzee Tracking at Nyungwe National Park:

Explore the lush rainforests of Nyungwe National Park and embark on a thrilling chimpanzee tracking expedition. Encounter these intelligent and playful creatures in their natural habitat, while also having the chance to spot other primate species and a rich variety of birdlife.

Akagera National Park – Akagera National Park is a true gem in Rwanda, offering an incredible wildlife experience and the opportunity to spot the famous Big Five – (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo).

Traveling to Rwanda in June offers several advantages that make it an ideal time to visit.

 

Here are five reasons why:

Weather: June marks the start of Rwanda’s dry season, which lasts until September. The weather during this period is generally sunny and mild, with lower chances of rainfall. The dry season provides excellent conditions for outdoor activities, wildlife viewing, and exploring Rwanda’s natural beauty without being hindered by heavy rains.

Gorilla Trekking: June is an excellent time for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. The dry season offers clearer trails, making it easier to navigate through the dense vegetation. With reduced chances of rain, the trek becomes more comfortable, and the gorillas tend to stay at lower altitudes, making them more accessible to visitors. It’s an incredible opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Wildlife Viewing: June is a fantastic time for wildlife enthusiasts as many animals are active during this period. In national parks like Akagera, the grass is shorter, making it easier to spot animals such as lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. The dry season also concentrates wildlife around water sources, increasing the chances of encountering a wide variety of species.

Scenic Beauty: Rwanda is known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills” due to its stunning landscapes. In June, after the rainy season, the countryside is beautifully lush and green. The hills and mountains are draped in vibrant colors, creating picturesque scenes. It’s a great time to appreciate Rwanda’s natural beauty, hike through its scenic trails, and enjoy breathtaking views.

Cultural Festivals: June is a month of vibrant cultural festivals in Rwanda. One notable event is the Kwita Izina, the annual gorilla naming ceremony. It is a celebration of Rwanda’s conservation efforts and involves the naming of newly born gorilla babies. The festival showcases traditional dance, music, and cultural performances, offering a unique insight into Rwandan traditions and customs.

Travel Tips

Visa Requirements: Check visa requirements and ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your departure date. Most visitors can get a visa on arrival or apply online in advance.

Vaccinations and Health: Consult a healthcare professional for up-to-date vaccination information. Common vaccinations include yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis A and B, and tetanus. Take malaria precautions with medication and mosquito repellent.

Safety and Security: Rwanda is generally safe, but stay vigilant in crowded areas and secure important documents. Store your passport and extra cash in a hotel safe.

Climate and Packing: Rwanda has a temperate climate. Pack lightweight, breathable clothing for warm weather and layer up for cooler evenings. Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, a hat, comfortable shoes, and insect repellent.

Cultural Etiquette: Embrace Rwandan hospitality and respect local traditions. Greet locals with “Muraho” and “Amakuru?” Dress modestly, ask for permission before taking photos, and be mindful of cultural sites.

June presents an excellent opportunity to explore Akagera National Park in Rwanda. With abundant wildlife, stunning landscapes, and a more exclusive experience, you’ll have the chance to witness the magnificent Big Five and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this remarkable national park. Don’t miss the chance to embark on a safari adventure like no other in June.

Ready to embark on an extraordinary journey to Rwanda in June?

To start planning your unforgettable trip to Rwanda in June, book a free 30-minute planning session with me. I’ll work closely with you to design a tailor-made itinerary that aligns with your preferences, ensuring every aspect of your journey is meticulously crafted to create lifelong memories.

What Our Clients Say

Brendan Magauran
Brendan Magauran
2024-04-14
Incredible! Beyond expectations. German guided us on an absolutely amazing trip to Cape Town, Franschhoek, Hermanus and a safari at Thornybush game reserve. Every recommendation was spot on from a restaurants to a guided tour of Cape Point, the Hop on hop off bus, where to visit in the wine country, lodging in a beach front suite in Hermanus. As for the safari at Thornybush - WOW! More than we could have ever imagined in terms of luxury and game sightings. Thank you German. Looking forward to our next trip with you as our guide. And yes, we have told all family and friends, this is the man to contact for their travels.
Ellen H.
Ellen H.
2024-04-12
We feel beyond lucky to have found Nanan Travel! We are from the USA and are DIY-ers, used to making our own travel arrangements. When planning for our bucket-list trip to S. Africa, it quickly got overwhelming and stressful to differentiate among the innumerable safari options on the internet, figure out domestic flights, assess safety concerns, find a private driver to tour Cape Point, etc. We did not want to travel with a tour group, nor use a global internet travel agency, so I looked for a travel agent actually based in Cape Town so that we could deal with just one person who really knew the area. I found Nanan based on location and reviews, then was sold by their individualized approach and willingness to help with as much or as little of the planning as one wants. We reached out to German de la Melena and he answered immediately, even though it was a Sunday evening in Cape Town, wanting to hear all about our wishes so that he could work on things promptly and have a suggested itinerary by the time we woke up the next morning! He was thoughtful, conscientious, friendly, worked within our budget and did not try to upsell us, gave us options and even incorporated some specific requests we had. From that initial contact on, all the stress and worry about our upcoming trip went away! After designing a fantastic itinerary for us, the true test of an amazing travel agent came when my husband injured himself the week before our trip and couldn’t travel, requiring us to postpone for 4 weeks. While we were dealing with stressful health issues, we gave German our medical documentation and he took care of the rest. He had to change all of our reservations and domestic flights, and went above and beyond to do so without our incurring more expense. What a huge relief! German remained remarkably responsive before and during our trip, able to advise on any question and troubleshoot any problem, reachable by What’s App in minutes. Between the great itinerary and the peace of mind, working with German and knowing he had our back truly made all the difference in our experience being the trip of a lifetime!! Thank you, German! You deserve more than 5 stars and I will refer everyone I know to you!
Pablo Berenbaum
Pablo Berenbaum
2024-03-17
Exclente organización. Hoteles, tours, impecables !!! Gracias Germán x las sugerencias, el viaje fue INCREIBLE !
Faisal Alaali
Faisal Alaali
2024-03-13
I cannot say enough great things about Nanan Travel. He organized a spectacular trip to South Africa for me, and every detail was absolutely perfect. From the boutique hotels to the incredible safari stays, everything was top-notch and exceeded my expectations. The entire trip was seamlessly planned, and I never once had to worry about a thing. The accommodations were luxurious, the guides were knowledgeable and friendly, and the overall experience was truly unforgettable. Last part was the stay in Cape Town before heading back home. The city is absolutely stunning, and I was able to explore all it had to offer thanks to the amazing recommendations from German. I highly recommend Nanan Travel for anyone looking to plan a trip to South Africa or any other destination. Their attention to detail, personalized service, and overall expertise make them the best in the business. Thank you German for an incredible journey that I will never forget!
Manuel D
Manuel D
2024-03-08
Hemos pasado días espectaculares en Sudáfrica y Zimbabue, toda la organización de nuestros hijos con German funcionaron perfectamente. Todas las actividades, lodges, tours, safaris, fueron perfectos, así como el trato recibido en cada lugar fue muy personalizado, haciendo que este viaje sea inolvidable. Cada detalle funcionó a la perfección. Nanan Travel es 100% confiable y recomendable.
Monica C
Monica C
2024-03-08
Acabamos de llegar a Lima después de un viaje soñado a Africa. Mi hija y su esposo, que habían hecho Safari el año pasado por su Luna de Miel, querían que los cuatros papas viviéramos y sintiéramos toda la adrenalina y experiencias que ellos habían vivido, así que no lo pensaron dos veces y nos invitaron a este viaje único y maravilloso. Gracias Nanan Travel, gracias German, hemos vivido lo que realmente quisieron transmitirnos los Manuela y Rodrigo, los lugares visitados, las atenciones, los hoteles y su staff, todo, y la experiencia de estar con los animales asi de cerca es única. Si quieren hacer un viaje soñado, no dejen de contactar a German, escriban a Nanan Travel, y no se arrepentirán. Gracias por Todo!!
Gustavo Rivera
Gustavo Rivera
2024-03-05
Fue espectacular, desde el momento en que llegamos a Cape Town hasta que llegamos a Lima de vuelta estuvimos súper engreídos, los lugares escogidos para descansar , los guías, todo lo conocido !!, realmente un viaje de ensueño, recomendado a mil !!! Gracias Germán, eres un capo !!!
Violeta Rivera
Violeta Rivera
2024-03-05
Espectacular ! hemos pasado unos días increíbles con un servicio de primera Volvería hacer el mismo viaje mañana mismo !!!
Lizbett Arevalo
Lizbett Arevalo
2024-02-26
If you want to sit back, relax and enjoy… German is the way to go! My 16 YO son and I had the best dream trip came true to South Africa thanks to him! I can’t thank you enough German! Starting from Cape town then Safari and meeting my best friend in Johannesburg… I call it an OVER THE TOP kind of vacation🤩🤩🤩🙌🙏❤️🐆🐘🇿🇦🦁 🦏

TOP AFRICAN DESTINATION BY MONTH – JANUARY IN UGANDA

TOP AFRICAN DESTINATION BY MONTH – JANUARY IN UGANDA

TOP AFRICAN DESTINATION BY MONTH – JANUARY IN UGANDA

Blog post with #NANANtravel
Blog Posts

January is a great month to travel within africa and like I say with each question about where is the best place to go and when? Africa is a continent in which you can travel almost everywhere all year round, the only difference is that some months it’s better in some countries. For Example, Never go to Namibia in February, Waaaay too hot. After saying this, Where is the “best” place to go to in January? Well, besides the obvious, Cape Town, I would suggest Uganda. Yes. Uganda, to see the Gorillas. 

January is great in Uganda, because the rainy season just finished, the temperature is great and within all the choices, available it’s nice to do Uganda in January. In Uganda you can do so much, it is not only about the Gorillas, you can also go see the Chimpazees, and do a safari.

OH! You can visit Mirchison Falls, that’s where the Nile river starts, and if you are lucky you can see a Shoebill Stork in the wild (very lucky) but in Entebbe there’s a place where you can see them and interact with them, I find it an incredible bird and so prehistoric. I could not believe my luck when i got to be so close to one of them. 

So, yes, visit Cape Town in January (basically visit Cape Town all through summer here, Dec – Mar) but also think of Uganda as a very nice. Destination.

What to do and where to go.

In Uganda you can visit the Gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable forest, for this you will need to get a permit to visit the gorillas, they are very limited, so you need to book in advance, they cost USD700 per person. If you’d like to see the Chimpazees, there are two options, fly to Kibale or to Kasese, Kibale is a better option to see the Chimps simply because there are more Chimp families there, but the permits are a bit more expensive than in Kasese, Kyambura gorge. 

In Uganda, you can visit a couple of national parks that offer proper safaris, Queen Elizabeth National park is the most known one but there are a few more, Kidepo Valley National Park is the one that offers better animal sightings but it is very difficult to reach so you will need to fly there. The other famous park is Murchison Falls National Park, where the Nile River starts.

In Queen Elizabeth National Park you can visit the Kazinga Chanel, a Chanel that unites Lake George with Lake Edward. The animal sighting here is amazing. Lots of Hippos and as safari goes, if you are lucky you can see the tree climbing lions. 

While in Entebbe, you can do sunset cruises on Lake Victoria and even visit the Ngamba Island where they have a Chimp Sanctuary, where you can interact with the chimps but in order to do this you will need a special permit and also you will need to have all the vaccinations that are in the world. Tetanus, Epathitis, Meningitis, TB, Smallpax, etc. you name it you will need it. One can also visit the Uganda Wild Conservation and education center, it used to be a Zoo a but now it is used more for research and education, if you do go, ask for the behind the scenes tour. That’s where you get to feed some of the animals and pat them, I fed a giraffe, a Rhino, an elephant, but the best was the interaction with the Shoebill stork, it’s something I will never forget. 

Need some help planning your January holiday?

Book a FREE 30-minute consultation with German – for the perfect advice on where to stay, what to do, and how to get there & back.

What Our Clients Say

Brendan Magauran
Brendan Magauran
2024-04-14
Incredible! Beyond expectations. German guided us on an absolutely amazing trip to Cape Town, Franschhoek, Hermanus and a safari at Thornybush game reserve. Every recommendation was spot on from a restaurants to a guided tour of Cape Point, the Hop on hop off bus, where to visit in the wine country, lodging in a beach front suite in Hermanus. As for the safari at Thornybush - WOW! More than we could have ever imagined in terms of luxury and game sightings. Thank you German. Looking forward to our next trip with you as our guide. And yes, we have told all family and friends, this is the man to contact for their travels.
Ellen H.
Ellen H.
2024-04-12
We feel beyond lucky to have found Nanan Travel! We are from the USA and are DIY-ers, used to making our own travel arrangements. When planning for our bucket-list trip to S. Africa, it quickly got overwhelming and stressful to differentiate among the innumerable safari options on the internet, figure out domestic flights, assess safety concerns, find a private driver to tour Cape Point, etc. We did not want to travel with a tour group, nor use a global internet travel agency, so I looked for a travel agent actually based in Cape Town so that we could deal with just one person who really knew the area. I found Nanan based on location and reviews, then was sold by their individualized approach and willingness to help with as much or as little of the planning as one wants. We reached out to German de la Melena and he answered immediately, even though it was a Sunday evening in Cape Town, wanting to hear all about our wishes so that he could work on things promptly and have a suggested itinerary by the time we woke up the next morning! He was thoughtful, conscientious, friendly, worked within our budget and did not try to upsell us, gave us options and even incorporated some specific requests we had. From that initial contact on, all the stress and worry about our upcoming trip went away! After designing a fantastic itinerary for us, the true test of an amazing travel agent came when my husband injured himself the week before our trip and couldn’t travel, requiring us to postpone for 4 weeks. While we were dealing with stressful health issues, we gave German our medical documentation and he took care of the rest. He had to change all of our reservations and domestic flights, and went above and beyond to do so without our incurring more expense. What a huge relief! German remained remarkably responsive before and during our trip, able to advise on any question and troubleshoot any problem, reachable by What’s App in minutes. Between the great itinerary and the peace of mind, working with German and knowing he had our back truly made all the difference in our experience being the trip of a lifetime!! Thank you, German! You deserve more than 5 stars and I will refer everyone I know to you!
Pablo Berenbaum
Pablo Berenbaum
2024-03-17
Exclente organización. Hoteles, tours, impecables !!! Gracias Germán x las sugerencias, el viaje fue INCREIBLE !
Faisal Alaali
Faisal Alaali
2024-03-13
I cannot say enough great things about Nanan Travel. He organized a spectacular trip to South Africa for me, and every detail was absolutely perfect. From the boutique hotels to the incredible safari stays, everything was top-notch and exceeded my expectations. The entire trip was seamlessly planned, and I never once had to worry about a thing. The accommodations were luxurious, the guides were knowledgeable and friendly, and the overall experience was truly unforgettable. Last part was the stay in Cape Town before heading back home. The city is absolutely stunning, and I was able to explore all it had to offer thanks to the amazing recommendations from German. I highly recommend Nanan Travel for anyone looking to plan a trip to South Africa or any other destination. Their attention to detail, personalized service, and overall expertise make them the best in the business. Thank you German for an incredible journey that I will never forget!
Manuel D
Manuel D
2024-03-08
Hemos pasado días espectaculares en Sudáfrica y Zimbabue, toda la organización de nuestros hijos con German funcionaron perfectamente. Todas las actividades, lodges, tours, safaris, fueron perfectos, así como el trato recibido en cada lugar fue muy personalizado, haciendo que este viaje sea inolvidable. Cada detalle funcionó a la perfección. Nanan Travel es 100% confiable y recomendable.
Monica C
Monica C
2024-03-08
Acabamos de llegar a Lima después de un viaje soñado a Africa. Mi hija y su esposo, que habían hecho Safari el año pasado por su Luna de Miel, querían que los cuatros papas viviéramos y sintiéramos toda la adrenalina y experiencias que ellos habían vivido, así que no lo pensaron dos veces y nos invitaron a este viaje único y maravilloso. Gracias Nanan Travel, gracias German, hemos vivido lo que realmente quisieron transmitirnos los Manuela y Rodrigo, los lugares visitados, las atenciones, los hoteles y su staff, todo, y la experiencia de estar con los animales asi de cerca es única. Si quieren hacer un viaje soñado, no dejen de contactar a German, escriban a Nanan Travel, y no se arrepentirán. Gracias por Todo!!
Gustavo Rivera
Gustavo Rivera
2024-03-05
Fue espectacular, desde el momento en que llegamos a Cape Town hasta que llegamos a Lima de vuelta estuvimos súper engreídos, los lugares escogidos para descansar , los guías, todo lo conocido !!, realmente un viaje de ensueño, recomendado a mil !!! Gracias Germán, eres un capo !!!
Violeta Rivera
Violeta Rivera
2024-03-05
Espectacular ! hemos pasado unos días increíbles con un servicio de primera Volvería hacer el mismo viaje mañana mismo !!!
Lizbett Arevalo
Lizbett Arevalo
2024-02-26
If you want to sit back, relax and enjoy… German is the way to go! My 16 YO son and I had the best dream trip came true to South Africa thanks to him! I can’t thank you enough German! Starting from Cape town then Safari and meeting my best friend in Johannesburg… I call it an OVER THE TOP kind of vacation🤩🤩🤩🙌🙏❤️🐆🐘🇿🇦🦁 🦏

Top Luxury Safari lodges to see the Big Five in South Africa

Top Luxury Safari lodges to see the Big Five in South Africa

Top Luxury Safari lodges to see the Big Five in South Africa

Blog post with #NANANtravel
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1.Earth Lodge Sabi Sabi  

Earth Lodge is part of the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve neighboring the Kruger National Park, this conservation area is very well known for the big 5, the lodge is not only beautifully designed to get lost in the geography of the terrain. But it is also one of the most beautiful lodges in the area. The service and generosity of their staff is overwhelming. You don’t realize you have arrived at the lodge until you see someone standing at the end of what looks like a walkway into a tunnel. After greeting you they walk you through this tunnel-like walkway to come out to a spectacular setting with incredible views. If you are lucky you will get some elephants near your room with a private pool or even a lion or a leopard. I was told that more than once guests have to call receptions for a little help with the leopard using their poolside day bed. 

Recently my honeymoon clients experienced an elephant walking by their outdoor shower and coming to the front to see if it could get some water from the pool. 

In Sabi Sabi you will be able to see the big 5, this area has become more and more known for spotting leopards which are generally very hard to find. 

2. Saseka Thornybush

Saseka Tented Camp was a very nice surprise for me, actually an incredible surprise, the rooms are so different from any other lodge I’ve been to and it is so well designed and finely done, it is the epitome of taste and style. The common area is fantastic and it makes you feel like there’s a show about to start and you need to choose one of the very comfortable seats and wait for it to happen, it’s just fantastic. 

When I visited it the river was a bit dry. I was told that when the river flows it’s so relaxing just to sit there and enjoy the However, remember that when the river is dry there are waterholes near and the animals come to drink so that is a plus. 

Also being situated next to Kruger Park, this means that the animals roam freely between the park and the Thornybush game reserve. 

When you start a game drive, the ranger usually asks “what would you like to see” (make sure you tell them what you want to see), so I very quickly replied and said I wanted to see a leopard on a tree (I’d seen leopards before, but never on a tree). Well within 15 minutes they spotted one, and voila! we were done with the most difficult of the big 5. So now all we needed to do is find the other 4 which, well if lucky enough, is not that difficult. 

3. Lebombo Singita

Lebombo is one of the 5 lodges that Singita has in the Kruger area. Although it is a bit more difficult to reach than the ones in the Sabi Sands area of Kruger, it is a beautiful lodge nestled on the side of the hill next to the N’wanetsi River, near the South African border with Mozambique. Our trip there was a bit long but very much worth it. One flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Then a charter flight, directly into the Satara Airstrip. From there it’s a 30 – 45 minutes drive to the lodge through the Kruger National Park (if you are lucky you will start your game viewing on the way already).

I always tell my clients to make sure they go to a private game reserve for the simple reason that there the vehicles are allowed off-road, making the wildlife sighting a lot more exciting and special. You might say, “wait a minute, Lebombo is inside the Kruger National Park?” Yes, it is, but it is a concession so Singita is allowed to do what they want as long as they make sure they take good care of the area and protect it. Let’s be honest, all game reserve lodges have the same goal, to protect and take care of the wildlife. 

I was lucky enough to travel there with a client of mine who was traveling alone. Our experience didn’t start too well because on our first game drive we didn’t see many animals – Least of all any of the big 5. However on day 2 during one game drive, the afternoon one, we saw all of them (the big 5) at one point in a big open space. We saw Elephants, Rhinos, Buffalo, and Lions. Then later that afternoon we saw a big pride of lions and on our way back to the lodge we saw 2 leopards. Now that is what we call luck, and it was incredibly fabulous. Both my client and I were super happy and excited about it. 

4. Karula Kapama

 

Kapama Karula located in the Kapama Game Reserve is their flagship lodge. Impeccable elegance and style, it is a world of its own. Kapama Game Reserve is located near the Kruger National Park as well, but this reserve does not share borders with it. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to be able to see the big 5. Au contraire, I sometimes think it’s even easier to see them here. Keep in mind that it all comes down to luck, and being at the right place at the right time. But whenever I’ve been there I have seen the big 5 and even Cheetahs which are very hard to find in this area. 

My clients love this game reserve because it is actually the closest reserve to the Hoedspruit airport, one of the three airports you can fly to when visiting the Kruger National Park area. It is probably the shortest land transfer from any of the Airports to the lodge. 

Within the reserve there’s a lodge called Jabulani, they have an amazing elephant interaction experience. If you love elephants this is the best interaction with them that you will have in South Africa. They have an Elephant Orphanage – these rescued elephants will spend the rest of their lives there and will be taken care of by the people that run it, it’s a true labor of love.

5. Royal Malewane

Also located in the Thornybush game reserve this is part of the Royal Portfolio hotels, it has been recognized as the top luxury lodge in South Africa, one of the best lodges in the world, as well as some of the other hotels that belong to this group. 

Being in the Thornybush Game Reserve, it is a sure thing that we will be able to see the big 5. But it all depends on our luck and how long we are there. 

The game drive experiences here are fantastic! Their game rangers are very knowledgeable and good at finding the one big 5 animal you need to see. The area, being next to Kruger Park, has plenty of animals that roam freely between the game reserve and the national park. So all we need is patience and luck and we will definitely have a great chance to see all of the big 5. Leopards are always being the cheeky ones to find – but as a piece of good advice, and this goes for most of the lodges in the Kruger area, always ask to see if they can find African Wild dogs. I find them adorable and beautiful. But they are vicious and very difficult to find because they are always on the move,. They are very good hunters and to watch them work as a group is mind-blowing. I would say that here is where my clients have seen them the most. 

Royal Malewane just opened a new lodge nearby, called Waterside, it opened last July, and I can’t wait to go visit it.

6. Bayethe Shamwari

Shamwari Game Reserve was my second safari ever, I will never forget how we chased two cheetahs that were on the hunt for a couple of reedbuck, or was it wildebeests? Anyway, we followed them for a while until they gave up, but the amazing thing that I remember from this, was the sound these animals make. They literally sound like kittens, like a house cat. 

Bayethe Lodge is one of the top lodges in the Shamwari Private Game Reserve located in the Eastern Cape province. The name means “I salute you” which is a very warm welcome in the African culture of this area of the country. As you can see, you don’t need to be in the Kruger National Park to see the big 5. Depending on your trip you can have your safari experience here at the end of the garden route, or the beginning, (depending on which way you do the Garden route). 

When I did my first Safari I was under the impression that giraffes were lonely animals (now I know they are not). But when I came here for the first time there were so many Giraffes I could not believe what I was seeing. All of them together and walking so graciously on the big plains of the reserve. Leopards are very hard to find here, but they do have them so if you see one here, consider yourself Lucky. Elephants, rhinos, and buffalo are plenty. However that doesn’t mean that sometimes you will struggle to find them – once we spent almost 3 hours looking for elephants and just as we were about to give up they surprised us by walking out of the bush right next to us, quite a few of them.

6Phinda Vlei

Considered one of the most beautiful lodges in the Phinda Game Reserve. Here you can also see the big 5 even though it is not near Kruger. This reserve is only 4 hours drive from Durban, or 2 hours drive from Richard’s Bay. It’s also very near Sodwana Bay in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, which is a great spot for Scuba Diving. This means you can do an early morning dive and an afternoon game drive – and with some luck, you will see the big 5 and the big ocean 5 (Whales, Dolphins, Sharks, Seals, Penguins).

Phinda was the first game reserve I ever visited, my first ever safari back in 2001. I can say that my passion for South Africa, its wildlife, and this beautiful continent started here. I was very impressed by what I saw and I know that still to this day it impresses me every time. 

This &Beyond properties lodge in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province of South Africa, has a a world renowned standard of luxury. Their staff are incredibly friendly and gracious, you will feel like you belong here. One thing that I will always remember from my first visit was the encounter we had with a family of Cheetahs and thier cubs. It was quite incredible, keep in mind Cheetahs are hard to find, and also, not every private game reserve has cheetahs. So on top of the big 5 you can also see them here. 

Need some help planning Your Luxurious Big 5 Safari?

Book a FREE 30-minute consultation with German – for the perfect advice on where to stay, what to do, and how to get the best out of your travels.

What Our Clients Say

Brendan Magauran
Brendan Magauran
2024-04-14
Incredible! Beyond expectations. German guided us on an absolutely amazing trip to Cape Town, Franschhoek, Hermanus and a safari at Thornybush game reserve. Every recommendation was spot on from a restaurants to a guided tour of Cape Point, the Hop on hop off bus, where to visit in the wine country, lodging in a beach front suite in Hermanus. As for the safari at Thornybush - WOW! More than we could have ever imagined in terms of luxury and game sightings. Thank you German. Looking forward to our next trip with you as our guide. And yes, we have told all family and friends, this is the man to contact for their travels.
Ellen H.
Ellen H.
2024-04-12
We feel beyond lucky to have found Nanan Travel! We are from the USA and are DIY-ers, used to making our own travel arrangements. When planning for our bucket-list trip to S. Africa, it quickly got overwhelming and stressful to differentiate among the innumerable safari options on the internet, figure out domestic flights, assess safety concerns, find a private driver to tour Cape Point, etc. We did not want to travel with a tour group, nor use a global internet travel agency, so I looked for a travel agent actually based in Cape Town so that we could deal with just one person who really knew the area. I found Nanan based on location and reviews, then was sold by their individualized approach and willingness to help with as much or as little of the planning as one wants. We reached out to German de la Melena and he answered immediately, even though it was a Sunday evening in Cape Town, wanting to hear all about our wishes so that he could work on things promptly and have a suggested itinerary by the time we woke up the next morning! He was thoughtful, conscientious, friendly, worked within our budget and did not try to upsell us, gave us options and even incorporated some specific requests we had. From that initial contact on, all the stress and worry about our upcoming trip went away! After designing a fantastic itinerary for us, the true test of an amazing travel agent came when my husband injured himself the week before our trip and couldn’t travel, requiring us to postpone for 4 weeks. While we were dealing with stressful health issues, we gave German our medical documentation and he took care of the rest. He had to change all of our reservations and domestic flights, and went above and beyond to do so without our incurring more expense. What a huge relief! German remained remarkably responsive before and during our trip, able to advise on any question and troubleshoot any problem, reachable by What’s App in minutes. Between the great itinerary and the peace of mind, working with German and knowing he had our back truly made all the difference in our experience being the trip of a lifetime!! Thank you, German! You deserve more than 5 stars and I will refer everyone I know to you!
Pablo Berenbaum
Pablo Berenbaum
2024-03-17
Exclente organización. Hoteles, tours, impecables !!! Gracias Germán x las sugerencias, el viaje fue INCREIBLE !
Faisal Alaali
Faisal Alaali
2024-03-13
I cannot say enough great things about Nanan Travel. He organized a spectacular trip to South Africa for me, and every detail was absolutely perfect. From the boutique hotels to the incredible safari stays, everything was top-notch and exceeded my expectations. The entire trip was seamlessly planned, and I never once had to worry about a thing. The accommodations were luxurious, the guides were knowledgeable and friendly, and the overall experience was truly unforgettable. Last part was the stay in Cape Town before heading back home. The city is absolutely stunning, and I was able to explore all it had to offer thanks to the amazing recommendations from German. I highly recommend Nanan Travel for anyone looking to plan a trip to South Africa or any other destination. Their attention to detail, personalized service, and overall expertise make them the best in the business. Thank you German for an incredible journey that I will never forget!
Manuel D
Manuel D
2024-03-08
Hemos pasado días espectaculares en Sudáfrica y Zimbabue, toda la organización de nuestros hijos con German funcionaron perfectamente. Todas las actividades, lodges, tours, safaris, fueron perfectos, así como el trato recibido en cada lugar fue muy personalizado, haciendo que este viaje sea inolvidable. Cada detalle funcionó a la perfección. Nanan Travel es 100% confiable y recomendable.
Monica C
Monica C
2024-03-08
Acabamos de llegar a Lima después de un viaje soñado a Africa. Mi hija y su esposo, que habían hecho Safari el año pasado por su Luna de Miel, querían que los cuatros papas viviéramos y sintiéramos toda la adrenalina y experiencias que ellos habían vivido, así que no lo pensaron dos veces y nos invitaron a este viaje único y maravilloso. Gracias Nanan Travel, gracias German, hemos vivido lo que realmente quisieron transmitirnos los Manuela y Rodrigo, los lugares visitados, las atenciones, los hoteles y su staff, todo, y la experiencia de estar con los animales asi de cerca es única. Si quieren hacer un viaje soñado, no dejen de contactar a German, escriban a Nanan Travel, y no se arrepentirán. Gracias por Todo!!
Gustavo Rivera
Gustavo Rivera
2024-03-05
Fue espectacular, desde el momento en que llegamos a Cape Town hasta que llegamos a Lima de vuelta estuvimos súper engreídos, los lugares escogidos para descansar , los guías, todo lo conocido !!, realmente un viaje de ensueño, recomendado a mil !!! Gracias Germán, eres un capo !!!
Violeta Rivera
Violeta Rivera
2024-03-05
Espectacular ! hemos pasado unos días increíbles con un servicio de primera Volvería hacer el mismo viaje mañana mismo !!!
Lizbett Arevalo
Lizbett Arevalo
2024-02-26
If you want to sit back, relax and enjoy… German is the way to go! My 16 YO son and I had the best dream trip came true to South Africa thanks to him! I can’t thank you enough German! Starting from Cape town then Safari and meeting my best friend in Johannesburg… I call it an OVER THE TOP kind of vacation🤩🤩🤩🙌🙏❤️🐆🐘🇿🇦🦁 🦏

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