Private conservancies offer you a set of distinct advantages that are not available in national parks like:
Night game drives
Off-road game drives
Crowd-free game viewing
Guided nature walks
We recommend the private conservancies and reserves that share unfenced borders with Africa’s legendary national parks because they offer the best of both experiences: you have all the advantages of the private conservancy with easy access to the national park.
Here is our selection of Africa’s Top 10 private conservancies:
1. The 162 000-hectare Singita Grumeti Reserves in Tanzania share the Serengeti National Park’s western border. With just five intimate lodges and safari villas in the concession, you’re guaranteed crowd-free game viewing. The list of activities includes guided nature walks, night game drives, hot-air ballooning and horse-back safaris.
2. The Motorogi Conservancy lies within the greater Masai Mara ecosystem in Kenya. This private wilderness is home to Mahali Mzuri, an exclusive, all-inclusive tented safari camp. Game drives take place in the conservancy and the neighbouring Masai Mara National Park. Safari activities include guided nature walks as well as walking safaris, and the late afternoon game drives blend seamlessly into sundowners and spot-lit evening drives.
3. Porini Camps are located in private conservancies in two of Kenya's top wilderness areas, the Masai Mara and Amboseli National Park. Porini specialises in crowd-free game viewing for wildlife enthusiasts who want to get close to nature. Activities include morning and afternoon game drives, guided walks with Maasai warriors and night drives.
4. South Africa’s Kruger National Park borders several magnificent private concessions, including the 15 000ha Nwanetsi Private Concession that is located on the park’s mountainous eastern border with Mozambique, at the confluence of two rivers. It boasts a very high concentration of wildlife and two extraordinary luxury lodges - Singita Lebombo and Singita Sweni.
5. Also in Kruger’s private concessions, Imbali Private Concession, is 10 000ha of classic Big 5 game viewing and three lodges, including the superb Hamilton's Tented Camp, whose guests enjoy frequent sightings of that most elusive of predators, the leopard.
6. The third Kruger private concession we recommend is the 15 000ha Lukimbi Private Concession, which is lies in the park’s southern stretches, bordered by three rivers. Lukimba is home to the Big 5 and only one property, Lukimbi Safari Lodge.
7. On the Kruger National Park's unfenced southwestern boundary lies the famous Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, a 66 000ha wilderness made up of individually owned, unfenced conservancies with a handful of luxury lodges set in prime locations. You’ll find leading safari companies here, including Mala Mala and Londolozi. Guests enjoy all the usual benefits of off-road driving, night drives and guided nature walks. The game viewing is consistently spectacular – it’s not uncommon for you to see all of the Big 5 in a single game drive.
8. Covering over 100 000 hectares on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, Tswalu Kalahari is South Africa's largest private game reserve. The Motse has won serveral awards, including National Geographic Adventure's Top 50 Eco Lodges and the Spa Awards. Experience the wonders of the Kalahari on fascinating guided nature walks, star-gazing trips and even sleep-outs. Motse offers fantastic Kalahari game viewing, birdwatching and hot-air ballooning plus San rock engravings at sites in the reserve.
9. Botswana’s Okavango Delta private concessions border the legendary Moremi Game Reserve. These are exclusive-use areas leased from the government by leading safari companies operators. They offer game viewing that is every bit as good as Moremi's but with no more than two lodges per concession, which means very low guest numbers for an absolutely crowd-free wilderness experience. Activities include night drives and off-road driving. Our favourite three camps in these concessions are Duma Tau Camp, Mombo Camp and Vumbura Plains.
10. Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park’s private reserves offer incredible value for money – superb game viewing and excellent hospitality in exclusive accommodation like Linkwasha Camp in the prolific Linkwasha Concession. Guests have access to the Ngamo Plains, which thrive in the affordable Green Season with big herds of eland, zebra and waterbuck, plus unusual predators like side-striped jackals, honey badgers and bat-eared foxes. It’s a birder's paradise with five species of vulture, plenty of migrants and raptors like Dickinson’s kestrel, martial eagles and red-necked falcons.