If you haven’t yet experienced a private game lodge with all its bush magic, our best advice is “do it”! What awaits is a hassle-free, game-rich adventure and undoubtedly the most enjoyable bush experience you could ever ask for. Here’s what you can expect from a private safari experience…

You’ll be treated like royalty

When staying in a private reserve, you’ll be treated like you’re the only ones there, whether there are other guests around or not.  Friendly and attentive staff will handle everything from the moment you arrive. Your every need is taken care of with staff making every effort to make you feel right at home. As you sip on your delicious welcome drink and take in the splendour of your surroundings, your bags are carried to your room while a manager acquaints you with the lodge and explains the daily schedule. Superb service and attention to detail is something that private game reserves pride themselves on, which is why they go out of their way give you the royal treatment from start to finish.

Schedules with flexibility 

Most lodges work off of a set schedule with regards to game drives and meals. You don’t have to lift a finger during your stay – you simply have to show up when you’re meant to and enjoy what’s on offer. Most private camps offer two daily game drives (in the morning and again in the later afternoon/evening) as well as at least two meals (usually an impressive brunch spread served after the morning game drive, and a hearty dinner after the evening one). In the afternoons you’ll have the freedom to do what you want, whether it’s relaxing by the pool, enjoying a pampering massage, heading out on a walking safari or taking a nap – after all, those early morning wake-ups can take it out of you. While there is a schedule in place, at the end of the day you can choose to join in or take a break and relax.

Learn from experienced rangers and trackers

Most of the rangers in private reserves have literally grown up in the surrounding bush and have plenty of experience under their belts, so these are the guys you want guiding you through your safari. Having an experienced guide lead the way really enhances your bush encounters. You’ll be fascinated by the nature facts they share and the interesting sights they point out, and you can expect to be regaled by many an exciting bush tale. Because they are so familiar with their surrounds, you’re almost always guaranteed to get up close and personal with some incredible game. Don’t be surprised if they hop out of the vehicle to examine some spoor they’ve spotted on the ground – they know what they’re doing!

Enjoy unrivalled game viewing

The main reason anyone goes on safari is of course to see animals. Africa is home to some seriously fantastic game,  including the famous Big Five (elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion and rhino) which you’ll want to tick off your list, especially if it’s your first time in the bush. Some animals are harder to spot than others, which is why we recommend you go for at least two to three days, giving yourself the best chance of seeing as much as possible. Don’t forget to take your camera along on drives because you’re definitely going to want to capture the sightings.

PS: Warm clothing is a must! Whilst the days are warm and mild (in the winter – the best time to go on safari), the mornings and evenings can be chilly, so a jacket, beanie, gloves and a scarf are recommended.

Share stories around the campfire 

The boma is usually the social hub of any private reserve, a meeting place for all guests at the end of a day filled with wildlife sightings. It’s here where you’re likely to enjoy delicious bush dinners and it’s an excellent opportunity to engage with fellow guests fireside, trading stories and sharing photos. Apart from mingling and chatting, it’s also a great place to relax and unwind under the stars as you reflect on the glorious day you’ve just experienced.

Tuck into delicious, freshly-prepared meals

The food on offer at private lodges is next level, impressive in both taste and selection – the goal here is definitely to satisfy those taste buds (and tummies!) at every opportunity. A scrumptious brunch spread waits for you after your morning game drive, very often with both hot and cold options, and it really hits the spot after an early start where you’ll work up an appetite on your game drive. Three-course dinners are the order of the day in the evening, very often incorporating local flavours and dishes – a real taste of the African bush!

Note: Most private game lodges offer lunch on request and a version of afternoon tea is served just before you set off on your evening game drive.

Experience the most glorious sunsets

There’s something truly special about an African sunset experienced out in the bush. Towards the end of the evening game drive, your ranger/tracker will find a suitable spot to park and you’ll be treated to sundowners and tasty snacks such as dried mango, biltong and nuts. Drink in hand, you’ll watch the sun slowly dip down low below the horizon, turning the sky on fire with hues of golds, oranges, pinks and purples – it’s truly breath-taking.

Rejuvenate body and mind

A lot of private game lodges offer spa facilities with a wonderful range of treatments available that are designed to help you unwind and leave you feeling revitalised. There’s something about being pampered out in the bush that feels extra indulgent, so we’d highly recommend taking advantage of these services sometime during your stay. Very often treatments are available in the comfort of your own room, making for a more private experience.

A private safari is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime and our travel experts at Portfolio Journeys would love to guide you on your journey. They’ll make recommendations based on what you want experience and will plan your tailor-made itinerary right down to the last detail. Get in touch today and make that safari dream a reality.