Shadow Background

Even if we found tracks of the San people living in the area as far back as 100,000 BC it is Jakob Louis van Wyk in 1895 who introduced to the Parliament of the old South African Republic, a motion to create the game reserve which would become the Kruger National Park.

That motion resulted in the proclamation by Paul Kruger president of the Transvaal Republic, on March 26, 1898, of a “Government Wildlife Park.” This park would later be known as the Sabi Game Reserve and was expanded into the Kruger National Park in 1926, first South Africa's National Park.

In 1927, the park was opened to the public who were charged a £1 fee. After the proclamation of the Kruger National Park in 1926, the first three tourist cars entered the park in 1927, jumping to 180 cars in 1928 and 850 cars in 1929. Today the Kruger has over a million visitors per year.

Nowadays, the Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, covering 19,485 square kilometers (7,523 sq mi) and extends 360 kilometers (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometers (40 mi) from east to west.

Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals including the famous Big Five, and the endangered African Wild Dog estimated to be between 450 and 500 in the park.

The National Park, home of numerous Governmental owned rest camps has also leased to private operators some commercial concessions (land not open to the general public) to run luxury lodges such as the most appealing Singita Lebombo and Singita Sweni.Bordering the Park, private game reserves are well-known for their array of decadent lodges and exceptional game viewing. The costs to stay in the private game reserves or one of the concessions are generally higher than in the National Park itself. Quality is the first reason of the cost, but the traversing rights comes straight after. Even if there are no fences between the private reserves and the Kruger, in the private game reserves access is limited to the registered safari vehicles of the lodges in that reserve, for an ultimate, almost secretive Safari experience. All in all, your game viewing will be far superior.Among those private reserves, to name just a few, you can find the Sabi Sand, the Timbavati, Manyeleti, Balule, Thornybush, Kapama, Londolozi that host lodges from 3 to 5 stars…

Best season to visit the park?
The rainy season in the Kruger area is characterized by its subtropical weather with hot rainy summers and thunderstorms which start in October and end around March. After the long dry season the bushland comes to life as soon as the first rains come. The waterholes fill up, the foliage becomes thicker and the landscape looks lush and green.

The dry season spans from April to September, which are the cooler winter months. The days are comfortably warm but the nights are fairly cold. As the bush is not covered with leaves and long grasses, game viewing is excellent during the dry season.
Can we do safari with kids? Yes you can!

How to get there? By contacting us of course! info@xoafrica.com

Hover over our selection of accommodations to localize them on the map.
Click on the lodge of your choice for more information and pictures.

Kruger Gate Protea Hotel

Hotel | 1st Category | Safari

It looks from the website or the articles like another lodge in the Kruger, but it’s more than that. It offers for an extremely good value for money your utmost safari experience in the Kruger. You could literally walk to the entrance of the park if you really wanted, so even thought it’s outside the park, you are literally a minute away from it. What I enjoyed the most was the choice of the outside dinners that they offer. Between the Lapa, the Restaurant, the Riverbed and the Bush dinner you just have to pick and choose the experience that you are looking for. Overall, the best part of it is the lobby area opened on the outside which makes your first impression very welcoming. The Lodge uses “feel at home” style furniture in the middle of the bush to create a comfortable and upmarket atmosphere. Each room has a private salon area. And if you looking for some little adventure; try the sleep out in the tree house… You will not regret it!

Lion Sands River

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

Lions Sands, situated in the Sabi Sand game reserve, is so dedicated, they are the only Lodge in the reserve to employ a full time ecologist focussing on the conservation today and for the generations to come. The reserve is private and exclusive to Lion Sands guests only, guaranteeing the safari experience to be highly personalised, allowing much more time and flexibility and offering a broad range of activities: astronomy sessions, bush breakfasts and dinners, bush walks, the traditional game drives, hippo tours, wildlife lectures, ballooning, golf,… The Lodge is run by a family of staff making the guests stay feel like home away from home; spirit, warmth and nature only being a few keywords to identify the main atmosphere of this Lodge. The 18 luxurious thatched bedrooms bath the guests in pure luxury and comfort, blending in to the African bush perfectly. Come to Lions Sands; experience a feeling of belonging and freedom

Pestana Kruger Lodge

Lodge | 1st Category | Safari

Pestana Kruger Lodge is situated less than a kilometre away from Malelane Gate, the most southern entrance to the Kruger National Park. It is approximately 4 hours drive from Johannesburg (402km), 56km from Nelspruit, 6km from the town of Malelane, 176km from Maputo and an hour’s drive from Swaziland. The Lodge is surrounded by 22ha of indigenous gardens and bush with magnificent views of the Crocodile River, which forms the border with the Kruger National Park. It’s a rare pleasure to watch the hippos so close by; and the other animals as they stroll down to the river for a drink of water or to cool down. Pestans Kruger Lodge has a total of 74 rooms.

Motswari Game Lodge

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

“Arrive as a visitor and leave as a friend”, Motswari Private Game Reserve live by this, the lodge offers you a personalized, warm , friendly like treatment. Situated within the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, in the Kruger National Park, the wildlife roams around without the care in the world, synonymous with the name , Motswari “a Tswana name meaning to conserve and protect” , but with highly experienced guides and rangers you need to fear when you all of a sudden bump into a Lion, If the surroundings are not enough to live your breathless, on offer are 3 hour game drives in open land rovers morning and afternoon, bushwalks, with highly experienced and armed guides or you can just relax at the lodge by the pool and with the dinning experience on offer , you will find a reason to come back and be welcomed back as a friend.

Simbavati River Lodge

Lodge | Charm | Safari

Nature at its best. First because Simbavati has been built on the banks of the Nhlaralumi River in the heart of the world famous Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Second because the luxurious & comfy tents give you the real feel of what a safari is all about. But three family chalets are also child-friendly which in this part of the world is worth mentioning. The third point is the game viewing. You traverse over 12,000 hectares of the big-5 game country, with lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo as well as other species such as kudu, zebra, warthog, giraffe, monkey to name a few. Last but not least for me, the food. As epicurean by nature, I have to admit that I’ve been bluffed by the African and Western cuisine that the chef made for us.

Thornybush Game Lodge

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

The game is complementary at Thornybush, this adjacent game reserve to the Kruger National Park. With very knowledgeable and passionate rangers, it's just a pleasure to wake up with the sun to go to track the big 5. Thornybush has a lot to offer. First of all, each Luxury Suite has an en-suite bathroom, indoor and outdoor showers and private deck with a view of the seasonal Monwana River. For families, 2 luxury suites with lounge area and sleeper couch; that converts to a double bed to accommodate children. By the way, Thornybush allocate a fully trained ranger to your kids. They will love him! Then, there is the Spa. Big... and really professionally managed. You can not expect that in the middle of the bush, but it's not a dream. The therapists are really well-trained and propose a wide range of treatment. An ideal place to be in between two game drives.

Chitwa Chitwa House

Villa | Contemporary | Safari

At the verge of the SabiSabi and the Kruger national park, Chitwa Chitwa private retreat is the reminiscent of a warm family atmosphere in the heart of the best game viewing reserve. The main deck overhanging above the lake will take you from your arrival into your first safari. The highly skilled trackers will then explore the bush for you and introduce you with the African big fives. Privacy and family atmosphere are the main ingredients for the Chitwa villa, in fact your villa. From your isolated location, your private butler will put is utmost pleasure in serving you. The house, built a neo-classical style, will inspire you with a modern and welcome African feeling. Stepping outside, should it be on your deck or in your swimming pool, you will discover the bush and the wildlife as no one before.

Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

You will find this African Paradise in the more than famous Sabi Sand reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park, the best one in South Africa. From Rock Lodge, you will enjoy breathtaking views of the bushveld from the summit of the cliff. At Safari Lodge, you will enjoy a ride on the swing bridges to get to your outstanding tree house style room. But don’t forget to check: there might be a few antelopes strolling around! Exciting, isnt’it? No matter which lodge you will stay at, you will appreciate the best pampering experience ever! The game viewing is unbelievable, the service extraordinary, the food beyond comparison and the existing activities endless… but enough speaking, you must experience Ulusaba Private Game Reserve at least once to understand to whole concept!

Our Selection of Incentive Lodges

Depending on the size of your group, the Kruger is a must do when hosting our Incentives in South Africa. We had to choose 3 properties…, so we picked from a hat the ones listed below, leaving out Kapama or Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge for example. As our Incentives are getting shorter, please forget the bus and simply fly there and let’s leave out the 350 pax conference when talking about a Safari Experience in the Kruger. Ah! And of course, remember to book in advance!

Kruger Gate Protea Hotel

Hotel | 1st Category | Safari

It looks from the website or the articles like another lodge in the Kruger, but it’s more than that. It offers for an extremely good value for money your utmost safari experience in the Kruger. You could literally walk to the entrance of the park if you really wanted, so even thought it’s outside the park, you are literally a minute away from it. What I enjoyed the most was the choice of the outside dinners that they offer. Between the Lapa, the Restaurant, the Riverbed and the Bush dinner you just have to pick and choose the experience that you are looking for. Overall, the best part of it is the lobby area opened on the outside which makes your first impression very welcoming. The Lodge uses “feel at home” style furniture in the middle of the bush to create a comfortable and upmarket atmosphere. Each room has a private salon area. And if you looking for some little adventure; try the sleep out in the tree house… You will not regret it!

Lion Sands River

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

Lions Sands, situated in the Sabi Sand game reserve, is so dedicated, they are the only Lodge in the reserve to employ a full time ecologist focussing on the conservation today and for the generations to come. The reserve is private and exclusive to Lion Sands guests only, guaranteeing the safari experience to be highly personalised, allowing much more time and flexibility and offering a broad range of activities: astronomy sessions, bush breakfasts and dinners, bush walks, the traditional game drives, hippo tours, wildlife lectures, ballooning, golf,… The Lodge is run by a family of staff making the guests stay feel like home away from home; spirit, warmth and nature only being a few keywords to identify the main atmosphere of this Lodge. The 18 luxurious thatched bedrooms bath the guests in pure luxury and comfort, blending in to the African bush perfectly. Come to Lions Sands; experience a feeling of belonging and freedom

Pestana Kruger Lodge

Lodge | 1st Category | Safari

Pestana Kruger Lodge is situated less than a kilometre away from Malelane Gate, the most southern entrance to the Kruger National Park. It is approximately 4 hours drive from Johannesburg (402km), 56km from Nelspruit, 6km from the town of Malelane, 176km from Maputo and an hour’s drive from Swaziland. The Lodge is surrounded by 22ha of indigenous gardens and bush with magnificent views of the Crocodile River, which forms the border with the Kruger National Park. It’s a rare pleasure to watch the hippos so close by; and the other animals as they stroll down to the river for a drink of water or to cool down. Pestans Kruger Lodge has a total of 74 rooms.

Our Selection of Family Lodges

What can be more incredible to children than to discover the wild beauty of Africa through safaris in one of the most famous National Park of Africa?

Some hotels and lodges are delighted to welcome families, and insure that children of all ages and their parents enjoy an unforgettable stay. We have selected these ones especially for you, which may allow you to see that even in the bush you can find love between a mother and its cub.

Thornybush Game Lodge

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

The game is complementary at Thornybush, this adjacent game reserve to the Kruger National Park. With very knowledgeable and passionate rangers, it's just a pleasure to wake up with the sun to go to track the big 5. Thornybush has a lot to offer. First of all, each Luxury Suite has an en-suite bathroom, indoor and outdoor showers and private deck with a view of the seasonal Monwana River. For families, 2 luxury suites with lounge area and sleeper couch; that converts to a double bed to accommodate children. By the way, Thornybush allocate a fully trained ranger to your kids. They will love him! Then, there is the Spa. Big... and really professionally managed. You can not expect that in the middle of the bush, but it's not a dream. The therapists are really well-trained and propose a wide range of treatment. An ideal place to be in between two game drives.

Ulusaba Private Game Reserve

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

You will find this African Paradise in the more than famous Sabi Sand reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park, the best one in South Africa. From Rock Lodge, you will enjoy breathtaking views of the bushveld from the summit of the cliff. At Safari Lodge, you will enjoy a ride on the swing bridges to get to your outstanding tree house style room. But don’t forget to check: there might be a few antelopes strolling around! Exciting, isnt’it? No matter which lodge you will stay at, you will appreciate the best pampering experience ever! The game viewing is unbelievable, the service extraordinary, the food beyond comparison and the existing activities endless… but enough speaking, you must experience Ulusaba Private Game Reserve at least once to understand to whole concept!

Chitwa Chitwa House

Villa | Contemporary | Safari

At the verge of the SabiSabi and the Kruger national park, Chitwa Chitwa private retreat is the reminiscent of a warm family atmosphere in the heart of the best game viewing reserve. The main deck overhanging above the lake will take you from your arrival into your first safari. The highly skilled trackers will then explore the bush for you and introduce you with the African big fives. Privacy and family atmosphere are the main ingredients for the Chitwa villa, in fact your villa. From your isolated location, your private butler will put is utmost pleasure in serving you. The house, built a neo-classical style, will inspire you with a modern and welcome African feeling. Stepping outside, should it be on your deck or in your swimming pool, you will discover the bush and the wildlife as no one before.

Our Selection of Eco-Friendly Lodges

Because we are getting more and more concerned about our environment and committed to the fight against global warming, a growing number of hotels and lodges are trying to develop a global care system, to reduce their carbon footprint on the planet.

Avoiding motor oil to drip into the soil and polluting it, using the power of the sun to generate electricity, or recycling as much as they can are some of the number ones priorities of the hotels and lodges hereafter.

Motswari Game Lodge

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

“Arrive as a visitor and leave as a friend”, Motswari Private Game Reserve live by this, the lodge offers you a personalized, warm , friendly like treatment. Situated within the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, in the Kruger National Park, the wildlife roams around without the care in the world, synonymous with the name , Motswari “a Tswana name meaning to conserve and protect” , but with highly experienced guides and rangers you need to fear when you all of a sudden bump into a Lion, If the surroundings are not enough to live your breathless, on offer are 3 hour game drives in open land rovers morning and afternoon, bushwalks, with highly experienced and armed guides or you can just relax at the lodge by the pool and with the dinning experience on offer , you will find a reason to come back and be welcomed back as a friend.

Simbavati River Lodge

Lodge | Charm | Safari

Nature at its best. First because Simbavati has been built on the banks of the Nhlaralumi River in the heart of the world famous Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Second because the luxurious & comfy tents give you the real feel of what a safari is all about. But three family chalets are also child-friendly which in this part of the world is worth mentioning. The third point is the game viewing. You traverse over 12,000 hectares of the big-5 game country, with lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo as well as other species such as kudu, zebra, warthog, giraffe, monkey to name a few. Last but not least for me, the food. As epicurean by nature, I have to admit that I’ve been bluffed by the African and Western cuisine that the chef made for us.

Our Selection of Luxury Lodges

You are fond of safaris, wild animals, wide lands mysteriously populated, but you are also keen on very comfortable and luxurious hotels and lodges?

This may surprise you but these two tastes are not in opposition! Check this selection we made just for you, that will answer all of your questions and may give you inspiration…

The Outpost

Secret Address | Design | Safari

Set in the vast wilderness of the northernmost end of the Kruger, The Outpost lies against the side of a hill overlooking the Luvuvhu River. This luxury 5 star lodge is a must-see with its very unique modern design which blends concrete and steel to provide an amazing atmosphere. The rooms have floor to ceiling electric blinds which allow 180 degrees breathtaking views of the beautiful river valley. You can literally lay in the bathtub or on your daybed while watching buffalos and impalas drinking by the river. In this quiet and remote part of the Kruger, you will experience different landscapes and vegetation. It is a real paradise for walkers and birders as the birdlife is prolific and very unique to the area. The service quality is outstanding, the gourmet food delicious and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. It is an isolated magical quiet place that you will never forget!!!

Chitwa Chitwa Suites

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

At the verge of the SabiSabi and the Kruger national park, Chitwa Chitwa private retreat is the reminiscent of a warm family atmosphere in the heart of the best game viewing reserve. The main deck overhanging above the lake will take you from your arrival into your first safari. The highly skilled trackers will then explore the bush for you and introduce you with the African big fives. The suites are your own nested five star quarters in the middle of the wildlife. Far from any civilizations, you will only be surprise by the empty silence broken every now and then by a few bird calls. Lying on your wooden deck or in your plunge pool, enjoy the combination of the modern world in vastness of the untouched bush.

Kirkman's Camp

Secret Address | Historic | Safari

To be honest Kirkman’s Camp, offers more than what you expect from a good game reserve. Of course the location in the Sabi Sand overlooking the Kruger is perfect, allowing guests to see plenty of animals ranging from the Big 5 to beautiful exotic birds and slender antelopes but above all, the atmosphere is unique. The main building, beautifully refurbished, is one of the old farmer’s houses of the area therefore you can learn about the rich history of those tough men and their fights against the harsh nature and the wild animals. The staff goes the extra mile to please you, preparing surprises and organizing very warm and agreeable pre-drinks before you enjoy a good boma dinner enlightened by local songs. I had a farm in Africa…

The Outpost

Secret Address | Design | Safari

Set in the vast wilderness of the northernmost end of the Kruger, The Outpost lies against the side of a hill overlooking the Luvuvhu River. This luxury 5 star lodge is a must-see with its very unique modern design which blends concrete and steel to provide an amazing atmosphere. The rooms have floor to ceiling electric blinds which allow 180 degrees breathtaking views of the beautiful river valley. You can literally lay in the bathtub or on your daybed while watching buffalos and impalas drinking by the river. In this quiet and remote part of the Kruger, you will experience different landscapes and vegetation. It is a real paradise for walkers and birders as the birdlife is prolific and very unique to the area. The service quality is outstanding, the gourmet food delicious and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. It is an isolated magical quiet place that you will never forget!!!

Chitwa Chitwa Suites

Lodge | Contemporary | Safari

At the verge of the SabiSabi and the Kruger national park, Chitwa Chitwa private retreat is the reminiscent of a warm family atmosphere in the heart of the best game viewing reserve. The main deck overhanging above the lake will take you from your arrival into your first safari. The highly skilled trackers will then explore the bush for you and introduce you with the African big fives. The suites are your own nested five star quarters in the middle of the wildlife. Far from any civilizations, you will only be surprise by the empty silence broken every now and then by a few bird calls. Lying on your wooden deck or in your plunge pool, enjoy the combination of the modern world in vastness of the untouched bush.

Kirkman's Camp

Secret Address | Historic | Safari

To be honest Kirkman’s Camp, offers more than what you expect from a good game reserve. Of course the location in the Sabi Sand overlooking the Kruger is perfect, allowing guests to see plenty of animals ranging from the Big 5 to beautiful exotic birds and slender antelopes but above all, the atmosphere is unique. The main building, beautifully refurbished, is one of the old farmer’s houses of the area therefore you can learn about the rich history of those tough men and their fights against the harsh nature and the wild animals. The staff goes the extra mile to please you, preparing surprises and organizing very warm and agreeable pre-drinks before you enjoy a good boma dinner enlightened by local songs. I had a farm in Africa…

A Typical Day on Safari

What you will get up to while on safari
Here is a rough guideline of what to expect on Safari in the Kruger National Park:

05h00
Wake Up! Wake Up! … It’s an early start.

05h30
Meet your ranger and tracker for early morning tea and coffee before heading out on safari, typically on open 4X4 safari vehicles. The best game viewing is to be found first thing in the morning and the anticipation is half the excitement! You could meet a herd of elephants at a drinking hole, observe a herd of shy impala or get up close with a pack of lions…it’s all up to chance!

09h30
Safari vehicles start returning from the game drives and you can enjoy a sumptuous and well-earned breakfast!

11:00
Depending on the season and the rules of the reserve, many lodges offer a Safari Walk with an armed tracker. This gives you a chance to concentrate on the smaller wonders of the Kruger National Park such as insects and birds. The tracker will tell you fascinating stories of the bushveld as well as the traditional cultural and medicinal properties of trees and plants.

After your walk you will have a chance to relax and unwind or enjoy a swim to cool down from the relentless African sunshine.

13h00
A delicious lunch is served. After lunch there is more time to relax and soak up the splendour of your surrounds.

16h00
As the African sun begins to ease away and shadows start to form across the bushveld, guests and rangers meet for afternoon tea before the evening Game Drive.

16:30
Safari Time! You will head out on your second Game Drive for the day with a majestic African sunset as the backdrop. The animals become more active again and the nocturnal animals get ready for their hunting. Your ranger will be driving the vehicle and the tracker is up front looking out for tracks and spotting the animals.

18h00
As the sun sets the ranger will pick a good spot for a sundowner where you will pause to watch the sunset and enjoy some cocktails and refreshments. A real safari tradition!

18h30
As it starts to get dark, the tracker and guide use a powerful spotlight to catch sight of the animals. The animals eyes reflect in the spot light and the ranger and tracker will concentrate on finding the nocturnal animals such as Leopards and sunset hunters such as Lions.

19h30
The timing of dinner is determined by the activities on safari! If there are things happening and lions hunting – your dinner will wait. A chance to freshen up before dinner.

20h00
Dinner Time. At most lodges, there are a number of places to enjoy dinner at the lodge and weather dependant the camp manager will select the perfect venue. Your ranger usually joins you for dinner and the camp fire stories have been known to continue into the early hours! The more luxurious lodges offer you the choice of having dinner in your room. And finally you get to retire to your suite for some peaceful sleep before the next exciting day!

This month meet Rolene

Rolene knows XO africa inside out, FIT, Incentive… Today she is in charge of the purchasing and training our new comers. She loves outdoor activities and picnics, but what she loves to make is potjie, the famous South African stew.

Q: Your idea of ultimate luxury?
A: To travel around the world, where I want, and when I want.

Q: What calms your stress?
A: First of all I usually try to be prepared in advance… so not to stress when the time comes.

Q: If you win the roulette 9 times in a row, do you carry on because luck is on your side or do you stop playing because statistically you should now be losing?
A: I will “cash-out” as it is better to be happy with what you have, than the possibility of losing everything.

Q: Is there a superstition that make you change your behaviour?
A: No, I don’t believe in superstition.

Q: If you were sent to a deserted island what book, disc or movie would
you take with?
A: Lots of different magazines… style, pictures, gossip & celebrity news.

Q: A small pleasure that you consider huge?
A: Being able to spend time with my family, friends, and
watching my little girl discovering new things each day.

Q: Your way to kill time?
A: Shopping and going to the Spa!

Q: What are you totally incompetent in?
A: Ice-skating.

Q: To what are you addicted?
A: My mobile phone… the need to be connected and in touch with the world.

Q: Your new year’s resolutions?
A: It is pointless to set any resolutions, as I never keep it up.

Q: What have you not done yet, but that you will certainly do one day?
A: To experience real snow & Skiing in the Swiss Alps.

Q: To which other part of the world would you move to without any hesitation?
A: I am not sure about moving away from South Africa, but I can certainly visit the Maldives for a very long time…

Q: A word or a phrase that you hate?
A: There is 3: Relax, Chill, Don’t stress

Q: If you were to reincarnate into someone from real life who would it be?
A: Hmm… A positive, stress-free person