You’ll love bush breaks for more than just one reason. There’s something truly magical about escaping to the great South African bushveld. The early morning game drives, your first sighting of the Big or Little Five, lazy afternoons in the swimming pool, sundowner G&Ts and the sights, smells and sounds of the bush after dark around a crackling campfire. While there are the popular favourites renowned across the world for “safaris in Africa,” there are also lesser-known game reserves and lodges that offer the same safari magic but are slightly more off the beaten track. No matter what you’re looking for, be it a family holiday or romantic trip for two, there’s a perfect bush break for you.
It all depends on what you want from your break. From family friendly safari lodges to adults-only or the flexibility of self-catering, there is a game lodge to suit every type of traveller.
The Kruger National Park is the most popular, so, understandably, in the peak season certain parts of the park can get busy. There are however private concessions within Kruger offering a bit more exclusivity.
In the North West, visit the Pilanesberg and Madikwe Game Reserves, while Limpopo has the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO site.
You may not think you’d be able to enjoy bush breaks in Gauteng, but you’d be surprised! If you’re enjoying the bush at the malaria free Mount Savannah Game Reserve, you’re ideally based to visit the world-famous Cradle of Humankind and the Sterkfontein Caves.
Depending where you are and the surrounds of the game reserves, other things to do on bush breaks (apart from game drives and bush walks) include:
A bush escape is a fantastic experience year-round, although winter and early spring (May to September) are the most popular times. The dry season makes it easier to spot game, as they often cluster around waterholes and the vegetation is sparse.
Many bush breaks are all-inclusive, including accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner with selected drinks and two game drives daily (early morning and late afternoon). However, there are also more flexible packages, including self-catering accommodation and self-drive game drives.
Pack cool, comfortable neutral coloured clothing and avoid perfumes and strong fragrances.
Some game reserves sit within malaria zones, so consult with a travel healthcare clinic and ensure you have travel insurance to cover you before and after your trip.
When it comes to bush breaks accommodation, you’re truly spoilt for choice with something for every traveller and interest. If you’re travelling with young kids, consider malaria-free reserves or reserves that aren’t too far away from home.