What To Expect

There are almost as many game camps as there are glittering stars in the skies of the southern hemisphere. But the best of the Private Game Reserves seem to follow a general template for delivering the guest experience:

  • On arrival, you are met at your nearest local airport, and transported in air-conditioned comfort to the camp.
  • After all registration formalities, you are reunited with your luggage in your accommodation.
  • At the end of that important Orientation tour (every private game lodge offers similar, but not identical, facilities and amenities), you decide when you want to take your first Game Drive.
  • At the appointed hour, you meet your Ranger and his tracker for the first time. (A good guide is your single most important key to a memorable Safari; insist on the most experienced one, and hope you strike a rapport with your New Best Friend).
  • You climb into a four-wheel drive Land Rover, typically tiered for multi-passenger seating and uniformly unobstructed viewing. The tracker actually rides a shotgun seat up front, and your Ranger gives you the speech about staying in the vehicle at all times.
  • You're off into the Bush for a few hours, initially hunting the Big Five (elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino). But you quickly discover the Christmas pleasure you get from being up-close-and-personal with each successive beastly beauty, big or small.
  • Each game drive is broken for a body stretch and a tailgate break with lots of animated chat about what you've just seen. Coffee, tea and biscuits in the morning. Cocktails and snacks in the afternoon.
  • When you return from a drive, the only other decision you have to make is whether or not to lunch or dine - refreshments and meals are usually included. The rotating menus, featuring a small variety of dishes (vegetarian, fresh fish or game meats), are unpretentiously simple (and wisely, open grilled) and tasty (using local spices or preparations).
  • The main bar seems always fully stocked and open.
  • Fitness and Pampering spas are still rare, but nice when available.
  • The gauzy mosquito netting that drops down around your bed ensures sleeping like a baby. Expect and enjoy the dusk-to-dawn jungle sounds. After all, this is the African bush.