KLASERIE & BALULE, GREATER KRUGER RESERVES
Together, Klaserie and Balule form the core of the Association of Private Nature Reserves, a huge chunk of land which is adjacent to the Kruger, shares Kruger's game, and is subject to its own different regulations which allow for off-road traversing, night drives, and more flexible walking, amongst other things. Both are home to a number of commercial operations, as well as private Lodges, some of which are available for us to use for Group Safaris.
The removal of all fences separating the Kruger National Park from these and adjacent Reserves - Balule, Timbavati, Klaserie, Umbabat, Grietjie Private Nature Reserve - has made the region a popular ecotourism destination and conservation efforts have ensured that the wildlife population includes all of the Big Five game: Lion, African elephant, African Buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros.
KLASERIE PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Klaserie Game Reserve contributes about 60,000 Hectares (150,000 acres) to the Greater Kruger area. The Klaserie River runs through it and on into the Kruger Park. The fences between the various constituent farms were removed some years ago, and then dropped with the national park, so the Reserve is open right through to Kruger and beyond allowing animals to wander back and forth. However there are resident prides of lions and leopards also have their own territories they stay within.
Much of the reserves ideal cheetah country, and it's quite common to see these cats. Hyenas and other smaller predators are also often seen. Both white and black rhino are present, and it's not uncommon to meet them on a walk. Likewise elephant are numerous and are always a favourite.
There are around a dozen Lodges in the Reserve, all of which offer top class accommodation and fare. The number can be augmented by private camps that we arrange to utilise from time-to-time. Game drives and walks are conducted by trained experienced field guides, some of whom have spent their whole lives working in the bush. Lodges generally conduct afternoon/evening drives, and the option of a morning drive or walk. After dark the guides use spotlights to locate the nocturnal animals. Lions and other predators usually become more active by night, as of course they have superb night vision and do most of their hunting in the dark. Game viewing vehicles are all open plan 4x4s with no roof enabling all round visibility and fantastic photographic opportunities.
Despite the number of lodges in the Reserve, the large size of the Reserve means that other Lodge vehicles are not often encountered, adding to the feeling of being truly in the wild.
Klaserie is a bird watchers paradise with many different species present along the Klaserie River. All of the Lodges have game viewing points and there are a number of hides scattered about the reserve, ideal for photography.
Eastgate Airport is served by domestic flights several times a day and is only about ten minutes from the main gate. All of the Lodges provide a pick up and drop off service for guests. For those with more time to spend Hoedspruit is close by, with a multitude of craft shops, restaurants and other places of interest. Cars can be rented at the airport, as all of the major car hire companies have offices there.
BALULE NATURE RESERVE
Balule consists of a number of smaller privately owned properties between which fences have been removed to form a continuous area for game to roam. Together they contribute 40,000 Hectares (100,000 acres) to the Greater Kruger National Park. The Reserve is managed as an eco-tourism destination and there are eighteen commercial game Lodges located here that offer accommodation. In addition there are a number of organisations that offer "volunteering" positions working alongside wildlife in conservation programmes. There are several places that cater for day visitors with activities such as Game Drives and trail walks.
The Olifants River flows for approximately 20 km through the center of the Reserve.
The town of Hoedspruit is nearby, and has plenty of souvenir and craft shops, coffee shops and restaurants and accommodation ranging from budget to luxury.
Eastgate Airport is also close to the Reserve Entrance.
- Klaserie and Balule feature in our Eye over Kruger (Contrasts and Highlights of the Park) Itinerary, as well as a number of fly-in options.