Garonga Safari Camp

Makalali Game Reserve, Kruger & Around, South Africa Book from Book from £706 per night

Holistic, stylish, heavenly retreat (and safari camp)
Situated in the private Makalali Reserve, west of South Africa's famous Kruger Park, Garonga is a piece of heaven. From the moment you are greeted at the huge sculpted gates and admire the North African-inspired architecture, Garonga’s uniqueness is tangible. Hot towels refresh you after the dusty drive, and after a cool passionfruit cocktail, you feel life’s pressures melt away.

All activity is geared to your timescales, not the camp’s. Head out on game drives, or just relax, snooze, sunbathe, daydream and be pampered all day long in the most tranquil and breathtaking of settings. The choice is yours. And for those seeking an intimate bush experience, 'sleep-out' excursions under the stars offer you the chance to sleep among the wildlife, as you wake to the sound of bird song and zebras coming down to the watering hole. As English owner, Bernardo Smith, so rightly says, Garonga is a “safari for the soul”.


  • The outdoor bush bath and romantic sleep out treehouse provide memorable moments during which wilderness and luxury collide
  • Excellent staff; Garonga safari guides have extensive training and comprehensive knowledge of the area
  • Stylish half-tented suites with private decks and indoor/outdoor showers; elephants have been known to wander past...
  • Blissful aromatherapy sessions in the open-air sala
  • The food is seriously delicious


  • Unlike many of the top private reserves in the area, Makalali is fully fenced and not yet linked to the huge Kruger Park. Game viewing is therefore slightly more limited, which is reflected in the lower prices.
  • In winter, early morning and evening game drives get rather chilly, so it's essential to bring a fleece/jumper and warm jacket
  • In summer, temperatures can soar and there can be significant rainfall especially Jan-Mar. The camp is closed throughout March.

Best time to go

The Kruger is spectacular at any time of year. For most game viewing, winter (May-October) is best because it's the driest (meaning animals congregate around water holes) and the lack of foliage and grasses gives you a clearer view. For birdwatching, summer (December-February) is best: the rivers are full and the bushveld is lush. This is prime holiday season in South Africa, but it can get seriously hot (up to 40C). Autumn (April-May) is also good for birding but probably the worst months for bigger game. In spring (November-December) you can spot lots of newborns.

Garonga is closed throughout March.

Our top tips

Garonga is fantastic for luxurious, close to nature experiences; the open-air bush bath is a must, as is a romantic and rather thrilling night on the sleep out deck.

During winter and the evenings and morning game drives can get rather cold (down to 5C), so pack accordingly.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • Safari Camp
  • 12
  • All meals included
  • Over 8s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym


There are two camps, Garonga Camp and Little Garonga.

Garonga Camp has 6 palatial Tented Rooms, each with an earth-sculpted ensuite and a private deck with hammock. Raised on stilts, they sit amongst giant ebony trees overlooking a stunning watercourse. Exquisite handcrafted details abound, enormous beds take centre stage, and linens waft and billow in muted shades.All have indoor and outdoor showers. But for sheer indulgence, relax in the candlelit bush bath with a glass of champagne.

Little Garonga has 3 ensuite air-conditioned thatched suites. The Hambledon Suite has its own swimming pool, indoor and outdoor chill-out areas, and an additional children's bedroom located off of the lounge. The Chiltern and Buckingham Suites are each designed for 2, which huge picture windows allowing you to gaze outdoors from the comfort of your bed.

Little Garonga can also be rented exclusively.

Features include:

  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Safe box
  • WiFi


The food is heralded as healthy and holistic. It is both but don’t think diets. Each mealtime is definitely part of the pampering process and gastronomically it is hard to beat. The buffet lunches and breakfasts are an art form that will tempt you to try far too much of everything.

The resident chef emphasises the use of local, organic or home-grown produce, including wild fruits, berries and game. Local farmers supply fruit, cheese and milk. Ingenuity produces end results that are international in flavour but unique to Garonga. Even the most ardent foodie would be catered for in this culinary paradise.

Meals are generally communal although private dining can be arranged. They are events to linger over and savour, rather than hit-and-run affairs. Special touches include an after dinner cigar box and port. Picnics can be arranged for onward journeys or day trips.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating: Little Garonga


  • Go for a game drive - all the big names are here. Head out with a guide in an open Land Rover to spot white and black rhino, lion, cheetah, elephants, antelope and more!
  • Sleep out: spend a night under the stars on a tree-top deck overlooking the wilderness - unforgettable. Garonga will provide you with a picnic hamper, drinks and a radio (the deck is a 15-minute drive from the camp and you will be collected in the morning)
  • Wallow up to your neck in the outdoor bush bath's softly scented bubbles, listening to the sounds of Africa, while watching the sun set on yet another perfect day
  • Head to the open-air sala for aromatherapy and reflexology, or a special honeymoon treatment
  • Guides also provide wilderness walks and tracking adventures for a more exhilarating safari experience
  • The Blyde River Canyon is nearby; one of the largest canyons on earth, it is full of subtropical foliage
  • White-water rafting and horse riding are available nearby; the resort will be able to advise you

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Hiking
    • Private guided tours
    • Safaris
    • Well being
    • Wildlife
  • Kids

    Children over 6 are welcome. For children 6-15 years of age sharing a room with their parents, a reduced child rate is applicable.

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Extra Beds Available

    Kid Friendly:


    Garonga is situated in the private Makalali Game Reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, about 75 minutes' drive from Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa airports, west of the Kruger National Park. It's a 6-hr drive by road from Johannesburg. We recommend flying direct from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Hoedspruit or Phalaborwa, followed by a road transfer to the camp.

    By Air
    Johannesburg International is the closest international airport. Hoedspruit and are the nearest domestic airports (75km/75 min drive to the camp) which are served with daily direct scheduled flights from Johannesburg International (1hr) and Cape Town (Hoedspruit only, 2hr 15 min). Click on the links below for a list of airlines. Alternatively, private air-charters direct to Garonga's airstrip from Johannesburg airport with Federal Air can be organised on request. This is a 90-minute flight.

    From the Airport
    Road Transfers can be booked with Garonga from Hoedspruit or Phalaborwa airports (approx 75 minutes drive). Transfers are available from the air­port to the camp (see Rates for details). Air charters from Hoedspruit/Phalaborwa to Garonga's airstrip are also possible (20 minute flight). The gates at Garonga shut at 5.30pm daily. Arrivals after this time may be possible with an additional 'call out' fee.

    By Car
    It’s a 5-6-hour drive from Johannesburg. For car hire see our car rental recommendations.

    Detailed directions to the camp are provided when you confirm your booking through our site.

    More on getting there and getting around


    • Hoedspruit 75.0 km HDS
    • Johannesburg Oliver Reginald Tambo International 400.0 km JNB


    • Beach 200.0 km
    • Shops 30.0 km
    • Restaurant 0.1 km

    Our guests' ratings...

    Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests


    Another i-escape triumph! The camp is stunning, service second to none but non-intrusive & friendly. The safaris are brilliant & wildlife epic. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there – even the night in the Sleep Out with a wild African storm raging for 7 hours around us! The private flight in is great & worth the effort, something a bit special & worth the money. We dashed through the airport having landed from Cape Town, onto our little aircraft with the professional but lovely pilot, saw elephants drinking at watering holes as we flew to Garonga, plus got a good feel for the vastness of the plain & mountains in the area. The Sleep Out option is a once in a lifetime option which is worth doing, waking up at dawn to toads, bird song & zebras coming down to the watering hole beneath you whilst the warm African breeze ruffles your skin is magical. The hot food & drinks provided are lovely & the personal drive out with a guide is really interesting too – all in all an epic experience with memories to last a lifetime – even with a wild African electric storm raging all around us for most of the time we were there!


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