Honeyguide Tented Safari Camps

Manyeleti Game Reserve, Kruger & Around, South Africa Book from Book from £322 per night

Excellent game and walking safaris at a pair of good value and authentic tented camps
Manyeleti Game Reserve is a 23,000-hectare concession bordering South Africa's famous Kruger National Park. It's prime 'Big 5' country, and because it's private, there are only a handful of jeeps on the prowl at any time. Sightings of lions, buffalo and elephants are near certain, birdlife is rich and colourful, and the guides are extremely knowledgeable. Sightings of other humans, however, are extremely rare.

That's because there are only 3 camps in the reserve, 2 of which are run by Honeyguide. They offer simple but elegant accommodation, one more colonial in style, the other more contemporary. The food is plentiful and tasty, and there's a plunge pool to cool off in between your 2 daily game drives. Or you can take a walking safari - there’s nothing like an encounter with an elephant or lion on foot to get the adrenaline pumping! This is a place to really experience life in the bush, while enjoying comfortable accommodation.

Highs

  • Some of the best game drives and close-up animal sightings in South Africa, without the crowds, yet still affordable
  • Experienced, knowledgeable and friendly rangers
  • The thrill of watching elephants stroll past the tent and drink from the swimming pool - the reserve and camps are unfenced so animals roam freely
  • Authentic bush camp experience - Mantobeni Camp feels especially close to nature - it speaks of wild animals and dark nights
  • Khoka Moya Camp is more stylish with larger tents and welcomes children of all ages (most camps don't)

Lows

  • Communal dining may be too much if you’ve come for a romantic break, but most enjoy the sociable vibe
  • Solar-powered lamps don’t last all night!
  • Don't expect 5-star luxury - the communal areas and tents are more modest than our other recommended safari lodges in the Kruger
  • Tents can get rather hot in summer (but there are fans) and cold on winter nights (but electric blankets are provided)
  • Watch out for cheeky monkeys around your tent

Best time to go

The camp is open to visitors all 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. But it does get cold at night and during the morning game drive, so pack accordingly. For birdwatching, summer (December-March) is best: the rivers are full, the bushveld is lush, and there is no shortage of materials for food, nesting and hiding. This is prime holiday season in South Africa, but it can get seriously hot. 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.

Our top tips

This is a malaria region and precautions need to be adhered to in the summer months in particular. Consult your doctor well in advance about malaria tablets.

In winter (May-October), you’ll need to wrap up warm for the game drives: fleeces, waterproof jackets lots of layers and a hat or scarf. In summer, you’ll need plenty of insect repellent and light neutral cotton clothing.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
  • Safari Camp
  • 30 luxury Tents
  • All meals included
  • All ages welcome in Khoka Moya camp
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are 2 camps at Honeyguide, each with 15 fixed ensuite tents and a large reception building with a bar, a pool and indoor-outdoor dining areas. But they are quite different in style, so you should specify your preference when booking.

Khoka Moya Camp has a simple communal area made from corrugated iron, recalling the pioneer-dwellings of the early gold prospectors. Outside lies a pool set amidst lush lawns, and 15 large, contemporary styled tents. Each has polished concrete flooring, canopied double or twin beds (with cotton sheets and down duvets), a large daybed, a writing desk and a fan. Behind a screen is a good-sized 'wet-room' with twin showers, twin basins and a flush-toilet. There's plenty of space - each tent is 10 x 5m; and plenty of privacy - the doors and window flaps roll down at night. Khoka Moya Camp welcomes children of all ages, and the tents can comfortably accommodate families of 4, all protected with mosquito nets.

Mantobeni Camp is more of a remote bush camp, set in a grove of tamboti trees. Its smaller tents are set on a wooden platform, with roll-up canvas walls and a runaround terrace, making for a very close-to-nature feel. The nearby waterhole means you can often see elephants from your room. Leather sofas, a single standard lamp and a stone-built bathtub create a pioneering, colonial atmosphere. The main building, on the other hand, is a decidedly modernist and boxy affair, with earth-coloured walls and columns built around the teak-decked dining area and the narrow pool.

All electricity is locally generated. There are fans in summer, and electric blankets in winter.

Features include:

  • Fan
  • Mosquito net
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Dining at both camps is a communal affair, usually served outdoors at a long table, with log fires and torches to create a really authentic bush feel. Simple homemade dishes, using predominantly local produce, are plentiful and appetising.

The day starts early at 5.30am with tea or coffee and rusks served in bed - and heralded by Honeyguide's famous dawn drumbeat - before the early morning safari drive. On your return, a large breakfast follows with a choice of cereals, fruit and a traditional cooked breakfast. Lunch is a light 3-course meal, served around 2pm. Dinner is usually served about 7.30pm - after an afternoon/evening game drive to see the sunset or nocturnal animals. It's another 3-course affair served communally with the other guests and rangers around the boma (fenced-in campfire), accompanied by the seductive sounds of the African night. There is a well-stocked bar with an excellent wine selection, stored in a temperature-controlled cellar.

After dinner, the camp staff escort guests back to their rooms.

Features include:

  • All meals included
  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children's meals
  • Communal dining
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Guests are taken on game drives in open game viewing vehicles in the early morning usually from 6 - 9am and late afternoon/evening from 4 - 7pm. During or after the morning drive, you can also go on foot (with the guidance of an armed ranger). Late afternoon drives include sunset drinks, views over the Mohwareng Hills, and glimpses of nocturnal creatures. Larger game frequently sighted in the reserve includes elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, buffalo and hippo. There's a high chance of seeing the 'Big 5' within the first couple of drives.

  • In between meals and drives, watch the game and birdlife pass by while relaxing by the pool

  • Or take a walking safari through the deep bush, accompanied by an experienced, armed ranger; it can be hot work, but it's very exciting - seeing the animals from a vehicle just doesn't compare

  • Group tours are available to the nearby village of Welverdiend, where guests will learn about the relationship between traditional and contemporary living

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Safaris
  • Wildlife

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome at Khoka Moya and there are special activities for little ones such as beading, educational walks etc. They can share accommodation with their parents - the tents are very spacious and extra beds are available on request. Children under the age of 12 pay 50% of the adult rate; children under the age of 2 stay free of charge.

Mantobeni is reserved for guests over 12 years old, as it is that bit 'closer to nature'.

Note that this is a malarial region especially in summer.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

At Khoka Moya Camp the tents are 60 sqm and can all comfortably accommodate families of 4, all protected with mosquito nets.

Babysitting:

Babysitting can be arranged at Khoka Moya Camp for a supplement

Children's meals:

Khoka Moya Camp can provide alternative dishes for children such as pasta, fish fingers, hamburgers, hotdogs and ice-cream.

Kids Activities on site:

At Khoka Moya Camp

For younger children: colouring-in, bead-making and cookie-making in the kitchen overseen by camp staff. The children will also receive a Junior Safari activity book.

For older children: treasure hunts or short guided walks around the circumference of the property to take in the small wonders of the bush and they can make plaster of Paris moulds of animal tracks.

Children of all ages are welcome to go on game drives with their parents. Note the full bush walks are strictly 16 years and older, but parents can arrange for younger children to do the junior bush walk around the camp perimeter.

Kid Friendly:

Location

The Honeyguide camps are located within the Manyeleti Game Reserve, which sits between the Timbavati and Sabi Sands Game Reserves, bordering the western side of the Kruger National Park. It's a 5-6 hr drive by road from Johannesburg. We recommend flying direct from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Hoedspruit, the nearest airport, from where it is a 1 hr road transfer to the camps.

By Air
Johannesburg International is the closest international airport. Hoedspruit is the nearest domestic airport (65km/1hr drive from the camp) which is served with daily direct scheduled flights from Johannesburg (1hr) and Cape Town (2hrs 20 mins). Other small airports nearby are Nelspruit (also direct flights from Jo'burb and Cape Town), Skukuza and Phalaborwa, but these are further from Honeyguide. Honeyguide has a light aircraft and airstrip for private charter.

From the Airport
Ground transfers from the airports can be arranged by Honeyguide on request.

By Car
There is an excellent tar road from Johannesburg (5-6 hr drive) that leads you to Manyeleti. The last 6 kilometres inside the Manyeleti Reserve are untarred but can be driven in a regular 2x4 vehicle. For car hire see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through
i-escape.com

More on getting to South Africa and getting around

Airports:

  • Johannesburg Oliver Reginald Tambo International 390.0 km JNB
  • Hoedspruit 65.0 km HDS

Other:

  • Beach 200.0 km
  • Shops 50.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
7/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
8/10
Overall

Overall, a truly wonderful stay. Staying in the bush, with our tent overlooking the waterhole where buffalos, elephants, impalas etc would wander freely is an experience never to be forgotten. Great game drives and highly experiences guides who are really committed to their work and motivated to make you make the most of your time there. Not a place for foodies, but nonetheless enjoyable. Nature reigns here: and that is all that matters. Thanks Twice, you've been the most amazing guide ever!!

7/10,

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