The Ngala Private Game Reserve covers 14,700 pristine, game-rich hectares between the Timbavati Nature Reserve and world-renowned Kruger National Park, one of the largest national parks in the world. There aren’t fences on Ngala’s borders, so spectacular wildlife populations – including herds of buffalo, endangered wild dogs, lofty giraffes, near threatened white rhinos and spotted hyenas – have lots of freedom to roam. It’s a fantastic place to catch sight of the “big five” game animals: lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants and buffaloes. In the local language, Shangaan, the reserve’s name even means “place of the lion”!
The private game reserve was the first to be incorporated into Kruger National Park. As a private concession, Ngala offers exclusive access to rolling hills and flat woodlands teeming with wildlife. Without other vehicles clogging up the dirt roads, it’s not hard to imagine the vast African wilderness as your own private escape. The game reserve offers an intimate wildlife experience, complete with game drives led by knowledgeable rangers and expert tracker teams.
Guests at Ngala have plenty of options for exploring the wilderness, including safaris on-foot and guided walks in the bush. Ngala also offers off-road game drives, using techniques which are mindful of the environment, giving guests a more up-close-and-personal experience in the wilderness. After sundown, guests can take night drives and marvel at the glamour of the star-strewn skies while listening for the rumbling cries of bush babies. Ngala’s size and its abundance of diverse wildlife makes every single game drive unique and exciting.
Guests can choose between two areas to stay at Ngala, each of which was designed to blend seamlessly into the glory of the wilderness. Paired with the perpetual calls and rustles of the local wildlife, the areas create a dreamy atmosphere ideal for relaxation in nature.
The Ngala Safari Lodge is an especially good choice for families, with three family cottages and a family suite. The lodge hosts the WILDChild programme, which gives kids a unique, memorable and educational experience to add to their adventures in Africa.
Chic and cosy, the Ngala Tented Camp is perfect for an escape into the African wilderness. Cleverly tucked into forest on the banks of a seasonal river, the camp includes nine deluxe, tented suites.
For an additional fee, the Ngala Treehouse is a romantic option for couples looking to get away from the daily grind. The elegant treehouse is private and luxurious, built on an elevated and safe platform.
A portion of Ngala’s fees and profits are paid to the National Parks Trust to fund conservation projects throughout South Africa. The arrangement is part of the annual lease, one of Africa’s most innovative conservation partnership agreements.
In the Kruger National Park
Access to the lodge:
Daily Airlink flights from Johannesburg airport (JNB) and Nelspruit airport (NLP) to Ngala Private Game Reserve airport, followed by and easy drive to the camp/lodge.
Daily SA Express flights from Cape Town to Hoedspruit Airport, followed by a two-hour road transfer.
A six-hour drive from Johannesburg airport on good roads in a two-wheel-drive vehicle
Summer (October – April)
Min 24°C/75°F Max 32°C/90°F
Winter (May – September)
Min 8°C/46°F Max 23°C/73°F
Perfect for year round travel. The hot, lush summer is perfect for baby animals and birds, while in winter the cooler days and cold nights thin the bush for all-round game viewing.
The charm and elegance of the classic safari experience shine at the timeless Ngala Safari Lodge. Set in the wilds of South Africa, surrounded by the beauty of the Ngala Private Game Reserve, the lodge combines vintage safari memorabilia with refined modern comfort to create a warm and inviting ambiance. Spacious accommodations and activities, like Ngala’s WILDChild programme, make the lodge an especially good choice for families eager to explore the African wilderness.
A refreshing, rim-flow pool edges part of the lodge. On the nearby wood deck, cosy, cushioned chairs make for a comfortable spot to rest or to watch for other visitors to Ngala. Herds of elephants can often be spotted grazing nearby. Hundreds of species of birds flock to the indigenous mopane and tamboti trees that rise from the land.
You can choose to stay at any of the lodge’s 20 thatched cottages, including three just for families. Each classic and timeless suite, nestled under the shady trees, has floor-to-ceiling windows, a private veranda, an ensuite bathroom and air conditioning. Meals are held in the elegant courtyard, under the light of charming glass lanterns, or in a traditional open-air boma. The lodge also has a spacious family suite that has room for four guests and includes the use of a private swimming pool and a private vehicle.
Visit the massage sala on days when you most need to unwind – or days when you most want to pamper yourself. Two game drives leave daily from the lodge, providing ideal opportunities to spot the “big five” game animals. Get close and personal with the local wildlife on interactive bush walks led by experienced rangers or by learning how to track animals with the help of an expert. The lodge provides endless ways to explore Africa’s quintessential allure.
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Thoughtfully built to minimise its impact on the environment, the Ngala Tented Camp brings the romance of canvas together with modern sophistication. The camp provides a tranquil escape while blending into vibrant forest on the banks of the seasonal Timbavati River. Polished wood porches overlook the sandy riverbed and the game-rich woodlands beyond, lit at night by flickering lanterns that only add to the dreamy atmosphere.
At the camp, you can stay at any of nine luxurious, tented suites. Each is built onto a raised platform and includes an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, an outdoor shower and a private wooden deck. Surrounded by dense forest, the suites are fitted with large screen windows which allow in fresh breezes and the unmistakable sounds of the African wilderness.
A sparkling rim-flow pool echoes the contours of the Timbavati River, beside which sit adjustable, padded lounge chairs to create the perfect spot for afternoon game watching. From the camp you can join any of two daily game drives, each complete with intimate wildlife encounters in the stunning Ngala Private Game Reserve. Spend your mornings exploring the untamed beauty of the African bush with walks led by experienced rangers before indulging in some rejuvenating relaxation in the camp’s massage sala. Whether you’re looking for a restful holiday or an escapade in Africa’s wilds, the Ngala Tented Camp creates a perfect environment for something out of the ordinary.
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Set off on a romantic adventure unlike any other at the Ngala Treehouse, a secluded but safe suite far from WiFi access and artificial light. The elegant treehouse spreads over two sleeping levels in the picturesque beauty of the Ngala Private Game Reserve. A night spent at the off-the-grid suite is the perfect add-on experience to turn a holiday into a getaway.
Enjoy a restful night in the treehouse’s elevated sleep-out platform, watching the incredible blanket of stars overhead. Listen to the chittering wildlife during a picnic high amongst the lush green trees and relish in the the lavish comfort of this private, exclusive haven.
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Location, Location, Location. The game reserve sits on unspoiled, unfenced land between Kruger National Park, South Africa’s largest wildlife sanctuary, and Timbavati Game Reserve.
Family safaris. At the Ngala Safari Lodge, kids can participate in the WILDChild programme to learn about local wildlife and culture during an unforgettable experience in the bush.
Iconic Wildlife Viewing. A lot of animals call Ngala home. Must-see staples include lumbering herds of elephant and buffalo, sky-scraping giraffes and powerful big cats.
Private Concession. As a private concession, the Ngala Private Game Reserve offers exclusive access to the more than 14,000 hectares (36,000 acres) of land it spreads over.
Intimate Romance. Accommodations at the Ngala Game Reserve are thoughtfully weaved into the tranquil beauty of the African bush, creating a romantic and dreamy ambiance.
Treehouse sleepout. Stay at the luxurious and private Ngala Treehouse for unparalleled, romantic views of the countless stars that hang over the African bush.
Guests at the Ngala Private Game Reserve can stay in one of the romantic and sophisticated tented suites of the Ngala Tented Camp or in one of the classic thatched cottages at the Ngala Safari Lodge. Spaces are limited, so the earlier we start planning your trip, the better. The ideal time to start organizing your safari is six to eight months before your planned departure date – especially if you want to travel during peak seasons, including around school holidays.