Overview – Balule NR

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

Philip is the author of the Bradt and Insight guides to South Africa.

A patchwork of private properties that combined into one nature reserve in the 1990s, Balule now shares an open border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park and is part of the same ecosystem. All major safari animals are present, and game drives are conducted in open safari-vehicles, which can go off-road to get the best possible experience.

Best Time to Go May to September (Dry season)
High Season October to March (Not overly crowded)
Size 350km² / 135mi²
Altitude 500m / 1,640ft

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing with all of the Big Five present
  • Part of the vast Greater Kruger ecosystem
  • Game drives, night drives and walking safaris available
  • Several accommodation options to choose from
  • Expensive packages and no self-drive option
  • Some properties are small and cluttered with man-made constructions

Balule NR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

Balule offers an authentic wildlife experience. All safari animals are present and are able to wander between the property and neighboring Kruger. A large concentration of giraffe, waterbuck and wildebeest attracts predators in great numbers. Large herds of buffalo and elephant often roam the area.

Scenery

The main habitats in the parks are savannah woodland and grassland. Scenic highlights are the perennial Olifants River, which runs through the center of the park, and the Drakensberg escarpment, which forms a dramatic background.

Weather & Climate

In Balule, summer is from October to April – these months are characterized by rain, humidity and heat. Winter, on the other hand, between May and September, tends to be pleasant with milder conditions and little rainfall. At this time of year, the mercury drops at night, so you may need an extra blanket on your bed.

Best Time to Visit

Wildlife watching is at its best in Balule throughout the Dry season (May to September) with conditions peaking in September, as the days warm up. This is also the low season for tourism, except during school holidays when many locals head to the parks. Vegetation is green and lush in the Wet season (from October to April), but this makes spotting animals more difficult.

Want to Visit Balule NR?

Balule NR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Important Member of a Vast Unfenced Ecosystem
4/5

I have mixed feelings about Balule. As part of the cluster of private reserves that shares open boundaries with Kruger National Park, it is an important component in one of Africa’s vastest unfenced ecosystems. This system extends for...

Latest User Review
D Coetzee  –  
South Africa ZA
Reviewed: Aug 3, 2020
Hunting atrocities at Balule
1/5

Please be aware that Balule not only offers hunting, but has been involved in a number of controversies, including the killing of a young elephant by two (apparently drunk) tourists - 13 shots, 15 minutes of crying torture for the animal: ...

Full Review