Overview – Makalali GR

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Bradt and Insight guide to South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and is the author many Africa guidebooks, including the Bradt and Insight guide 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.

Makalali is a fenced, private game reserve with two luxury lodges. The newly-built 4-star Main Lodge consists of 30 comfortable rooms and the 5-star River Lodge consists of 3 exclusive private camps of six luxury suites each. Both lodges are renowned for their fine dining and excellent service. Due to the closed environment, wildlife viewing tends to be predictable, and all of the Big Five and other safari animals are easily spotted. Aside from game drives, and short walking safaris, balloon safaris are offered as well.

Best Time to Go May to September (Dry season)
High Season October to March (Rarely crowded)
Size 260km² / 100mi²
Altitude 500m / 1,640ft (approx.)

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing with all of the Big Five present
  • Day and night drives and walking safaris available
  • Balloon safaris available
  • Cheetah breeding project
  • Off-road driving in open safari vehicles
  • Two stylish lodges offering great service and food
  • Expensive packages and no self-drive option
  • Less authentic experience than in bigger ecosystems

Makalali GR Safari Reviews

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

Wildlife

Makalali boasts the Big Five and other wildlife including cheetah, wild dog, greater kudu, zebra and giraffe. Because of the small fenced area, numbers of any species are limited, and sightings become predictable, especially if your stay is longer than a few days.

Scenery

The main habitats in the parks are savannah woodland and grassland. The lodge is situated on the banks of the Makhitswi River and boasts great views of the Drakensberg escarpment.

Weather & Climate

During winter (May-September), temperatures hover between 25°C/77°F and 28°C/82°F on average during the daytime. It is generally dry. Remember to bring a warm jacket for chilly early morning game drives. The rain sweeps through in summer (October-April) when temperatures soar, and the humidity means moving around too much outside becomes unpleasant.

Best Time to Visit

The prime time for spotting wildlife in Makalali is from May to September, as climatic conditions are far more pleasant. Also, the vegetation thins, so smaller animals are more easily seen. This coincides with the off-season, so you may get a better rate at one of the two fancy lodges in the reserve.

Want to Visit Makalali GR?

Makalali GR Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Canned game viewing
3/5

I can’t say that I liked Makalali much. Taken on its own terms, it is a great set-up. The accommodation, in spacious bush camps overlooking a waterhole, is superb, as is the food and wine and you are almost certain to see all the Big...

Latest User Review
Awesome expirience! One of the most amazing momentos of my life
5/5

All was excellent, You will see the Big 5 here.
All people on Makalali was very kind.