Kruger rhino by Heribert Bechen

5 Day Kruger Park Big 5 Safari to Balule Private Game Reserve

Tour Length5 days
Priced from pps $1383 R19811 £1066 1220 A$1914 C$1827 NZ$2050 Full pricing info
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Summary of this Lodge Safari

  • Max. Group Size 10 Travellers
  • Starts & ends in Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Accommodation Safari Lodge
  • Transport Game Viewing - Open 4x4 / Microbus
  • Wildlife Big 5, Elephant, Leopards, Lions, Rhino & More
  •  See Departure Dates

Quick Itinerary Overview

This 5 Day Lodge Safari in Balule Private Game Reserve commences with guest collection at designated departure points in Johannesburg and Pretoria. We then head northeast to Balule, in the Greater Kruger Park, where we will stay for four nights.

With wildlife viewing drives, in 4x4 open safari vehicles in the early morning and late afternoon, you can't get closer to nature than this - except perhaps on a thrilling bush walk taken with an armed, experienced ranger, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of Africa, undisturbed...  These are just two of the exciting experiences waiting for you on this magical safari. Based in Balule Private Game Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger Park, this area is known as prime Big Five territory. There are no fences between the reserve and Kruger National Park, allowing for free movement of wildlife and a more exclusive safari for you. On Day 3 we take a tour of the iconic Kruger National Park as well as a scenic drive on the well-known Panorama Route, renown for its spectacular views.

 We stay in comfortable, en-suite chalets, with private decks overlooking the African bushveldt. All in all this safari promises to be an experience of a lifetime.

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Itinerary for this Tour

Day 1: Johannesburg to Balule Private Game Reserve, Greater Kruger Park - South Africa

After an early morning collection from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, or Persequor Park in Pretoria, we make our way north-east to Hoedspruit and into the Greater Kruger Park.

We arrive at our lodge with time to settle in before afternoon tea and then we set off on our first wildlife viewing drive - an exciting introduction to this beautiful area and Africa's incredible animals and birdlife. Our experienced guides take us in search of the BIg 5 and the many other animals that inhabit this huge landscape made up of private game reserves and Kruger National Park. We stop to marvel at a beautiful African sunset which we toast with our sundowners. Then as darkness falls our afternoon wildlife viewing drive becomes a night drive as we head back to our lodge keeping a lookout for the nocturnal prowlers that are beginning to stir.

A hearty dinner back at the lodge, served in the boma (weather permitting) is enjoyed. Relax around the campfire under the vast African night sky, filled with stars, and listen to the sounds of the night, before heading to bed after a long, memorable day.

Day 2: Balule Private Game Reserve, Greater Kruger Park - South Africa

The day starts early in the bush, as we set our body clocks to gel with the wildlife's start to the day. The wildlife is most active at sunrise, in this cool part of the day, so after coffee and rusks we make for our safari vehicle and head out to watch Africa wake. Our 4x4 safari vehicle is ideal for taking guests off road, into the bushveldt to get close to all the exciting activities. Our rangers are in communication with each other, so if there is an unmissable experience happening the ranger will ensure everyone gets to hear about it. One of the benefits of staying in a private reserve is that the number of lodges and guests accommodated at these lodges is limited, ensuring exclusivity. You won't find hoards of tourists in Balule Private Game Reserve.

Today guests may choose to take a walking safari in the bushveldt accompanied by a trained and armed guide, as well as a Shangaan tracker. You'll be treated to getting as close to nature as possible and seeing, hearing and smelling all its wonders - from the tiniest insects to the fluttering birds to the enormous elephant. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and will teach us about the plants and animals we see on our walk.

As the day heats up, we return to camp and enjoy a big breakfast - wildlife safaris are hungry work! During the heat of midday, we can relax at the lodge, enjoying the scenery and making good use of the swimming pool, before retiring for a siesta.

Afternoon tea is served in the late afternoon before we head off into the bush again in open safari vehicles. Our guides will use their superb skills to ensure the best game-watching experience possible. As the sun sets on Africa, we will enjoy a sundowner out in the bush before getting onto the safari vehicles to enjoy a night drive.

Back at the lodge, we enjoy dinner and the age-old tradition of sitting around the campfire discussing the day's sightings and what's in store for the next day.

Day 3: Balule Private Game Reserve, Greater Kruger Park to Kruger National Park & the Panorama Route - South Africa

Another early start to the day sees us head out to the internationally renown Kruger National Park. This South African icon is revered by all who visit because of its commitment to the environment and the protection of our wildlife. Kruger was established as a national park in 1926, although some areas have been government protected since 1898. Probably the biggest threat to the park and wildlife today is poaching, but measures are continually being adopted to combat this threat to the wildlife.

We spend part of today exploring Kruger National Park, before embarking on a scenic tour of the Panorama Route. Centred around the Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world, this area features many waterfalls and large forested areas. This route is steeped in history, taking in the gold mining town of Pilgrim's Rest, a protected heritage site which dates back to the late 19th century. Percy Fitzpatrick, who penned the popular novel, Jock of the Bushveld, was once a storekeeper in Pilgrim's Rest. General Louis Botha took the Panorama Route when he fled from the English during the Anglo Boer war. The day promises to be a fascinating look at South Africa's spectacular scenery and give some insight into its history. During the day we will break for lunch.

After a long day we return to our lodge, a welcome dinner and tales around the campfire, before making our weary way to bed.

Day 4: Balule Private Game Reserve, Greater Kruger Park - South Africa

Day 4 follows the same pattern as Day 2, although every day in the bush offers some new experience. We take a sunrise game viewing drive or bush walk, followed by breakfast and relaxation. Then it's afternoon tea and out into the bush again to see what may be added to our sightings' list. Dinner and stories around the campfire follow before retiring.

Day 5: Balule Private Game Reserve, Greater Kruger Park to Johannesburg - South Africa

We have an early wake-up call followed by coffee and rusks before our final wildlife viewing drive in this dramatic reserve. We return for breakfast and then its time to say goodbye to Balule and Greater Kruger as we travel back to the designated drop-off points in Pretoria and Johannesburg. We expect to arrive around 17:00 to 19:00.

Please Note:

Pick-up and drop-off are at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg or the Sasol Fuel Station in Persequor Park, Pretoria. For more details and times please enquire. Transport to and from these two designated locations will not be included in the tour price.

Collection times on the first day:

  • 06h45 OR Tambo Bus Terminal Building

Drop off times on the last day:

  • 17h00 - 18h00 OR Tambo Bus Terminal Building

About the Lodge in Balule

Perfectly located on the seasonal Mohlabetsi riverbed in the Balule Private Game Reserve, the lodge is the dream safari destination.

The central lodge has a comfortable lounge with fireplace, shady verandah, sun deck and swimming pool, offering a perfect place to relax, regardless of the weather. Designed to fit into the surroundings, the raised recreational areas allow for spectacular views across the bush.

Meals are served either in the dining room or at the campfire in the traditional boma, under the vast star-scattered African sky.

Accommodation is in fully-equipped luxurious units set far enough apart to ensure your privacy and sense of space. Each one has a bedroom, en-suite bathroom with shower and private patio overlooking the seasonal riverbed.

Balule Private Reserve

Balule is a 40 000 hectare reserve which makes up part of the Greater Kruger National Park. The entire area is unfenced, allowing free flow of the animals. This is prime Big Five territory.

The major advantage of staying in and exploring this area is that it is private and secluded. Unlike the Kruger Park, no day visitors are allowed, meaning that you won't be huddled around a lion kill with a hundred other people in cars. This is the real bush experience, enjoyed in solitude, as it should be.

Pre and Post Tour Lodge Rates:

Please note that we offer convenient pre and post tour lodge accommodation for before and after the Balule Private Game Reserve Lodge Safari, which can be added to your tour booking upon request. The 4-star lodge accommodation is located 10-15 minutes from the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. For information on lodge rates follow the link.

Child Policy

Please note that walking safaris have a minimum age of 16 years' old.

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+Where does the tour go to?
+Included in the Tour Price
  • All meals as per the itinerary
  • Accommodation in twin-bedded units with en-suite bathrooms
  • Wildlife viewing drives
  • Bush walks with professional rangers
  • The scenic Panorama Route
  • Kruger National Park visit
+Not Included in the Tour Price
  • Balule Reserve entrance fee
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips
  • Beverages
+Departure Dates

This tour departs daily with a minimum of 1 guest.

Scheduled Tour Departures
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If you do not see departures listed for your dates, or would like information on potential changes, please do contact us for further info.

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