Travel – The Corniche South Africa Special – Part 2 of 4: Safari at Kruger National Park

When most people go on vacation to South Africa, they go on safari. And when people go on a luxury safari to South Africa, most of them visit the area around Kruger National Park.There many private reserves abutting Kruger, and some of these have multiple luxury safari camps within them. The crème de la crème (and our absolute favourite) is Royal Malewane, often considered the world’s single best safari lodge. Malewane features just eight suites and one house, which makes it near impossible to book, especially as it is here that you will find Juan Pinto – without doubt the best guide in South Africa. As director and head ranger, he works with Wilson Masiya, a master tracker with whom he has developed an almost telepathic understanding over the years, making this keen-eyed duo the finest guiding team in Africa. Besides tracking down the big five for the likes of Elton John and Nicolas Sarkozy, Pinto is a hugely talented photographer and speaks four languages: English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Tonga. He’s also the only field guide in South Africa to hold the country’s SKA qualification (Special Knowledge and Skills – Dangerous Game) as well as senior tracker status. All this, plus the ability to wax lyrical about ecology or spell out the grim statistics of rhino poaching while mixing your favourite sundowner cocktail. Again, these are the most desired safari lodgings anywhere, for travelers from all around the world, and more than a year in advance is not too far to book for Christmas break or other peak times. But then again, it’s more than worth both the money and the wait.