MANYELETI GAME RESERVE
Meaning "PLACE OF THE STARS" in Shangaan, this large private reserve of around 200 square kilometres borders the main park between the prime Timbavati and Sabi Sand reserves and forms part of the western boundary of the greater Kruger area, with no fences between here and the Mozambique border.
The landscape here is the a mix of undulating hills and thick thorn-scrub, modest open grasslands and seasonal rivers. Although the animals are free to migrate in and out, wildlife viewing is very reliable all year. With just five lodges and camps, Manyeleti has a very low lodge density and hence has very low vehicle levels.
Manyeleti is prime “Big Five” territory, offering excellent possibilities elusive leopard-viewing. Other Big Five animals (lion, rhino, buffalo and elephant), plus the loping giraffe, zebra, waterbuck and other antelope abound, and cheetah are also regulars. With over 300 recorded species of birds, it’s pretty good for a bit of twitching too.
Some pros and cons
The chances of seeing large predators are a bit lower compared to the Sabi Sand and Timbavati Game Reserves, as there is less water in Manyeleti. However, the flip side is it is even quieter in terms of visitor numbers.
Tourism in general is less well developed in Manyeleti, and the reason can be found in the dark history of South Africa. In the apartheid years Manyeleti was the only game reserve where non-whites were welcome. The Kruger National Park was inaccessible for them at that time. In all those years the government only invested very little money in the area's development: ironically Manyeleti now is picking the fruits when you are looking for the ultimate bush experience.
Owned and managed by the local Mnisi tribe, the land is leased out on a concession basis. As there are only five lodges and camps in the reserve, and more than 200 kilometres of gravel roads, you can assume to have to this game reserve almost to yourself.
Please find sample itineraries for the 2 lodges we promote in Manyeleti below, or contact us directly for a bespoke itinerary.
For more same-quality itineraries in the Greater Kruger area and also for some longer Greater Kruger combination itineraries please click on the buttons below, or contact us directly for a bespoke itinerary.