Klaserie Private Game Reserve

A lone elephant pauses to drink from a waterhole in Klaserie.

Klaserie Private Game Reserve is one of the beautiful wild extensions of the Greater Kruger Park.

Size:
600 km2
Established:
1972
Province:
Limpopo
Special Specie:
White lion
Wildlife initiative:
Ground hornbill project

Introduction

The Klaserie Private Game Reserve forms part of the greater Kruger National Park and consists of a group of farms that comprise some 60 000 hectares, which makes it one of the biggest privately-owned nature reserves in Southern Africa. Klaserie operates within the full spectrum of nature conservation and is entirely non-governmental. The reserve hosts various commercial operations such as bush camps, walking trails and luxury lodges.

The Klaserie Private Game Reserve is home to a small handful of lodges, some that cater specifically to walking safaris in the wilderness of the Greater Kruger National Park. Being the least developed of the reserves that fringe on the national park, Klaserie offers quite an authentic South African safari experience. Less feet and cars traversing the reserve ensures that the area is kept pristine and truly wild.

Reasons to Visit

1

Bountiful Birding

Klaserie is an excellent place for birders, and many well-known and rare species of the Greater Kruger frequent the area. It is, however, special for its conservation of the Ground Hornbill. The Ground Hornbill Initiative makes an effort to gain more insight about this vulnerable species. Guests will enjoy great sightings of this peculiar birds while on safari.

2

Put Foot

One of the best and most thrilling ways to go on safari is by means of a guided bush walk. The walks are both informative and adrenalin-charged - if done correctly. At Klaserie Private Game Reserve, it is done a 100% correctly, especially considering that the area is in a Big Five zone.

3

Exclusivity

Ever wonder what it would be like to have the Kruger National Park to yourself? Klaserie comes very close. Although there are other guests, you will never see queues of cars, or wait in long lines to visit a communal bathroom. Here you can combine the luxury of exclusivity with the all-encompassing fauna and flora of the Kruger.

Useful Info

Getting There
Plane

By Air

Klaserie Private Game Reserve is located in the Greater Kruger. Upon arrival at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, guests will be assisted in transferring to a flight to the Eastgate Airport situated right outside Hoedspruit in the Limpopo province. The flight duration is approximately one hour and is definitely the best way to travel compared to the busy city roads.

Car

By Road

Klaserie Private Game Reserve is under five hours from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, and guests will be driven to the park in a private, air-conditioned vehicle. This is a wonderful opportunity to acquaint yourself with the landscape and to start exercising your eyesight to focus on scouting for animals.

Weather & Best Time To Visit

Klaserie is situated in a sub-tropical region and therefore very hot and humid temperatures can be expected from spring to summer. It is also during this time (October to March) that the park receives its annual rains and thunderstorms are known to frequently occur in the area, which can influence outdoor activities in the afternoons especially.

The winters are dry, and the days are warm and bright. Additionally, the animals tend to flock to the water sources during the dry season which makes for easier wildlife spotting. The temperatures can drop in the evenings, and early morning drives are quiet cool, but not at all unbearable. If you are planning a safari, the winter months (April - September) are the best time to visit.

History
The Kruger National Park, one of the premier nature reserves in the world, was proclaimed in 1926. Until that time, the concept of a “nature reserve” was an odd, novel idea. Most game farms were used for hunting and conservation was virtually unknown. The park's proclamation, however, brought about a change in thinking and attitudes and, in the area to the west of Kruger, private nature reserves began to take form.

A group of friends led by Paul Mouton and Daan du Preez started buying up farmland in the Klaserie area. In 1969, the idea was mooted to form a private game reserve on both sides of the Klaserie River. Convincing all the landowners in the Klaserie area to buy into the idea was no easy feat, and a lot of meetings were held between owners, farmers and conservationists. Eventually, despite all the problems and negotiations, the Klaserie Private Game Reserve was formed.

The first game ranger for Klaserie was Van Reenen Van Vuuren and he took up his post on 1 March 1970. Poachers were very active at this time, and the ranger made it his primary duty to stem the tide. His first success was the arrest of two poachers in Germiston for the poaching of 23 impala, one giraffe, one kudu and one wildebeest. The poachers received a fine and weapons and a vehicle were confiscated. Through careful management, the reserve is well-stocked with at least three breeding buffalo herds as well as a large collection of other animal and bird species.

Wildlife

Klaserie Private Nature Reserve forms part of the Greater Kruger area, thus offering a classic wildlife experience. The aim of the reserve is to provide the animals with pristine natural ecosystems with as little as possible human influence. Klaserie is the perfect place to go for your first game drive, as it contains all of the Big Five. Even though sightings can never be guaranteed, guests will certainly hear the bush come alive at night. Nocturnal species will provide you with a bushveld orchestra.  The thundering roar of a male lion will send shivers down your spine. Hyena and jackal calls will fill the air and the grunt of a leopard also surprises ever so often.

Day time activities never disappoint.  Watchful warthogs sprint through the bush alongside a vast array of antelope species, ranging from small steenbok to majestic kudu. The picturesque giraffe is spotted frequently. Rare and endangered white rhinos occur. Elephant and hippopotamus are plentiful, and one has to keep an eye out for baboons that will steal unattended food. With enough patience or luck, there is a chance of encountering lion, leopard, cheetah or hyena. Birdwatchers will not be disappointed, as rollers are around in season, fish eagles can often be seen and the reserve contains and protects the ground hornbill.

Vegetation & Terrain
The Klaserie Private Game Reserve forms part of the greater Kruger National Park and as such shares in the genetic make-up of the area, from flora to fauna. The Olifants River forms the northern border of the reserve, while the Klaserie River runs south to north through the middle.

Klaserie lies to the west of Kruger and somewhat south, which means that the area consists of the savanna biome. Savanna comprises grassland with tough and hardy grass types and the occasional clump of trees. These trees are usually various species of acacia, such as the knob thorn, the Delagoa thorn and various others. Marula trees, wild teak, scented thorn, red thorn and umbrella thorn can be found in the savanna.

Bird life is plentiful, especially around waterholes and the trees of the savanna. There are many species of vulture, as well as eagle. Ground hornbills are the subject of another study and sightings of these birds can be arranged with any one of the rangers.

Activities

If you love the wildlife diversity offered by the Kruger National Park, but you dislike the queues and the full lodges, Klaserie is perfect. The reserve is isolated from the overflowing visitors that frequent the national park and larger reserves, but the animals migrate freely across the fenceless borders. Expertly guided game drives and bush walks are offered daily and are sure to be the highlights of your visit to the reserve. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and passionate. Klaserie is well-known for its Eco Children organization, which educate children from the local community on conservation.

Another ongoing research and conservation effort that guests can become more acquainted with at the reserve is the Ground Hornbill Project. The ground hornbills have been elevated to endangered species status. Klaserie is also a wonderful place to enjoy the tranquility of the African bushveld, and guests at the Gomo Gomo Game Lodge can enjoy a relaxing dip in the pool or peacefully enjoy the surrounds from their private patios. In the evenings, visitors can enjoy a comforting bushveld fire in the boma whilst listening to the various nocturnal bush noises. The starlit skies are similarly beautiful to behold.    

Experiences to be Savored

A herd of elephants cross the savanna of Klaserie after enjoying a dip.

What was that?

Klaserie is surprisingly quiet at night - in terms of human activities, that is! - which means that you can listen intently to the nocturnal wildlife as they start their nightly undertakings, which often includes hunting. The roars of lions tend to send shivers down your spine.

Calm and cool down

The reserve is not only quiet at night. The private setting and the exclusivity of the reserve means that you can really take some time for yourself – take a stroll, or relax on the patio and indulge in an invigorating swim.

Elephant Project

The long-term strategy to conserve elephants at Klaserie has resulted in more than a decade of knowledge that guides transfer to guests. If you are interested in learning more about these majestic animals, Klaserie is the perfect environment to do so.

FAQ

Is the reserve vulnerable to rhino poaching?
Unfortunately yes, as is the case in all South Africa's national parks that host rhinos.
Is there an airport nearby?
The closest airport is Eastgate Airport, which is roughly a 40 minute drive from Klaserie.
What safari activities are available?
Guests at Klaserie can enjoy bush walks and two game drives on a daily basis - in the early morning and late afternoon.
How can I contribute to the Eco-Children initiative?
Donations can be made to the Kit-a-Kid and Santa Shoe Box initiatives.
Why aren’t there fences between the Klaserie reserve and the Kruger National Park?
The lack of fencing between the two allows for the natural migration of the animals.
How hot does it get?
In summer the average day is about 30°C, and in winter the temperature averages 23°C.
Can you swim in the river?
Swimming in the river is not allowed, but there are swimming pools available at the lodges to cool down.

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