Balule Nature Reserve

Track Africa's Big 5 in open game viewing vehicles

Balule is a remote natural paradise hidden amongst the hills and valleys Limpopo, the northernmost province of South Africa. Stretching across 45,000 hectares of wilderness, this secluded pocket of bushland and savannah is rich with wildlife, including the famous Big Five.If you’re looking for a really immersive safari experience, Balule Nature Reserve is a brilliant option with only a handful of lodges scattered across its entire expanse. All of the lodges are brimming with local character and charm, guaranteeing you the safari holiday of a lifetime.   

Male giraffe with ox-peckers.Balule shares open borders with Greater Kruger and its neighbouring private reserves, so the animals wander peacefully across the land. The perennial Oliphant River flows through the centre of the reserve, keeping the landscape lush and providing a much-needed water source for the thirsty animals of the region. This makes for wonderful wildlife viewing, with countless hippo wallowing in the streams and giraffes bent double over the waterholes. The bird life in Balule is equally spectacular, with over 260 species of bird common to the branches of the reserve - so keep those binoculars handy!

During your safari at Balule, you’ll venture into the bush at the first light of dawn in search of close encounters with exotic wildlife. The animals are most active at this time of day, before the heat of the African sun starts to sizzle the savanna. After a relaxing break in the middle of the day, you’ll set out again at dusk, the perfect time to catch predators out on the prowl. When night falls, you might even encounter some of the nocturnal residents of Balule, including the civet and the honey badger.

With such a plentiful water supply, the bushland of Balule is beautifully dense and green. This can make wildlife spotting here a little more challenging than other reserves. However, Balule is privately owned land, so the rangers are free to veer off the dirt tracks and venture deep into the bush, adding an extra layer of excitement to the game drives. And, when you do get a glimpse of a pride of lions lazing under a grove of acacia trees, it will be all the more rewarding. It’s all about the thrill of the chase.

The lodges of Balule are sprinkled sparsely across the reserve, so you’ll see few other vehicles on your game drives. This makes a safari here a very exclusive and personal experience. The lodges themselves are superb sanctuaries complete with a full menu of creature comforts and cool, refreshing swimming pools. Each lodge is totally enfolded in the bush, boasting stunning views, delicious cuisine and a real ‘Out of Africa’ atmosphere. 

At Balule Nature Reserve, you can stay in traditional rondavels with a luxury twist, thatched chalets perched along the riverbed or sumptuous suites with four poster beds and private decks. There’s something here to suit every safari taste, so you can’t go far wrong. Whatever style you choose, you’ll be quickly swept up in the magic of the safari lifestyle. The only problem will be dragging yourself away!