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Robin Prastien

Roseland, New Jersey Travel Agent

On Safari in South Africa

One of the most unusual places I’ve ever been was Camp Jabulani. It’s located on a privately-owned game reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa, and it offers a very intimate safari experience.

Skilled rangers offer game rides in four-wheel-drive vehicles, river boats, hot air balloons and elephant rides and on guided bush walks. During my stay, we spotted the big five: lions, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes and elephants and many other animals, and had some really up-close experiences. For example, one night a lion stalked our jeep for a time, which made us feel a bit like we were the hunters being hunted!

The owners, the Roode Family, began the preserve as a way to protect a herd of rescued elephants and they now partner with the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre to protect other species as well. 

The family also worked with the local community to create a sustainable environment where they can work and prosper, growing produce and fruit from indigenous plants while maintaining their own culture. Our guide shared a wealth of information about the local culture. He also was very knowledgeable, not just about the animals but about the trees and the geology of the land itself.

The design of the camp is unique, drawing on local design, materials and construction techniques while providing every modern comfort, including air conditioning and a private plunge pool. Cozy fireplaces and carved wooden statues added to the African ambience. Gourmet meals were beautifully prepared and presented using local game and produce, but Kosher, Halal, and vegetarian meals can also be catered for.

A Relais & Chateaux property, Camp Jabulani has just six suites including a two-bedroom family villa, so everything about your stay, from your meals and spa treatments to your safari experiences, is totally personalized. 

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