Klaserie Sands River Camp is the perfect place to stay if you want to have the ultimate luxury safari experience in South Africa. From the moment we arrive and they ask for our car keys to put our luggage in our room, to the warm farewell by the team when we sadly have to leave two days later. We’re enjoying every second of our stay.
Klaserie: Part of the Greater Kruger National Park
Klaserie is a private game reserve that’s part of the Greater Kruger area. Even though the land of the private game reserves have different owners, they’ve agreed that it’s in the interest of the animals to keep the area open – without fences – so they can move around freely. Not only great for the animals, but also for us as this means you’ll find the same animals (Big 5) here as you will in Kruger National Park.
I’ve been on safaris before, in Tanzania and Namibia, and both times it was far from luxurious. We slept in tents, had showers with cold water, and we cooked our own food (or at least helped to prepare it). We would make fun of those people that were staying at luxury safari lodges with private chefs, because our experience was so (!) much more authentic…
When it comes to the actual safari and seeing animals in the wild, it doesn’t really matter whether you choose the luxury or budget option. The animals don’t care. What’s most important is that you have an experienced guide and a ‘tracker’ who can spot any animal from a distance and knows where to find them.
Staying at a Luxury Safari Lodge
But for our accomodation, I really want to treat myself this time. We’re not traveling this luxurious all the time in South Africa, but I love the idea of not having to think about anything for three days.
And it’s true, at Klaserie Sands River Camp we really don’t have to think about a thing. Everything is included in the price, the meals and the game drives, and there’s an itinerary so you know what time to be ready for the game drives and breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Our room – or I should say ‘guest suite’ – is beautiful. There’s one king-size bed when we arrive, but they proactively ask if we would prefer two beds – which we do – and when we return from lunch they’ve already turned it into two beds. The bed is super comfy, the bathroom is big and has a fantastic hot shower, and we have a private deck overlooking the dry riverbed. I’ve been told that elephants sometimes walk along these river banks. We don’t see them here during our stay, but we do spot an impala and many birds.
Sunrise and Sunset Game Drive at Klaserie
Every day you go on two game drives that each take around 3 hours. The one in the morning (before breakfast) means a very early wake-up call – at 5.45am – but it’s so worth it. I can never get enough of safaris and looking for wild animals.
When there’s enough time we stop for tea and coffee, but our number one priority is seeing the animals so we all gladly skip our coffee break if that means we get to see rhinos or leopards.
The second one leaves at 3.30pm which means that not only you get to see a spectacular sunset, but by the time we’re approaching the camp it’s also completely dark. At one point we stop the car in the middle of the road to look up and admire the stars. It’s incredible and it makes me feel very, very small.
Klaserie Sands River Camp’s Amazing Team
I mentioned before the importance of a good guide when you’re going on a game drive, and the ones at Klaserie Sands River Camp are the best. Chris drives us around on the first afternoon and morning drive, and then Noelle takes over for the next drives on day two and three. It’s interesting to see how they each have their own approach and will tell you different things, but they’re both amazing and know so much.
But if possible, we’re even more impressed with Caswell, an experienced tracker who’s sitting on the front of the car to spot animal tracks in the sand so he knows which direction to go.
Even though you almost never see any other cars, the guides stay in touch and share tips via the radio. They are all determined to find the most interesting animals. Even if that means driving for almost an hour to see a rhino family or two leopards that are enjoying a freshly killed impala. That’s what makes safaris so exciting. You never know if you’re going to find any animals, but when you do it’s the best thing ever.
What I love about Klaserie Sands River Camp is how personal and friendly their approach to everything is. When we’re having our first lunch, the chef comes to introduce himself, and we also know the rest of the team by name. And because there are only four suites in total, you’ll quickly get to know the other guests as well.
When we return from our sunset safari, the team greets us with wet towels to freshen up our face and hands, and a warm drink. I want to say it was hot chocolate, but I’m pretty sure there was alcohol in it…
After that we all sit down at one long table for a delicious dinner with Chris (our guide) joining us. The next evening we have our own table. This way you get to have nice conversations with the other guests without spending every meal together. Smart thinking.
I’m enjoying my stay at Klaserie Sands River Camp so much that I wish we could stay here an entire week. Yes, the itinerary would pretty much be the same every day but since each game drive is different it wouldn’t feel like that. When we started planning our South Africa trip and came across this safari camp, we hoped it would be worth it and just as beautiful and interesting as it looked. And it absolutely is.
I don’t mind doing the whole tent, cold shower and simple food safari experience again in other countries, but next time I’m in the Kruger area, I want to stay at Klaserie Sands River Camp again for another ultimate luxury safari experience.