Spreading over a vast area just west of Kruger is a string of private reserves that offer some of Africa's most compelling safari viewing – they offer the best of Kruger without the crowds. The Big Five-plus populations roaming these protected areas are no different from those in the park – in fact, there is no fence or physical boundary separating the main reserves – Sabi Sand, Manyeleti and Timbavati – from Kruger itself.
What makes the biggest difference to the wildlife-viewing experience here is the level of guiding, the ability of safari vehicles to go off road, and the exclusivity of walking and driving activities. This all comes at a price, of course, as you must stay in one of the exclusive lodges to gain access. But if your budget permits, consider a night or two at the end of your stay in Kruger.