Game Lodge Review: Golden Leopard Resorts, South Africa


While we were touring in South Africa we noticed that a few of the game reserves as well as many game lodges were not particularly keen on catering to families with children. It seems a shame that so many unique experiences are not available to the young in our society. They are after all…our future.

We arrived in Cape Town on the 28th of Oct. 2003 and had the priviledge of touring this phenomenal area for an entire month. Leaving the beautiful bay city of Cape Town at the end of November we headed north along the Atlantic seaboard. Each kilometer was more rewarding in scenic and cultural beauty than the previous. The jagged mountains overlooking the glorious harbors made for long delays as we frequently stopped to shoot photos.

Our tours of the historic tribal lands of the Zulu Nation will remain one of my most favored memories and after thoroughly enjoying our tour of this remarkable land with its unforgettable indigenous people, we ventured in the country’s largest city, Johannesburg. We opened two new affiliated offices and spent several months touring the surrounding area. Working closely with the GTA, Gauteng Tourism Association, Gauteng is the province of Johannesburg, we discovered the richness of countless tourist opportunities in the area.

It was on one of our tours of the area that we discovered two very unique resorts and game lodges. Being family orientated, they offer the absolute best vacation and golden opportunity for spending time and sharing adventures with your entire family. Both are about two hours from the city and while they share the same owners, The Golden Leopard Resorts are quite different and separated by about a twenty-minute drive. Both are in an extinct alkaline volcanic crater, one of three in the world, and are located in the Pilanesberg National Park & Wildlife Refuge. Just a few kilometers from the famous Sun City Resort & Casino.

The Pilanesberg national Park was established in 1979 and covers 55 thousand hectares. It is home to thousands of wild animals of various species, including the big five, Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo. The stunning land is covered with rolling hills, mountains, valleys and abundant displays of African flora. The land is a mixture of nourishing grazing pasture, trees, blossoming plants and bush. Saturated with ancient boulders, of all sizes, it bears witness to the incredible power of Mother Nature. The entire photographic scene blends effortlessly into an unforgettable explosion of nature’s ability to create phenomenal panorama.

Both of the resorts, Manyane and Bakgatla, offer the casual or the adventurous outdoors enthusiast superb African accommodation varying from fully furnished self-catering chalets and cabins with a functioning kitchen, large bath, separate bedrooms, television, large patio for cook-outs and the provisions for morning tea or coffee, to outdoor tents. The tents are also varied in size and are suitable for a couple or an entire family. Each with wood floors and indoor amenities. The large grounds of the lodges also offer the ultimate in camping facilities for your privately owned campers or tents…you provide the gear…they provide all the services. Each lodge has well stocked bars, convenience stores for your daily requirements and purchases. With plenty of souvenirs to take home. The lodges have activities for adults and children with bird sanctuaries, miniature golf, hiking trails and large pools to ward off the heat. Both offer stylish restaurants with exquisite cuisine for your dining pleasures.

We enjoyed every moment spent at these lodges and especially the adrenalin pumping adventures through the wild life reserve in open top vehicles. The close encounters with the animals, just as nature intended them, wild and free, will be memories cherished forever. South Africa is an amazing country, rich with wealth beyond description. A magnificent land with diverse culture, a heritage going back to the dawn of time, friendly people, raw beauty in it’s landscape and abundance of breathtaking flora and of course…in its abundant wildlife. The winning combination for an unforgettable vacation adventure, trip or business destination. If this beautiful country is your home…explore it and preserve it. This glorious planet is home to us all and we must learn to appreciate its beauty while understanding its vulnerability. Support the caring people working hard to preserve our natural land and wildlife. When you spend your vacation money in the game reserves, lodges & wildlife parks, you are investing in the survival of our future…

The crew of Traveler’s Digest spent several rewarding days and relaxing nights at these two fine lodges, visiting them at three separate times in the space of two months. Each and every stay was enjoyable and rewarding. Not for a single moment were we ever disappointed in the service received or in our accommodations and certainly not in our provided photographic and rewarding game drives. The expert guides with their amazing knowledge of the bush, animals and the remarkable close encounters with the beasts make this adventure a true African experience, one not to be forgotten. We assure you!

Traveler’s Digest highly recommends these excellent lodges for anyone and everyone. Idea for a romantic interlude, an adventure for the entire family, a gathering for a group of friends or business associates or even just to rejuvenate your own spirit. If you are from around the corner or from around the world…you will be treated as family. When you make your reservations mention the name of Traveler’s Digest and tell them we sent you and our good friends at The Golden Leopard Resorts will give you ten percent off your lodging. While you are there please give our regards to Ian, the game drive manager, to Joe Hoff, the General Manager and to John Cooper the Marketing Director. Three unique people working with their tribal staff, from various regions of Africa, to welcome you to a truly authentic bush adventure.

Golden Leopard Resorts are in the heart of South Africa and once you’ve visited…they will be in your heart too!

Visit their website at

A male lion relaxes underneath a tree after a kill.

A male lion relaxes underneath a tree after a kill.


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Michael Smith was the touring editor for Traveler’s Digest. His journeys took him across the world and on a series of unforgettable adventures!