Game Reserve vs National Park – What’s the Difference?July 31, 2019
What’s in a name, you ask?
Well, when it comes to planning your dream safari in Africa, knowing the differences between a game reserve and national park is an important part of making this experience come true.
Privately-owned and -managed, game reserves uphold an ethos of exclusivity, authenticity and freedom in all aspects of the safari experience.
The number of tourists allowed into the game reserve is restricted and controlled in a way that aligns with the goals of private management and wildlife conservation. Less people coming into this designated wilderness area means a more private experience for those that are there as well as a better chance of preserving the local ecosystem’s most natural state.
Game reserves allow for unique and potentially better wildlife viewing experiences. Off-road game drives, walking and horseback safaris get you off the beaten track and into closer range of where the wildlife action is happening. Since there are generally no crowds in a game reserve, wildlife sightings are undisturbed and can be enjoyed for as long as desired.
A national park is government-owned and -managed, and in most cases, opens up the safari experience to more people.
With more tourists in the park come more vehicles, which may create an exciting atmosphere but can also lead to wildlife moving off as a result of increased noise and movement. It also might mean poor visibility at a wildlife sighting spot or other vehicles blocking your line of sight. A safari in a national park is more restrictive in terms of how you can experience the wilderness as walking safaris, night drives and off-road driving are often not permitted.
For many, the major upside of national parks is that visitors can explore in their own vehicle and at their own pace on a self-drive safari. National parks may also have private concessions within or just outside there border so you can experience the best of both worlds if that is what you are after on safari.
Contact us to discuss whether a safari in a game reserve, national park or both is best for your specific travel style, interests, budget and time-frame.
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