Knowing The Difference Between Protected Wildlife Areas

The Mpumalanga province, known for its breathtaking natural landscapes and exceptional wildlife areas, is a popular tourist destination, especially among nature enthusiasts who enjoy visiting reserves, and conservancies.  That being said, with so many wildlife areas to visit in “The Place Where the Sun Rises”, understanding the difference between these attractions can help you better plan for your trips and know exactly what to expect on your visit. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between them:

Game Reserves

Game reserves are primarily established for the conservation and protection of wildlife and their habitats often with a focus on providing spaces for animals to roam around freely. These reserves put in the effort to maintain healthy populations of various animal species, including the iconic ‘Big Five’.  Additionally, game reserves generally allow for more entertaining activities like game drives, guided walks with the animals, and sometimes self-guided tours for visitors to watch and appreciate the wildlife. Here are some Game Reserves you can visit during your stay at Sudwala Lodge:

  • Mthethomush Game Reserve (78 km)
  • Kruger National Park (85 km)
  • Sabi Sand Nature Reserve (155 km)

Nature Reserves

Nature reserves on the other hand are broader in scope and aim to conserve not only wildlife but also the wider ecosystem, including the plants, landscapes, and geological features. They often include a range of habitats from forests and wetlands to beautiful mountains and rivers, with a focus on preserving biodiversity and ecological balance.  Nature reserves are more for nature lovers who enjoy activities like hiking, birdwatching, and nature education, prioritising ecotourism practices. Here are some great options to visit during your stay at Sudwala Lodge:

  • The Nelspruit Nature Reserve (38 km)
  • Sterkspruit Nature Reserve (93 km)
  • The Blyde River Canyon (170 km)


While it is relatively easier to distinguish between game and nature reserves, conservancies’ au contraire are community-driven initiatives and involve collaboration between local communities, private land owners, and conservation organisations to protect wildlife habitats, and cultural heritage. While conservancies prioritise conservation, they also aim to promote sustainable land use practices within the community. Here are nearby conservancies you can visit during your stay at Sudwala Lodge:

  • Chimp Eden (51 km)
  • Ligwalagwala Conservancy (112 km)
  • Birds of Prey (138 km)

Now let’s bring it all in! Game reserves are more focused on wildlife conservation and game viewing experiences, nature reserves encompass broader ecosystem protection with various habitats, and conservancies are community-driven initiatives that combine conservation and local development efforts. With all these amazing attractions to visit, Sudwala Lodge is the right place to stay and enjoy the beauty that Mpumalanga has to offer with your friends and family. Book your stay today!

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