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South African Safari: Got Game
Adventure-approved trips just right for right now.  
Text by Costas Christ
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The Base Camp

Think "safari" and one landscape springs to mind: savanna. But at the 49,420-acre (20,000-hectare) Phinda Private Game Reserve, in South Africa's eastern Maputaland region, there are six other distinct habitats in which to seek out big game—marsh, salt pan, woodland, mountain, river, and rare sand forest. The reserve features four topflight luxury lodges stationed among these environments. For a week-long trip, pick two. At the Rock Lodge, six private stone villas stand atop a 900-foot (274-meter) cliff face; you can watch elephants stroll along the path below. Tucked away in the northern part of the reserve among groves of Lebombo wattle trees, Vlei Lodge neighbors a large cheetah range. Both lodges feature chef-prepared meals and bottles of Pinotage wine, crafted from a grape that, like so much else, is found only here.
The marine diversity on the reefs of the Maputaland coast rivals that of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. A 15-minute bush flight from Phinda will take you to the top diving spots.
Days: 6

Outfitter: CC Africa

Cost: $3,196

Photograph courtesy of CC Africa

Pick up  the May 2006 issue for 38 amazing family escapes, wild beaches, and cool festivals, Sebastian Junger's lessons from the road, and the best bikes for summer.

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