We are passionate about sharing our knowledge and understanding of the bush and its incredible wildlife with our guests.

HillsNek offers guests a diverse and flexible safari experience with a team of highly qualified and experienced rangers, who impart a wonderous array of knowledge about the varied wildlife that call the reserve home.

Each morning brings a new experience delivered by nature’s magic. Leaving HillsNek Safari Camp in an open game-viewing vehicle you will traverse over 18 000 acres weaving through 5 of the country’s 7 biomes.

The abundant wilderness of Amakhala Game Reserve preserves a complex and diverse ecosystem, providing habitat for over 60 different mammal species. The Bushman’s River winds its way through the reserve providing its life source of water to the myriad of wildlife and birdlife.

The dramatic and ever changing topography of Amakhala Game Reserve is host to an abundant tapestry of sights and sounds keeping one fixated on what one may see around the next turn of the game drive track.

The majestic lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and giraffe, endangered cheetah and white rhino make up some of the high profile species component. Amakhala Game Reserve is also home to substantial herds of plains game species including zebra, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, oryx and eland to name but a few.

A recorded bird list of over 250 species on the reserve allows for great land based birding and further birding can be enjoyed whilst cruising along the Bushman’s River.

As you reflect on the days sightings under a setting sun, the nocturnal species begin their foraging, from the secretive aardvark to the elusive brown hyena. The rangers spot-light scanning the closing night might highlight these lesser seen yet very interesting mammals as you make your way back to the lodge.

So ends a day at HillsNek Safari Camp…and tomorrow’s safari dawns with new sights and encounters.

Twice daily game drives
Explore the natural splendour of Amakhala on early morning and late afternoon / evening game drives in an open 4×4 safari vehicle.

Our rangers share their extensive knowledge of the bush with you as you track the Big Five, as well as a variety of other wildlife. Morning drives begin as dawn breaks providing the opportunity to see predators winding up their nocturnal hunts and settling in for the day. Many animals take advantage of the cool morning hours to graze before the heat of the day. In the late afternoon wildlife can often be spotted coming down to the river to drink. Night drives can produce some unusual sightings, including aardvark, aardwolf, bushpig and porcupine.

Additional Activities Include:

• Guided Nature Walks outside the Big 5 area • Guided Bush Walks on Amakhala Game Reserve • Horseback Safaris • Birding Safaris
• Stargazing • Boat Cruise on the Bushman’s River • Optional visit to the Amakhala Art & Craft Centre
• Optional visit to Shamwari’s Born Free Foundation

Amakhala Big 5 Guided Walks

Experience the African bush – on foot!

A walking safari offers a unique and rewarding authentic experience of the African bush.

For those wanting to experience tracking wildlife on foot and get active, there is no better way than to enjoy a Big 5 Bushwalk. These are conducted by qualified trails guides who are armed with the necessary precautions. The guides will share their wealth of ‘bush knowledge’; the identification of animals, trees, grasses, insects, birds, the medicinal uses of plants, local folk lore and basic tracking & survival skills. The walk lasts 2 to 3 hours and is not suitable for children under 16 years of age.

Please enquire for the rate.


Feeling like a change of pace? Why don’t you add on a 1 hour boat cruise along the majestic Bushman’s River, the lifeblood of the reserve? Maybe spot one of the Big 5 on the river banks whilst scanning for hippo in the water or keep your eyes peeled and binoculars ready for a wide variety of bird species that enjoy the waterways.

Please note that this activity is dependent on the water level of the river.

Please enquire for the rate.

Amakhala Horse Back Safaris

Riders looking for an unforgettable riding experience can saddle up for a ride with Amakhala Horse Trails on Amakhala Game Reserve.

Amakhala Horse Trails offers a unique perspective of the bush: elevated on horseback, riders can enjoy incredible views of the surrounding landscape while moving easily and quietly across terrain often inaccessible by vehicle. The unobtrusive nature of a horseback safari also allows for incredible animal sightings. On horseback,riders can experience close encounters with wildlife such as eland, wildebeest, zebra, hartebeest and giraffe. The trails provide an opportunity to explore 4200 acres of African bush on horseback, including the chance to canter across open plains, take a slow trot along wildlife tracks or walk quietly along secluded river courses.

All horse trails are led by experienced and knowledgeable guides, equipped with first aid kits and communication equipment. The well-trained, sure-footed and reliable horses live free on the open plains with natural shelters. Each day, the horses come to the stables to receive natural grain and daily grooming.

Amakhala Horse Trails caters for small groups of up to 6 intermediate to experienced riders. Experienced younger riders between 10 and 15 years old may also join, if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Horseback safaris typically last between two to three hours, and the speed of the trail ride is adjusted to the riders’ level of experience. This allows plenty of time for wildlife viewing and finding the perfect spot to rest the horses and enjoy refreshments and snacks.

Skill Level: Intermediate to experienced riders are welcome.
Please bring appropriate clothing including long pants and suitable shoes with a low heel. A riding helmet will be provided.

Please enquire for the rate.


Add to your knowledge of South Africa’s birdlife with a birding safari. A specialist birding guide will spend time with you on the reserve exploring the rich and fascinating birdlife it offers.

Born Free Foundation

In partnership with actress, author and wildlife campaigner, Virginia McKenna’s Born Free Foundation, Shamwari Private Game Reserve designed the Animal Rescue and Education Centres to incorporate the sanctuary and educational facility.

Their goal is to create awareness of the horrific way in which wildlife is exploited in captivity around the world. The centres aim to draw attention to the plight of wild big cats, confined in impoverished, captive environments throughout the world.

Over the years the Born Free Foundation has been able to rescue several big cats from impoverished situations. Born Free focuses on promoting the conservation of species and the protection of habitat whilst maintaining a humane and compassionate approach to the welfare of animals.

The Born Free Foundation is a registered charity organisation and therefore solely relies on donations. No entry fees are charged, but a monetary donation is appreciated. The rescue and education centres home rescued lions and leopards from across the world and aim to be an enlightening experience for all visitors.

Please chat to us about setting up a visit during your stay.