Transformed in the '90s from inefficient farmlands into one of Africa's spectacular, lesser-known jewels, the Madikwe Game Reserve lies in the transition zone between greener areas and the Kalahari semi-desert. You can spot all the traditional big five here, as well as less-common desert animals, like the caracal. This is some of Africa's most pristine new wilderness, with only a select few lodges allowed on the reserve, making for the ultimate in luxury travel. The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is one of Africa's finest options when it comes safaris. Covering all of the big five in incredibly healthy numbers, plenty of lavish lodges, and with some truly breathtaking natural scenery, this spot embodies what a luxurious South African safari holiday should be. From the mindbogglingly ancient Pilanesberg mountain and geological formation to the entertainment complex, Sun City, there's plenty to see and do here. Aiming to 'restore the Kalahari to itself', the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is a vast haven of outstretching desert scrub, occupied by most of the big five (minus the elephants). It features several luxury lodges, complete with experienced, friendly tracking guides and exploratory vehicles. The best thing about this reserve is the abundance of rarer desert animals, with most people coming here to catch a glimpse of aardvarks, meerkats, and pangolins in their natural environment.