South Africa

South Africa’s top residential eco-estates

Residential eco-estates, also known as wildlife estates, have become an increasingly popular phenomenon in South Africa.

This is according to New World Wealth, which rounded up the top 10 wildlife estates in South Africa for 2023.

Wildlife estates are often difficult to define. For New World Wealth’s purposes, they refer to estates or reserves with abundant wildlife that essentially allow people to buy their own private homes in the wild bush. 

“They are currently mainly a South African phenomenon, although they are expected to take off in several other countries over the coming decades, including Namibia, Kenya, USA, Australia, Canada and Brazil.”

“As the world’s wild spaces diminish, wildlife estates could play an increasingly big role in conservation, particularly when it comes to birdlife conservation and protecting Africa’s Big 3 Eagles, which are all becoming increasingly endangered.”

New World Wealth’s top 10 wildlife estate picks for 2023 are listed below, in no particular order.

Elephant Point

Elephant Point is an exclusive private estate bordering the Kruger National Park. It is managed by Legacy Private Residences.

Although not in the park itself, the lodges are set alongside the banks of the Sabie River, where Elephants can often be seen grazing and drinking – from which the estate takes its name. 

Game one could see whilst staying at Elephant Point include Impala, Zebra, Blue wildebeest, Warthog, Tree Squirrel, Bushbuck, Steenbuck, Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Kudu, Hippopotamus, Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Leopard and Rhino.


Royalston Coastal Wildlife Estate is located just outside of Port Elizabeth. 

The estate features a mix of forest and grassland vegetation and is a sanctuary for many rare species, including the Sable Antelope, Gemsbok, Golden Wildebeest, Black Impala, Knysna Woodpecker, Crowned Eagle, Caracal and the Honey Badger.

Leopard Creek

Leopard Creek is a golf and wildlife estate near Malelane. 

Most of its stands are located next to the game fence that overlooks the Crocodile River in Kruger National Park. 

It is very exclusive and is a top hotspot for the wealthy. The golf course at Leopard Creek is often rated among the world’s best.

Gondwana Private Residences

Gondwana is an 11,000-hectare game reserve located near Mossel Bay on the Garden Route.

The private residences cover a small section of the reserve. Gondwana holds the distinction of being the only Fynbos reserve in the world with free-roaming Big 5 game.


Mjejane is a 4,000-hectare game reserve located on the banks of the Crocodile River near Leopard Creek.

It is open to the Kruger National Park, with no fences between it and South Africa’s main national park. 

Along with the private homes, there are also several top-end lodges there, including the popular Mjejane River Lodge.


Leadwood Big Game Estate is located within a big game conservancy near Hoedspruit.

Large animals such as lions, elephants, leopards and rhinos roam freely over the estate’s 5,500 hectares of bushveld between the Kruger National Park and the Blyde River Canyon.

Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate

This well-established wildlife estate is located in Hoedspruit, South Africa’s wildlife estate capital. 

The green belts there seem to go on forever, and the estate features bird hides and walking trails. 

Tom Cruise recently stayed on the estate whilst filming a new movie.


Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate is a wildlife estate located near White River. 

The birdlife on the estate is particularly impressive, and international bird guide Marc Cronje leads a regular bird walk there, which is highly recommended. 

There are also two top-end lodges located on the estate, Muluwa Lodge and Ndhula Tented Camp, which both provide great dining and accommodation options.

Raptor’s View

Raptor’s View Wildlife Estate is an exclusive residential estate on the edge of Hoedspruit.

It was one of the first wildlife estates in South Africa and has been going for over 20 years. 

The estate is a bird lover’s paradise, with over 200 species recorded to date.

Zandspruit Bush & Aero Estate

Zandspruit Bush & Aero Estate is located near Hoedspruit. 

Highlights of the estate include a private airstrip and a seasonal riverbed that flows through the middle of the estate. 

The Klein Drakensberg Mountains also provide an inspiring backdrop.


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