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Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

Bellingham...
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Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

Planning on about five days in Kruger, early next July. Which is the better choice, walking in a small group with guides or going in one of the trucks holding several people? Advantages and disadvantages of both. Also, any recommendations of tour companies to contact about this?

Felleng Day Tours
Safaris, Cultural Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Tim Brown Tours - Durban Safari Tours
Day Trips, Historical & Heritage Tours, Safaris, Cultural Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

Walking - closer to nature; use all your senses, not just sight; guides should be higher calibre; learn about the eco-system; may be able to watch animals without them being aware of you. Against - most/all animals fear man, so run away; don't cover much distance.

Driving - cover distance; see various habitats; get close to bigger animals as they don't recognise vehicle as threat or prey; good for photography.

Against - noise, fumes, dust, fellow passengers, sitting still for ages, or bumping over ruts.

No "best". Each is different. Its personal choice..

Cape Town
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2. Re: Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

Walking safaris are great as peter says. However they are designed to get you near to nature - not to see animals. As peter says they will all go in the opposite direction - and they WILL see you before you see them!!

You will see far more animals on self-drive or on park drives. The animals are used to vehicles and don't take any notice. I have never seen an animal run away from a vehicle.

So as peter says different experiences. My plan would be to mostly self-drive. Wwe normally spend around 10 hours a day doing this in Kruger. Do one or two Park drives - an early one to get oriented and later a sunset drive as you can go into the park after the gates close for self-drive and you can see different animals. Then do one Game Walk which , as said is a unique experience - but not the way to see animals!

Edited: 16 December 2011, 17:36
Bellingham...
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3. Re: Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

Quite helpful comments. It is obvious that you lodged outside the Park. Was this in Nelspruit, maybe Hazyview? Any suggestions where to stay? And to rent a car?

Cape Town
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4. Re: Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

No, we never stay outside the park. Why did you think that? Always stay in SANParks camps. Over the years we have stayed in 16 of the 18 main and Bushveld Camps in Kruger. All good but we like some better than others. All fantastic value.

If you stay outside the park you are really limited as to the areas you can visit. Remember KNP is the size of the country of Israel and the speed limit inside the park is 50kph ( mph) on tar roads around 700km and 40kph on gravel and sand roads (around 2300km). It takes two days (better three) just to drive the length of the park. So stying outside you just get a quick snapshot on drives in. We normally visit Kruger for at least 6 days, often more, and stay in 4 or 5 camps on each visit. These days our favourites are nearly all the Bushveld Camps - smaller and nowhere near so busy, so better game viewing. Better quality accommodation too. This way you can travel throughout the park, which has many different eco-systems and hence you see a much wider variety of animals, and, especially birds, than you would staying in a single area. Five days is fine for a first visit. I would suggest three camps 2/2/1 nights.

Depends where we fly to from Cape Town where we rent the car. Either from Joburg airport (about 5 hours drive to KNP) or from KMIA near Nelspruit, less than an hour into the park. We always stop at White River or Hazyview to do our food shopping before entering the park. Better choice in the big supermarkets there than in the Camp Shops. We always book our car through one of the big International Internet Car Rental brokers, such as - www.carhire3000.com or www.arguscarhire.com Recently cars have normally come from Hertz, but they also use Europcar and Budget. About 40 percent cheaper than a direct rental. BTW for anywhere in Kruger you only need a standard small saloon, not a 4x4 or such like.

Edited: 16 December 2011, 23:02
Cape Town
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5. Re: Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

Sorry meant to say 50kph (31mph) and 40kph (25mph).

BTW these are the maximum speeds. To allow yourself lots of time for game viewing, the average speed will be less than half this. Over the years we calculate we average around 17-18kph (11mph) overall inside Kruger (excluding picnic and rest stops). So you can see that you don't get too far inside the park on a day trip in from staying outside.

Bellingham...
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6. Re: Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

Sounds like you are just the type of savvy person with whom I would like to chat. But this forum would be quickly bloated if done on these pages. Trouble is, how do I reach you without broaching confidentiality? But I cannot resist asking a question, the answer to which may be highly interesting to many: If we do a six-day Kruger visit and wish to stay in three different camps for two nights each while working our way toward Swaziland, do we make specific arrangements beforehand or just cross our fingers and ad lib it? The latter would likely be horribly risky, but our time of travel (early July) may be prime for this type of travel. In any case, thanks a lot for writing.

By the way, my erroneous guess that you stayed outside the park was prompted by your comment (above) that one can go inside the park after the gates close for night drives. Obviously a bit of naïveté is operating here.

Cape Town
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7. Re: Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

Walt

Answers to your two specifics. Going inside the park is from the individual camp where you are staying. All the camp gates close at 6pm (+/- depending on the time of year) and no self-driving is allowed. As I say you can however take Ranger guided park drives in open vehicles after this time and into the dark - Sunset Drives. Night Drives are even later but you are not so likely to see as many good sightings.

In July you must book ahead. Especially if you are looking for a trip schedule with specific camps and accommodation on specific days. In fact even now , seven months ahead. may already be too late for some accommodation. July is South African school holidays and many camps get booked up when bookings open 11 months ahead.

However see my posts on how to book Kruger camps. Such as - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g312618-i9872-k492…

SANParks have just updated their website and have new booking options which may be better for visitors from the US because of the time difference for phoning (especially the West Coast!) - see yesterday's post on this - tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g312618-i9872-k500…

Edited: 17 December 2011, 00:19
8. Re: Safaris: What is best, walking or motorized?

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