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?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

Seattle, Washington
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?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

Wondering how best to arrange and get the best prices on 3-4 nights on private reserve in Sabi Sands and 3 nights Okavango Delta in March 2014. My husband and I are traveling with 2 other couples. We will be flying to the Kruger area from Cape Town. I would be happy to plan myself if we can save money. It seems that sometimes tour companies can be a savings. Which ones should I look into?? Interested in modestly priced private reserves that have a lot of charm and offer great viewing. If the Okavango Delta seems too pricey, may opt for 2 private reserves at Kruger. Would love any thoughts. Just starting our planning. Ann

Johannesburg, South...
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1. Re: ?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

Hi JimAnn52,

There are 2 ways you can go about this, either self planning and booking, or through an agent. Both have pros and cons I guess. At the worst, you won't pay anymore by using an agent and sometimes can get a deal, and will have the benefit of specialised expertise and knowledge of the different options available around your budget as well as a single point of contact. Some travellers really enjoy organising their trips themselves, and researching etc, but it can be time consuming to do this.

What is possible, will largely depend on your budget, so this is probably the best place to begin. There are many lodge options in various reserves bordering Kruger, as well as in Botswana at vastly varying rates. There is also the possibility of self drive in the Kruger National Park itself, combined with private lodges. Another thing to consider is the cost of flights from Cape Town to the lodge/s with a few different options available depending on the choice of lodge, as well as flights to and transfer to lodges in Botswana, with flights adding to the overall cost.

I hope this has been of some assistance to you for a start.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

Edited: 30 July 2013, 20:36
Johannesburg, South...
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2. Re: ?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

Hi again JimAnn52,

I forgot to mention that its never too early to start planning and making bookings to ensure you get what you want, and booking now for March 2014 is advisable, especially for Sabi Sands lodges.

Regards again

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

Hazyview, South...
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3. Re: ?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

I am sure Brett would be able to help you with some ideas. He is just not allowed to advertise his service on TA.

You could also contact tanya@africadirect.co.za,

www.africadirect.co.za

which we have had only positive experiences with.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: ?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

thank you. we are interested in private reserve (and not self drives) and in spending no more than $1000 (U.S.)/couple/night. Ideally would be less. I know Botswana is more. Can you suggest a few private reserves that I can start looking at? Just want some ideas and have the chance to look at reviews etc before I connect with a tour company. I like to do my homework before someone gives me options. I can see how air travel plus safari arrangements via a tour company may be a smart way to go. If Botwana is too pricey, can you suggest another private reserve that we could experience. I also like the idea of perhaps driving the panorama route. Was initially thinking of driving the garden route from cape town however although it looks lovely, it does not look particularly unique. Other than picturesque sites does the panorama route offer more -- like animal viewing along the route etc -- things that I could not see in the U.S.

Hazyview, South...
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5. Re: ?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

Your question is a bit like "How long is a piece of string"(sorry to say).

I believe doing your homework is one thing but I would still contact an agent, let them know what your main interests are, let them offer the pros and cons, and then take it from there combined with your homework.

It does not cost you anything to get advise and quotes.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Johannesburg, South...
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6. Re: ?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

Hi,

Perfect. The self drive option was only to give you another option. Some travellers really like combining the 2 for different experiences.

For private lodge options, you can take a look at Nottens, Inyati, Savanna, Dulini, Idube all in the Sabi Sands. For another reserve in the Kruger area have a look at the Timbavati Game Reserve - Kings Camp, Ngala Safari Lodge, Simbavati River Lodge, Tanda Tula, Motswari.

I do think Botswana may be a possibility around your budget. You would just have to consider the cost of flights and transfers, as I mentioned.

The Panorama Route is very scenic, but I think there is more to see than to actually do. There is not likely to be much animal viewing along the route. The Panorama Route can be done in a full day.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

South Africa
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7. Re: ?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

You can certainly plan and book your own trip. It probably won't save you anything, compared to using a specialist tour operator or agent, because tour operators usually do not charge extra for their services - you pay the same normal rate as you would pay to the lodge direct, but the operator earns some commission from the lodge.

I am completely biased but for me the biggest benefit of using a specialist is the destination knowledge they can offer. Those who are genuine safari specialists will have visited most of the game reserves and individual lodges in the areas you plan to visit, and can compare products and recommend the best option for you, based on your specific requirements.

Often, budget is a key factor, and it helps to know all the lodges that fall within your budget range, so you can compare them side by side.

In your case, based on a budget of $500 USD per person per night, I would perhaps recommend a lodge like Inyati Game Lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, which comes in below your budget. Here is a short youtube video of this lodge which you may find helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEQzGpiJM74

For the Okavango I would recommend something like Kwando Kwara camp. It's normally more than $500 pppn, but in March, there is a special offer called the 5 Rivers Special in Botswana which offers special green season rates for several excellent lodges, up to the end of March. The recommended rack rate for this special for 2014 is $428 per person sharing per night. What I like about Kwara is that it is situated on the northern edge of the Delta, with access to both land and water activities, and being on a private concession means that their game drives can go off-road and do night drives, which is not possible at lodges within the government-controlled Moremi Game Reserve. Like many camps in the Okavango, it is however a tented camp without aircon, so in March it can get rather hot. But there is a pool to cool down in!

These are by no means your only options, but just two examples of good quality lodges within your price range in the areas you mentioned.

I hope this helps and good luck with planning your trip!

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

8. Re: ?tour company for private reserve in Kruger and Okavango Del

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