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Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

Manchester
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Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

Hi there,

We're planning a trip to Durban in April 2009 to attend a friend's wedding. We're planning on going for 12 nights or so.

I've wanted to go on a safari since I was 13 and finally get a chance to. I wanted to ask experienced safari-goers about their experiences. Considering this might be the only time we visit SA, can we find a good Safari experience near the Durban area or should we head further afield i.e Kruger National park etc. We don't want to do too much driving around and would probably fly as we're commited to spending a few days at the wedding celebrations.

Advice would be very much apreciated.

Cape Town
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1. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

Kruger is the biggest and most famous game park, but its quite long drive from Durban.

The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi game park is about 2-3 hours north of Durban, is pretty big and has the big 5.

Cape Town Central...
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2. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

Hluhluwe-Unmfolozi is good and is the only REAL game park around Durban. If you book a game drive you will have abetter chance of seeing more animals. The problem is with the game parks they are very big so you do not allways see the animals. The Kruger is the size of the UK! you know what i mean.

SOUTH AFRICA
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3. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

Phinda Private Game Reserve is one of the best private game reserves in South Africa and is a convenient 3,5 hour hour drive from Durban. Phinda is an excellent big 5 destination, and sightings of both the endangered cheetah & black rhino are also exceptional. The birdlife is prolific and the reserve has 7 different habitats, all beautiful in their own right.

Phinda has a variety of lodges to choose from, depending on your budget, and remember that the rates include luxury accommodation, all meals, most drinks as well as your safari activities!

Cape Town Central...
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4. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

Dont forget anywhere further north than Umfolozi is a high risk malaria area so overseas visitors must take precautions especially in hot summer months.

Johannesburg, South...
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5. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

....but if you wanted to go to Kruger for a few days

you could fly from Durban airport to KMIA (Kruger Mpumalanga international) airport. (Also called Nelspruit airport).

There are 2 direct flights a day there and back.

Have a look at www.saairlink.co.za +- £100 return.

Salt Rock, South...
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6. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

I would do what the last person stated everytime. You can't beat Kruger, we used to live 8kms outside Crocodile bridge gate and we still go back there now if we can, it's the only place where you really feel like you are in the natural enviroment of the animals.

Enjoy it

Jack

Durban
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7. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

Hi, I'm Bron from Camera Africa,

All the responses you have received so far are correct,but I would like to add to the conversation.

The Hluhluwe Umfolozi reserve is quite stunning, but for first timers would recommend to get the best experience would be to go the private reserve route.

Though your budget will dicate where you go.

Private lodges in southern Zululand, if they do not have the big five will do day game drives to Hluhluwe, with an experienced guide.

Phinda is of course an excellent reserve, Forest lodge, probably the best value for money. However depending when you are travelling, if you are here in winter, March to October, the walking safari offered by Phinda is fabulous. "Phinda under canvas". With Phinda, the rates are all inclusive, drinks as well. No hidden extras unless you specifically take an extra activity, ie, flight over the coast etc.

Zululand's bush is different to that of the Kruger, Phinda has the very precious pockets of Sand forest, which occur now where else other than this strip of what is geographically known as Maputaland. St Lucia area to Kosi Bay(Border of Mozambique) and into southern Mozambique.

You can also include a beach destination in oombination with Phinda. Transfers are either by road or by air.

On the Malaria issue, Kruger Park is also a malaria area. The Isimangoliso (ST Lucia) Wetland Park have been conducting an intensive spraying regime across the entire Elephant coast region, and claim to have reduced the incidence of malaria considerably.

Access to Kruger from Durban :-

SA Airlink operate from Durban to Kruger Mpumalanga Airport. Most lodges will provide a transfer service from KMIA, drive time is an hour plus.

There are some very good private lodges ( with concessions)in the southern section of the Park. Although the reserves in Sabi Sands/ Timbavati reserves which form the western boundary of the Kruger, have excellent accommodation and excellent game viewing and are well worth the costs for the experience that this region will offer - especially for your first time to Africa. Again, it will depend on your budget.

I hope this has been of some assistance.

Johannesburg, South...
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8. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

The Kruger National Park is only a Malaria Risk Area if you are staying overnight inside the park.

However if you stay somewhere central (but just outside the Kruger) like Hazyview

You are not in risk, especially from April onwards.

See here for Malaria area map information: http://cambalala.com/map_malaria.aspx

Hazyview is clearly marked as low risk and yet it is

in VERY close proximity to 3 different entrances to Kruger. Also its only around a 45 to 50 minute drive from the Airport.

So you could rent a car at Avis - KMIA airport (for example.) Self drive to an area like Hazyview - Spend a few nights and go in and out of the park as often as you like in your rented car - or book one of a thousand different guided safaris in the Area. In private reserves or the Kruger itself.

Here's a google map link showing Hazyview's proximity to the 3 Kruger entrances. (Numbi gate, Phabeni gate and Paul Kruger gate)

http://tinyurl.com/54pe7j

Hope this helps.

Port Elizabeth
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9. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

"The Kruger National Park is only a Malaria Risk Area if you are staying overnight inside the park.

However if you stay somewhere central (but just outside the Kruger) like Hazyview ... "

I am not sure at all that this is correct information at all. Hazyview is only 15 kms from Kruger. Besides, while anopholes mosquitoes usually bite at dawn and dusk, there is no guarantee that they won't be active during the day.

This is the Malaria risk map for South Africa (it is a year or 2 out of date). malaria.org.za/Malaria_Risk/…risk_maps.htm

Weybridge
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10. Re: Safari's- good near Durban or head to Kruger National park

Hi,

For what it is worth, here is my contribution !

I would say that for the best safari experience, you should definately go to one of the private lodges in the reserves that border the Kruger Park (ie no fences between the reserves and the Park), such as Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Klaserie, and Manyeleti. The very first time I went to Sabi Sand, I saw the Big 5 (leopard, lion, buffalo, elephant and rhino) in my very first game drive ... of course, this can't be guaranteed, but lion and leopard tracking are certainly a speciality up here ! Last year when I was in the Sabi Sand, I saw 27 different leopard over a 12 night duration ...

You would need to fly from Durban to Jo'burg, and then onto either Kruger Mpumalanga (airport code MQP) or Hoedspruit (airport code HDS), depending on the lodge you choose, but if you take a very early flight from Durban you should be able to be in the lodge early afternoon, so in time for your first game drive. If you didn't fancy the early start, spending the night before your safari in Hazyview could also be an option.

The reserves around Durban are also very good - such as Phinda, which I see a lot of people have recommended already.

If this is your dream, wherever you go will be awesome for you - but for me, the reserves adjoining Kruger just have the edge. It is malarial, tho, so you would need to take the necessary precautions - this is also a good website :

mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/africa/south…

Hope this helps a bit more !

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