We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Elephant Plains vs Kruger

2 posts
Save Topic
Elephant Plains vs Kruger

I read the reviews and previous postings on Elephant Plains and it sounds amazing. I will be going to Kruger with my family - all adventurous adults- in May. We are trying to decide between Elephant Plains and Kruger. We are willing to pay extra for the experience of being closer to the animals and free of crowds and that sounds like what we would get at Elephant Plains. We do not care so much for luxurious accommodations and fine dining and want a genuine experience. Certainly good food and comfortable beds are a plus as is a knowledgeable guide. Do you think that it is worth it to go to Elephant Plains (will we be closer to the animals...)?

Thanks for all your help,


Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
8,363 posts
55 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Elephant Plains vs Kruger

Comparing Kruger with any private reserve isn't fair to Kruger, perhaps. Kruger is a massive national park that gives you a wonderful game viewing experience at a much lower cost. It is one of the most remarkable travel values in the world - maybe #1. But even a relatively low-cost (note: 'relatively') private reserve such as Elephant Plains operates at a different level. The smaller area with staff Rangers conducting your game drives offers some expectation that you will have better sightings, certainly better dining and lodging, a more private experience. If you can afford EP, then I say it will be a better choice overall. More services, less for you to do. But - when you ask do you get 'closer to the animals'... maybe so, maybe not. But probably.

Level Contributor
2,533 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Elephant Plains vs Kruger

"We are willing to pay extra for the experience of being closer to the animals and free of crowds and that sounds like what we would get at Elephant Plains." You are correct that this is what you will get at Elephant Plains. Their standard accommodation offers one of the best value for money safaris that the Sabi Sands has to offer, and is in my opinion highly recommended!

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

Cape Town
Level Contributor
10,081 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Elephant Plains vs Kruger

Hi Jessica

I would very much agree with Dave's eveluation of the two experiences. They are very different. A "private reserve" is a concentrated experience wheras KNP is more diverse. It also depends on how much time you have. For a first time safari, for two days, maybe three, then I agree that Elephant Plains is excellent value for that concentrated experience. If you have more time than this then, I personally, would spend it all in Kruger. 6-7 days is ideal - you can stay in three different camps in three totally different eco systems spread throughout the park. You will see different animals in different regions and, in total, in larger numbers than in a private reserve. For example herds of over 1,000 buffalo. The time that you spend traversing between the camps also adds further, different regions - along rivers, open savanah, different types of bush and much more.

Remember KNP is the size of the country of Israel - 2.2 million hectares. Elephant Plains is 4,500 - ie one five hundreth of the size. Sure the guides will find the animals for you (easily) but after a day or two you will just be recrossing the same area.

May is a fairly quiet time in Kruger. The majority of visitors to Kruger are South Africans and there are no school holidays in May. If you get off the main routes on the more than 2,000km of gravel roads you will often be virtually alone for hours. And remember there is just you in your vehicle so it will be "your", very genuine, experience.

Edited: 15 March 2010, 18:31
Lancashire. England
Level Contributor
160 posts
60 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Elephant Plains vs Kruger

Hi Jessica - in reply to your question 'We are willing to pay extra for the experience of being closer to the animals' - my question would be how close do you want to get ?

We recently did a 6 day self drive safari through Kruger staying at Satara, Letaba, and Skukuza restcamps and in that time had leopard walking within a metre or 2 of our car, three lions lazing in the road in front of us so we couldnt pass, a family of elephant and rhino walking straight across the road in front of us , wild dog asleep in the road as we drove slowly straight by ..... Kruger is a truly amazing place and whichever option you chose I'm sure you'll have no problem getting animals close to you.

ps I'm also looking at Elephant Plains for a couple of nights this coming Christmas - just for a bit of extra luxury and to celebrate my big 5...0...


Redmond, Washington
Level Contributor
491 posts
161 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Elephant Plains vs Kruger

Have done both EP and self driving in KNP. EP is very good value for the money compared to other lodges.But is the experience worth 5x as much as renting a bungalow in KNP?

Not sure.I had a wonderful time there,got upgraded to the honeymoon suite but when I dream of Kruger it is about being on the road in my own car exploring the terrain on my own.

The area of Sabi Sands that EP has access to is very small,we spent alot of time driving over the same areas.In KNP you have much more flexibility in what roads to take and you can drive for quite awhile.Of course at school holidays and other peak times there will be many cars on the roads but you can avert that by not traveling at peak times(which I did) and getting out of the gate early.The southern part of Kruger is more crowded but if you go up north towards Mopani there are far fewer cars on the road

Have seen animals up close in my car and if you take a scheduled drive in one of the camps you can go on roads that are off limits to cars and thus can have more alone time if you will

Level Contributor
749 posts
132 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Elephant Plains vs Kruger

Hi Jessica

I went to Elephant Plains about 4 years ago, we had an amazing time. I thoroughly would recommend. We got very close to the big 5, Had sundowners in the bush and we were amazed at how much we saw. My friend did a Kruger trip with Virgin holidays and saw lots but not so up close. We found the 2 nights enough and people who stayed longer drive into Kruger themselves to have a completely different experience. They still send me emails and a newsletter and I would have no hesitation in going back to EP.

7. Re: Elephant Plains vs Kruger

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 18 September 2010, 05:17