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Animal viewing

Lynnwood, Washington
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215 posts
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Animal viewing

Hello,

I'm planning the trip to South Africa next year. My main goal is to see wildlife. I'll have about 11 full days and definitely want to visit Kruger NP, penguins in Boulders Beach, and, if time permits, Tsitsikamma and Addo National Parks. Since I've never been in South Africa, I would appreciate if you could give me some information:

1. Is June-July a good time for this trip?

2. Is it necessary to make reservations in the parks (Kruger, for instance) well in advance?

3. Do I need to rent 4x4 vehicle, if I want to visit just these places?

4. Can you recommend any good car rental companies in Johannesburg, besides the major ones (Avis, National etc), especially the ones that have automatic cars, I don't have much experience with stick shift.

Thank you.

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Boulders Beach
Boulders Beach
5,623 Reviews
Simon's Town, South Africa
Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Greater Johannesburg, South Africa
East London, South...
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1. Re: Animal viewing

Hello,

I can answer some of your queries in part. June-July is middle of winter so it will be quite cold, especially for game drives which is on an open vehicle, but where you come from will determine what you classify as really cold I guess.

YOu wouldn't need to rent a 4x4 to do the game drives, you could have them arranged with the game parks, the game rangers will know the right spots to look for the animals at the right times, so you would be guaranteed to see more. I would recommend this highly, the game rangers also will have a wealth of knowledge to share with you on the drives which will make it an even better experience for you.

Hope other advisers can help you out with some of your other queries soon :-)

Rene

Frankfurt, Germany
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2. Re: Animal viewing

June July is a good time for game viewing as the bush (Kruger Park) is usually dry and the animals come to the waterholes.

But going down to the Garden Route and Cape Region it could get pretty wet, as this region gets their rainfall in winter.

if your main focus is to see wildlife then I recommend you spend most of your time in the Kruger Park region, as this is so diverse and you have excellent game viewing opportunities. Visit 2-3 camps and stay about 2-3 nights in a camp, depending on the distances and locations you are looking at.

You definitely need to make your reservations well in advance because the distances could be pretty far and there is limited accomodation, and you need to plan your trip well to make sure you reach your camp/accomodation before sunset.

As mentioned above you don't need 4x4 because all Game Reserves have sand roads which you drive with a normal car and in any case you are not allowed ot leave the main roads.

The best bush experience is to go on a game drive as they are allowed to drive through the bush, and this is money really worth spent!

In a private game reserve you get the best experiences as you usually have 2 game drives per day ( 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening).

Addo Elephant is not so interesting, you do get to see Elephants but the rest of the game is pretty scarce and far away. Rather spend the time in the Kruger Park area.

Thrifty car rental is also a good car rental company in South Africa

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Lynnwood, Washington
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3. Re: Animal viewing

Thank you very much for your detailed response.

If I understand correctly, unlike in Etosha National Park in Namibia, in Kruger I won't be able to drive myself through the park, I'll have to go to the organized game drive, correct?

Also, there are many camps in Kruger, is there any particular you would recommend?

As of private game reserves - I'll definitely consider them, just there are so many of them and I don't know which one is good. But I'll do some research.

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Port Elizabeth
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for South Africa
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4. Re: Animal viewing

See Frequently asked questions in Top Right and also do a Search for Kruger.

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Hazyview, South...
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5. Re: Animal viewing

In Kruger Park itself you ARE allowed to self drive. You can take organised safaris from most of the camps if you wish.

There is a large number of camps, but the southern part is normally the more rewarding wrt wildlife. Have a look at

www.sanparks.co.za

Looking at private reserves some other people on here will be more qualified to give advise. Nevertheless, there are plenty of posts regarding that. Just scroll thru the forum. Keep in mind that private reserves are much more luxurious and therefore more costly. Advise on your budget to receive suitable recommendations.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Edited: 19 June 2012, 16:53
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Amsterdam, The...
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6. Re: Animal viewing

Hi There,

Check Sanparks.org for info and booking on both Addo/Kruger. They also have a very good forum.

1) June/July is a perfect time for wildlife watching in South Africa. As there is less water, wildlife will be more concetrated and easy to find.

It indeed is Winter, but during the day/night (Kruger) this is as good as dutch summers ;-). At night it can get could though. However we slept sometimes in tenst and there where plenty of blanckets.

2) Yes, reserve as early as you can. Especially Kruger. Even though places are sometimes full, the can become available a month before you will be there. Reservation is free and you have to pay latest 1 month before the actual date. So even if you do not get what you want, you can still switch

3) No 4wd is required, any car will do.

4) Book from home and compare the prices.

You can drive yourself in Kruger (which I think is the big plus). Nothing better than you alone with (f.e) a leopard, cheetah or between a group of Elephants.. If you want you can arrange a game/night drive or walk on the spot.

In the private parks everything is arranged but you have to join the tours (no self driving allowed). Good guides, expensive, more luxury but not my cup of tea.

You can also drive in Addo. Great park, great wildlife. I've seen 90+ Elephants on 1 afternoon. Really love the park (unlike Inyati66).

There are many camps in kruger (again check sanparks.org).

As a general rule:

in the South you will see most wildlife

Arounf Satara is the Cat area.

Northern part is more difficult to spot wildlife but is much more quiet.

Letaba, Lower Sabie, Olifants, Satara are all good and (bigger) central camps. But also check the Bushveld camps.

Cheers and have fun

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Stanley, Falkland...
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7. Re: Animal viewing

Hi Gudzon,

You need to understand the difference between Kruger - the Park; and the private reserves which border the park.

Lots of info on here about both. The park is ideal for self-catering, self-drive visits. The lodges in the private reserves, are great if you want comfortable guided tours.

Much the same happens at all parks, including Etosha.

You pays your money, and you makes your choice.

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Lynnwood, Washington
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215 posts
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8. Re: Animal viewing

Thank you very much for all your recommendations, they are very helpful!

Lynnwood, Washington
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215 posts
12 reviews
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9. Re: Animal viewing

From what I've read here probably Kruger NP and Addo NP would be my best bets. I definitely prefer a self drive, but being new to the area it would probably make sense to take couple organized game drives.

My budget is limited but not very tight, but I definitely don't care about luxury accomodations. To me wildlife viewing and luxury accomodations simply don't go along. So I'll probably skip the private reserves.

Thank you again for all your suggestions!

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Cape Town, South...
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for South Africa
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10. Re: Animal viewing

Addo is far from Kruger. Why not combine Kruger with somewhere within driving distance like the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi park and also the Isimangaliso wetlands (St Lucia area)? That way you see 3 different Eco systems..

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St Lucia
St Lucia
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa