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skip Kruger?

cohasset, ma
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skip Kruger?

We are planning a trip from the US for Aug 2014 with my three boys (6, 8 and 12) and will only have 10 days. I was wondering if we should skip Kruger and head to the East Coast and stay at the Rhino River Lodge, Tembe Elephant Park and the Hillsnek Lodge in the Amakhala Game Reserve? I would also like to go to either Cape Town or Victoria Falls, but don't know which one has more to do and see with the 3 boys. We would probably spend 3 days in the second destination. Happy to rent a car too and flights within SA aren't a problem since I have tons of BA points and can fly Comair.

It seems like those lodges have more bang for your buck in terms of accommodations than if we were to stay in a private reserve near Kruger, but not sure if you are not getting the same game viewing experience.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I feel like this is a trip of a lifetime so want to make sure I get it right. We would be excited to do some add-ons like visiting a cheetah reserve, elephant park, etc... to mix it up a little.

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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1. Re: skip Kruger?

I would skip Victoria Falls. Seeing the Falls is a 2-hour experience for people who want to really see it. For a 6-year old.. a few minutes might be enough. Going there and back will use 3 days of your time. The places you have already found are OK.. I have to say that Rhino River Lodge is THE least expensive such place I have seen. If the experience is as good as the web site suggests, it's a true bargain. Reviews here on TA are generally good. How different would be the reserves near Kruger? Terrain and environment probably better at Rhino Lodge and the reserve is huge - 88 square miles. You are also near the Hluhluwe National Park.. but you probably would be better to stay at Rhino River. As for other activities, a little research will turn some up. You might also enjoy a night around St. Lucia, not so far away. I looked at the web site directions.. couldn't find the P450 road they mention - but the directions are so clear, that it must be fairly easy to find.

Amsterdam, The...
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707 posts
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2. Re: skip Kruger?

Hi,

I would skip everything but never Kruger ;-)

Did you check out the Kruger website (www.sanparks.org) It is nowhere near as expensive as all the luxury private lodges.

The great + for Kruger is that you can do a self drive. You can go wherever you want at the speed you(r children) want. I really like the safari tents and have a BBQ outside. Kids will love it.

Have fun

York, United Kingdom
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3. Re: skip Kruger?

have to agree with bwanadave on Vic Falls, while it is a great destination many of the activities, bungy, rafting etc are for adults, and it is a trek (even with flights), there and back.

Kruger as a self drive with the kids would be great, there ar eplenty of rest camps, hides and picnic spots to get out and stretch your legs, or for an organised safari how about staying in tree houses. kids would love that, and it's reasonably priced and with child rates.

Jayne *staff* kruger tours

surrey
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4. Re: skip Kruger?

Hi, We have just returned from the most fantastic 2 week holiday in SA. We spent 4 days in Cape Town (Hout Bay - Tarragon) and travelled along the garden rote to Port Elizabeth. We then flew to J'berg and drove to Gomo Gomo which has unfenced borders with Kruger. We could not fault either places mentioned and saw everything we could have dreamed of at Gomo Gomo and it was alot less busy than actually being in Kruger - no more than 2 vehicles viewing animals at any one time and we were quite often the only ones. We travelled with my daughters aged 10 and 11.

Have fun it was the most amazing country.

Boston...
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5. Re: skip Kruger?

Skip Kruger?? *Gasp* :)

Concur with Jansjans above. Have been doing self-drives in Kruger with my boys (now 10 and 8) since they were babies. It is an adventure for sure -- be careful since it is also addictive.

Some suggestions if you go down this route:

* binoculars for each of them

* at least 2 Kruger maps in the car (easily purchased at the gate or camps)

* 1-2 reference books with pictures and details on what you re seeing.

You have plenty of time to become an expert before you even land.

Enjoy the planning.

Cheers.

Randburg, Gauteng...
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6. Re: skip Kruger?

definitely do not skip Kruger - you can get very reasonable rates at :Africa on foot; Ntambo Tree Camp and Umkumbe Lodge. All these lodges will give fantastic game viewing experiences, far better than Eastern areas. I also seem to remember that Tembe Elephant Park is only accessed by a 4x4 vehicle. Kruger Park delivers the most amazing game viewing experience. You could do the following: spend the first night at Graskop Hotel, after leaving Johannesburg, the next day drive through the Panorama route (Blyde River Canyon, Bourkes Luck Potholes and Gods Window). Arrive for night at Moholoholo Forest Camp situated in the forests below the Drakensberg Mountains. Take a night drive and next day visit the rehab centre at the lodge - your boys will love it. Then drive to Kruger Klaserie/Timbavati/Sabi Sand or any one of these areas which are all premier game viewing sites. i can also suggest you visit Jessica the Hippo, she is a wild hippo (hand reared) and she loves having visitors. Also on the same road stop(Hoedspruit road) off at Mad dogs Cafe for lunch (in the area - lovely food). The Cheetah Centre is also very close by to visit. Kapama is a lodge (more expensive) Thornybush (more expensive) in this area and excellent for game viewing. i hope this helps.

Lyn - Owner - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Macau, Holiday Travel, Food and Travel
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7. Re: skip Kruger?

Have to agree with many of the thoughts above. Coming all the way from the States and not visiting Kruger would be a real shame, something you (and your children) might really regret later one.

Cape Town is also one of our favorite cities in the world to visit, so much to do/see/try in this little corner of the world. Here is a trip list of things to do that we have really enjoyed in the past. Have a look if useful.

Cape Town (our top attractions)

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i32409-Cape_Tow…

Hope this is useful if you decide to spend time in Cape Town. Have a great trip to southern Africa whatever you decide to do.

Johannesburg, South...
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8. Re: skip Kruger?

I cannot stress enough how wonderful the Kruger is as a family destination. You need to plan ahead though - in peak times the Park is fully booked a year in advance. I grew up in the Kruger and it is truly paradise for a kid. There are many children's prgrammes in the different camps as well as guided walks and game drives with the best qualified game rangers in the country. Cape Town has a million things to do and is preferable for a family to the Vic Falls. The Falls are beautiful but once you have walked the bridge and seen it you need to travel to see animals and it isn't half as wonderful as the Kruger. I really hope you enjoy SA!

Charlotte, North...
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9. Re: skip Kruger?

While Kruger can be crowded, it is not always crowded. I have seen 15 cars trying to get a glimpse of the side of a lion, and I have also had many great sightings of cats, wild dogs, and other animals where it was only our car. I no longer know the website, but somebody else might or try to search for it, but find a calendar of South African holidays and try to avoid those dates if possible.

You know your family of course, but if this was my trip I would make it Capetown and Kruger.

cohasset, ma
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65 posts
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10. Re: skip Kruger?

All,

Thank you so much for your posts. I love this forum and have been getting some great information. I am so appreciative.

I am now thinking we will not miss Kruger or Sabi Sands, stopping at Blyde River Canon) and Cape town. My only concern is that we will be coming in August so maybe the weather in the south will be too rainy? I think my boys would love some variety so visiting a cheetah park, whale watching, going on a boat ride, and other fun suggestions would be perfect. Would be going up the Garden route for a day or two be too much?

Our trip will be about 12 days on average and we are happy to purchase internal airfare. Our budget is pretty lean (about $1750pp not including airfare, internal flights or rental car: have airline points for this!). We have three adults and three boys (6, 8 and 12). Hoping we can take advantage of the child's 1/2 fare.

Would love some itinerary suggestions (thank you, Lyn M). Happy to incorporate Cape town, Garden route, East Coast, Swaziland, etc... but do not want to do too much. I'm a little overwhelmed.

Also, plan on having everyone take anti-malaria pills.

Thank you in advance.