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Self-drive in Kruger Park

Israel
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Self-drive in Kruger Park

We are making a reservation for 3 nights in June 2013, in a lodge on a private reserve in Sabi Sands, with guided game drives and bush walks. Shall we benefit from an additional day, self-driving through Kruger Park? Are there any special attractions or views in the Park, which we will not experience in the reserve?

Ben

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1. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

You most definitely will benefit in a self-drive but I would highly recommend more than one day. Two or three would be a great complement to your private reserve experience. I think after one day driving yourself in the park, you will want more! :)

There is nothing at all like finding the game yourself and experiencing the park on your terms.

As for special attractions that is a hard one. The whole experience is in itself a very special one. There are so many great areas to explore just in the south.

I will leave it to others to maybe make some specific suggestions as I have more experience in the central and northern areas.

Frankfurt, Germany
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2. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

We also were not sure whether we should self drive after Sabi Sand. We did for one day and really wished we had done more. If you are in the Northern part of Sabi Sand (Arathusa, Chitwa Chitwa, Djuma, Elephant Plains etc.) you will not see a river, hence you will only see a limited number of hippos, crocs etc. You might want to drive along a river inside the park to make up for it. Other than that, the drive itself is the experience as tryhard has very well pointed out.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

If you decide to add a self drive thru Kruger, which I think is a great idea, I suggest doing it before your Sabi Sand experience. For me it's a matter of leaving best for last.

Edited: 02 February 2013, 23:18
Naracoorte
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4. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

Depends on what you consider best hey lol :)....no surprises, having done both, what I like best!

Frankfurt, Germany
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5. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

To be honest, I would disagree with steveb108. Driving through the park without seeing game can be very frustrating. After having seen the Big 5 and all the game that was on your list in Sabi Sand, you can drive more leisurely and relaxed without feeling rushed or having the feeling that you miss a leopard or other hard to spot game. Further more, after having done tours with a ranger and a tracker you might have an easier time to find the animals because they might have told you where best to spot them or how to find them. Also it might be easier to understand what te animals are up to after having a ranger explained the behavior of a certain animal.

We went to Sabi Sand first and did the self drive afterwards, it was awesome that way. We met people in Sabi Sand who did the self drive part first and went to a private reserve afterwards. They were disappointed because they never found game themselves and the sightings were rather far, especially the big cats.

At the end it really comes down to a personal choice. I believe you will get more out of self driving after being "educated", rather than saving the best for last. Self driving was so rewarding, we did not care having seen the animals closer before, neither were we disappointed or felt that self driving was a downturn after having been pampered in a private reserve. Just my to cents worth.

Boston...
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6. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

These are two experiences and if you can add a self-drive safari, do it. I can't comment on the order since I love self-drive and do it all the time with my family. It is always different and do not under-estimate what you can see on your own.

To improve your chances of spotting game, drive slow, take your time, check out watering holes, leave camp early, check the sightings board, talk to others, make sure you have the Kruger map, binoculars for each person in the car, and have fun!

Cheers,

Heeten, Owner, Swagat at Kruger Park Lodge

Israel
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7. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

Thanks to all of you, you've convinced me to stay an extra day and self-drive in the park.

We'll be 3 nights at a private reserve in the Sabi Sand area and then go one day on self-driving. Can you recommend a lodge for just sleeping after the self-drive, without any game-drives or bush-walks, so it won't be as expensive as the lodge on the private reserve?

Also, does one get a map upon entry into Kruger Park, with hints on where to see animals? Any danger in driving alone?

Ben

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8. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

No danger at all in driving alone. On entry you will receive your permit. Do read the park rules and regulations and it also has some tips on encountering elephants. You won't receive a detailed park map but they are available at all the park shops and I think they are sold at the gate offices too. You can't get lost in Kruger but you do need the map obviously. All the Kruger camps (except those few on private concessions) offer the guided walks and drives as an option. The accommodation is much cheaper than private lodges and you have a variety of types. You need to look at sanparks.org where you can look at all the camps, the accommodation, availability and price. You can then book online on the same site.

Frankfurt, Germany
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9. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

The road network in Kruger is very well marked. You can get a brochure at the gate, which contains a quite useable map.

As for a SAN camp. You only pay what you use, so you only pay the accomodation, everything else is booked seperately, also the meals. As for the camps, it really dedenfs where you are entering (e.g Orpen for Northern Sabi Sand, Phabeni, Numbi or Kruger for Southern Sabi Sand) and where you are heading afterwards. For Orpen Gate Satara or Ollifant River, for the southern part if KNP Lower Sabie, Pretoriuskop, Berg-en-Dal or Skukuza.

Boston...
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10. Re: Self-drive in Kruger Park

All the gates sell the HoneyGuide Kruger National Park Map. I love this map and look at it at least once a day (OK, I have a problem!)

A few things to consider: South African school holidays start on the 22nd of June so if your dates fall after that 22nd, book fast since the accommodations in Kruger book up quickly. Check out sanparks.co.za for availability. Accommodations are very affordable as you will see.

I agree with Dudel....where you end up staying, especially if only going for one night, depends on where you are coming from and where you have to be the day following your night in Kruger.

There is no real secret to spotting animals -- drive slowly and keep a keen eye out. You will spot animals.

Good luck!

Cheers,

Heeten, Owner, Swagat at Kruger Park Lodge