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Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

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Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

Hello,

We are 3 adults and we will be in Johannesburg on Jan or Feb and I need to make a safari in Kruger park. So I would like to know what is the difference between public/self drive Kruger, or a private reserve. Also how many nights I need to Explore the whole park. Finally I need to know the rates for public/self drive Kruger, or a private reserve. Are there any camps or tents at the park with lower rates which we could stay instead of luxurious lodge ? Any suggestions will be so great.

Thanks in advance

Abdallah

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1. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

To check out all the national parks accommodation inside Kruger and all other relevant info including prices etc see: www.sanparks.org

There are any amount of lodges around Kruger in the adjoining private reserves. Rates vary but are all considerably higher than the Sanparks accommodation. This is because you are paying an all inclusive rate for two guided game drives per day and often a game walk as well and also three meals and non-alcoholic drinks. The service and accommodation is also of a much higher standard. However, I would strongly recommend for a first time experience to spend three nights in a private lodge and at least four nights inside Kruger on a self drive. The two experiences are totally different yet compliment each other.

To comfortably explore the whole of Kruger park itself would require a good two weeks at least. Kruger is huge and needs to be explored on a leisurely basis to fully appreciate it. If your time is limited then stick to the southern areas where game is denser.

Kruger National...
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2. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

Hi there!

Just to add to the above information, when you have a safari experience in the Kruger, you have two options - to self drive, or to stay in a private reserve, both with their own pros and cons.

Self driving includes renting a car and driving around the national park in search of wild life. You stay within self catering SanParks (government run) accommodation, where the chalets are basic but comfortable. There are restaurants at the main camps if you don't feel like cooking, and there are also basic grocery/curio stores should you need something. You can also book guided game drives from the camps. A self drive experience is wonderful because you get to search for your own animals, and this is an absolute thrill! You also get the added benefit of flexibility, and it is cheaper than the second option of a private reserve.

You can have a look at the camps and availability here;

http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/

Now, the second option of a private reserve involves staying at a fully catered lodge. The private reserves of the Sabi Sands, Balule, Klaserie and Timbavati surround the public Kruger via an unfenced border, allowing the animals to wander in and out as they please.

Here, your rate includes all meals, tea/coffees, 2x guided game drives daily, refreshments on game drives, optional bush walks, and depending on the lodge -transfers, laundry and beverages may be included too.

Further to this, game drives are conducted in specialized open air jeeps with a highly qualified game ranger and a highly experienced game tracker to find the animals, and educate you about any wildlife you may encounter. The lodge vehicles are also the only ones in the reserve, so no traffic jams will be encountered. Further to this, the vehicles are allowed to go off road in pursuit of animals.

The accommodation (bar a few specifically rustic lodges) is generally luxurious, with levels of luxury ranging from low - high.

HOWEVER - because of what is included, it is also much more expensive than a self drive experience. Prices start at around R1800 per person per night, and can stretch all the way to R10,000+ per person per night. This is compared to the self drive, where accommodation is around R800 per night for a 2 sleeper chalet/hut.

A few of the good lower end budget lodges are Elephant Plains (Sabi Sands), Gomo Gomo Game Lodge (Klaserie reserve), nDzuti Safari Camp (Klaserie), Africa on Foot (Klaserie) and Simbavati River Lodge (Timbavati).

These aregreat value for money lodge, providing excellent game viewing and a traditional safari experience.

Warm regards, and good luck!

Jacqui

Owner

Lodge Trackers Safari Specialists

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3. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

Thank You very much for your help.

Which private reserve is the best ? ( Sabi Sands, Balule, Klaserie and Timbavati )

Kruger National...
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4. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

Hi there,

Eeeep! This is a tough question, as everyone has their own opinion.

For big cats (leopard, lion, cheetah) the Sabi Sands and the Timbavati have the highest density, and highest luck in finding these animals. The Klaserie is great for all around game viewing of the Big 5 and more, although all reserves offer this.

Balule is a great option too, however (in my opinion, from living in the Kruger area and visiting all reserves on a frequent basis) it does not have as high of a game density as the other reserves. It does have some excellent lodge options though, including Naledi.

So, to sum it up; Any of the reserves will bring animals, it just all depends on being in the right place in the right time :).

I would rather suggest looking at lodge options that you like the look of, and then determining which area would be best based on your lodge choice.

Otherwise, a great option is also combining self drive with a private reserve experience - would that be of interest to you? This way, you get the best of both worlds!

Warmest regards

Jacqui

Owner

Lodge Trackers Safari Specialists

South Africa

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5. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

Agree with tryhard - "To comfortably explore the whole of Kruger park itself would require a good two weeks at least."

There are 20-30 different places to stay in Kruger, and these are all in different areas. And, I am not including the private reserves like Sabi Sands, Timbavati, Balule etc. If you add those in, you might need 2 months.

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6. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

You specifically mentioned 'tents'. Timbavati is an excellent game reserve bordering onto KNP. It is a tented camp with ensuites and is R1650/day/person all inclusive. A chalet for 2 people within main KNP is R1050/day. Add onto that R248/person/day conservancy fee for foreigners plus cost of fuel and car hire. All lodges on pvt land along KNP include 3 meals and 2 game drives in their tarrif. I've booked a trip to Shindzela for July 2014. Feel it offers best value for money along with good likelyhood of spotting game.

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7. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

How long will you have ?

There is nothing quite like driving through the park yourself and its very easy on the budget. We are there right now and have had fantastic game viewing, some days spending up to fourteen hours game driving.

We can eat whenever we like, spend as much time at sightings as we like and basically have all the flexibility to do whatever we want whenever we like.

Perhaps a combination of self drive and private lodge may suit you, and will even out the budget somewhat.

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8. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

Hi Abdallah,

I agree with thesandmans. A combination safari will give you the best of both experiences, which are unique and fantastic in their own ways.

With regards to Private Reserves, I am going to put my head on a block and say first Sabi Sands, followed by Timbavati and then Klaserie, Balule etc. It all depends on your budget, availability, and what you are looking for in a safari. Also for your information, there are many luxury lodges that offer 'tented' accommodation.

What is your budget? As you can see from Jacqui's post the rate range is quite large from about ZAR1800 - ZAR 12000 per person per night sharing in the private safari lodges. Kruger National Park is considerably cheaper.

My feeling is that in order to travel the whole of the Kruger National Park from North to South, you will need about 2 1/2 weeks, plus a few extra nights for the private lodge, which would be about 3 weeks total.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

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9. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

We booked Naledi in Balule after being recommended by these forums

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10. Re: Suggestions for the best safari in Kruger park ?

Having just come back from the Timbavati I must say I am continually impressed and drawn back to its laid back and authentic atmosphere. Of course a lot depends on which lodge in the area. We stayed at Kambaku Safari lodge which offered great guiding, tasty well cooked meals and comfy rooms. It is owner run which we also like. Have a look at their site should you want to see more.

I also like the idea of doing a bit of self drive and a bit of time in private reserve. Perhaps the reserve first to gain insight into the wildlife before doing a few days yourself in Kruger. If you go this route just recognize that the two are very different experiences. What makes private special is that you are in an open vehicle and get to track animals with guides who should open a world of discovery. What I love about self drive is the ability to sit all day at a waterhole and come and go as and when you like.