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Kruger Park October 2014

london
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Kruger Park October 2014

Hi all- I am going to Joburg for a wedding in Oct next year and want to stay in SA for about 2 weeks after it. I'd like to book a package holiday in Kruger (I'm assuming a package is cheaper) but there are so many to choose from!

- Do you have a recommendation for when the best time for me to book is? (are there better deals 3 months before travel or should I book now?)

- Can you recommend a tour place that specialises in reasonably priced Kruger holidays?

- Any other advice?

Thank you and happy holidays!

Kruger National...
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1. Re: Kruger Park October 2014

Hi there,

Oh! How exciting - I do hope you have a lovely time in our country.

To be honest, the timing doesn't really matter too much, as most of the lodges here work on a seasonal basis - higher rates in the high season, low in the low etc. October is towards the high season :).

It really all depends what you are looking for - are you interested in the self drive, or the private reserve experience in the Kruger? Here's a bit of background info;

You basically have two options when it comes to the Kruger, and combining the two is often a popular safari itinerary.

1. SELF DRIVE

Self driving involves renting a car, and driving yourself around the pubic Kruger National Park in search of wildlife - what a thrill!

The accommodation is very basic, but clean and comfortable. They are self catering, so buy groceries before you get into the park. Or, there are some shops that are stocked with the basics at the main camps, along with fuel stations and curio stores.

You can also book a guided game drive from the camp, but these go on the same roads you do.

The rate here is around R800 for a 2 person chalet per night, plus a daily conservation fee too.

You can pick up maps and guide book from your camp, and it is quite easy to drive yourself around the park.

You can check out the availability here;

sanparks.org/parks/…results

2. PRIVATE RESERVE

The private reserves of the Klaserie, Balule, Timbavati and Sabi Sands all surround the public Kruger via unfenced borders, so all the animals can wander in and out as they please.

When staying within a lodge at a private reserve, your rates generally include all meals, a morning game drive daily, afternoon game drive daily, optional bush walk daily, tea/coffee, and snacks on safari. Some also include all beverages, laundry, and transfers.

The game drives are conducted in open topped (and open sided) safari jeeps, and you are taken around the reserve by a highly qualified and experienced duo of a game ranger and a tracker. They are there to find and educate you about any wildlife you may encounter.

The game drives also go off road in search of animals.

Because of the all inclusive nature of private reserves, the rates start at around R1,800 per person per night, and can go anywhere up to R12,000+ per person per night.

The accommodation is generally a much higher level of comfort than the SanParks accommodation, bar one or two specifically rustic accommodation.

In regards to transport, from Johannesburg you can easily either fly direct (either to Nelspruit or to Hoedspruit airport, depending on which lodge or area of the park you would like to go), pick up a car at the airport if self driving, or have the lodge transfer you. Alternatively, you can also use a ground transport system (much more budget friendly than flying!) that will take you directly from Joburg or Pretoria right to the Kruger area (servicing the Balule, Klaserie and Timbavati Reserves), where your lodge will then pick you up from. This is a very comfortable and safe service that I often use for my clients and myself - It is called Ashtons.

Do you perhaps have a specific budget in mind that you would like to spend per night? We could all then maybe suggest suitable options?

Warmest regards

Jacqui Sive l Owner l Lodge Trackers Safari Specialists l South Africa

Randburg, Gauteng...
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2. Re: Kruger Park October 2014

Hello, so you would want to have two weeks, end Oct perhaps into November. There are small companies who offer tours. Look at Nomad, they have small groups, and assuming you will be on your own, this may suit you. Also look at Africa travel Company, similar tour but you may also see something that grabs you. Otherwise, look at Viva Safaris, they operate out of Joburg, and go daily to Kruger.

Lyn - Owner - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

South Africa
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3. Re: Kruger Park October 2014

Good advice above. There is a third option to add to what Jacqui mentioned, which is a guided tour or package, as indeed you asked about in your post. As Lyn says, there are many companies that offer guided tours to Kruger, and it is helpful to research your options a bit before booking. Some companies use closed vehicles or typical overland trucks, others use open vehicle safaris (open sided vehicles with a canvas canopy). Some companies stay at small reserves, guesthouses or lodges outside Kruger, and only go into the Kruger National Park for a day drive. Others use accommodation inside Kruger and you would overnight in the Kruger National Park, at one of the rest camps. Some companies focus on the budget market and will do everything possible to keep costs low. For this reason they might use entry level guides who get paid minimum guide wage and struggle a bit with English, some of them use tented accommodation or cheap huts without aircon and without private bathrooms (they use communal ablution facilities). This is not necessarily bad - it's just the market they focus on and they need to keep costs down as much as possible. Others focus on a slightly different market and use more expensive, more experienced guides, slightly better accommodation (bungalows with air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms). They might cost a bit more but there is always a reason why one trip costs more than another. So compare your options carefully before booking. My advice is to check their reviews and references, see if the company has any reviews here on Tripadvisor or elsewhere, and get full details about the itinerary, the accommodation and guides they use, the meals, what is included and excluded, etc.

Regarding when to book, it is always better to book sooner rather than later, because of availability. Since the start of this year, Sanparks has changed its booking terms for the travel trade so that final payment is due 45 days before date of travel. This means that for those companies that use accommodation inside the Kruger National Park, availability of accommodation is the key factor that affects availability of their tours.

Even if you go with one of the other 2 options Jacqui has mentioned (self-drive or private reserve), your choice of acommodation may be more limited the longer you wait. So my advice is to book as soon as you can or as soon as you know your exact travel dates.

Hope this helps!

Onne from Wild Wings Safaris

4. Re: Kruger Park October 2014

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