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After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Florida, USA
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After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Hello everyone,

We will have 4 nights for Kruger in mid September. The first 2 nights will be at GomoGomo ( already reserved). Now the last 2 nights is really hard to decide, I don't know whether we should stay at another private reserve in Sabi Sand or staying in one of those hotels right outside ( thinking of Protea Kruger Gate) and explore the Kruger national park. If we stay in KNP, we will have a different experience (vs private game lodge). I'm torn between these two places, please give me some advices.

(This is our first safaris and we don't do self drive)

Many thanks in advanced

Frankfurt, Germany
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1. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Sorry just saw, you will not self drive. With this, I think Sabi Sand will produce more game sightings whereas KNP will offer a wider range of landscapes and eco systems

Edited: 23 April 2014, 18:53
Florida, USA
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2. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Hi Dudel

So you say go for Sabi for more game sightings? Our goal is game sightings not landscape nor eco system.

Frankfurt, Germany
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3. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Yes. They drive offroad and can follow game, also, the safari vehicles are radio connected. If you want to see as much game as possible, especially leopards, Sabi Sand wins.

Edited: 23 April 2014, 19:38
Helsinki, Finland
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4. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

The thing with Sabi Sands is, or this is the impression I've got, that the big cats have been habituated there so that they don't care about the vehicles so much. And as it's allowed to drive off-road, it's possible to follow them more closely wherever they go. Many of the lodges blog about leopards using names so I suppose they have regular sightings on particular animals.

You'll probably see more of Africa in it's natural state in Kruger but the animals may not be so into someone staring at them and they may just walk away. And you'll stay on the road, see plenty but not in the order or timeframe you want.

Ellies are everywhere and hippos by the water. The biggest difference might be the cats, although with cheetahs it's always down to luck.

The experts hopefully correct me if I'm making assumptions that are not true.

Florida, USA
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5. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Dudel, Mrs_MM77

I know that staying in a private reserve you can go off road to see the animals and you can see it as close as it could be, that's why I had GomoGomo (in Klasserie) reserved. Now what's making me think is should I go for another "off road" private lodge or go into the Kruger park, since everybody said it's a quite different experience.

Frankfurt, Germany
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6. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Well, it is quite a difference. The main difference is spotting game by yourselves (self drive) or by a guide. If you do guided tours in KNP (which are restricted to roads), Sabi Sand (or most private reserves) probably win,

You said that your main interest is to see as many animals as possible and you don't care too much for landscapes and eco systems, hence the answer. I have told you my advice a month or so ago. If you don't self drive, KNP itself might be an anticlimax. However, if you opt for e.g. Kruger Gate Hotel (your idea a month ago), you might see animals at rivers and dams, as opposed to e.g. the northern sector of Sabi Sand, where there are no rivers or dams. Also, there is a special atmosphere at Kruger National Park - at the end you could also think of a private tour inside KNP. Adding up all the costs, you might as well go to a private reserve.

At the end, if properly done, you won't be disappointed with either choice.

BTW, how did you dicide on your Vic Falls leg, are you going?

Florida, USA
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7. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Dudel,

Sadly the lodge that I want to stay in Sabi sand has no room available on the date I want ( Elephant plains), so I think I might stick with my original plan (2 days private lodge (GomoGomo) and 2 days KNP) instead of 4 days in 2 different private game reserves (Klasserie & Sabi sand).

About Victoria fall, yes, so far it's still in the plan, we will be there for 2 nights.

Gold Coast...
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8. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Hi there

My first reaction to your question was most definitely yes, do a combination of Kruger and a private reserve. This is something that I regularly recommend here, as to me it’s a bit like the ultimate safari. In Kruger itself you get to spend time enjoying the thrill of doing it all yourself at your own pace, and enjoy all the flexibility you want. Unlike staying at a private lodge you get to enjoy eating and sleeping whenever and wherever you want, staying at sightings for as long as you like and best of all you can drive all day long if you want. For maximum game viewing hours in only two days you would definitely stay in the park not in a hotel.

Then for a completely different experience move on to a fully inclusive private lodge and have everything done for you, albeit on a regimented timetable of course. You should experience game up close and personal, going off road when needed and have wonderful photo ops.

However the biggest difference is size, as I just said to someone else, Kruger Park is massive, some 20,000 Kilometers, the traversing areas in some private lodges is only a few thousand Hectares. This means when it comes to quantity there is a huge difference, only Kruger itself can support the hundreds of thousands of animals and birds that dwell there. We love Sabi Sand and it offers you quite an intimate experience, but you will see a lot less animals than in Kruger but the advantage is you will be covering much less distance, meaning sometimes you can see more in a shorter time span, which suits people with very limited time. But the numbers will be lower, for example you may see one or two hippos or crocodiles in a dam, whereas in Krugers rivers and dams you will see thousands. In Sabi you may see a group of five or six zebra, in Kruger you regularly see groups of 50 or more, it's all about space and ecosystems.

Having said all that your biggest issue is time and the fact that you do not want to drive. There are other options, but there is just nothing like driving through the park yourself and rather than have to leave early to get out the gates stay right in the park accommodation. If you are only looking at two days in Kruger, that is not really enough to do it justice, although sometimes people see absolutely heaps on the first day, sometimes it can take longer to see a great deal, as the more ground and roads you cover the better. So I think whether you spend those day in Kruger or a private reserves depends how you feel, and of course if you are willing to drive, Kruger will give you a much larger quantity of wildlife but you need time to drive around to appreciate it. In Sabi you will see less but it will hopefully be close up and personal , although you will sometimes have limited time if there are people waiting to see the same sighting. And as Mrs mm says in the private reserves the emphasis is often on big cats and big 5 so animals like I have mentioned above may not be a priority for some guests.

Also just to add to the 'off road' points, while this is something that is often emphasized by agents and lodges you may surprised how little you do go off road. You do not go bashing through the bush looking for animals despite the impression that many give, can you imagine the untold damage this would do to both flora and fauna.

The reserves actually have tracks, riverbeds and roads everywhere and this is what the rangers will follow. If a tracker is following prints then he even walk into the bush looking for the animals and the truck may follow, or if something is sighted at a distance you may go off road for a closer look. But this is not done for all animals, and not just randomly, and in fact many animals often use the tracks themselves for walking on and sleeping on and animals will be found this way.

Florida, USA
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9. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

thesandmans,

Thank you for your info, advice and opinion, it's really helped me in making the decision, and I'm telling you, it's tough!

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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10. Re: After Klasserie, Sabi sand or Kruger proper?

Your plan to go to Kruger without driving has so many challenges that haven't been mentioned, I will bring them up. First, how would you get there and back? And how would you eat? All of your meals in the camp restaurants? There are Guides who provide trips into Kruger.. and here's on I recommend: http://www.africansafariadventures.co.za/

As for private reserves, if you are keeping down costs, some more with moderate rates in Sabi Sand in the same area as Elephant Plains would be Arathusa and Nkorho - which do their game drives on the same land as Elephant Plains (they share with each other) and Cheetah Plains, which has its own large area. Transfers from Gomo Gomo to any of these will be about R2350 and from one of those back to Hoedspruit airport, about R2200. The same company I mentioned above is the one I use for such transfers.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari