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First time on safari

Manchester, United...
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First time on safari

Hi my husband and I are coming to South Africa at the end of October/November and are looking at going on our 1st ever safari - we thought we would go to Kruger but there is so many accommodation choices we dont know where to start. We want to go somewhere that is close to the wildlife and offers 4 by 4 open top safaris with a driver. Can anyone point us in the right direction of where to start organising our safari. How many days would you recommend? We can do anything between 3 and 6 in out timetable.

Thanks

Kez

Johannesburg, South...
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1. Re: First time on safari

Hi,

Its all "close to wildlife", every square kilometer of the Greater Kruger National Park area.

If you want open vehicles ( closed air conditioned vehicles would be my personal choice..... far more comfortable) then you should look at the private reserves/lodges bordering the actual Kruger National Park.

As far as "number of days" is concerned, if I could, I would live there. ie the longer the better, obviously according to budget.

Every day is different, the animals seen daily may be the same, but they are always doing something different to what was happening the day before.... fascinating !!!

Enjoy!

Frankfurt, Germany
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2. Re: First time on safari

Hi Kez,

probably most private reserves in the Kruger Area will fit the bill. Maybe we can help you better if you state your budget and your willingness to do a combination of private reserves and self drive.

Do you care for luxury and fine dining or are you happy with good game drives and a rustic hut/ tent?

You are right, the choices are intimidating, yet most are excellent. Give us some better idea of what you have in mind.

Johannesburg, South...
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3. Re: First time on safari

I recommend you spend a minimum of 4 nights in Kruger National Park, but increasing it by a day or two will be great ... this might give you the opportunity to do a combination of self drive and private reserve safari.

What type of safari you do and where relies largely on your budget. The private reserves rates starts at about R2000 per person per night for the mid range lodges and goes up all the way to R10 000+ pppn. At private lodges all meals and game activites are included. If you opt for a self drive safari then the Sanparks accommodation are approx between R900 - R1200 for two persons depending on which type of accomodation you take. You'll have to self cater although all the big camps have restuarants and you can also take guided walks and game drives from the camps at an additional cost.

If you can give us an idea what your budget is then we can make more specific recommendations.

4. Re: First time on safari

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West Hollywood...
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5. Re: First time on safari

WillSafari, love your "ethos" reference!!! What about the animal PATHOS? Is it better in Kruger or elsewhere like Tanzania?

~LuckyChucky

Manchester, United...
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6. Re: First time on safari

Hi all, thanks for all your help so far. I am trying to work out a budget as we are spending three weeks away with a fair amount of time in Cape Town and the Garden Route side. As an aside would people recommend visiting the Addo Elephant Reserve?

We are not concerned with luxury and fine dining but are there for the wildlife viewing and to get as up close to it all as possible and see the most animals and variety - we would love to stay somewhere with a treetops room and close to a water hole where we might see the animals and would be very happy in the tent type accommodation - whatever keeps the budget down but still gives us a great experience ...

Thanks

Kez

Gold Coast...
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7. Re: First time on safari

Hi Kezia

We have been to Addo and although we did see lots, for us there was no comparison to Kruger. But that is only natural and I think Addo is worth a visit, just like thousands of others who visit every year.

We did have some lovely elephant sightings there and of course large herds are what the park is famous for. Just before we were there lions had been 'introduced' to Addo, but we were not lucky enough to see them, but I have seen a few photos of them now so hopefully they are more visible and adjusting to vehicles. Other recent visitors may know better. There were plenty of antelope and zebra there and we had good jackal and bird sightings.

Still hard to help without more budget info. The agents will then come in with their private lodge suggestions if you want something all inclusive and fairly upmarket. If you want to save on costs then a self drive in Kruger Park itself is the most budget friendly option. If you decide to stretch to six days this gives you the possibility of a combination safari of three days in private lodge [expensive] and three days in Kruger itself [cheap]. This not only even out the budget but remember six nights in a private lodge will not only cost a lot but you will be going over the same ground, particularly with some lodges that only have 2-5000 hectares. [Kruger has 2M].

Manchester, United...
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8. Re: First time on safari

Hi thanks that is really helpful, I like the idea of a mixture between private reserves and then self drive. I don't know how much all the different options would cost to make a sense of it all really. Could we do a 3 night private lodge experience for £500 pp or would we be talking closer to £1000? Would £750pp be enough for 5 nights on safari in some form? ... Would your recommendations be to spend more of our budget in Kruger and then not necessarily visit any on the western Cape but stick to the beaches and wineries and whale watching etc. Thanks in advance, Kez

Manchester, United...
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9. Re: First time on safari

Just as an add on - I have seen this Shindzela Tented Safari Camp in the Timbavati Game Reserve it seems to offer the wildlife and outdoors experience rather than the luxury which is what we are looking for. Is this a good area? Then maybe combine with a couple of days self drive in Kruger park afterwards? Kez

Johannesburg, South...
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10. Re: First time on safari

With a budget of £750 for 5 or 6 nights you could definitely do a private safari and then a self drive. My suggestion is to spend 3 nights doing self drive and then end off your safari experience with 3 nights at a private reserve. There is no need to skip Cape Town as the above is sufficient budget to visit Kruger.

For self-drive look at the following camps: Lower Sabie and Satara and if no avialability Skukuza and Olifants.

Check for availibility and book asap. sanparks.org/parks/…availability.php

For private safari the more budget friendly options are:

- Africa on Foot

- Gomo Gomo

- nThambo Tree camp

- Simbavati river lodge

- Elephant plains

And Shidzela as mentioned by yourself, I haven't been there but I know it is similar to Africa on Foot. I know that Jacqui recently did a comparison of these two so maybe she'll read this post and give you a link to that page. As far as I can remember Africa on Foot had a slight edge over Shindzela (-:

Edited: 22 May 2014, 14:25