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madikwe vs kruger for a family

Philadelphia...
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madikwe vs kruger for a family

we are a family of 5 (3 kids between ages of 7-10). first time in south africa. we had planned to go to kruger for 5 days in april, mixing self drive with private reserve. a south african friend recently brought madikwe to my attention, saying you have a very similar experience with kruger, without the malaria risk.

what are people's opinions on this? (the differences in experience, not the malaria risk!!)

also, which airlines would be flying there and is the airport simply called "madikwe"?

thanks!

Gold Coast...
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1. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

Hi again

If malaria risk is not a consideration then I would naturally choose Kruger, which is some 22000 square kilometers compared to Madikwes 75000 hectares, therefore supporting a much larger range of wildlife.

Only Kruger offers the true self drive experience, whereas at Madikwe I believe all lodges are 4 star plus all inclusive.

The only way to compare apples with apples is to compare to one of Krugers adjacent private reserves, which are much smaller and much more expensive than staying in the park itself.

Philadelphia...
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2. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

thank you the sandmans :)

good point! to compare apples: the private reserve we have found for a couple of days is within klaserie reserve (goma goma) [and simbavati was also available]. how would you compare madikwe with those? (re wildlife)

also, this friend said that, especially for someone like us with unfortunately little time, you may see less doing the self drive as, without a guide/tracker, you could drive 'for days' and not see anything. am i being overly optimistic thinking we may see animals on our "own"?

lastly, what about temperature? he mentioned it can be quite cold early/late in the day and in private drives you'd get a blanket. what do non-south africaners do in self-drives? are they selling blankets in kruger?! lol… or do you just put the heat on in the car?!

thanks for your thoughts!

Naracoorte
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3. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

I have never gone a day in Kruger self-driving and not seen anything - I don't think that's possible lol. However, you may see lion, leopard, rhino etc in the first five minutes or you may not see them in three days. You will see lots and lots of other animals. In a private reserve the guides know the traversing area they work in and the animals who inhabit these areas very well. Therefore there is a higher chance of seeing some of the more elusive species over a short space of time in a private reserve.

Game drives on open vehicles can be freezing at certain times of the year which is why they provide a blanket and you need to wear layers. In a private car self-driving it's not an issue - turn the heater on - but we still keep the windows down!

I still think mixing a self drive experience with a couple of nights at a private lodge in the Kruger is the ultimate experience for first time visitors.

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

thanks "try hard"

i know we shouldn't mention malaria risk here (!) but that is really the only thing worrying me about Kruger! one minute i think, "it's ok, the chances are low" and the next i think "but what if it's us?!"… sigh… i was relieved to read that sanparks accommodations have screened windows. maybe we should just avoid the night drives?!

Naracoorte
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5. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

Assessing the risk is a personal choice but the risk is EXTREMELY low particularly if you take malaria prophylaxis, cover up and use mosquito repellents. To me the risk benefit analysis is a no brainer. 1.4 MILLION people visited KNP last year. I don't know the actual figure but the number of malaria cases directly from KNP would be very, very small. Consider carefully before depriving yourself of an incredible experience. You are probably more at risk getting to the airport to depart! :)

I personally wouldn't ever let it put me off (whilst taking the proper precautions) and we have done numerous trips over the last 13 years including in the early years taking my children.

Port Elizabeth
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6. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

You cannot self-drive in Madikwe.

If you want the combination, I suggest you do Madikwe and then self-drive in Marakele.

It is best to drive from Johannesburg.

Edited: 14 January 2014, 12:53
Berkhamsted, United...
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7. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

Sightings of leopards and cheetahs are likely to be lower (close to zero? Although I understand cheetah numbers have now been increased) in Madikwe but you are more likely to see wild dogs there.

We avoided Kruger with the kids until last year (aged 10 and 8) due to not wanting to have the kids take anti-malarials and then we visited in the low season (August) to reduce the risk and avoid medicating. As it was, we still saw a few mozzies but just used creams and covering up as necessary to avoid being bitten. Madikwe was our reserve of choice until that point and we often followed up with self-driving in Pilanesburg which you have to pass on the drive back to Jo'burg anyway.

Having done it once now, I probably would risk April in Kruger using avoidance measures again, rather than medication.

Philadelphia...
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8. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

thanks everyone for your thoughts and input- so appreciated!

sandys40- now that you have done both and IF you had to pick one for your family, what would be your personal choice? :) thx

Berkhamsted, United...
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9. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

The next time we go, it will be Kruger.

Actually, it will be the KZN reserves but I would go to Kruger before Madikwe, again, if we didn't have our hearts set on KZN. But that's partly driven by the fact that we've done Madikwe a few times whereas we've barely touched Kruger.

Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: madikwe vs kruger for a family

My wife and I were in Madikwe in October and absolutely loved it. We stayed at The Bush House and its one of the lodges that accommodates children. We were there for 4 days 3 nights and saw all of the Big 5. The thing we liked the most about Madikwe was that it was nice and quiet. There are no self drives thru the reserve, so you arent fighting multiple vehicles for good viewing locations. 2 games drives a day, good food, nice rooms, and a watering hole adjacent to the lodge. Its only a 4 hour ride from Jo'burg, and we'd go back in a heartbeat.

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