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Kruger/Sabi Sands

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posts: 19
reviews: 10
Kruger/Sabi Sands

Are safari experiences in Kruger and Sabi Sands really that different?

Is there a compromise between budget and luxury when it comes to safaris?

Thanks for your help!

25 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Cape Town
posts: 3,508
11. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

I agree with Dudel about private reserve first. That is assuming you are not familiar with the animals you hope to see. Even though I am still astounded at some of the animals/birds the trackers and rangers spot, I hope I have picked up a few tips on how to spot them and perhaps just as important, to identify them. Sure you will know a lion from a rhino but do you know the difference between a leopard and a cheetah or how to identify some of the many antelope etc.

Once you have had an amazing close up of many animals/birds with the expert help then you can self-drive in Kruger NP with more confidence and hopefully experience the thrill of spotting animals by yourself.

A few words of advice when self-driving. PATIENCE is the keyword, there are strict speed limits in Kruger (which I advise you not to exceed, both for the animals sake and your wallet because they do have mobile speed cameras in operation !) As you have to stick to the roads, I prefer to drive along the gravel/dirt roads where it is usually quieter, traffic wise, the animals have to be on the road or pretty close to the side of the road but it is quite astonishing how even something the size of an elephant can simply blend into the background.

You will, on a fairly typical day meet elephants/ buffalo/ giraffe/impala at some point ambling along or across the road fairly close to you. Others you may have to spot them in the bush. Most people are considerate and if you meet another vehicle coming towards you slow right down and ask if they have seen anything nearby. If you see another vehicle stopped then pull in behind it and look for what they have seen.

Finally, head out as soon as the camp gates open in the morning and towards the end of the afternoon leave yourself plenty of time to get back to your camp before curfew time (otherwise there is a fine!)

Enjoy !

New York City, New...
posts: 1,885
reviews: 48
12. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

Thanks steve. the new link lodge tracker posted corrected this error.

I too am leaning towards private first to help " ensure " that I get to see the animals. then if the family is tired, they do not have to go on a selfdrive/ KNP safari.

posts: 1,550
reviews: 14
13. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

Everyone has done a great job covering the info for both options. Just want to add that in Kruger Sanparks also run some other activities that don't always get much of a mention.

Wilderness hiking trails.- walking trails over a few days which move from place to place and you pack everything in and out. Pure camping in the wild.

4x4 guided Eco-trails overnight or multi-day led by guides on roads and trails not accessible to the general public.

Bush braai breakfast and dinners. The dinners are particularly amazing dining out in the bush by candle light under the stars in conjunction with a game drive.

Mountain bike trails from Oliphants camp.

Guided morning walks from most camps. (We have done a few and were always lucky to have a guide to ourselves for a couple of hours hiking out in the bush encountering elephant and buffalo and learning a huge amount about animal behaviour and the flora of the park. A very worthwhile experience!)

Great for the repeat visitor or the more adventurous! :)

Washington DC...
posts: 2,423
reviews: 9
14. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

You're welcome, BWW. I've learned through TA to always put a space before and after any link lest any punctuation cause a misfire.

Gold Coast
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
posts: 2,512
reviews: 22
15. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

Hi there,

Yes very different.

I certainly agree with the advice and if you can manage to do both it really is the ultimate.

We do it most years, and now we actually stay in Kruger for at least 2 weeks, but we still add the treat of a few days in Sabi Sand at the end.

The two experiences are completely different, and we love both equally. Main differences have been pointed out but the closeness to the animals in private reserves can be amazing, especially big cats, and you do not have to share with more than one vehicle.

We have had amazing sightings in both although the most spectacular have been in Sabi Sand. Last trip we drove Kruger for 2 weeks and had an wonderful and amazing time, saw everything except leopard. Once in SS we saw a leopard within the first 2 hours, Others might see a leopard within 2 hours of entering Kruger, its all just luck on the day, and of course the longer you stay the more you see.

Going back to do it all again later this year.

This is an old trip report but have a read, it helps with the differences between the two...



Western Cape, South...
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
posts: 6,326
reviews: 40
16. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

I am obviously in the minority - regarding the sequence of Kruger vs private reserve. The Sandmans (post just above) expressed my views exactly. A busy Kruger Park would be an anticlimax to the more relaxed and personal experience you will have in any private reserve.

We all have seen the interesting sighting in Kruger surrounded by a gaggle of vehicles - some visitors watching patiently - some, not so much. I literally have never had clients who did their Kruger visit after first spending time in a private reserve. I think Kruger is the most incredible value in the world when we consider the relatively low cost for so much adventure and remarkable wildlife experiences. And I think the private reserves are the better choice for the 'big finish' to the trip.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

posts: 169
reviews: 33
17. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

Sandmans, I read your trip report and really enjoyed it. I wish more people would write about their trips when they get home. You mentioned that you stayed in a perimeter guest house. We have booked guest houses at both Satara and another rest camp. How do I know if I will get one on the perimeter? Can I request that some way?

Gold Coast
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
posts: 2,512
reviews: 22
18. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

Hi okietraveler79

Thank you

All the main camps have guest houses, many are on the perimeter but there are some that are more in the middle of camp.

The same goes for the bungalows, but there are a lot more choices there, it depends how many people are travelling as to what you will need. However on our 2012 trip the 2 of us did stay in a 3 bedroom guesthouse when no perimeter bungalow was available at Mopani. It was fantastic.

At Satara there are 3 guesthouses, Wells is located alongside a row of bungalows all known as perimeter. These are very close to the same waterhole that you see on the webcam and are very well located, the closer to the waterhole the better of course. Frankel is huge, more out on its own, but virtually has its own waterhole located on the north side where there have been some amazing sightings.

You do not actually request a perimeter because it will be stated when you book. Plus you will pay more for those bungalows and guest houses than the ones that have no views.

On top of that some have even better views than others within the same camp, Olifants is a perfect example, there are river view bungalows, then best riverview bungalows !

You are able to request a particular bungalow a couple of weeks out from your stay if you have the number you want, but of course that does not guarantee you will get it. The ones with the best views book out well ahead for good reason.

Can also help with a link to our very detailed 2012 trip report if you are interested.

If you want to let me know the code or name of which accommodation that you have booked I can help further.

When are you going ?

posts: 169
reviews: 33
19. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

When I looked at my reservations, I realized that I misspoke about my accommodations. At Satara we have booked a guest cottage (GC6BD). When I looked at the map of the rest camp I see that some of the guest cottages are in better locations than others. I was just wondering if I could reserve a perimeter guest cottage, or if it would just be assigned based on availability when we arrived. We will be in Kruger in October.

At Berg-en-Dal we reserved a family cottage (FA6). Again, we would love to have one on the perimeter.

Any ideas of the best way to accomplish that would be appreciated!

I would also enjoy reading your detailed trip report!


posts: 1,550
reviews: 14
20. Re: Kruger/Sabi Sands

As sandmans suggested the best way to request specific accommodation in KNP camps is to fax or phone the actual camp a couple of weeks out with your request. If you have the actual bungalow/cottage/chalet number it makes it much easier.

You can check out the 'best' numbers/ and sites for camp accommodation (with good photos) on special forum topics on the SANparks forum.


and photos of accommodation taken by guests for the forum


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