Firstly, I have to start by saying we have been fairly spoilt in the past having frequented various 5* lodges / reserves around SA over the years. Mostly thanks to being taken away by big corporations as a "thank you" for business.
The perception one often hears about seeing the wildlife in SA is that you only get to do this if you are in the smaller privately owned & run reserves which cost a fortune & are normally only for the wealthy who can afford the premium prices.
Well we took the decision several years ago, to as far as possible only utilise the National Parks accommodation for our trips to the bush. At the time I thought a big compromise for me as I do like my creatuure comforts!! But this is certainly not the case at all. We now do an annual trip to Kruger & several shorter long weekends to the various othe parks, both SANPARKS & EZEMVELO & every time we go we see an abundance of game including the Big 5, with ease on our own driving around. The prices are fantastic & what we pay all in for 10 days in Kruger, the private reserves charge per person per night & more. Yes the accommodation is fairly basic, but well maintained & clean & lets be honest you only sleep there. To me the National Parks are fantastic!
We have just returned from our 10 days in Kruger. This was our first time staying in Olifants Camp which we really enjoyed, it is a beautiful camp & the setting above the river is awesome. We booked a river view bungalow which was wonderful, as always they were neat & clean. We found all the staff to be very friendly, chatty & helpful. Looking at previous reviews my answer to the "bad service" is we have never found this, however we often witness people being treated according to the way they treat others, if you give attitude you will be handled with attitude, common courtesy & friendliness always goes a long way!!
We booked an early morning "Guided Bush Walk", an awesome experience to be out in the bush on foot knowing their are wild animals around you. Our 2 rangers, John & Dennis were fantastic. We had a "Sunrise Game Drive" booked but opted to swop this for a "Sunset Game Drive" which was done no problem at all We went out with another ranger Eric, who was also amazing, very knowledgable, informative & a great sense of humour, we had a fantastic drive with him.
We had dinner at the restaurant on one occasion, it was very quiet with few people. The service & food was really great, we enjoyed it.
Our game sightings in the area were fantastic, of the so called "must see" we saw all but Rhino & Cheetah. I d believe the key to successful game viewing in the park is patience & knowing what to look out for, the twitching of an ear, the sounds of the birds & their alarm calls etc. We never go a day without seeing plenty of interesting sights.
One of the highlights for us was doing the Mananga 4 x 4 trail which operates out of Satara. A maximum of 6 vehicles allowed per day & must be pre-booked. It truly gives you the feeling of isolation from the sometimes madding crowd & we were lucky to have amazing sightings along the route. We passed only another 2 vehicles on the trail. Well worthwhile.
Overall a fabulous stay at Olifants.
We stayed in Bungalow 5 - River View (BD2V) We did find the bushes in front of us on the other side...
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