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I'm really confused.

Niagara Area...
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I'm really confused.

I’m so confused??

My wife and I are planning a vacation to South Africa in October, I’ve spent three days sifting through the forum for details about Kruger NP. Part of our vacation will involve 3 or 4 days in and around Kruger. I’ve decided i will rent a vehicle at Johannesburg and drive to Kruger, the issue is where should I stay? I like the idea of a comfortable experience with our own bathroom but if its self catering are there places to buy supplies? I would rather have a guide, guide us through the safari experience than go out on my own. Are there any local guides that take out groups, all I can seem to find are “package” type deals.

Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: I'm really confused.

The rest camps booked through sanparks.org provide a comfortable place to stay at what I believe is a reasonable cost. You can book guided drives through the camp. It is easy, and I think enjoyable, to do a combination of self drive and a few guided drives. Finding the animals is substantially a matter of getting up early and getting on the road. Of course there are no guaranties, but I and many others have done it this way with success. The camps have stores and restaurants. I do it this way primarily due to cost, but have had consistently good trips over the years.

There are guided tours that stay within the park. Many use the rest camps, but I think some use accomadations outside the park. I have used a guided tour once, but no longer do. I have no knowledge of somebody to recommend.

I have never used the private game lodges. They tend to be beyond my budget. Having said that, for a relatively short visit they may offer good value, higher cost but maybe a better chance of seeing a particular highlight.

In my not unbiased opinion, 4 days will allow for a pleasant self drive trip with a good chance of seeing a diverse range of wildlife. The key to success on a self drive trip is get up early and start looking. Every visitor is pretty much there for the same reason, so share information when you can. The camp staff can be helpful, but keep in mind they are inside the camp doing a job, not out on the roads.

Do not expect to see a lion around every bend, but if you are out in the park, particularly early in the morning, you will have a good chance of spotting some.

Hong Kong, China
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2. Re: I'm really confused.

You could do a bit of both, drive from J'burg towards KNP, do a nice self-drive around the Blyde River Canyon (see links) and then stay in a place like Abangane in Hazyview so that a guide could be arranged to accompany you on your safari experience into Kruger.

Panorama Route – Blyde River Canyon


Or you could stay at a SANs park accommodation in KNP and just pick up your provisions in the Hazyview or Nelspruit supermarket before you go into the park. There are also shops inside the park at the larger campgrounds so you can top up on food and drinks if needed. There are rangers available inside KNP for safari experience but I'm not sure if you can hire them privately, you may need to go on a large vehicle with many other people, not sure if this is what you are interested in or not.

Hope this is helpful. I'll let the real experts on KNP fill you in with more details.

Edited: 10:03 pm, February 18, 2013
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3. Re: I'm really confused.

A self-drive safari in Kruger is a wonderful way to experience the park. You can stay inside the Park and have many decent accommodation options. Check our Lower Sabie or Satara camps. All camps have a store where you can buy basics for cooking and an on-site restaurant.

You could also stay right outside Kruger at one of many self-catering units. Here you have a wider choice of supermarkets and groceries and better restaurant options.

I have always used the Kruger safari drives and loved the experiences. If you stay outside the Park, I know that Numbi, Phabeni and Paul Kruger Gates all offer game drives with Kruger guides. Alternatively, you could book a private company to take you into Kruger for one day to get your bearings and follow-up with your own self-drive safaris.

Earlier advice on checking out sanparks.co.za is a good start,

Hope this helps.


Heeten, Owner, Swagat at Kruger Park Lodge, Hazyview/Boston

South Africa
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4. Re: I'm really confused.

For all you needs, I like to provide to you these 2 lodges, good room ( your ronddavel) fhey will have a ranger with the safari, and you have a jacuzzi's. go and check out www.casartgamelodge.com, there are No. 1 of TA in Limpopo province. The food is super and the elephants come near the lodge.

also very good and Kim ( hosts) can Cook like a 4 star chef, is. Www.. Kurhulalodge.com. They can arrange also safari with a ranger.

We stayed at both lodges and was super places to stay a couple of days!

Edited: 12:44 am, February 19, 2013
Birmingham, United...
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5. Re: I'm really confused.

If you decide to go to a private lodge all inclusive of accommodation, food and 2 drives a day, depending on your budget - these range between R1700-R2800 per person per night, I would recommend :

Umkumbe in Sabi Sands Reserve (www.umkumbe.co.za)

Elephant Plains in Sabi Sands Reserve (www.elephantplains.co.za)

Pungwe bush camp in Manyeleti Reserve (www.krugerpark.com/manyeleti/pungwe-camp.htm)

Toro Yaka in Balule Reserve www.toroyaka.co.za

To explain, there are reserves like Sabi Sands, Timbavati, Balule, Manyeleti and Klaserie which have privately owned land and lodges, but they are part of the Greater Kruger Park (no fences between these reserves and the Kruger Park which is a national park). So you can only self drive in the Kruger Park and stay at the self catering camps, but you could not self drive in the private reserves. Hope this helps clear some confusion!

If you are only going for 4 days I would recommend you fly from Johannesburg to Nelspruit or Hoedspruit and hire a car from there if you are self driving, or get a road transfer to the private lodge.

Niagara Area...
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6. Re: I'm really confused.

The cloudiness is slowly dissipating, thanks to all your advice. I do have one more question; is it worthwhile staying a couple of nights at two locations rather than four nights at the same location? Not sure if some locations are better for one type of wildlife compared to another. Thanks

Charlotte, North...
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7. Re: I'm really confused.

For a 4 night trip, I would choose to move camps at some point.

A few other tips. Grocery prices at the stores inside the park are generally cheaper, than supplies bought at park stores in North America, but much more expensive than supplies bought in stores outside the park. I find many items at the park stores consistent with the more expensive grocery store of the 2 I regularly use at home. Fresh produce is very expensive, limited variety, and not always so fresh. The problem is that on a 4 day trip, you will possibly need an ice chest for example if you buy too much outside the park, so it may be cheaper in the long run to just use the park stores.. If you stay at the rest camps, you should look for accommadation that includes plates and silverware. Most/many do. We bring lightweight gear from home, but you have to be careful with baggage weight.

For 4 days I would look to stay in the southern third of the park, if it was my trip. A trip divided between Lower Sabie and Pretoriuskop or Berg-en-dal for example. That puts you convenient to the motorway at the end of your trip and I think gets good use of your time. The camps are all distinct and most of us have our favorites, but all that I have used have been fine.

Reno, Nevada
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8. Re: I'm really confused.

We recently spent 4 nights there, switched rest camps every night, and generally only ate at the restaurants. Every rest camp that I saw in the park has a restaurant - we saw quite a few of the main rest camps from Mopani south and none of the bush camps. The menu is the same through all the rest camps in the south of the park, from Oliphants down, and the food isn't the best but you can survive on it. The prices seem comparable to outside the park. Mopani seemed to have a slightly different menu, so maybe there is more variety north of that? We didn't go north so don't know.

It was good for us to switch rest camps every night working our way from north to south. The habitat varies through the park, and the drives can be quite long from camp to camp.

Edited: 12:09 am, February 21, 2013
Randburg, Gauteng...
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9. Re: I'm really confused.

I suggest if you are going to drive yourself, to stay at Hazyview, Hippo Hollow Hotel is great, they also have kitchen in the family chalets and its right on the SAbie River, and within walking distance to the supermarket and shopping centre. But you can eat in the restuarant as well, excellent food. Here you are a short drive into Kruger Park at Phabeni Gate. You can also book anything there such as night drives into Private Reserves and day guided drives as well. Echo safaris are very good - i have used them often for my guests. Then there is activity in the area too. you can do a day drive into the Panorama Route via Sabie. Quad bikes, river rafting, elephant sanctuaries, and 11km south of Nelspruit (not far) is the Chimpanzee Eden which is a sanctuary for chimpanzees and well worth a visit.

Lyn - Owner - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

10. Re: I'm really confused.

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