Hi neighbor. I think it depends on what you want to do. If only safaris, then I'd recommend Tanzania where you can do places like Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the Ngorongo Crater in addition to the Serengeti. If you'd like to do some general touring apart from safari, then SA.
What a wonderful present for your son! That really is fantastic.
Now, before I say anything, let me just point out that I live right here in the Kruger area, so my opinion may be a little biased :). What can I say, I love my home!
Now, the main differences between safaris in South Africa, and safaris in the rest of Africa are the way that they are conducted.
But first - let's distinguish between the two different safari options within South Africa (yes, even more choices!).
1. SELF DRIVE
Self driving is conducted within the public area of the Kruger National Park. Stretching over 2 million hectares, there is plenty of room to explore. When staying within the public Kruger, accommodation is in self catering SanPark (government) units.
At the bigger camps, there is a restaurant, a petrol station, a curio store and a basic grocery store should you run out of anything during your stay. Should you perhaps want a break from driving, you can of course book a game drive from the camp in a high 'game drive 'truck'. You can also book a game walk from the same place.
However, the game drives are only allowed on the same section of road as you are - no going off road is allowed.
The greatest pro of a self drive experience is that it is usually cheaper than staying within a private reserve.
2. PRIVATE RESERVE
Private reserves such as the Klaserie, Timbavati, Balule and Sabi Sands are connected to the public Kruger via unfenced borders, allowing the animals (but not the people/cars) to wander in and out as they please.
When staying at a private reserve, accommodation is within a lodge or a tented camp (mostly all of them are privately owned - a few are part of a larger company etc). The rate at such a place includes:
- All meals daily
- Dawn safari daily
- Dusk safari daily
- Optional walking safari daily
- Refreshments on game drives
- Beverages, laundry and transfers may also be included, dependent on the lodge chosen.
Further to this, the safaris are conducted in professional open sided vehicle, equipped with a highly trained & qualified ranger/tracker team to find and educate you about any of the wildlife you may encounter. They are also allowed to go off road, 'bush bashing' to follow an animal/.
Also, another difference is the general '3 vehicle rule', which means that at any animal sighting, no more than 3 vehicles are allowed at one time. This is different to the public Kruger, as it will result in almost zero traffic, and no other vehicles in your photographs etc.
However - staying within a lodge/camp at a private reserve costs anywhere upwards from around R2000 per person per night (all inclusive).
Now, to the best of my knowledge (and please - someone feel free to correct me), the safaris in other parts of Africa are conducted quite differently.
Generally, the accommodation is more hotel like, without the intimacy and 'wildness' that a South African safari affords.
The actual safaris themselves are conducted in van like vehicles, with a small open top.
I also agree with the poster above me - here in South Africa, we are so lucky to have so many different experiences in one. Many of our clients combine a few nights in the bush, with a few nights in Cape Town (for the beach, city, cultural experience). Thus, if you are looking to do anything else, South Africa would be the way to come.
All the best, and warm regards,
Lodge Trackers (Safari Specialists)
It would be very hard to draw a quality of experience distinction between SA and East Africa on the basis of accommodation and safari vehicle type. Though there are some hotel-style accommodations (i.e., large, with scads of units) in East Africa, there are many more smaller tented accommodations which offer unexceeded intimacy both with other guests and the surrounding wilderness (especially true for Southern Tanzania). At first I really enjoyed the hard walls found in Sabi Sands camps/lodges, but I now prefer sleeping under canvas.
As for cars, in East Africa I've been in open-sided ones just like in Sabi Sand and in ones that have pop-up roofs. I prefer open sides but there are some good points to the pop-ups (e.g., it is easy to rest your camera on the roof of the car to get stability for your shots). In East Africa, too, the places I've stayed at give the option to do drives that are day-long (you take boxed breakfast, lunch) or at least morning long (6 AM- 12:30 or 1 pm, you take a boxed breakfast and return to camp for lunch). In SA, at least in my experience, camps adhere to a pretty strict routine of 4 hrs in the morning and 4 hrs in the afternoon.
In any case both SA and East Africa would offer a great time.Edited: 8:33 am, March 11, 2013
Thanks for the added info, Steve!
And I whole heartedly agree - Tented camps are my favorite too. Nothing beats hearing the animals rustle around so close to you at night!
All the best,
"Nothing beats hearing the animals rustle around so close to you at night!"
So true, Jacqui, I sometimes lie in my bed at home at night and think about the hippos munching the grass around tents I've stayed in. Almost as effective as an Ambien. :-)Edited: 4:18 pm, March 11, 2013
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