We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

Sydney, Australia
5 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

My husband and I would like to do a safari in South Africa for at least 5- 6 days. We are also on a limited budget. We are happy to do a safari tour as we will be arriving in J'burg international airport on May 31 and have never been to SA before. We would like to do the tour from June 1, 2014. We are both active and enjoy walking and camping, so are there tours that do this? We are after quality and reasonable costs (not more than $1000 US per person). Or is it more cost effective to drive to Kruger and book a camp inside the park?

All comments gratefully received!!

Outlook Safaris
Nature & Wildlife Tours, Safaris
Vula Tours
Taxis & Shuttles, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Safaris
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
4,363 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

I think you'd do well to rent a car, stay at a couple of rest camps in Kruger National Park and do self drives. You will have no trouble driving given you already know how to drive on the left and given the good roads in SA. Rest camps will be budget-friendly for you and finding your own sightings is an excellent adventure.

Kruger National...
Level Contributor
2,014 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

Hi there!

I would agree with Steveb - You would do well on a self drive experience. The thrill of finding your own animals is just amazing, and with your budget you could easily stay in the self catering chalets offered, renting your own car too.

Check out the prices and the availability here;

sanparks.org/parks/…results

Warmest regards

Jacqui l Owner l Lodge Trackers Safari Specialists l South Africa

Randburg, Gauteng...
Level Contributor
977 posts
39 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

Hello, i agree that your self drive, self catering is a cheaper option. It is not difficult to drive there yourself, the roads are good and from the airport takes about 5 to 6 hours. If you book inside the Kruger park at one of the camps, you can buy provisions at the supermarket and make your own meals.Or, you can buy meals from the deli and have light meals at the restaurant. I suggest you look at the southern park, camps like Skukuza, (my favourite - it is big, but the area round there is fantastic for all animals, including leopard). They have 2 swimming pools, deli, coffee shop, internet, restaurant and well equipped bungalows. The accommodation is basic but fine. They have either 2 single beds or 3 single beds with fridge, hotplate and utensils. When you do your sums, remember to add on the Conservation fee which they charge daily of R248 per person. Also book a night drive, you will enjoy this, because camps gate close you inside the camp, and only their vehicles can leave and drive around at night. Other camps i recommend - Pretoriuskop, Bergendal, Satara, Lower Sabie. If you are not able to get booking at the camps, there are other options which are also very affordable, staying on the border of the park, and driving in each day.

Lyn - Owner - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

Gold Coast...
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
Level Contributor
5,192 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

Hi sheilajean1949

My advice would be that a self drive safari staying in the Camp accommodation is the way to go.

Book a car for the morning after you arrive. You will get in from Sydney around midnight your time and be tired and ready for sleep. Stay the night right at the airport in City Lodge Hotel, it is perfectly situated five or ten minutes walk from arrivals, rooms are clean, modern and ideal for a one night sleep. Because you have just gained eight hours you can go to bed and have a good sleep and wake up very early local time the next morning refreshed and ready to drive out to Kruger. We usually awake around three or four am local time, have a hearty breakfast at the Mugg and Bean in the terminal, collect the car around five and hit the road. We arrive at the park before lunch and that includes a stop for supplies at the supermarket in Malelane as well as coffee breaks. Usually we arrive earlier than we would flying out and much easier on the budget.

Stay in one of the big southern camps that are ideal for first timers and include restaurants, good size supply shops and so on. Lower Sabie or Skukuza would be ideal and you can choose from all sorts of accommodation from permanent tents up to various levels of luxury bungalow. If you enjoy camping these should more than satisfy your needs, you mainly only sleep there anyway.

I would suggest six days, if you are happy driving you should have a great adventure finding the wildlife and being able to enjoy the sightings for as long as you like. Of course the longer you stay the more you will see, and the wildlife often finds you!, wandering across the road, or you will you often come across cars parked on the side of the road already at a sighting.

The camps provide basic but clean accommodation, serviced daily, and you will always meet other like minded and friendly people. You can self cater or use the restaurants, and have wonderful flexibility to do whatever you like whenever you like, stopping for breaks along the road at camps and picnic spots, going back to camp for a swim or a nap, whatever you feel like at the time.

The camps offer morning and evening game drives that go out when the cars are not allowed on the road as well as bushwalks which are fantastic.

Most importantly these camps are extremely popular and you have to book well in advance, as in now!

Have a look at the South African National Parks site where you will get an infinite amount of information as well as heaps of extra on the forums. Then come back for info regarding making the booking, lodgings and so on.

For the abovementioned reasons I would consider a stay at Skukuza or Lower Sabie for three days then three days further north at Satara, in the heart of big cat territory. Have had amazing sightings from all these camps.

http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/. Scroll down for the individual camps.

www.sanparks.org/forums/index.php?style=2 . Forums

Enjoy planning

Suffolk, United...
Level Contributor
344 posts
213 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

Hi Sandman

Just jumping in if you don't mind as your post was so helpful. We're going on our first self drive to western cape next month (getting incredibly excited!) and staying at Shamwari for two nights, but now feeling really annoyed we haven't visited SA before. I'm already thinking about a self drive/catering 15 or 16 night stay to include Kruger in 2015 and noted your warning about early bookings. I obviously need to do a lot more research but are you able to suggest the best time of year to visit, and if possible an outline for a self drive whilst in that area. I find advice and help from those who know the area so much better than guide books etc. I have a long standing wish to visit Victoria Falls - is that a possibility from that area without breaking the bank? Thanks.

Gold Coast...
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
Level Contributor
5,192 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

Hi there Brent

No do not mind at all, in fact it's nice to know all that information was helpful to someone lol.

Well I have to say that if you are already thinking about returning before you have been that is just wonderful and I hope that after your upcoming visit you will be addicted just like us and so many others.

I presume your 15/16 nights includes travel to other parts as well as Kruger? not sure just what sort of time you are looking at in the Park itself. If you are looking at a week or more which it seems you are, then you can really cover a good part of the park, staying at maybe 2 or 3 camps.

As already suggested have a look at a southern camp such as Skukuza or Lower Sabie followed by a stay at Satara. There are other southern options too, like Crocodile Bridge Camp [no restaurant] or Berg en Dal, even Pretoriaskop is in a great location. Plus there are also wonderful bush camps , like Biyamiti, that do not have restaurants or big shops, these are great and give a real wilderness feeling, but you do need to prepared with self catering supplies and so on therefore not always as popular as big camps for first timers.

We always include a stay at Skukuza, although the largest camp in Kruger and therefore busiest, we stay in the riverview bungalows, a lovely quiet spot away from the central area, and has a good view of river where we have spotted game. We are rarely there between 4.30 am and 6 pm anyway !! Great wildlife area, had cheetah sightings, some amazing painted wild dog sightings, hyena, heaps rhino, eles, and so much more.

From there I would go to Satara, another very popular camp for its amazing location. Not only big cat territory but lots of plains game as the bush opens up in this area. Herds of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, hyena and so much more. We love this camp and you must stay on the perimeter. Last time we saw eles, wildebeeste, giraffe, zebs, and heaps of antelope right from our verandah. It has never let us down for game viewing, just recently there we saw three mating pairs of lions, 3 male lions on a buffalo kill and much more. There has even been kills at the camp waterhole. [visible on webcam]

From there consider Olifants or Letaba for a third option, or even Mopani. All good camps, game up here is a little more sparse but amazing sightings can still be had in the area including countless elephants and rarer antelope. This is where we say our beautiful avatar cheetah. And of course there are less people at a sighting. The riverview rooms at Olifants are awesome.

Our last loop included Crocodile Bridge, Skukuza, Satara, and Olifants and we have also stayed further north. We had amazing lions sightings from Croc Bridge this trip and would definitely stay there again.

Fortunately Kruger NP is an excellent destination all year round, although there are advantages with different seasons. Many do find the summer months rather oppressive when it can be very hot and steamy, being the wet season of course. The winter months are very popular in the park especially, because being the dry season the grass is lower and wildlife is easier to spot. The days can be lovely but you need to rug up for nights and early morning drives. We have had some problems with game viewing in March/April when the growth can be still very high but not everywhere and not enough to stop me going then. September, October and November are all times we love, just watch for local school holidays. In November you may or may not get some rain but not like midsummer, although we have had some mighty thunderstorms in November, most of the time it clears during the day. Of course at this time there are lots of baby animals and of course all the impala lambs are dropping, which is just lovely to see.

So have a look at the Sanparks sites and see what you think. I can help you with more details also of roads, routes etc as you go along with your planning.

If you really have your heart set on the falls then you should go, it can be done as a side trip from JHB at the beginning or end of your trip. It will eat into your time with flights etc, and how long you go for will depend if you want to do any other activities there. You could just do three days or stay longer.

Enjoy planning

Suffolk, United...
Level Contributor
344 posts
213 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

Thanks so much Sandmans. That's absolutely fantastic information and gives me a lot to research. We've spent many years planning and organising self drives throughout N America and it's really exciting to have such a lovely new area to explore. I can't get my head around a self drive safari yet but sounds wonderful! Thanks again - your detail is very much appreciated

8. Re: Kruger NP or other Safari possiblities in S Africa

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:18 am, January 05, 2015