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pilanesberg or kruger for safari

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pilanesberg or kruger for safari

Looking to stay in Sun City in May and wondered whether Pilanesberg offers good safari experience or would we better off spending a few days in Sun city and then travel on to say Kruger for the Safari?

Any suggestions would be welcomed.

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1. Re: pilanesberg or kruger for safari

Definately Kruger. There are numerous threads regarding all the different private reserves in and around Kruger. Probably depends a lot on your budget.

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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2. Re: pilanesberg or kruger for safari

The differences between Pilanesburg and Kruger, the park (not the private reserves next to it) - would be Kruger's size, diversity of wildlife and environment, perhaps even more chances to be by yourselves with few others around. For Kruger, you need to make your bookings directly with SANPARKS. As mentioned above, the private reserves adjacent to Kruger offer more, but cost more - and in some cases, a lot more.

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3. Re: pilanesberg or kruger for safari

Hi Caroline

I have to agree with the previous poster! If at all possible, try to make Kruger your safari destination! To maximise your safari experience I would definitely recomment that you consider one of the private lodges in one of the private reserves that form part of the Greater Kruger National Park. The 2 recommended private reserves are the Sabi Sand & Timbavati Private Game Reserves - both of these reserves have a wide variety of lodges that all offer excellent wildlife experiences! During a 4-5 night stay you are almost guaranteed of good quality sightings of all of the big 5 and many other mammals, birds, etc! It is true that these lodges cost a lot more than the rest camps within Kruger, but remember that at the private lodges all of your meals and safari activities are also included in the rate - some lodges even include all of your drinks in the quoted rates as well. In the end, if you add it all together, it's not as expensive as many people think!

Of the more affordable safari lodges that you can consider, are:

Timbavati: Ngala Safari Lodge

Sabi Sand: Elephant Plains, Nkorho, Djuma Bush Lodge, Inyati

Good luck with your safari arrangements, and please feel free to ask more questions!

Mike * owner/Specialist Ranger * Africa Direct

UK, Mauritius
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for Mauritius, Belle Mare, Pointe Aux Piments, Pereybere
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4. Re: pilanesberg or kruger for safari

Definitely Kruger for sheer size and diversity. Sanparks accomodation is much cheaper than the private lodges, and there are lots to choose from. We stayed a few nights at Skukuza, a few at Lower Sabie and also Berg en Dal. Pretty basic accomodation but we loved the freedom of a self-drive safari and wouldn't do it any other way.

Cary, North Carolina
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5. Re: pilanesberg or kruger for safari


When you are stayijng at SunCity anyway, then you can just as well visit the adjacent Pilanesberg NP anyway. I would say that both offer a good safari experience, depending what you are looking for. Here is a short comparison between the 2 parks:


55 000 ha

Scenic mountain landscape

Good chance of seeing many different species, but not large numbers

Very good chance of seeing white rhino

Kruger NP

2 million ha

More driving to see animals

May not see all species

Larger herds e.g. blue wildebeest, zebra

A better wilderness experience because of the size of the park


Eko Tracks

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6. Re: pilanesberg or kruger for safari

Thank you for your help - am now researching Kruger and the adjacent parks.

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7. Re: pilanesberg or kruger for safari

Thank you so much for your help - am now looking at Timbavati.

Pretoria, South...
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8. Re: pilanesberg or kruger for safari

Hi Caroline,

Just some comments from my side:

I think Werner from EkoTracks summed it up nicely and succintly, and gave a very balanced perspective. I visit both parks often and consider both outstanding.

While I was watching this thread yesterday, a friend phoned from Pilanesberg and told me she had never seen so many animals at one spot (Mankwe Dam), and so many different species, in all her travels in South Africa. Pilanesberg is a wonderful compact reserve with great diversity and beautiful landscapes. I've had some of my most memorable encounters with Black Rhino and ellies in Pilanesberg. The park is generally very well managed and I think if you're looking at private lodges, Pilanesberg will compare very favourably with those near Kruger in terms of game viewing. Pilanesberg also tends to be more open, allowing better viewing (but you can't off-road there, thank goodness).

Kruger on the other hand is incredible from a diversity perspective, but you may struggle find the wildlife and the amount of species you'd like to see. My trips to Kruger last year boasted some of the best game viewing I've ever had. Timbavati and Sabi Sands are wonderful parts of greater Kruger, and some of my best (and early) wildlife encounters occurred in those areas.

It's very difficult to compare the parks, as they are both fantastic and hugely different. My personal preference is Pilanesberg.

Either way, your choice should be a good one!

9. Re: pilanesberg or kruger for safari

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