2 Days- Kruger Safaris Private Reserve Recs

Jul 14th, 2014, 06:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 4
2 Days- Kruger Safaris Private Reserve Recs

Hi. My husband and I will have only three days and two nights to attempt to see Kruger this January. I've read private reserves may be the best way to see the most wildlife possible.(Feel free to disagree... we're open to self-drive/KNP.)

We are not concerned with luxury accommodations and would like to spend as little $$ as possible. Our only priority is seeing the big 5 and other animals.

I've read other threads, but wanted to see what kind of responses I got here.

Please let me know your experiences and recommendations for private reserves near Kruger. I have emailed Elephant Plains, Cheetah Plains Lodge, and Mala Mala.

Other considerations: Transportation from Johannesburg?

Liz_Huff is offline  
Jul 14th, 2014, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
MalaMala. If it is within your budget.
FLy from JNB to MM airstrip.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2014, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,705
We found the northern reserves (Timbavati, Klaserie) to be cheaper than Sabi Sand (your request to spend as little $$ as possible). You have seen my post about Shindzela.

If you go to one of these camps there is a shared van service (Ashtons) each day to/from JNB to the northern reserves. Leaves early a.m. to reach in time for afternoon drives and returns mid day after the morning drive. No experience with them, but I think someone from Shindzela was being driven out to the gate to meet then to return to JNB.

We met people at Shindzela who had been at Nottens Bush Camp and recommended it.

My nephew is doing a budget trip through African Budget Safaris in August. I am uncertain what he has chosen. I will ask his experience when he returns if you are truly into budget travel.
Kay2 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2014, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 767
With only the 2 nights I'd recommend a private reserve both to optimize the chances of seeing what you want (with guides who will tell you whatever you want to know) and to have an enjoyably relaxing experience.

You could add Arathusa and Gomo Gomo to your list of places you'd like to consider. Mala Mala probably won't meet your goal of spending as little as possible.
sdb2 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2014, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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With only two nights, I'd go with Mala Mala (and I am really into frugal, so even I am surprised I would suggest that!) You will get the best opportunity to see it all there (don't worry about the Big 5, there is so much more than that). Next time go to Arathusa, Gomo Gomo, Kruger self drive, Shindzela (been to all of them but GG), others. Fly direct as tom says, you don't have the luxury for a missed turn, missed connection....

Or give yourself just one or two more days and you can choose any of them. It would give you a better opportunity to see it all.

MM can help you with all the arrangements, including flights, transfers, etc. Just remember it's really hot in January.
christabir is offline  
Jul 15th, 2014, 09:10 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 4
That for all the responses. I emailed all the suggested places.

I heard back from Mala Mala... it does seem quite steep but this is my first safari so maybe that's what it costs.

Can I ask- is it really worth it? For what reasons? Will web ave better chances of seeing game there versus the others suggested?

Thanks again- very helpful.
Liz_Huff is offline  
Jul 15th, 2014, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 1
Hi Liz

If you consider the cost per sighting (CPS), I would suggest you stay away from the Kruger. It is cheaper than private lodges but lacks the support to establish where animals can be found.

Private lodges have vehicles with radios and guides/trackers to spot game. I find MM to be really pricey (high CPS) and would suggest Arathusa (for leopards), Nottens and Cheetah Plains - been to all, (CPS is lowest) and the rangers/guides are knowledgeable and helpful.

Good luck and pleasant returns.
ebpix is offline  
Jul 15th, 2014, 07:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Yes, you will see more game in MalaMala.

Although, ALTHOUGH, unless you are going to zoo with caged animals what you see and when is unknown. Nothing is guaranteed, you have to play the odds. Odds are the best at MM.

I've been to MM 3 times and to 15 other safari camps in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa and if I had to bet on where I would most likely see the big five in two days - hands down MM. I will also hasten to add that 2 days, only 2 days, is really not enough. Can't you make it 4 days? And if so, stay all 4 at MM.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 16th, 2014, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 5
I have only been to Lion Sands in Kruger but I would say it was worth every penny.
The other safari's we have been on it doesn't even compare being able to go off road and limited number of vehicles per sighting.
have2seetheworld is offline  
Jul 16th, 2014, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 343
I am a huge fan of Lion Sands also, been there many times. I would recommend any lodge recommend any other Sabi Sands lodges mentioned here over Mala Mala.
mytmoss is offline  
Jul 18th, 2014, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 210
I loved Londolozi. Expensive but totally worth it. There are a lot of great lodges at a wide spectrum of price points. But if I were you, I would really give thought to extending yourself to 3 nights rather than 2 and choose a place that can fit the budget given the extension of a night. You are really not in the room, so to speak, all that much and in the end, the time in the bush is the most important, especially if you want to see as much game as possible. Having said that, I would not look at Mala Mala for 2 nights and instead pick a lesser priced lodge for 3 nights. Perhaps Arathusa and Nottens and Ngala. Enjoy!
diannelovestravel is offline  
Jul 18th, 2014, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,593
What are your thoughts for mid February?
deladeb is offline  

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