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An agent said "Go to Kenya over Sabi Sand & Kruger for "a real Africa experience". HUH?

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May 3rd, 2007, 09:34 AM
  #1
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An agent said "Go to Kenya over Sabi Sand & Kruger for "a real Africa experience". HUH?

One of our travel buddies (no margaritas yet) talked to an "Africa Specialist" who said "you don't get a "real Africa" experience when you go to Kruger as its a "game reserve" and Kenya is much better for animal viewing. I asked him what she said the difference was as there are no fences...the animals roam freely in both places correct?

Don't they roam freely in Kruger, Sabi Sand etc. too?

It sounds like an agent who has an agenda to me.

Your thoughts???
jaspertl is offline  
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May 3rd, 2007, 09:38 AM
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What does "roam freely" mean? To me it means that the whole, entire, WORLD is available. So, today, nothing "roams freely".
regards - tom
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May 3rd, 2007, 10:08 AM
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Well, firstly, fences around the outside of protected areas are not necessarily a bad thing - without them the wildlife moves into non-protected areas, comes into conflict with local communities and is often killed. Or there might be a hunting concession bordering the non-hunting protected area and the animals can easily wander into that and immediately become targets to the hunters.

Generally, for all the larger game viewing destinations, whether there is a physical fence or not makes little difference to the tourist experience because you never get anywhere near it anyway and the area is big enough that only the wildlife around the edges might be affected by those conflicts I mentioned above.

As for Kruger - it's a huge, huge area. Huge. So even if there were fences around it you wouldn't encounter them as a tourist anyway. In actual fact, as several privately owned/ managed game reserves border some of Kruger there are no fences there - the wildlife can move freely between Kruger and those reserves.

I can't imagine what this "specialist" is talking about.

Perhaps what she is (poorly) trying to explain is that the experience you will get if you choose to self-drive in a national park (such as Kruger) as opposed to taking guided game drives in a privately owned park or a privately run concession (such as Sabi Sands, for example) are very different.

I like both but for different reasons. In privately run places you can often go off-road to better find, follow and view a sighting. The guides are also experienced at finding the animals as they know their habits. And they teach you lots too.

On a self-drive you must stick to the roads. And, of course, the wildlife doesn't. So whilst you get some great sightings, others are frustrating because of distance/ angle. Predator sightings are a bit rarer, though still occur. You have to find, identify and learn about the sightings on your own from your guide books.

As for absolutely best wildlife viewing, I think most of us here would be hard-pressed if we tried to claim that Kenya, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia or anywhere else were unilaterally better than anywhere else.

Certainly, some of the South Africa private reserves are excellent for luxurious accommodations, high quality guiding, great game viewing, especially leopards.

Botswana private camps are very well known for quality of game viewing. Some are better/ worse for different animals - I'd choose Savuti for elephants and wild dogs, Mombo for lions and leopards, Duba for lions and buffalo, somewhere else again for Cheetah and so on.

Zambia I haven't been to but it's very well considered indeed for game viewing and others can recommend specific camps.

Kenya's landscape is altogether different. The Mara is an incredible, open savannah which is particularly good for migratory animals such as wildebeest, various antelope/ deer species (I get the two confused) and also for the predators that prey on them. And there are many other parks good/ bad for various types of animals/ birds too.

One thing to remember is that the more time/ distance you spend getting from one place to another the less time you have left to spend actually at destination.

So, my first two questions would be:

1) Are there any particular animals that your group would love to see above others?

2) Do you have any idea of your budget?
Kavey is offline  
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May 3rd, 2007, 10:24 AM
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The agent is a bonehead.

To put things in perspective, the Masai Mara in Kenya is also a reserve and approximately one-thirteenth the size of Kruger (1,500 versus 20,000 square km).

Both are wonderful, but different, experiences.
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May 3rd, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Actually, I have been wondering this myself, and posted a question to that effect, in re fences and the wilderness, a while ago. Does one get a real wilderness experience in a game reserve? I understand that some are fenced - that must inhibit animal movement.
What is a real Africa experience these days, anyway? Back in the late 60's and early 70's my family and I lived in Uganda, and we visited all the parks that were existent then in East Africa. Sometimes we saw animals, sometimes we didn't. It was not managed at all, purely the luck of the day. It looks like one can see far more now, from reading all the posts here which leads me to wonder how managed the parks and or reserves are, and whether there really is any true wilderness left. I realize that there really may not be any wilderness hardly anywhere in the world - and that habitats have been being managed for centuries. The native Americans used to burn off the underbrush in forests to improve the sight lines for hunting, for example.
Is there a difference between national parks and game reserves as far as a "wilderness experience" is concerned?
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May 3rd, 2007, 10:36 AM
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never mind, you answered my questions as I was composing my post (here at work so I kept getting interrupted - how annoying!)
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May 3rd, 2007, 01:32 PM
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What you need is a "real African specialist."
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May 3rd, 2007, 06:18 PM
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jaspertl,

You will be hooked on africa soon and you will want to do both Kenya and SA.....then, Botswana, Zambia etc etc.,

So, find a good specialist and start making your reservations asap. Good luck!!!

Hari
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May 3rd, 2007, 10:50 PM
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Thanks for your feedback!!!
jaspertl is offline  
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May 4th, 2007, 01:14 AM
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aren't you guys being a liiiitle too harch here?

I'm sure the "specialist" had a point. Altough he shouldn't have compared with "Kenia" as a whole then, but for instance with "Tsavo".

I mean; perhaps he ment to say; "Kruger (*) is overcrowded and the game viewing experience is highly impacted by the loads of jeeps around a sighting and also by the asphalt roads. Compared that to Tsavo East, and you'll see that it's far more unspoilt and procvides a greater feeling of solitude".

(* not the private concessions around Kruger of course. Like Sabi sabi! To OP: did he really mention Sabi Sabi? or just Kruger NP?)

Anyway, in the above case, he'd have a point.

But then again; if his aim was to compare Kruger with Maasai Mara (also overrun by tourists) his point is no longer valid.

And if he'd wanted to compare Sabi sabi with the Mara, and thereby prefers the Mara... then he really is a fool. (imho)

I guess what I'm trying to say is; perhaps we're twisting his words a bit, or misinterpreting them. Or something got lost in translation, so to speak.
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May 4th, 2007, 02:14 AM
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maybe?
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May 4th, 2007, 05:49 AM
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"And if he'd wanted to compare Sabi sabi with the Mara, and thereby prefers the Mara... then he really is a fool. (imho)"

An interesting perpective as I cannot imagine two more different places as one has leopards round every corner (whereas they are rarely seen at the other) and one has around 1 million wildebeest (and other has relatively small number of plains game) !!
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May 4th, 2007, 12:03 PM
  #13
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pixel...I'm not sure exactly how he phrased the question...He might have just mentioned Kruger but we were also talking about going to Sabi Sands area so he might have included it.
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