Driver from Skukuza Airport to Sabi Sands

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Aug 13th, 2015, 07:30 AM
  #1
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Driver from Skukuza Airport to Sabi Sands

I have a SA flight to Skukuza airport, but would like to hire a reputable driver for roundtrip transport from airport to Dulini Lodge in Sabi Sands. This should only take about 1-1/2 hours. Can anyone send me contact information for a driver that would handle this for us? I'm not sure I want to drive. But if I had to I could; it's not that far! I'm traveling in a few days, therefore would like to get recommendations very soon! Thank you
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Aug 13th, 2015, 10:31 AM
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Get in touch with Dulini. They'll pick you up or arrange transportation. If you used an agent for your travel, they should have options, too. It might take longer than you think - many dirt roads and creatures on those roads.
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Aug 13th, 2015, 04:04 PM
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My response did something weird, so here it is again:

Get in touch with Dulini. They'll pick you up or arrange transportation. If you used an agent for your travel, they should have options, too. It might take longer than you think - many dirt roads and creatures on those roads.
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Aug 15th, 2015, 07:18 PM
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I actually contacted Dulini. They said they would contact &Beyond, but haven't heard from them. I've gotten a quote for $300 from airport to Skukuzi one way or $600 round trip. Google Earth says it's a 1-1/2 hr. drive. I thought we would rent a car and drive, but now you say there are creatures on the road! Not sure I want to chance that! What a dilemma, $600 round trip is way too expensive.
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Aug 15th, 2015, 07:27 PM
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Christabir,

so you suggest we not try renting a car and driving on our own?
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Aug 15th, 2015, 07:44 PM
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we booked everything through wildwings safari and two of our transfers were done by GAP tours and transfers. i can't imagine that they charged a lot, as we were on a pretty tight budget. we were super impressed with the company... great drivers who were sensitive to whether or not we wanted to chat. could contact either company and see what they say. (we used gavin at wildwings)
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Aug 15th, 2015, 08:45 PM
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Sounds to me like you need to follow up with Dulini, your agent and/or &Beyond. I'm not surprised the transfer is that much - there's more to the logistics than just driving you from point A to point B. I'm not quite sure why this wasn't arranged earlier by your agent.

I'm sure there are less expensive options - try wild wings. They'll do their best to help.

I'm not saying not to drive yourself, but you rent a car (is Dulini accessible by sedan or do you need an SUV?), figure out how to drive on the left side (and automatic transmissions are significantly more expensive than a manual!), figure out directions to Dulini which isn't a straight line and I'd be shocked if Google got it right (it's private roads and you have to go through specific gates in Sabi Sand to have access to lodges). I don't know the logistics of driving out of the airport, but it's inside Kruger (where animals roam free) and they can be pretty strict about checking the vehicle for poached creatures, drive on dirt/tar roads to Dulini and park your rental car for the duration that you are there. It's like driving yourself from JFK to Manhattan instead of getting a taxi. Certainly doable, but more difficult than it looks.

If you decide to drive, ask Dulini for directions from Skukuza Airport. They should have good directions. And take or buy a gsm compatible phone so you can call should you get lost. Make sure you take Rand for entrance fees to SS.
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Aug 16th, 2015, 06:40 AM
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all very good advice. Thank you. I have just sent a note to GAP tours and transfers. Hopefully they can provide transfer. I did speak with our agent, they are the ones that quote $600 round trip! I feel this is pretty high a price when I'm paying $300 for a 4 hour drive to Durban from another location! I usually do things on our own, but I realize driving through safari country might be difficult. I also hear people self driving all the time, but maybe not through this region! I will also try Wild Wings. Thanks again If anyone has another transfer company that would be great. I didn't see Skukuza airport on the GAP transfer site. Dulini sounded that since I went through an agent I should stick with them I was hoping to pay a local instead. we shall see
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Aug 16th, 2015, 07:38 AM
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Kawh - Thank you so much. I just heard back from GAP tours and transfer company! Their rates are reasonable considering all the obstacles we might encounter driving on our own, not to mention the time we might lose. I would rather enjoy our time in fabulous Dulini Lodge than driving ourselves. Sometimes, money well spent is worth time on such a fabulous trip. I love Fodors community so much!!!

Christabir - your input was invaluable. The drive looks simple on Google Earth; glad you opened my eyes.
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Aug 16th, 2015, 11:48 AM
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I totally agree. We didn't self drive until our third time is SA. Now we prefer it, but going to a new place sometimes it's just easier to pay a little more for no muss, no fuss. It's probably not as difficult as I may have made it sound, but if everything went wrong, it could be. We had a flat on a "quick, easy drive".

It's probably less expensive in KZN because there is more competition. Durban is a major city - Kruger is rural. Plus on highway, so less wear and tear.

Have a great time!! Enjoy the drive from Durban to Phinda (if I remember correctly). If you have a bit of a extra time and some Rand (don't forget to get some for tips at the airports - and call your bank twice to tell them you will be in SA, lots of banking problems) ask the driver to take you to the Indian Ocean. It's beautiful, warm and the Indian Ocean! The N2 is the highway, but at place it's really close to the water. If it's your only chance, definitely worth a quick side trip to dip a toe in.
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Aug 16th, 2015, 08:51 PM
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well... sometimes i don't know which we enjoyed more... the wildlife, or the luxury of being picked up in our lobby and not having to think or worry one bit!!! we usually do it all on our own, and having drivers to usher us seamlessly from points A to points B really added to our stress-free, heavenly trip. hope to read your trip report.
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Aug 18th, 2015, 04:41 PM
  #12
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kawh,

That's how we usually do it, though SA is totally different. I had help with the lodges from the agency then I decided try the transport myself. I'm sure it will all work out, I just like know what I'm getting into so I'm prepared or the unexpected. Always need a backup plan.
Thanks again

oh, forgot, I called Dulini lodge and the nice lady says it's easy to drive yourself. the lions will probably be sleeping at the time you will be traveling there because it will be hot. There may be elephants on the road, if you run into one, just drive slowly, if one starts towards you just put in reverse and back away leaving space for the elephant to pass you so they don't feel trapped. That settled it for me; The elephant is my favorite animal of all, but it doesn't know that. We are having the driver drive us!!! Maybe after this whole trip, we will feel comfortable the next time! I had to laugh!!!
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Aug 18th, 2015, 05:07 PM
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too funny!!
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Aug 18th, 2015, 07:46 PM
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Wandy1 -

At least you know before you get there that you'll be going back!

I think you've made a good choice. Yes, it is probably a very easy drive and hopefully you will see many ellies, zebra and impala (and everything else!) on the way. I always give the bigger thing a wide berth - when I'm walking or biking I give way to cars, when I'm driving I give way to ellies. They are huge and can be unpredictable. You wouldn't know a real charge from a mock charge and it could scare the living hooey out of you. No need for that kind of excitement, especially on your first day ever in the bush.

On your way to Phinda, in addition to dipping a toe, there is a good craft stall shop on N2 (the highway) north of Hluhluwe town on the left (when going north). I like it because there are many local artists, lots of different crafts - wood carvings, beads, baskets - in all styles and prices and I appreciate that the prices are on each item and no haggling (I hate to haggle). Stop to/from Phinda if you can. Get extra Rand at the airport - it's where we buy most of our gifts for family. We also bought the most incredible wood hippo that sits on our coffee table in the living room. He's beautiful - and bringing him home was very memorable (40# carry on!)

Have a great time. I am waiting for the National Parks system (SANParks) to put accomodations online for next August so we can start booking! I can't believe we won't be going to Kruger this time. It is spectacular. We are all lucky to have it.

"They say that elephants never forget. What they don't tell you is you never forget your first elephant". - Bill Murray
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