Help choosing game park for 3-4 days

Old Mar 31st, 2016, 03:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1
Help choosing game park for 3-4 days

First post - so sorry for the length...

I will be travelling with my 13 year old son and want to have a great safari experience for him for about 4 days this April. My constraints are that our earliest departure can be from Cape Town Wednesday evening and I must be in Lusaka Monday morning. In between we can go anywhere.
Im looking at the Kruger but am a little disappointed that I need to fly two hops CPT-JNB-HDS so wouldn't arrive at Kruger until midday Thursday. Then need to leave Kruger midday Sunday to get back to JNB then LUN. Therefore our total game park time would be just Thurs pm through to Sun morning.

Question: - Is there any game park experience closer to Cape Town which is great which means we would spend less time travelling to/from Kruger? I also looked at going to the lower zambezi however it seemed to leave with me about the same time in the game park..

Qu 2: We are advised that Gomo Gomo or Senalala are both available resorts in the Kruger. Anyone have any comments on either of these?

Qu #3 does anyone have a comment regarding Kruger vs the lower zambezi?

Sorry for the rambling post....
lucky_dad is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2016, 04:14 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
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The closest game reserve which has the big five around Johannesburg would be Nambiti Private Reserve,mid way between Jo'burg and Durban.About 3.5 hrs.

Lower Zambezi a couple of hrs drive from Lusaka,is about,roughly, one half and a part of Mana Pools, offer great game viewing. Mainly canoe safaris where you get to see a lot of eles and hippos and of course crocs as you cruise the water channels on the water's edge.Lions and leopards a little more rare to spot.

Consider Maun in Botswana and do the Okawango.There are direct flight to and fro Cape Town - Maun. Air Botswana and South African fly direct,daily.2 1/2 hrs one way.Though closer,unfortunately there seem to be no direct flights between Maun & Lusaka. Its either via Gaborone or Jo'burg.

Kruger better,especially for a 13 yr old,more game viewing opportunity=more interest/excitment. Plenty of wildlife
Lower Zambezi less developed so less touristy,pristine,unusual game viewing from canoe ( a different perspective ).Fewer variety of wildlife,tougher to spot in denser grass/vegetation.
inquest is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2016, 04:27 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
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If you're looking for somewhere closer to Cape Town, then have a look at Shamwari near Port Elizabeth. We went there a few years ago and really enjoyed it with a good standard of accommodation and food and wonderful big 5 experiences.

PE is a short flight from CT so saves a lot of time. They sent a car from Shamwari to pick us up for the shortish drive to the reserve.
Rubicund is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2016, 05:02 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Hi lucky_dad!

You will still be able to enjoy 3 nights on safari which is still a wonderful experience even if that's all the time available to you. Having said that, I would highly recommend Kruger and its private game reserves that abut Kruger, such as Sabi Sand, Timbavati etc. I think this area logistically and price-wise makes the most sense for you given the itinerary you described.

As far as lodge options, I would check Elephant Plains if you are looking for a budget friendly lodge. Great value for the money and the choice for ODP when they do their photographic safari tours, which speaks for the area's great game viewing! Another option would be Arathusa. Simbavati River Lodge would be another suggestion in same relative price point. These are just a few. There are many lodges that will fit your budget. At this point, it will more about availability than anything!

Lucky_dad will be taking one lucky kid on safari! Family time is great and no better way to enjoy the bush than to see it through the eyes of a child!

Africa Direct USA
diannelovestravel is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2016, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,286
Kruger is the premier safari destination in S Africa. Dianne has good advice, but availability is going to be difficult. Check all the lodges in Sabi Sand here. Most have online booking so you can check availability. Cheetah Plains?

I like a lot of the lodges in Timbavati and Klaserie. Generally more affordable as well. See this map for all lodges - I don't recommend Thornybush reserve or reserves across the main roads as they are fenced from Kruger. Check out Senalala, nDzuti and nThambo. Make sure they take kids under 16.

Dianne - aren't there nonstops to one of the Kruger airports from CPT? I thought there was. Maybe MQP?

Hopefully stokeygirl will chime in with convenient options to Lusaka. That might work for you, too.

Lucky dad and lucky kid. What a treat.
christabir is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2016, 10:47 AM
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Oops - forgot the map!
christabir is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2016, 11:10 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 215
Hi christabir and lucky_dad!

Yes, christabir, there are non stops but not in the evening out of CPT and that's when Lucky_dad is available to start their safari at the earliest.

So the choices are to fly to JNB on Wedn evening, stay over at City Lodge OR Tambo (clean no frills solution) then fly out the next AM on Thursday OR to stay over one more night in CPT and take a flight the next morning (Thursday AM) to the reserve. The latter would be my recommendation. Less moving around. More streamlined..

Hope this helps!
Africa DIrect USA
diannelovestravel is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2016, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,286
Thanks Dianne. Which airports?

Getting to game reserves in the early afternoon is best as game drives go out in the afternoon and evening. Check in is after 1, before 3 to make all the game drives.
christabir is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2016, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Hey there christabir!

Hope you are well! Yes, most popular flights for clients leave CPT around 10'ish in the AM and arrive around 1'ish at HDS, Skukuza, and MQP. Those are direct which makes them more desirable. Fits well with getting to lodges in time for afternoon game drive.

Africa Direct USA
diannelovestravel is offline  
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