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Help! Last minute ideas needed for 5 day safari - solo woman traveler

Help! Last minute ideas needed for 5 day safari - solo woman traveler

Jul 13th, 2011, 10:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 23
Help! Last minute ideas needed for 5 day safari - solo woman traveler

I just found out that I have been chosen to attend a trade show in Johannesburg Aug. 5-9 and want to extend my stay for an additional 5 nights. I am interested mostly in game viewing but would welcome scenic suggestions as well as cultural experiences. I am an experienced solo traveler and would be willing to self-drive if it makes sense. I need to start in Jo'burg on the 9th and return to Jo'burg for my return flight to the US on the 15th. Any help with itinerary and lodging would be appreciated - I don't need anything fancy, just clean and well located.
lma1016 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2011, 11:04 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 23
One more thing - I found a place that looks nice in Hazyview (Jackalberry Farm and Lodge) and I am wondering if that is a convenient location to Kruger. It says it is 12 km from the Phabeni gate which looks pretty good as far as access to the south end of Kruger goes. The park itself has a few bungalows available as well - would it be better just to stay in the park?
lma1016 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2011, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,995
Lucky you, LMAO!

You're exactly right about heading to the Kruger area. You'll have terrific game viewing, and you also can take advantage of some scenic areas nearby.

For game viewing, you have 2 basic options, and each option has a lot of variations:

Option 1 is to do your game viewing inside the Kruger Park boundaries. With this option, you will stay on the roads in Kruger, in daylight. You can either drive in your own car, or you can arrange to join one of the many game drives offered. With this option, you can either stay in one of the in-park camps or lodges, or in an outside lodge.

Option 2 is to stay on a private reserve in the Kruger area. With this option, the price of the lodge or camp where you stay will include 2 daily game drives on their private areas. When you stay in a private reserve, vehicles are allowed to go off-road.

The cost of staying in a private reserve is more -- often, much more -- than self-drive. Self-driving can be a lot of fun, but it's undeniable that you're more likely to get great photos or videos of big cats if you stay at a private reserve than if you self-drive. Even if your eyes are sharp enough to spot game -- and that is no easy feat for a safari novice -- the road limitations can be very restrictive in terms of getting closer and/or getting a good camera or viewing angle. Certainly with 5 nights in the area, you can easily choose to split your time between private reserves and self-drive, if that's what you choose to do.

DonTopaz is offline  
Jul 13th, 2011, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
I've stayed in Hazyview before going into Kruger. The Phabeni gate must be rather new, I see it on the Kruger site map but it is not on my map from about 5 years ago. Kruger map -

I'd stay in Kruger, one of camp bungalows, $100 per night plus park fee of $20 per day. Camps have all facilities including nice restaurants. You drive yourself around, fun, good easy roads, but slow.

But, if you really want to see the big five for sure, up close, and often go to one of the private camps in a private reserve bordering Kruger. The Sabi Sand or Timbavati reserves. Cost at one of those camps is around $600 per night. Here's two such camps as examples -
MalaMala - http://www.malamala.com/
Kings Camp - http://kingscamp.com/

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2011, 12:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 794
If you have the budget for it, the Sabi Sands is excellent. As a single traveler, I would recommend you look at AndBeyond. They don't charge a single supplement, and they have a stay 3, get 4 nights offer. Still, as Tom mentioned, you'd be looking at $600 a night for an all-inclusive experience.
lifelist is offline  
Jul 13th, 2011, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
Have you been on safari before?

The private game reserves around Kruger are probably your best bet. You can go by plane or car. With just five nights, you could do three/two nights at two locations (easy transfers between camps that are close to each other) or five nights at one. Mala Mala is a favorite here. I prefer camps that are a bit less expensive, but it might be difficult to get availability - check Arathusa and Elephant Plains. They can arrange transfers from the airport. All lodges in Sabi Sand - arguably the best place to get up close and personal with the wildlife:


Two camps that I enjoyed a lot that are not near Kruger, but easy to get to are Mashatu in SE Botswana, and Entabeni 3 hours north of Joburg. Both were better than expected, and the tented options were perfect for us. Mashatu tented is much more rustic, but a more authentic bush experience.
christabir is offline  
Jul 13th, 2011, 07:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 23
Thanks for all of the suggestions! As much as I would LOVE to stay at a property on a private reserve, $600 a night is out of my budget I am an avid photographer, though, and do want to get pictures - do any of the off-reserve lodges have rights to lead drives in Sabi Sands? I am hoping to get lodging and game drives in the $200-$250 a day range.
lma1016 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,619
You might check out Elephant Plains camp. They have a "winter special" (includes the August timeframe) of ZAR 1980 (about $290 at current rates) for a single in their rondavels. They are located in the northern part of the Sabi Sand area. You'd still have to pay for transportation to get there from Jo'burg, but their website lists some options.
ShayTay is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
I guess you skipped my post. I included a website for all lodges in Sabi Sands (not all are $600) and two alternatives that might work for you. Look into Shindzela and Africa on Foot, too.
christabir is offline  

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