Kenya or South Africa


Apr 5th, 2011, 11:21 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2
Kenya or South Africa

Hi all

I'm thinking of doing my first ever safari next year. I'm going with a group of friends and we've decided while we can't afford a 5 star experience, we definitely don't want to rough it either.
As a starting point I thought I'd come on here and find out if anybody has been on safari in both Kenya and South Africa and if so, which they preferred and why.
We're trying to select a destination based on people's experiences rather than travel guide book hype.
All we want is to see some animals and maybe some other local attractions, we're not bothered about nightlife or shopping.
If it's relevant, we're all keen amateur photographers too, so any tips around that would be great.

Any help is really appreciated.
Mayanja is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2011, 03:15 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269

eco-camps my fav

for SA

has some great packages including air

$3K or so grerat deal.
qwovadis is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2011, 04:09 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 16
Hi Mayanja

East Africa and South Africa do offer very different wildlife viewing experiences and I can't honestly say one is better than the other as they are different.

However in my opinion, if you are on a tight(er) budget I think you can get a better game viewing experience in South Africa than in East Africa. To get a really fantastic wildlife viewing experience in East Africa - it is really worth splurging and buying the very best you can afford. Whereas in South Africa you can be more economical but still get a really really fantastic experience.

The reason for this is that South Africa has a better infrastructure, the roads are good and well sign-posted making it easier to hire a car and self-drive, which particularly as there is a group of you is very cost effective. Depending on how much time you have I would recommend you spend some time in the National Park and a then a couple of nights in a private concession or a private reserve.

There are a couple of interesting blogs on Kruger and East Africa:

Also remember most safaris in East Africa are in a closed mini-bus with a pop up roof for photography. In South Africa, in the private reserves and concessions, the vehicles are open land cruiser types.

To really throw a spanner in the works... you might want to consider Namibia and Etosha National Park - there are a few good points made by FynbosGuy in his blog "Doing it for the first time: An African Wildlife Safari.

I hope that is helpful. What time of year were you thinking of travelling? This may have a big impact on the prices and can help to narrow down the numerous choices available to you.

When not to go on safari:
VanessaHobson is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2011, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
When will you be traveling?
In both countries, prices are seasonal; each also have wet seasons.

If the "wildebeest migration" is of interest, then either Kenya or Tanzania in East Africa, over South Africa. This would be:
- if June to mid-July, Tanzania's Western Serengeti
- if mid-July thru Sept, Kenya's Masai Mara

... and, of course, each country has other stops, whether specifically for elephants, rhino, waterlife, etc.

Depends also whether driving or flying. If driving, for safety reasons, you have to be in a closed vehicle (w/ pop-top roof... excellent for photos), to protect from dirt, dust, road kick-back (gravel, etc.). But if flying, you'll find most lodges/camps use open vehicles, though will vary depending on where staying. Whether pop-top or open, both work for phototaking.

Good to remember that those closed vehicles are especially beneficial for early morning/late-day game drives (whether in SA or EA) when it gets rather chilly, if not downright cold... you'll appreciate the protection from the winds.

You won't go wrong with either destination.... just a matter of which better suits your needs and budget.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2011, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,529
After you take the above posts into consideration (how and when to go etc) it's really okay to toss a coin. Both are excellent safari destinations and you'll have a great time in either country. I've been to both at least twice and (hopefully) will visit both of them again.
sundowner is online now  
Reply With Quote
Apr 6th, 2011, 04:45 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Will echo sundowner and sandi.
And add, a unique experience in SA is Kruger National Park. Many people self drive it, we have three times. Cost with rental car (Avis), nice camp bungalow, meals, gas, fees, etc, less than $200 per day person.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2013, 02:59 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 28
I have done a number of safaris in Africa and many of the reasons people support SA are the reasons I prefer Kenya. I don't want extensive infrastructure and good surfaced roads - I want a truly bush experience with excellent game viewing. There are ways of doing this without breaking the bank.

In Kenya I would strongly recommend Gamewatchers. They have their own camps on conservancies but can also book you into lodges and other camps. The conservancy concept is explained at

In essence,vast tracts of land are leased from the Maassai who agree to graze their livestock elsewhere. The local communities are closely involved with the camps and gain additional revenue from working there as guides, camp support etc.

Some of the key benefit for the tourists are:

1. excellent wildlife viewing with the ability to get close to the game - real off roading in 4x4's and not mini busses and amazing wildlife. On our trip last year we saw huge herds of elephants (>80) and other herbivores, hyenas making a kill, cheetahs making a kill, lions on a kill, leopards (3)
2. no mini bus circus with lots of vehicles crowding the animals - the area is exclusive to the camps in the conservancy and number are managed closely
3. options to have night drives, game walks and all day drives

The main camps are great and intimate and good value for what they provide. Most of the packages are all inclusive.

A much cheaper option in the same conservancies are their adventure camping options. See

These are stand up height dome tents with attached flushing toilets and hot water camp showers. All the tents are out in the bush in a maassai type kraal. You can hire sleeping bags and towels but best to take your own. Bottled water is free but alcohol is charged for or bring your own.

The photo gallery shows you the lay out and you will see that it is more basic than the main camps but the game drives and the wildlife are the same.

If there are a number of you going getting them to drive you there may be a cheaper option than the fly in fly out but you will lose time. I have done this once and it is a good way to see some of the country.

I think you can also ask to drive into the main park - in case you want to see a river crossing if you are going at the time of the migration - this may be extra for the park fees.

I certainly recommend Kenya as the density of game in the Massai Mara ecosystem is great.

Unless you really have to I would stay away from the mass market lodges. You could mix and match but with the lodges you tend to miss out on the three key benefits noted above.
Peshf is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2013, 04:07 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1
Hello Mayanja,

I recommend you visit Kenya as the perfect country to explore; a country that is full of different activities that promise you undiluted fun!

I can proudly say that I have toured almost every part of this country and compared to other places in Africa that I toured before, Kenya is far much better.

Apart from wildlife, Kenya is renowned for its diverse culture, natural beauty, heritage and not to forget its wonderful climate.

For a fantastic travel in Kenya, first visit “Elburgon”- - a little town indeed that acts as a conduit to bigger towns in Kenya’s Rift Valley region.

Other places that I would suggest for you are; Narok and Lamu

Those are just but a few places that will crown you with a smile after all; Places that you’ll never fail to visit again and again!

View other excellent Travel Destinations in Kenya at
deshonko is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2013, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
Amazing - this is a 2/yr old thread. My guess is that the OP has already gone of their safari whether Kenya or South Africa.
sandi is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:12 AM.