Kruger

Sep 1st, 2010, 10:19 PM
  #1  
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Kruger

I am thinking of meeting my daughter (who is in Ghana) in South Africa for about 1 week, before joining her in Ghana for another week or so. I definitely want to go to Kruger, and from reading I know I want to go to the central area, and am wondering if I should also go to other areas in Kruger. I am planning on the end of October, and am wondering if it is even possible to find an inexpensive cabin or campsite (equipment provided), at this late date. Are there any suggestions to how much time is recommended in Kruger, and where else we might want to go. Are there any good, inexpensive tours, especially a walking tour that you recommend? Also, does anyone know the cheapest way to fly from California to Johannesburg to Accra to the U.S again? I plan on using a free ticket with Southwest in the states, so I can leave from any city. Also, for my daughter who is in Ghana, would it be less expensive for her to buy her ticket from Ghana to Johannesburg from there, as opposed to me buying it in the states?
Thank you in advance!
Audrey
asilverfoote is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 12:29 AM
  #2  
 
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Kruger camp Letaba is a centrally located and a short drive in from Phalaborwa Gate. Here is its Oct calendar of bungalow availability, end of Oct looks fine -
http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger...h=10&year=2010
Camp Satara direct in from Orpen gate has spotty availability-
http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger...h=10&year=2010

Visit the Kruger web site here, lots of good info -
http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/

I use kayak.com a lot to find/check air fares.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 11:12 AM
  #3  
 
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Some of the camps in Kruger may offer walking tours. Check the sanparks website mentioned above by Tom to see what activities (night drives, day drives, walks, etc.) are offered at each camp.

Sounds like a great experience you are planning!
Celia is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 06:08 PM
  #4  
 
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I typically spend about a week in Kruger when I visit. Part of that time is spent doing one of the 3-day "wilderness trails" (private walking safaris) in the park. You may be interested in one of those, although at this late a date there may not be any available. The SANParks Kruger website would have information on availability.

When you say "central area" of Kruger, where exactly are you referring to? I ask because I personally think of the area between Satara to Letaba camps as central Kruger. However, the landscape is markedly different in that range. Satara is very flat and the bush isn't very thick, and it's a great area for game viewing. The area between Olifants and Letaba camps is much more bushy, mainly mopane trees, and I've not had as much luck with game viewing north of Olifants (although I've only spent parts of 2 days up there).

If you have time, you may want to check out the southern end of the park. The Lower Sabie area is my favorite, as is the area south of Skukuza and from Orpen to Satara. Tamboti camp (outside Orpen) is awesome.

I've done one morning walk in Lower Sabie and recommend it. Many of the other camps have walks, sunset, and night drives as well.

I think I'd recommend that you fly directly to Johannesburg from the U.S. This can be done through South Africa Airways or Delta, from NYC, DC, or Atlanta. I don't know much about flying from Joburg to Accra.

What is your daughter doing in Ghana? I plan to visit Ghana someday. I loved Anthony Bourdain's episode where he traveled there.
Gritty is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 10:49 PM
  #5  
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Thank you all for your responses. It is so helpful and kind of each of you. I think after I said central, I realized I may have been mistaken.
I think that many sights I had read were recommending the Skukuza area, and I thought that was the central region.
So if I went to two areas, which 2 would be good for animal viewing and be varied from the other? I don't see Lower Sabie or Orpen on the map. Is Lower Sabie the south end of Sabie Sabie? Do you need to sign up for the walks, drives, etc. ahead of time? Also, how hard is it to drive from the airport to the park, esp. when I am not used to the left side of the road?
My daughter is at the University of Ghana for a semester, in a semester abroad program.
Thank you again!
asilverfoote is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 05:17 AM
  #6  
 
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Audrey,

Thanks for clarifying.

I'm including a link to a simple map that has the Kruger camps on it: http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/tourism/map.php

Lower Sabie is southeast of Skukuza, and Orpen/Tamboti is northwest of Skukuza. (Incidentally, Sabi Sabi isn't on this map as it's a private game reserve attached to the park, but if it were shown, it would be northwest of Skukuza).

If I were to recommend only two areas, I would recommend Satara and Lower Sabie. Satara is a great area for game viewing and also close to some really neat areas. For example, you could drive from Satara to Olifants camp to check out the panoramic view of the river and valley from Olifants, or go east and maybe see some cats that inhabit the plains. The road named "S100" is famous for lion and leopard sightings (it's not on the map I linked to, however).

Most of my best sightings (cheetah, leopard, serval, rhino) have been around the Lower Sabie area. Lower Sabie is also a nice camp with a beautiful restaurant. It's fun to go to bed listening to the hippos. Lower Sabie is also close enough to Skukuza to allow you to check out that area. I would recommend you check out the Lake Panic bird hide just outside Skukuza, and Transport Dam, where the famous "Battle at Kruger" YouTube video was filmed.

Skukuza is also a great area, and it's different than Lower Sabie and Satara in that the surrounding area is much bushier landscape.

I would recommend signing up ahead of time for any guided drives or walks. I think October isn't a very busy season for Kruger, but why go all that way and miss out?

Tom might be able to give you more info. about the areas north of Letaba. I've never been up there, but from what I've heard, it's a lot different from the southern end of the park.

Are you planning to drive from Joburg to Kruger? I've never done that, but I think others here have done it with no problems. I personally recommend flying from Joburg to Nelspruit or Phalaborwa if you can swing it--more time in the park for you. It's a 45-minute drive from the Nelspruit airport to the park, and a 5-10-minute drive from Phalaborwa airport to the park. In contrast, it's about a 5 hour drive from Joburg airport to Kruger (from what I've heard).

I hope this helps!
Gritty is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 05:19 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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I forgot to mention that you can now virtually drive through parts of Kruger using the Street View feature on Google Maps. That could give you a really good idea of what each area looks like, if you have the time and patience.
Gritty is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 12:52 PM
  #8  
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Thank you so much. You are so helpful. If I did stay in Lower Sabie and Satara, how many days would you recommend in each? I am thinking my daughter and I will have about 7-9 days together, depending on where we fly into. So for our Kruger trip we have that time, unless we go somewhere else. I would much rather fly closer to the park, as it will be a long drive after flying so much. I hope the prices are comparable. I also have never driven on the left side of the road.


On another tangent, my daughter is worried about me having too much time in Ghana with her (my husband is meeting me there about 4 days after she returns), so I can either stay in SA and do some things solo, or go to Ghana and do some solo things, until he comes. Either way, she says she will feel guilty, but she is concerned about too much parental invasion,and I want to honor that. So if I stayed in SA, do you have any other suggestions?
Thank you again. I so appreciate your help.
Audrey
asilverfoote is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 03:51 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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If you have 2-3-4 days you don't what else to do, go to a private safari camp in one the reserves adjacent to Kruger. Those are the Sabi Sand and/or Timbavati reserves. Is another $1,000 or so in your budget to do this?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2010, 09:22 AM
  #10  
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Thanks Tom,
I think another US $1000 is probably too much, but what country's dollars are you speaking of? I hear the rate exchange with the US is quite favorable for the US dollar.

I have hit a snag. I am trying to register on the Kruger site, so that I can book my reservations to the places "Gritty" suggested, but it won't accept my address. It keeps telling me to put in my postal address, which I do, but it won't accept it!
And they don't answer the phone number that they list. So I am stuck. Any ideas? Where are you and "Gritty" from?
Thank you again.
Audrey
asilverfoote is offline  
Sep 5th, 2010, 11:27 AM
  #11  
 
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Hi Audrey - I'm from USA, beautiful sunny southern California (Fullerton)

Speaking of South Africa, Rand. Exchange is ok now at about 7.1 to 1. It has been much better, for USD. Here's chart showing 5 year history, range is from around 6 to 11- http://tinyurl.com/23ye45p

Don't know about your on site registration with Kruger. Try these telephone numbers from USA, worked a year ago (dial exactly as shown)-
011 27 12 428 9111 (central resv)
011 27 11 678 8870 (joburg resv)
Make sure they're open, 8am 5pm, CA is 9(?) hours ahead. I have in past both emailed and talked with them.

Let us know how this works for you.
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Sep 5th, 2010, 12:02 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I just registered last week. Make sure you put your town on the second line of the address, no commas. Enter the state where asked. I had to submit the form quite a few times and the silly squiggly word thing changes every time. Every line had to be correct. Keep trying - there might be something wrong besides the address.
christabir is offline  
Sep 5th, 2010, 12:19 PM
  #13  
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Thank you again.
I am always so amazed when strangers take the time to help with these travel issues.

Those are different numbers than what I tried, so I will try yours.
I too live in CA, the the east bay.
It's too bad about the Rand. It sounded good to me, till I knew the history!
Thanks so much,
Audrey
asilverfoote is offline  
Sep 5th, 2010, 02:44 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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FWIW -
"CA is 9(?) hours ahead"
NO - 9 hours BEHIND
I usually call after 11pm CA time.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 12:05 AM
  #15  
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Here is my update: Thanks for the registration help. I did call and get registered. When I finally decided that I would like 2 days at Lower Sabie, 2 at Satara, 2 at Skukuza, and 1 at an exit camp, this wasn't available. So instead I have 2 nights at Skukuza, 1 at Satara, 3 at Olifants, and 1 at Berg en Dal. I am hoping another night will open up at Satara, but if it doesn't, any other ideas? Has anyone been to Olifants? It was available....
Thanks again,
Audrey
asilverfoote is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 12:25 AM
  #16  
 
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Those phone numbers still worked, yes?

Yes, been to Olifants and Satara.
Olifants is nice over looking beautiful valley. Just south of Olifants, on the way to Satara, the road crosses the Olifant River. There is a long bridge over the river and you are permitted to park and get out of your car. Very very interesting, usually see many elephants, some hippo and crocs. Also, there are several smooth gravel "back" roads in the Olifant-Satara-Letaba area which always provide nice surprises. Here is a snap from Olifant Bridge-
http://tomgraham.smugmug.com/SAFARI-...97_EL7tU-L.jpg


regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 12:34 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Oh, also here's a couple dozen snaps from our Kruger visit in Sep 2009.
http://tomgraham.smugmug.com/SAFARI-.../9892105_JRqAK
All from the Olifant-Satara-Letaba area.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Sep 11th, 2010, 12:48 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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We went to Kruger for the first time last year & loved it. If you do think that you want to change camps at all, often bookings are changed quite last minute, and then you would be able to pick up accommodation then too.
janev is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 07:50 PM
  #19  
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Thanks again for everyones help, Tom,your photos are amazing. Beautiful, graphic, real.... It's hard to believe I will be seeing that.
So here are a few more questions:
Any recommendations on where to rent a car in Nelspruit? How challenging is it to drive on the right side of the road?
After I fly back to JNB with my daughter, who then returns to Ghana, I will have 3 days to do something on my own, before I fly to Ghana to meet her and my husband. Any suggestions on what to do/where to go? I will not have a car. Has anyone found other good air travel sights to use in Africa, besides Vayama? Thanks again. I so appreciate everyone's input.
Audrey
asilverfoote is offline  
Sep 16th, 2010, 08:25 PM
  #20  
 
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Thanks asilverfoote, happy you liked the snaps. Yep, its all there -and more- waiting for you!!!!

We've never rented car in Nelspruit, always JNB. Nelspruit does have Avis I know.

Driving on right side takes a bit of getting used to. Especially when making left/right turns. Just put extra thought to in when turning. Although will cost a bit more, I like a car with automatic trans, one less thing to distract me.

For fun I tried Vayama and couldn't get it to work for me. My fav is Kayak. But some flights still don't get listed, some from Federal Air, Bateleur Air Charter, General Airways. Not sure best way to learn what they offer, email?

What to do around JNB for 3 days? Sorry, no help. Suggest you put up here another thread subject asking that, I'm sure that will get you suggestions. And I'm sure there are travel agencies in JNB that could help.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  

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