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Kruger area sticker shock -- isn't there anything in between?

Kruger area sticker shock -- isn't there anything in between?

Old Sep 20th, 2002, 12:38 PM
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Kruger area sticker shock -- isn't there anything in between?

I'm just starting to research a 2-week trip for next year and one of the places we are considering is South Africa. We would be going sometime in mid-November to mid-December. We have frequent flier miles for the airfare. If we choose South Africa, the two main areas we would most want to focus on would be Cape Town & Kruger. I've seen lots of appealing options in Cape Town and finding accommodations within our price range does not seem to be a problem there, but accommodations for game viewing in or around Kruger appears to be another story. I've read lots of posts on this site and read bits of a couple of guidebooks, and so far I'm at a loss. Obviously we would love to stay at someplace like Singita, Londolozi, Sabi Sabi, MalaMala, Royal Malewane, etc. -- but I think $500 PER PERSON(!) per night is definitely out of reach, even if it does include meals & game drives. We have stayed at some lovely places in many countries and until now the most we have ever paid was around $360 per night, and that was for two people, including meals, at a very luxurious wilderness lodge. It seems like many of the accommodations in and around Kruger are either inexpensive camps or spartan places where you have to do your own cooking (and sometimes even share a bathroom), or at the other end of the spectrum extremely expensive luxurious lodges. Is there anything in between? We would prefer to keep it under around $200-300 for two per night ($100-150 per person), or could probably go up to around $375 per night for two if meals and some game drives were included. We would like access to great game viewing, reasonably comfortable beds, our own bathroom, decent food that we don't have to cook ourselves, and some atmosphere/authentic character -- tents are fine. We don't need luxury, gourmet cuisine, or to be waited on hand and foot. Given the exchange rate I didn't think this would be so hard to find. Is there anyplace out there that meets this description that any Fodorites would recommend?
Old Sep 20th, 2002, 05:36 PM
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Lisa, although I've spent time in South Africa I've never been on safari there however...I would suggest contacting a South African travel agent. The South Africans are very price concious because of their exchange rate and they will not look down their noses at you because you raise the concern...which was my experience with American agents who suggested that price and quality were always the same thing. Not true we went on a wonderful safari in Zambia at several of the top camps that was within the realm of reasonable. I used Sandy Inglis at Pulse Africa. They often have specials on their website www.africansafari.com
One other general suggestion would be to go either off season or at the end of the season atthe end off October/Nov this was how we managed to get a better rate in Zambia. If you are going in Nov/Dec this may work well for you but remember you could also encounter rain in some areas...ask the agent. Also in South Africa you want to avoid the school holidays if you are going to a location that attracts South African rather than foriegn tourists.
Old Sep 21st, 2002, 12:01 PM
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I have to ask - Where on earth have you been looking? Are you talking US dollars? I am in the tour business in South Africa and very few are charging that sort of money in US terms. I just the other day returned from a 5 star lodge at Kapama which amounted to less than $US300.00 per night sharing and was all inclusive (excepting liquor and phone calls). Elephant Plains in Sabi is 960 Rands per person sharing and is all inclusive - that is less than $100.00 per night in US dollars. Anyone charging $500 US per night probably will go broke before they get rich. There are many private game lodges all around Kruger - all over South Africa for that matter. If you are doing this through a tour operator in the US and this is what you are getting then I suggest you use one here in South Africa. There are plenty of us to be found on the South Africa search engine and the URL for it is http://www.ananzi.co.za
or you could try staying at a deluxe B & B and being driven the short distance to the game farms. One that comes to mind is http://golf-in-africa.co.za
They provide luxury accommodation at about $30.00US per night, are close to Pilanesburg which is one of the better gamefarms, you do not need to be a golfer in spite of his site name - they cater to a lot of golfers because of their proximity to Sun City. I sure do hope you find something really good and I know you will enjoy South Africa so keep looking. If the prices are in Rands, go to a currency converter to see how much it is in your money - they are under currency converters in all the search engines.
Best of luck with the searching. I know you can do better that what you have so far.
Old Sep 21st, 2002, 10:04 PM
willem nel
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hi lisa, i believe pilansberg game reserve(55000hectares) could be your answer as it is in a malaria free area.the park also boast with the big five ie,elephant,buffalo,leopard,rhino and lion.there are also alot of wildlife sanctuaries in the area as well as excellent golfing oppertunities.
plese do not hesitate to contact me as i believe we can sort you excellent accomodation at your budget range. willem
Old Sep 22nd, 2002, 08:29 AM
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I notice that you are mainly here advertising for business on various threads. I think Fodors will start selling ads here and that would be better for you. Don't post here just to advertise yourself please.
Old Sep 22nd, 2002, 11:56 AM
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The perfect place for you is Djuma, the same lodge that sponsors and films for Africam. I have stayed there twice as well as at one of the more expensive lodges. The atmosphere and game is everybit as good as Mala Mala except for the leopards. We did see leopards, but not in as great a number, but not worth the snotty attitude of the young rangers. You can easily arrange your own trip there on the net. Air or drive. air is to Skakuza on scheduled SAA and the a charter to the camp. Price about $135 pp
Old Sep 22nd, 2002, 01:38 PM
coconut wireless
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have you tried making your reservations directly through the park? We did and are staying for a fracton of the cost? And we will be doing both the morning and evening game drives. We will be stayin at Olifants and Lower Sabie and I umderstand Letaba is another great campsite. The web site is http://www.krugerpark.co.za/html/accommodation.html
We will be there Dec 14-19th
Hope this helps
Aloha from Kauai
"the coconut wireless"
Old Sep 23rd, 2002, 12:26 PM
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You might want to consider flying into Kruger (Skukuza airport) and picking up a rental car and visiting Kruger yourself. The lodging is fine and fairly priced, and in my opinion, the game viewing in Kruger was better than the private reserves (and honestly, it was a lot more fun to drive and try to find animals myself than passively sit in the back of a car and follow animals via radio). I wouldn't fork over $500, which is just for great food and lodging. You'll have more fun staying in Kruger (do some research on the various camps since they are very different and many could meet your requirements).
Old Sep 25th, 2002, 08:15 AM
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Thank you all for your suggestions! I am looking into all of them. This is just the kind of information that I was looking for. If anyone else has any thoughts I will keep checking back here.
Old Sep 25th, 2002, 06:37 PM
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Lisa- I have stayed in very nicely appointed rooms with private baths, patios, BBQ's,kitchenettes,etc. in the park facilities at both Lataba and Oliphants. These accomodations were very pleasant. The meals in the park dining facilities were adequate and they had small general stores for picnic and snack supplies. My family thoroughly enjoyed our self-drive in the park. I recall that the cost of the "deluxe" rooms with in room (bathrooms) was less than $100 per night- and well worth it.
Old Oct 14th, 2002, 04:28 AM
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Does anyone know how much day and night drives cost at the public camps in Kruger? Like Lower Sabie and Oliphants. Do you have to book these in advance or can you book on arrival? Thanks.
Old Oct 27th, 2002, 04:47 PM
Ed & Gloria
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Dear Lisa:

We recently returned from Kruger. We picked up our car at Joberg Airport. We used Avis and drove to Hazyview and stayed at Thulamela www.thulamela.co.za $60.00 two people. Spa tub on deck ,gourmet breakfast, and just fantastic. Next day we drove thru Kruger and were stopped many times by tour companies wanting information about where animals could be seen. We saw the big five on our own. Our expenditure was petrol and our time . We finished the day in Komatipoort at the Croc River Lodge $33.00 for two BB. Beautiful place,overlooking the river from the bluffs above. Wonderful animal viewing morning and night. The owners do not live on premises. They arrive about 5 or 6 pm. They were talking about hiring a live in manager. Who knows? www.crocriverlodge.co.za make sure you get a confirmation!
Old Oct 28th, 2002, 05:02 PM
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In response to the original message, I have found some very reasonable game reserves in the Sabi Sand reserve.
You may want to try Savanna Game Reserve which borders Singita and looks very nice at about half the price. While still $500 per night, it looks very comfortable and still upscale. Even more reasonable places such as Idube exist. I suggest you go to Idube's website and on their website you can click on a link to a map of the entire Sabi Sand Reserve, listing the private game reserves by name. There are about 20 private game reserves alone in the Sabi Sand reserve.
Plus this map will show you how much land that these game reserves own. Mala Mala, Londolozi and Singita are absolutely huge, but others such as Chitwa Chitwa and Savanna still have very significant land holdings that I am sure allow their guests to explore different areas each game drive.
I have come across websites that quote me far lower than the listed website price for a couple of the game reserves in the Sabi Sand reserve, with the lowest prices being about $200 TOTAL per person and this includes all game drives, meals and non-alcoholic bevarages. The only difference is that house wines and complimentary laundry is not included and they may not have a plunge pool in each room like Singita, Londolozi and Sabi Sabi may have. Still, how much more are you willing to pay for "complimentary" laundry service (one of my finest shirts was ruined at Singita this year) and house wines anyway???
I don't know if I have the courage to try out one of the $200 per night game reserves but I am certainly leaning towards a Chitwa Chitwa or Savanna over Singita, Sabi Sabi, Royal Malewane or Mala Mala for next year. I enjoyed every second of my time at Singita but I literally spent as much for three nights at Singita as one of my house payments! Next time, if I choose, I can spend twice the amount of time in the bush at a private game reserve for less than half the price! I just hope that the food is half way decent at some of the other lodges, as it was to die for at Singita!
Old Oct 28th, 2002, 10:06 PM
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In June this year, we went for a trip to kruger and stayed two nights in the park and two in a private reserve on the border of the park. A most brilliant experience.
The private reserve was Tanngala Safari Camp and cost us R750(pperson all inclusive - about 60 us) during the high season this goes up to R1100 pp.
The camp has no electricity, so operates on lanterns, heaters etc which really adds to the experience. The food is beauiful and the service wonderful and homely. Each of the rooms are ensuited and beautifully presented. The game viewing is exceptional - at one point we saw 23 lions in a 24 hour period! Have a look at their web site www.tangala.co.za and email me if you have any questions. I can't recommend it enough. (i also got engaged their so it has special memories!!!)
Old Nov 15th, 2002, 05:00 AM
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Maybe try Umfulozi-Hluhluwe in KwaZulu Natal... Zulu-land is one of the most beautiful of many beautiful areas of SA... The park has great animal viewing and the park lodge is wonderful.
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