Kruger National Park

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Dec 18th, 2004, 09:47 PM
  #1
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Kruger National Park

We are an Australian couple in our early sixties and plan to visit Kruger National Park in May 2005. We are looking for a great experience but also a reasonably comfortable one.

As time is not the issue for us would it be advisable to fly from Johannesburg to Kruger or to travel by coach to see the countryside?

We also wonder if it might be advisable to have 2 nights inside Kruger and 2 nights in a private game reserve and would 4 nights be sufficient time?

From what we've read Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve appears to offer excellent game viewing but the lodges seem pretty pricey. Has anyone stayed in this private game reserve who would be willing to share their experiences with us. We've looked at lodges such as Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge.

Any comments would be most welcome.
Skicouple is offline  
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Dec 18th, 2004, 11:04 PM
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Hi, at least you will be there before they start culling elephants again. About OCT / NOV. Give or take a bit.
David
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Dec 19th, 2004, 02:26 AM
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The drive from Jo'burg to Kruger takes about 5-6 hours. Your time is better spent in Kruger or in the Drakensberg, so, I'd get an early morning flight from Jo'burg to Nelspruit (or wherever you're going).

I love Kruger and would advise that you spend as long as you can there. The longer the better.

If you stay inside the park, you'll find accommodation is reasonably priced (for 2 people between Aud$60-$100 per night ranging from safari tents with shared facilities to bungalows with ensuite and kitchen). For the cost of a night in Sabi Sands, you can spend many nights in Kruger itself.

The lodges around Kruger offer a great luxury experience, however you pay a lot for it. If you have time, I'd spend longer in Kruger itself staying at various rest camps. The longer you stay, the more you'll love it.

You can do self drive (hire a car at the airport - get a Toyota Condor if you do) or hire an open vehicle and driver (about Aud$300 per day and excellent value).

I'm an Aussie too and have spent more than 60 nights in Kruger in the last 3 years. Staying in the park is the best value for money and the accommodation is comfortable.

My advice would be to hire an open vehicle and driver for the first 3-4 days and then spend 4-5 days exploring the park yourself in a hire car (don't forget - a Toyota Condor !). It's all very well organised. If you'd like any advice on rest camps or open vehicle hire etc, let me know
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Dec 19th, 2004, 06:26 PM
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I agree with Gregg. I spent four weeks in Kruger this past June/July and I could have spent another four - it's that interesting. Fly from J'burg to either Nelspruit, Hoedspruit or Phalaborwa instead of the drive (not that interesting of a drive). Make arrangements for acommdation inside the park before you get to SA. I stayed in five different camps and visited another four - they're plenty comfortable. doing a self-drive safari is a lot of fun....it's true you'll see more (because you'll have good guides) and be well taken care of on a private reserve, but you'll pay very high prices for it. You'll see plenty on your own. Look into Letaba - it has a great location and all the services you'll need. Olifants is also great, and has some spectacular views. Tamboti has fantastic character (luxury tents with hot'cold shower and ceiling fans) but it doesn't have services. I spent less money in Kruger in a moth than a week in a private reserve. I didn't rent a Toyota condor, but I did rent a VW passenger van which has a high profile (better wildlife viewing) at a lesser price. Good luck and enjoy.
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Dec 20th, 2004, 08:40 PM
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Thank you all for your comments. We are slowly getting there!
Skicouple is offline  
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Dec 21st, 2004, 12:22 AM
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Because you have time on your hands I'd recommend you do all your "game finding" yourself. It's so much more fun than having a ranger or guide take you "straight there".

p s don't forget the binoculars!
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Dec 21st, 2004, 03:05 AM
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If you can spare more than 4 nights (perhaps 6 or 8) I'm sure you'd enjoy contrasting Kruger with some of the other parks in South Africa.

On our latest trip our itinerary took in Cape Town, Winelands, Garden Route and Addo Elephant National Park (before a flight to Durban) and then Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, St Lucia, Ndumu, Ithala and then Kruger.

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi was much less busy and felt more remote than Kruger - less tarmac roads, less people, beautiful landscapes and great rhino sightings. We saw a lot of animals, more than we expected, though no predators.

Ndumu was magical - we didnt' self-drive this one but splashed out on the private camp within the park but were blown away by the beauty of the yellow fever trees lining the flat waterpans. Great for birds and smaller mammals as well as huge hippos, crocs and antelopes.

Ithala was my favourite even though it was least dense in game viewing. Very close encounters with rhinos and lots of grass plains animals. Mostly the scenery just thrilled me every moment we were there. Hardly ANYONE else there when we went - didnt see another car for HOURS at a time. Didn't want to leave.

Kruger was interesting but much less remote - tarmac roads and lots and lots and lots of fellow visitors. Good ele and hippo viewing, more birds than we expected and glimpses (I do mean glimpses) of a leopard and a lioness with cub. Enjoyed it but... it didn't compare to the other experiences.

We self drove everything but Ndumu. We did then go on to a self-indulgent few weeks in Botswana and Namibia staying i Wilderness Safari properties where we were guided around by experts.

But there's a special pleasure in self-driving and spotting and identifying things yourself.
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