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Please help me with my Kruger/Kwazulu Natal Itinerary

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Sep 1st, 2004, 10:16 AM
  #1
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Please help me with my Kruger/Kwazulu Natal Itinerary

I'm planning on a trip to S.A. in March/April 2005. For the Kruger and Kwazulu Natal part of my itinerary I'm struggling with my options. We (my husband and I) plan on flying into Jo'burg and landing early in the morning. Picking up rental car and traveling the Panorama Route prior to settling down for the night. Any suggestions on where to spend the night before heading into Kruger? We plan on spending a couple nights at Kruger rest camps (Lower Sabie and Olifants).I also have my heart set on staying at Honeyguide for 2 nights. Which should we do first? I'm not sure how much jet lag will factor in as we will be traveling all the way from Los Angeles before landing in Jo'burg.

Is one night in each rest camp enough or will that be too hectic?

From Kruger, traveling to St Lucia for 2 nights. Most likely will overnight to break up the drive. Living in California, were used to driving long distances. I guess I'm more concerned about traveling at night. Any towns along the way recommended? It will just be a spot to rest our heads so a B&B or guesthouse is fine.

After St Lucia, were planning on 2 nights at Mpila Camp to explore Hluhluwe-Umfolozi. Is this too long. Is 2 nights in St Lucia too long? We mainly want a cruise on the lake and go to the croc centre.



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Sep 1st, 2004, 10:44 AM
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ty_ur_on
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Drive from Kruger to St. Lucia needs an overnight ... the town of Hluhluwe is convenient - a mile off N2. Are you open to a change in plans for Natal? Instead of exploring Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, are you willing to spend a bit more money and book at Phinda, which is only a 30-minute drive away from Hluhluwe? Check out their web site. The game viewing with rangfers cannot be beat. No, I am not a Phinda agent, lol. But I do like to see people get the best.
 
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Sep 1st, 2004, 11:04 AM
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Yes, I did seriously consider Phinda but it is way out of our budget. If I can get a last minute deal on mtbeds or luxurylink I may go for it!
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 01:29 AM
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Jammie, have a number of ideas for you, will come back later and post...
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 02:43 AM
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Hi Jammie,
It sounds like your itinerary is very similar to the one we took last year (Jo'Burg - Blyde River Canyon - Kruger - Kwazulu Natal (via Swaziland). You might be interested to read the report I posted to see how we managed things!
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34402223
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 06:23 AM
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OK, I haven't quite worked out how many nights you have to play with but am going to guess at about 10?

Given the location of Honeyguide is very close to Orpen Gate it makes sense to do it either just before or after the Kruger camps.

There is something to be said for both options:
Doing Honeyguide first may allow you to get some good game viewing of some of the rarer animals, leaving less pressure on you in terms of your self-guided viewing in Kruger. It also means that you have had some time (with a guide's help) to "get your eye in" before going on to spot animals on your own.
Doing Kruger first allows you to go from basic up to lux accommodation (although you'll be stepping down again for the following nights anyway so that may not be a big deal).

OPTION A
So let's say you leave Jo'burg and spend one night en route to the park. That night can be somewhere cheap and allows you to get over any jet lag before you get to the safari segment of your trip.

Then 2 nights at Honeyguide.

Then 2 nights at Olifants. One isn't really enough as you'll be settling in and then checking out early and you won't have time to see anything/ do any activities etc. I recommend the River Walk which is their shorter walk and took us closer to hippos than we had ever expected to get (on foot).

Then driving down through Kruger to spend one night at one of the southernmost camps such as Berg-en-Dal. FIRST thing next morning start the long long long drive down (via Swaziland, as we did, or skirting around it, as some prefer) into KZN.

Stop a night at Ubizane (which offers some absolutely excellent self-catering accomodation JUST outside the Hluhluwe exit of Hluhluwe park). It's a nicer place to stop than Hluhluwe village (just a mile or two away) and you just won't have time to enter the park to stay within it, nor would it be worth the expense.

Spend the next day driving through Hluhluwe Park and straight on into Mpila Camp within Imfolozi Park where you can spend either the following 1 night or possibly 2 if you have an extra one.

Leave Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and head back north towards Jo'burg, choosing one more place to stay overnight to break up the long drive.

Total = 10 nights

OPTION B
Leave Jo'burg and spend one night en route to the park.

Then 2 nights at Honeyguide.

Then 2 nights at Lower Sabie camp.

FIRST thing next morning start the long long long drive down (via Swaziland, as we did, or skirting around it, as some prefer) into KZN.

Stop for 2 nights at Ithala Game Reserve, scenically spectacular, lower visitor numbers, the nicest in terms of SC accommodation and a very different environment to Kruger.

Head for Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and either spend both nights at Mpila or save by spending one night at Ubizane and the next night inside the park at Mpila.

Leave Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and head back north towards Jo'burg, choosing one more place to stay overnight to break up the long drive.

Total = 10 nights


Either of these options would reverse quite well if you want to leave Honeyguide till later in the trip.

If I'm right that you only have 10 nights I would tend to skip St Lucia ? not that we didn't enjoy it but that it's adding yet another long hop to the overall distance.

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Sep 2nd, 2004, 02:46 PM
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Thank you Kavey and Hanl for your helpful posts. Just when I think I have an itinerary down it's time to rethink things! We will not be spending our whole trip in Kruger and KZN. After KZN I was planning on flying down to P.E. and spending 3 nights on the Garden Route. The trip will end with 7 nights in Capetown (staying with my sister-in-law).

When Kavey mentioned cutting out St Lucia, I started to think maybe I should cut out the Garden Route instead. Looking at rental car prices, this might be a good plan anyway. So what do you think about this turned around itinerary?

Day 1: Land in Jo'Burg. Take another flight to Richards Bay or Durban. Rent car, drive to St Lucia. Spend relaxing 2 nights in a guesthouse/B&B

Day 2: Second night St Lucia Guest House/B&B

Days 3 & 4: Mpila Camp

Day 5: Turn in rental car. Fly from Richards Bay to Jo'burg. Rent car. Drive to Blyde River Lodge. Spend night.

Day 6 & 7: Kruger Restcamp. Lower Sabie

Day 7 & 8: Kruger Restcamp. Olifants.

Day 9 & 10: Honeyguide

Day 11: Drive to Jo'Burg Airport. Turn in car. Fly to Capetown.


I love the idea of spending as much time as possible on safari, but I'm not too sure about my husband. We're both looking forward to visiting his sister in Capetown as we've heard that it is the most wonderful city.
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 02:53 PM
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Sounds fine except that I wouldn't bother returning the car only to fly back up to Jo'burg for another one.

Just do that long drive to Kruger with a one night stop en route.

PS I really did like St Lucia but without the flight down to Durban it was hard to include it and leave time to loop back to Joburg. With the flight its definitely worth including it.
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:13 PM
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Thanks Kavey. That does make a lot of sense. These message boards are great. Getting advice from people like you has been invaluable in planning the trip.
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Sep 10th, 2004, 09:07 AM
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Jammie
I agree...
The best thing is that so many people have done trips in so many different ways that one has such a wealth of varying experiences to read about!
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