Sep 11th, 2004, 01:30 PM
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I've been on many safaris and some of my favorites have been my self-drive safaris in Kruger and Etosha. I recommended to Roccco in another post that he consider adding a few nights in Kruger to an expensive itinerary, first because its a different experience and second because you can really drive down your average cost.

Does anyone have any views on self-drive safaris? Also, are there any other parks in Africa besides Kruger and Etosha where you can easily self drive? Hwange looks possible, but Zim is generally off my safari map for now. Thanks, Michael
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Sep 11th, 2004, 01:34 PM
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We would love to combine a self-drive safari with our Botswana experiences. Any tips or suggestions on self-driving in Kruger? Is there a nice place to stay that's within self-driving distance of the park?
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Sep 11th, 2004, 03:03 PM
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Actually, you can stay in Kruger park at one of their lodges. I stayed at Skukuza and Satara and I had some of my best game viewing ever. The lodges are basic but comfortable and the food is buffet style, but OK (certainly not gourmet). With a bit more ambition than we had, you could buy food and barbecue which I think could prove fun. For less than US$100 per night, you can have a wildlife experience that, in my view, surpasses the private reserves, although the food and lodging are not nearly as nice. But it can't be beat for the price.

Kruger is nicely laid out with a very good road system, and is well-signed and there are good maps. While you will encounter more traffic than in the Sabi Sands, its not unwelcome and can be very helpful. You can also get into some remote areas where you won't see other cars for extended periods.

The more I think about it, the more I like Kruger.
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Sep 12th, 2004, 08:46 PM
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i am under the impression that j-burg is to be avoided at all costs. what, then, do you recommend as a driving route to kruger, or do you suggest flying from j-burg to the airport at kruger and hiring a car there? thanks.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 12:43 AM
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I think it is unfair to say that Joburg is to be avoided at all costs. I had a lovely time, spending two nights at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton last year. It was the perfect way to start my holiday, prior to making my way to South Luangwa, Zambia.

I was able to enjoy fine dining, shopping, took in a (live) theater show at the Liberty Theater in Sandton and thoroughly enjoyed my Premier Suite at the Michelangelo, especially given the fact that I picked it up on Luxury Link and paid about 1/3 of rack rates for the room.

The service at the Michelangelo was excellent and their restaurant, the Picolo Mondo, was a world class restaurant serving an excellent dinner and also possibly the best breakfast buffet I have ever had.

Right next door to the Michelangelo was an excellent Indian Restaurant, Bukhara's, and my wife and I had a very tasty dinner their on the other night.

My wife was able to enjoy a three hour spa treatment at the Michelangelo's spa, while I had plenty of time to roam Sandton Square during that time.

Last and not least, the two nights in Sandton, allowed us to do a half day tour of Soweto, visiting Nelson Mandela's pre-prison house (rebuilt after it was twice torched to the ground), a museum that featured incredible footage (both still shots and video) of the struggle against Apartheid and even a visit to Wandie's Place? for a Soweto lunch buffet.

It would have been a tremendous loss if I didn't have those two nights in Joburg. While I don't think this is necessary repeatedly, I do think that everybody visiting South Africa should at least experience Joburg once for a couple nights, especially regarding the visit to Soweto.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 01:30 AM
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We really enjoyed the self drive portion of our recent trip and would recommend Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and Ithala. The latter is just in a stunning setting and whilst game wasn't as dense as elsewhere it was a special place to self drive.

Enjoyed Kruger but was our least favourite of the self-drive parks.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 07:50 AM
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Kruger is so huge, and there's so much difference among the various camps, that I think it can be a great experience or a so-so one, depending on luck, on whether you're staying in a busy camp or a quiet one, what kind of lodgings you've chosen, whether you cook for yourself or eat at the restaurants or do some of both.

I love Johannesburg! I wouldn't avoid it--even if you don't stay at the Michaelangelo (and we never do because we're not high rollers like Roccco), you should go to Nelson Mandela Square and the Sandton City shopping complex, and the African Market at Rosebank. Also, Jo'burg has some of the best restaurants in the whole country. And one of the best things to do in Jo'burg is to visit the South African Brewery and take the tour. It includes a mockup of a shebeen that is really great. It's in a part of town that suggests a daytime visit, rather than after dark, but there's no reason to avoid Sandton or Rosebank or the other northern suburbs.

Driving yourself in Umfolozi is really easy, as Kavey said. I haven't been to Itala, but plan to go there on my next visit, because of all the good things I've read about it on this forum.
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Sep 13th, 2004, 07:54 AM
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Yes camp choice at Kruger definitely makes a difference - we really liked Olifants - in terms of accommodation, overall design, size and layout and also their buffet evening meals.

Some of the other camps we stopped in were just so very very busy and so much larger that we felt a little adrift from the bush experience whilst within their boundaries.

I'm sure you'll love Ithala. It really affords some stunning views...
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