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 Post subject: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:34 am
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Me and my husband are planning to visit Kruger National Park from last week of Oct 2014 till first week of November 2014. This will be our first and last trip to Kruger park since we live in US. We need your help to make it memorable. We are planning to stay for four nights. we will be flying from Durban to Jo-burg and than rent a car to reach Kruger.
We liked Olifants and Crocodile camps. so how long will it take to reach Olifants camp from Jo-burg?
Should we stay all four nights in Olifants or Crocodile ? or each night or two in different camps?
Which gate should we use to reach Olifants?
Would you guys recommend any other camp ?
Also which camp does night safari? and how much is the cost for night safari?


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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:56 am 
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welcome to the forum .. and hope you have a great stay in Kruger .. Do not say it will be your last stay ...once the bug has bitten you have to come back...
I am not sure of times from Joburg I am sure that do it often will help out there ...
Other good camps are Satara and Lower Sabie . both in Lion country . I would stay two nights at each camp whichever you choose ..
sunset and night drives go from all camps .. not sure of the price though as they do vary a little from camp to camp .. A bush braai is also a great experience .. having you food in the middle of the bush with all the wild animlas around ... lovely
Have a great time

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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:12 am 
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Warm welcome to the forum rulz4world. :clap:

I am assuming you have not yet done any formal reservations and what I would suggest is you have a look at the various camps you would like to stay in and the type of accommodation you want and see what is available over those dates.
Availability

Altho not high season the popular camps like Lower Sabie, Satara etc tend to get booked up.

The closest gate to Olifants especially if time is a little limited which it is liable to be from Jhb will be Phalaborwa.
If you plan on self catering you all also need to stop for some grocery shopping which you can do in Phalaborwa itself, close to the gate.
Of course another option will be to either fly directly from Durban or Jhb to KMIA the airport outside Nelspruit giving you more time for shopping and travelling to the park.
You can hire a car from there as well.
Some useful info

All the camps do night/sunset/morning drives.

This is the tariffs for Olifants for eg. Olifants tariffs

You can either book them directly when making your reservations or book at the camp itself on arrival.


.

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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:16 am 
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Welcome to the forum rulz4world :yaya:

I would enter the park at Phalaborwa gate, seeing as its the closest gate to Olifants.

JHB to Phalaborwa gate is +/- 490 km - this will take you about 6 hours. Phalaborwa gate to Olifants camp is another 83 km. Bear in mind that you will travel at 50 km/h so that will take you about 2-3 hours, depending on what you see along the way.

You can get the distances and travel times here and here

I would also not move around too much, to travel from Olifants to Croc Bridge is a long drive (+/- 180km). Either stay all 4 nights in Olifants or 2 nights Olifants and 2 nights Satara.

Hope you have a wonderful trip!

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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:29 am 
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Welcome!

My thoughts on your trip:

Crocodile Bridge is a lovely camp, but on the border of the park, so you do not get the feel of being deep into the bush. I strongly suggest you try to get into Lower Sabie rather. You can then drive down to Crocodile Bridge for a day drive if you wish.

Olifants is lovely, but if you are not going to be assured of a bungalow with a view, I would book Satara and take a day drive to Olifants rather, even up to Letaba, and have lunch on the deck there.

Book to arrive at Lower Sabie for the first 2 nights, that is a drive on good roads to the Park, entering at Croc Bridge. And then leave via Malelane. This will allow you to see a good bit of the park.

If you want to see as much game as possible, stay south of the Olifants river, and the more south towards Lower Sabie/Skukuza and around Satara, the better your chances will be.

Obviously you need to take into account gate times for both the park and camps when planning the driving, and your destination once you leave KNP.

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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:53 pm 
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Hi rulz4world and Welcome!

I would first of all say that if you are coming all the way from the USA and that this will be your only trip ever to KNP, then 4 nights is really not long enough. So I'd first of all suggest that you add a few more days to your KNP stay. How long will you be in SA total? Is this your first (and only) SA trip? My advice, having now made many many RSA trips over the past 30 years, is that you don't try to cram too much into a few weeks.

South Africa is a very large country with lots to see over a vast variety of areas. You can't see the whole country (or even begin to) in a few short weeks, so you need to be selective. And for KNP, even at a not so busy time of the year, you have left it very late, so your choices for camps and accomodation will be limited.

I would fiirst of all suggest that with limited time, you don't plan on the long and not really very interesting drive from Joburg, but rather fly into an airport that is closer to the park, either KMIA (Nelspruit), Phalaborwa or even the newly opened Skukuza airport. Which you choose will depend on which is your first camp. With only a few days, you want to maximise your time IN the park.

For 4 nights, two camps is plenty, and I also would bnot recommend staying in only one camp as that will limit your options for drives. Rather choose two camps in different areas. I agree with DB's suggestion that you choose Lower Sabie rather than Croc Bridge; either Skukuza or to a lesser degree Satara would also be a better choice.

Have a great trip!

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RSA 2014
20-16 Oct Joburg
27-30 Oct Mapungubwe: Limpopo forest tented camp, Leokwe camp
31 Oct-1 Nov Pafuri River Camp
2-15 Nov KNP: Punda Maria, Sirheni, Olifants, Tamboti, Skukuza
16-22 Nov Cape Town
23 Nov-20 Jan Darling


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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:06 pm 
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I agree with Arks about the flights............. an if you have not yet booked, think about flying direct from Durban to KMIA (Nelspruit) on South African Airlink.
We did that several years ago.........just an hour's flight........... so easy!!! :dance:
You can then hire a car at the airport, and enter the park through whichever gate suits the camp you decide to stay in.

Whatever you decide, I hope you have a wonderful trip. :dance: :dance:

Oh and I doubt that it will be your last visit................ Africa has a habit of calling visitors back time and time again!!! :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:03 pm 
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Thank You everyone for your advice.
We have 13 days in total for Kruger and Cape town. We are planning to stay a week in Cape Town so we will be having around 5 nights in Kruger.
After all of your responses , We have changed the plan a little. We are now thinking to go to Skukuza and I think the nearest gate will be Poul Kruger. After a night there we will move to Lower Sabie for a night there, than a night in Satara and lastly two nights in Olifants.
So what do you guys think about this route?
Also I want to see The Big 5. so hopefully will I see them on this route?


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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:28 pm
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Rulz4world
Welcome to the Kruger Park
I see that you want to come to Durban and then Fly to JHB I live in Durban so i am planning to go to the Park round about that time so you are welcome to join me .I travel with a caravan so accommodation not a problem and its so much closer to the real camping experience in a caravan than a bungalo.

Al so seeing the big 5 depends on luck the right place at the right time .You can contact me on this forum

Thanks
Jackrussel


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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:34 pm 
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Hello Rulz4world, My wife and I have the same travel plans, 4 days which camps to book. My previous concer was should I rent a car in Joberg, drive to south gate and stay at a couple of camps, do some guided hikes and night drives OR use a tour guide. After reading a few replies below and the ones for Dream Kruger Vacation, it seems really obvious to go to driver over and go to the camps.
If anyone thinks this is a mistake, please post a reply. Thanks,
PeteD


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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:48 am 
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I just came back from my first trip to Kruger - 7 days and 6 nights. sheer bliss

If you like wildlife the most, then Satara and lower Sabie does it in the big camps. Not a fan skukuza as it is almost a small town, although the routes around it are very game rich.

Do consider the smaller satellite camps. I spent one night each at Biyamiti, Tamboti, Shimuwini and the experience was unreal. If you can self cater, i would prefer any of the smaller camps over the larger camps.

Not to diss your plans, but Olifants offers expansive views over the river, but a little thin on game, in my experience.


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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 3:52 am 
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PeteD

Do feel comfortable at the decision to rent a car at JNB and self drive. It is a 4.5 to 5 hour drive to Malelane gate.

As soon as you get to Kruger, get the Sanparks official guide (35R) or the Honeyguide (60R) sold in camp shops.. They give the detailed map of every route to take along with identification chart. My 12 year old became so adept at it that he became my navigator and game identifier especially birds.


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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:38 am 
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Rulz4world, I really do hope that you get to see wonderful sightings.

I usually try not to spend my last night at Olifants if I am on a time schedule. It takes a long time to reach any gate. If you need to be anywhere at a certain time, it will be very tense.

If you don't need to catch flights, it is a lovely itinerary and I am sure that you will get your Big5 sightings.

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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:14 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:56 pm
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Hey! this is also my first trip here - i have so far received some amazing advice on this forum - see my post 'Advice for a Last Minute Trip'

I'll be there until next Wednesday so hopefully will be able to share my experiences as a first time visitor with you when i get back :)


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 Post subject: Re: First timer need help !
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:23 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:34 am
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Thank you all for the helpful response.
We have booked our trip which is each night in skukuza, lower sabbie, satara and two nights in olifant.
Now I have few queries.
firstly which route will be best to reach paul kruger gate since our first night will be in skukuza? also when moving from one camp to other, which way should we take in order to have more game?
secondly we are planning to buy the wild cards, so how can we get it delivered to USA? what will be the way out to buy these cards?
thirdly will self cater be a good option for food or which restaurants are there where we can have proper lunch and dinner?


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