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 Post subject: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 8:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:50 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Bingham Nottinghamshire UK
As non Saffie, i'm curious as to how other "foreigners" discovered the Kruger in particular, but also the other Sanparks. I ask this as most of the travel pages in our newspapers only include the Kruger as part of a Package deal which usually includes a stay in a private game resort usually at a high price. As all us 'mites know this is nothing like a stay in the park camps, with smells, sounds and sights of the bush. I do feel that perhaps the SA tourist board isn't doing enough to encourage people on a budget.
We, So and I first came to South Africa when my daughter and SO lived in Jo'burg, I didn't want to come! Nothing attracted me to the country but I did want to visit my family, How glad i am now, we both fell in love with Africa and visit whenever possible. :D :D :D


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:10 pm
Posts: 252
Location: Cumbria UK
My dad introduced me to the Kruger and he in turn was introduced by his best friend from school who came to SA 30 years ago. My dad's been to KNP 9 times now and I've just returned from my 2nd visit.

Before I came the first time Dad had beguiled me with the albums full of photos and the stories. The whole family have always been animal mad so it just seemed obvious that I'd come too. I might not be able to afford to come every year. But I know I always be back!!!

We love coming to the campsites (although packing the tents and kit on an airline weight allowance can be a challenge!!). People are always astounded that we come for between 3-4 weeks and ask how we can afford it. I laugh and tell them by doing it the way we do we pay the same for our holiday as we would for a 3 night organised tour!!! And we have the freedom to stop and look at what WE want to see not what everyone else wants!!

Gemma x

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When I'm not in the Park, I'm thinking of it...
Bittersweet Return to Paradise TR - Aug 2011


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:50 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Bingham Nottinghamshire UK
Hi Gemma, there is a certain Middle Eastern airline that has a 30 kg baggage allowance and fares reasonable. E mail me and i will give dettails
Lucy


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:17 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:29 am
Posts: 130
Location: Herndon, Virginia
I realized in the spring of 2007 that I wanted to go on a safari in Africa. When someone (at least in US) does a google search for "African safari" or "south african safari" etc., you won't EVER see the sanparks.org site listed. Most folks here aren't aware of Kruger so they wouldn't necessarily google "Kruger National Park" and when they do, the official site for Kruger is not the first listing.

Anyway, I too found that the commercial sites offered packages that were way too expensive. WAY too expensive, so I kept looking and found a website offering a cheaper alternative. The guide would drive you around the park and you would get to pay for his services, his trip from the States, his cottage etc and that would be the cost. You also paid all other expenses for yourself, cottages, food, transportation. Yet this was still cheaper than going with a commercial safari tour.

This man's mistake was providing me with the sanparks.org URL. And that was it for me, I realized I could do this myself.

I think most folks from US are afraid of the thought of "the dark continent" and think that it is very difficult to do this on your own and always very expensive. I tell folks the airfare is quite steep, but the rest of the expenses are very reasonable and that I have never felt threatened (like I have in our nation's capital, wash, D.C.) and hope someday someone will offer to pay me services, trip from the States, cottage etc :D


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:17 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:11 pm
Posts: 167
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Hi ladylucy,
I put off going to Africa for years because my assumption was that a person had to go on a tour and I don't like tours. In 2007 I relented and was ready to see some animals but which tour and where? Like any other trip that I've taken, I'd get every available book from the library and start reading. As you know, no two travel books are alike and reading them there is always some gem that the others don't have. One travel guide mentioned the SanParks website (still thinking I had to go with a tour). Well I read some ladies TR (don't know who) and here she is going through a gate in her car and before reaching her destination seeing all these animals. :big_eyes: The clouds started parting and then I started understanding what the Kruger is all about.
In three weeks it will be my fourth visit. Thank You SanParks. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:43 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:00 am
Posts: 63
Location: Port Alfred, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Hi Rayk,

So glad that you are enjoying the Kruger Park as we do.

Fortunately visitors can travel and enjoy South Africa without being on tour groups. May you continue to travel to our country, it is such a pleasure for us South Africans to share our country and heritage.

Enjoy your trip! :dance:


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:27 am 
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Location: Portsmouth, England
SO and a friend went to Gambia on a cheap package deal from the UK. They then decided they wanted to see more of Africa, bought a Lonely Planet guide book to South Africa, found an internet site that they could book accommodation through, hired a car and drove off from Cape Town to Jo'burg, taking in Tsitsikamma (accidentally - there's a long but hilarious story on this one), Addo, and Kruger for a couple of nights each along the way.

That was in 2001. In 2003 I was given the Lonely Planet guidebook and told to plan a drive from Jo'burg to Cape Town, 4 nights in Kruger, visiting Tsitsikamma (that SO knew from his previous visit). In Swellendam we heard about Bontebok park and fell in love with it. I'd heard about Boulders Beach from the Internet (people's trip reports) and wanted to visit and well, you can''t miss Table Mountain or Cape Point. And we keep coming back, mostly to Kruger but we are planning on another 3 week trip from Addo to KTP. We like driving.

My ultimate aim is a 3 month road trip taking in all the National Parks and staying in them as much as possible. That'll have to wait until I retire.

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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:58 am 
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 4:49 pm
Posts: 722
Location: Busy planning my next trip
To all the foreigners

Dont feel alone, because the amount of locals who have asked me about Kruger, and the kind of questions asked leaves me totaly astounded. I always want to ask them did you actually grow up in this country?

As for pricing of holiday destinations (excluding SANParks) us locals need to be really financially well off to be able to afford a week anywhere. That is some resort to camping and self catering. Unfortunately for us locals, SA toursim is aimed mostly at the overseas market who have dollars and pounds, total rip off and daylight robbery in most instances.

As far as the whole 'African Safari' thing goes, it is just a money making exploitation of innocent people who dont know any better.

I cant stand that term 'safari', anyway I thought 'safaris' died out with the victorian era or something??


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:50 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Bingham Nottinghamshire UK
Saraf, i have one up on you in that I an retired and providing finance allows there is no time limit. Glen 79 I also know a young South African who thought the lions were fed by the rangers, he also didn't know that the Protea is the national flower of SA. :huh: Like I said previously is enough being done to publicise Sanparks?


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:38 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Sydney and southern Africa
Hi LadyLucy,

Mrs P and I first travelled to South Africa in 1995. I was busy with work at the time and didn't pay too much attention to the travel plans - she did it all.

As we were about to leave I asked her how we were going to get around (thinking that like in europe or asia we would backpack, and catch trains or buses).

"No," she told me, "I've found a car hire place"

I was picturing a big 4x4 but she told me she'd hired a corolla sedan. I thught she was mad, sending us off into the african bush with no training, no guide and no off road vehicle.

Kruger was our first stop and we never looked back. Been back every year for the past 14. We were hooked from the moment we drove in through Numbi Gate.


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:27 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 7:29 pm
Posts: 769
Location: Northcliff, SA
Tony Park wrote:
Kruger was our first stop and we never looked back. Been back every year for the past 14. We were hooked from the moment we drove in through Numbi Gate.


Wow Tony! You could qualify for SA citizenship!! :clap: I have a colleague who is born and bred in SA and has never been to the Kruger. Doesnt know what she's missing. :tongue: Been overseas tho......


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:00 pm
Posts: 43
Location: New York, USA
I came to SA for the first time in 2003 in a twist of fate. But it was probably the best stroke of "luck" I've ever had. I was living in Thailand at the time but returned home to the US each year to do work during tax season. The US embassy in Bangkok kept denying my girlfriend a visa to come along with me. [I will leave out the rant that belongs here]. So we needed to get her some stamps in her passport. She mentioned her friend's mother lived in Joburg and we found out that she didn't need a visa to enter SA for 30 days. So we bought plane tickets and a lonely planet. Lonely planet is how I found out about Kruger. People in NY where I grew up like to think they are "worldly" and live in the capital of the world, but in reality they are very insular. If you have friends that are from a particular country you might know something about that country, but for the most part the rest of world is something you watch on TV and don't know much about except for a few trivial facts. So I had no idea that South Africa was such an amazing place before I went. I am so happy I made the big leap and went out on my own.

I made a reservation at a hostel in Joburg for one night and reservations for a few nights at Kruger. (Never made it to the friend's mother's house). We spent a few nights in Kruger then took the train from Joburg to Cape Town. Went to Cape Point and Cape Agulas. It was probably the best trip we ever took and we've probably been to around ten countries together at some point.

Kruger is what opened my eyes to wildlife. And now it is just about a passion. We were totally unprepared, didn't even have binocluars; didn't know our way around the park or what it had to offer. But it was still a wonderful experience. Now in 11 days we are going back for 6 nights. I expect it to be an even more fulfilling time than the last. Unfortunately we have only the week as the people I am traveling with don't have as much holiday time as me. We live in NY now and found flights for only $900 return. With the little time we have we are only going to go to Kruger and do it 'right'. So its straight to the park for six nights, one night in the Blyde river canyon and then back home.

Can't wait!

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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 4:49 pm
Posts: 722
Location: Busy planning my next trip
Well done darth bangkok :thumbs_up:
Enjoy your trip and we look forward to the trip report. :whistle:


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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:19 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:52 pm
Posts: 3402
Location: Africa's Largest City
As other Saffies have said, even some who have grown up here don't know about Kruger. I love to take people there for the 1st time. Usually they can't wait to go back. I was privileged enough to grow up going to Kruger almost annually, but each time I take 1st timers there, be they local or foreigners it makes me realize how lucky I am

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 Post subject: Re: Why did you come?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:23 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 9:09 pm
Posts: 19661
Location: another national park.. in England
I came to SA to visit a friend I had known since I was 4yrs old Hadn't seen her for 30years She said we've booked KNP.......... Love affair began :roll: I had no idea what I was letting myself in for :lol: :lol:

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