First of all, there is only one of me. I almost always visit alone, so there is nobody to share the costs of the vehicle, accommodation, etc. (Yes, almost all private lodges charge a single supplement, but that's waived for me as a repeat or long stay guest. I usually get an extra discount on top of that as well.)
Secondly, I rent a vehicle with a view. Usually end up with a Kia Sportage, Nissan X-Trail, that kind of thing. They don't come cheap.
Thirdly, when I self-drive, I often cover 200+ km a day. Long gone are the days when gas was R3 a liter.
Fourth, I don't self-cater.
Fifth, I factor in the cost of a night drive. They are included at private lodges, and when I used to stay in Kruger I went on every single night drive I could, without fail. I remember when they cost R25.
Sixth, I pay non-resident conservation fees.
Ok, as I said, there is a large difference in how we do things.
Very few people go to KNP (Or any holiday, for that matter) alone. You are very fortunate to have been able to get the single supplement waived. This alone, explains how you can visit a private lodge at KNP prices. It wasn't something I even considered, given that it is not the norm at all.
We have done 200+ km a day, and hated it. The more we go, the less we drive. I'm sure you see more than us on the average day, but that's ok. We'd rather spend an hour parked at a sighting than race around trying to see more. One of my best "game drives" (and I use the term loosely!) was the morning we spend 3 hours parked on the Shingwedzi causeway
. Hence the fact that we can go an entire week in Kruger on one tank of fuel.
We have done night drives, but we don't really plan to repeat it. Someone else here mentioned the frustration of being on a vehicle with other guests with 5 min attention spans... that is simply not how we want to do things. The only game drives we've actually enjoyed, were when we were on a specialized photographic safari, and when we were lucky enough to be the only guests on the vehicle, and thus able to call the shots.
Thanks for the explanation, anyway. At least now it makes sense to me how you manage to stay at a private lodge at Kruger prices...