Skip to Content

Travelling Alone in the Park

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
User avatar
Posts: 15266
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: Swaziland. The smallest country of the S. Hemisphere

Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread postby Jazil » Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:07 pm

I need advice and help on where to stay in the Park if one is alone.
I have been to the Park often, not for a few years, but never alone.
I have 10 days in November when I am alone at home and would like to spend some of those days in the park, I am actually DESPERATE to get there again.

I love my own company so have no problems with that.
I travel to Jhb and Durban alone all the time, so have no problem getting to the park.
Its close anyways.

Its so much nicer to share ones sightings with someone but that cant be, so I am going alone.
The one thing that bothers me, and I am embarrassed to say this, is the ellies!!!
I love them, but not too close.
I have had a kinda "scary" meeting with them here, in Swaziland, it actually was fine, but they rubbed up against our vehicle and their wonderful fine trunks brushed all over our windscreen....... it was actually "awesum" when you think of it, the game guard was with us and we obviously listened to him, and we kept as quiet as little mice and never moved, but I have a great respect for all animals especially ellies, (they are so large,) and it is their territory, not ours, I am an intruder into their environment, so I am weary of meeting ellies too close, alone.
Does that make sense to anyone else? (In the past one ellie stopped us going along the dirt road to Lower Sabie from Thokwane, years and years ago, we made it into the camp gates about half an hour late due to this ellie not letting anyone pass - that was scary too.......... not being late, but the ellie!).
Am I a wimp?

I am rambling on sorry, but am so desperate to get to the park.

Where do members feel it is best to stay when one is alone?
(Obviously need to check what accommodation is free then)
Which roads are the best to travel alone?
I know you can never say what you will see where....... but any advice is welcome.

(Maybe a case of Amarula would help!! :lol: )

Please any suggestions or ideas, and I dont mind if anyone feels that I am being stupid, please tell me.
Don't forget to PM any Mod your Kudu nominations for the month.

If you want to list your Park Dates in the YR Thread then please PM me.

Wild Boy
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 10:30 pm
Location: Body : JHB Mind & Soul : KNP

Unread postby Wild Boy » Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:46 pm

Hey Jazil, I think it is great that you would go by yourself! Although I have never been alone to the KNP, I cant really give you any advise on where to stay etc, although if you want to see alot of game I would suggest the south of the park.

Lower Sabie has some really nice safari tents which are really nice to sleep in (two people), get a river view though! Berg-en-dal i heard is quite nice, although I have never been there. Then you could go to either Skukuza (not sure if it is too busy in November??). Also you could go to Pretoriuskop, even up to Satara and Olifants :wink:

If you want peace and quite, I suggest you take a look at Tamboti, beautiful tented camp! Although it might be lonely by yourself as it is not a main camp, and the tents are sort of isolated from one another.

As for the elephants, do not feel :redface: , as we have many times been chased, mock charged or just had to wait for them to move from the roads (i hate being stuck on sand roads with them, i think they stand and walk in the middle of the road on purpose!! :) ). It is more of a self judgement thing, and since I started driving to the park myself and was able to park at a distance I felt comfortable with and drove off when I felt it was time to go, it is not bad at all. My father has this thing that he has to park right next to the elephant (even though the ellie is so huge and can be seen from a safer distance), which really bothered me as those animals can do damage if provoked, but if you drive how you feel comfortable, and do what you think best in a situation, I'm sure you will do fine.

Happy holidaying, please be sure to take pics :cam: to post in the forum.

Wild Boy :lol:
Make the most of each and every second you have been given, live LIFE!

User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)

Unread postby arks » Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:37 am

I've always travelled alone in KNP and can assure you that it's just fine.
I've certainly never worried about my safety.
In fact, you're more likely to meet people just because you are alone and don't have built in entertainment. I've met many interesting "neighbors" on my visits.
And I've stayed in a variety of camps, tho never camping, always in a bungalow.

Of course a downside to travelling alone is that you have to do all the driving, but that has never kept me from seeing lots and lots and lots.
There's always the chance of encounters with ellies, but you clearly know how to handle those.
I've been mock charged (main road south of Shingwedzi) and once almost backed into a lone young bull, but he was much less fussed by the encounter than I :D

I've never worried about travelling on the less travelled roads and actually prefer them, but I've also never been stranded.
I think that's a rare occurrence and less worrisome now that most people have a mobile to use in case of emergency. I'd relax and not worry and just enjoy the chance to go.

Have a great trip!!

User avatar
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2130
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 6:51 am
Location: In a very busy place

Unread postby Wild@Heart » Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:58 am

Hi Jazil,

Why go alone ... I'm sure you can find another forum member to join you :lol:

But in all seriousness ... We did discuss the travelling alone bit previously, but I could not find it... It's safe ... on to the next point.

I'm not gonna mention much about the camps as I'm sure you will get a lot of info on it. But I would recommend as you are going alone to book a Night Drive for yourself and maybe a Morning walk .... (you've worked hard...go spoil yourself) ...

As for the ellies ... 1 or 2 people ... just keep your eyes peeled and awake ... ellies don't care how many people there is in a car. If you get to close, they will let you know.

Few signs to look out for if they aren't happy about the distance between you and them.

1. Ears Flapping, lots of trumpeting, head shaking and mock charges ... Be Warned ... that is your warning.

2. Ears pulled back to the body and trunk rolled up underneath head ... GET OUT OF THERE ... that will become a full charge.

Keep your distance when babies in the group ... keep you distance if you see bulls in musth ... heck ... be safe and keep your distance :wink: OH yes ... sometimes they are also very naughty and some of the older bulls like to play pranks ... but I haven't heard of any pranks lately :lol:

Enjoy ... :mrgreen:

User avatar
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Port Elizabeth

Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread postby lam » Tue Oct 04, 2005 7:16 am

I would seriously think about doing one of the guided 3 day walks. That way you wouldn't be on your own.

User avatar
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 5507
Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Location: Chasing down the rarities

Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:01 am

DuQues wrote:Lam's suggestion sounds good, just a bit of walking around seeing Kruger differently....

Although it is not 3 days on foot, but actually 2 it is not a too bad idea. But I wouldn't. To be stuck with other people you don't know for 3 nights is not so great IMHO. I visited Pkop, Skukuza and Bnd alone in March this year. And it was great. I did not even took a tent along. It was a lovely though of WTV to have chased me away from home for 3 nights. I particpated in 2 sunset drives, a nightdrive, trainspotting and a morning walk.

I say, just go and visit alone. No better way to rest and clear out your head.
Latest Lifer(s): Buff-spotted Flufftail, Tree Pipit, Dimorphic Egret, Lesser Jacana, Citrine Wagtail, Black-tailed Godwit

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman

User avatar
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 272
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:40 pm

Unread postby acekam » Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:17 pm

Hi Jazil. I went to the KNP by myself for the first time earlier this year and really enjoyed the experience; truly spiritual.

If you are not camping, then the most cost efficient options if travelling alone are the old one-bed huts at Lower Sabie, the old 2-bed huts at Orpen and the old 2-bed huts at Balule.
Although the LS and Orpen small huts lack a bit of character, the camps themselves and the game in the areas more than make up for it.

I found myself striking up conversations with far more people travelling on my own, obviously because you are less absorbed in your own immediate group.
If you're flying your yellow ribbon proudly, you may have trouble avoiding curiosity.

In terms of sharing sightings, I'm sure one of the local forum members will happily relay your daily sightings and you can share your trip with 1000+ forumers each day, plus have a reminder of your great trip waiting for you online when you return.

Ellies? My rule is always try to get slightly ahead of them so that you won't have to be in reverse gear in the unlikely event of having to make a hasty exit.
Of course, if they're in the middle of the road when you first see them, that's impossible, so just give them their space and be patient for them to move on.

My biggest concern travelling alone was arriving at a get-out point or hide, where there may be a hidden predator lying in wait.
If I was the only one there, I would wait for another vehicle to arrive before getting out.
I realise this was more of psychological than logical physical benefit, but we all have our weird phobias.

The main unknown with travelling in the park alone is how many sightings you may be missing out on by not having extra pairs of spotting eyes; but that's something you'll never know.

One other piece of advice for travelling alone is that you overlook the simple advantage of having someone in the car to pass you binocs, camera, guidebooks, drinks, biltong, etc.
One thing I found useful was having a plastic crate on the passenger seat with all non-perishables.
That way things didn't roll around on the dirt roads and everything was ready to hand in an organised manner as needed.

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children

User avatar
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 253
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:25 am
Location: Probably not coming back to Africa soon :-)

Unread postby simonb6 » Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:14 am

Hi Jazil/all

I spent a very pleasant 11 days in the Kruger on my own in April. I am somewhat self-centered at the best of times so it was very nice to be able to do what I wanted, when I wanted, without having to take anybody else's wishes into consideration.

I spent most evenings editing my pics on my laptop on the bungalow stoep and on several occasions the neighbours came over to have a look, so there was aways someone to talk to if I wanted to.

I had no hassles or worries whilst out on the road (or at Sable Dam!) and it was probably my most enjoyable visit to date.

It was certainly better than my first visit where one of my companions was a friend of a friend who was pathologically averse to following rules! He will never go on holiday with me again. Anyway I believe he's currently in prison after being caught speeding (excessively) and producing his father's driving licence - his own licence being suspended for an earlier speeding offence. You get the picture?
Cheers, Simon
My photograph album

Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 2:31 pm
Location: JHB ,South Africa

help travel alone

Unread postby BUSHBRO » Fri Mar 10, 2006 4:24 pm

Hi All,

Booked to go to KNP on the 17-21 March with a friend but unfortunately he will be unable to make it because of work:(

Don't really want to go by myself since I enjoy the company and the extra pair of eyes .

Is it safe to travel alone in the park with the current conditions ? Don't really want to get out the car if i have a flat tyre or stuck in mud and not have anybody watching my back especially with all the thick bush from all the rain.

Not sure if I should go tried calling about everybody I know but haven't found any takers yet .

Whats the general opinion on my questions.

Would rather drive that distance and be in the park than be at home .So you have to do what you got to do :)

User avatar
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 198
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:58 pm
Location: NOT in KRUGER!!!

Unread postby LittleLeopard » Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:00 pm

Hi BUSHBRO. I think it depends largely on what type of person you are. If you enjoy time alone on a regular basis, you should be OK. If you hate being alone, it might not be such a great idea. :?

Personally, I would be hesitant. Not because of any safety concerns, but because the magic of Kruger comes from sharing it with someone else. :D

Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 5030
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:57 pm

Unread postby gwendolen » Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:05 pm

Where in the park will you be staying, Bushbro? In the middle the roads should be fine.

Quite a few forum members regularly go the the park alone. Like LL says, it depends a bit on what sort of person you are. I love company, but also like being on my own. And I don't think I would ever miss a chance to go to Kruger. :lol:

User avatar
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 6:46 pm
Location: In the studio for now

Unread postby peterpiper » Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:56 pm

Go BUSHBRO Go!!! Go Bushbro Go!!!!
Seems everyone is willing you on so you are just going to have to go. I often go alone and enjoy the park with or without companions. But if you've never done it solo before it's well worth a try. Amazing how many more people you meet on your own and how much better the photographs are.
You'll have a blast. Of course if you can get a really hot little number to join you then ignore all of the above!
Home is where you hang your @

User avatar
Meandering Mouse
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
FAC Member (2013)
Posts: 16617
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Location: meandering between senility and menopause

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Fri Mar 10, 2006 6:28 pm

:roll: :roll: :roll:
always thinking of ... :shock:
I would suggest that you book in for some of the activities offered by the park, such as game walks.
I have been driving alone. While it is great, even better to share, there is another dimension to being totaly with yourself.
My suggestion, go for it China... as as the others suggested, you never know what the fringe benefits might be :wink:
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

User avatar
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 3:25 am
Location: On the Congo River estuary...

Unread postby Fizzpop » Sat Mar 11, 2006 5:54 pm

Hi there,
I travel to the park, twice a month, on my own mostly. While it is good to have company at times, i get by with going on the park game drives and walks... and sometimes... after some drives :shock: you cannot wait to be back on your own in your car!!
One thing being in KNP on your own, although talking as a SWM, i find the park a place where you can feel relatively safe and only vulnerable to the 'real' animals out there in the bush :lol:
Also, you can be selfish, and watch what you want, without any interruptions. You can even watch grass grow, and no complaints from the back seats :)
No substitute though, for having a frostie over a braai in the evening, with friends and family though, and swopping KNP stories :wink:
[b]"Some are Guilty, but we are all Responsible"
KNP 18 September to 28 September 2015, Satara, Skukuza, Pkop)

Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2006 2:31 pm
Location: JHB ,South Africa

Unread postby BUSHBRO » Sun Mar 12, 2006 1:02 pm

Hi All,

From all the positive info I have received from this posting and the forum I guess I have no choice but to go alone to the KNP (The choice is mine but as things stand I'm definitely going Because I must be crazy not to go) :wink:

The only way to find out if I can go on future trips alone if need be is to go alone and experience it for what it is .

Does anybody have a check list of things/items I should be taking so I can check against my own list?

Don't want to forget anything and be by myself .

All advice is needed .

Enjoy all :P
Would rather drive that distance and be in the park than be at home .So you have to do what you got to do :)

Return to “Kruger National Park”