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Self drive or Safari company

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Unread post by Penny » Sat Aug 06, 2005 9:50 pm

If I was coming to South Africa for a limited number of days to be allocated for game viewing there is no question in my mind that I would not opt for the self drive option but would rather go to one of the lodges where you are guaranteed sightings. It is not easy to visit Kruger by oneself for the first time and it is certainly not everyone who sees things on their first trip. It takes years of experience in knowing the animal's habitat and how to look into the bush to start seeing things for yourself. If you can afford it I would not hesitate to book in at one of the Lodges in the Greater Kruger National Park. They are very varied in their pricing structures but I am sure that a little shopping will provide the info you are looking for.
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Would like to visit Kruger but no driving licence

Unread post by alfa_omega » Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:50 pm

Hello all, :D

I know above sounds impossible but it's nevertheless true. :redface:

We will be travelling first time to Africa, arriving to Johannesburg end of December and have limited time, about max 4 days for Kruger, any suggestions which company to use, we are not picky and are on a limited budget? Tried to find something but did not have much luck.

Thanks in advance.

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Unread post by gwendolen » Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:03 pm

Most people that go to Kruger travel in their own car. That's why you probably didn't find much on the net.
I'll have a look and see what I can find. Perhaps someone else has a recommendation.
You need a tour from Jo'burg, I think?

edit: The Baz Bus seems to have a few tours. If you Google kruger tours backpackers you'll get quite a lot of hits. What's your budget, more or less?

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Unread post by alfa_omega » Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:20 pm

Yes, we are flying to Jo'burg out budget is about 400-450 EUR.

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Unread post by Penny » Tue Oct 18, 2005 6:52 pm

Virtually every camp in Kruger offers both a morning drive and a sunset or night drive so provided you can fly in as close as possible you could do all your drives with Sanparks! There are a lot of transfer companies who operate a service from the major airports - I know for a fact that they service KMIA (Kruger Mpumulanga International Airport). If you would like me to I can phone my son at Thornybush and ask for the name and telephone number of one of these companies. This of course depends on whether you have Kruger accommodation booked! Please feel free to PM me for more information.
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Unread post by jeffchisholm » Wed Feb 01, 2006 7:02 pm

Sure, it's 8 months late, but I figured I'd check back in.

I ended up going with ecoafrica and the Walking Rhino safari and I couldn't be more happy.

ecoafrica (Julia) was really cool to work with. She was very responsive and through, which given my insane attention to detail was welcomed.

Even better was the Walking Rhino safari. The private tour was much preferrable to driving around ourselves.
1. I would not have had a clue where to go to see wildlife
2. I would not have seen half of the wildlife as the drivers were spotting stuff from hundreds of yards away
3. It would have been annoying being in a line of cars on the side of the road waiting my turn
4. It was much cooler having someone who had knowledge about each animal to share. I would have enjoyed it less without the little trivial tidbits of info I gleened from guide
5. We were basically riding around in private. The vast majority of the time there wasn't another car anywhere near us.

On the tour company itself.
The lodging was fantastic; really convenient and comprehensive, yet rustic. The beds were amazingly comfortable. The food was great, people were really nice. Definitely my favorite trip.

Now here's where it set itself apart, the actual "walking" part of the walking safari. Phenomenal! Indescribable. You MUST do a Walking Rhino safari and DEMAND Bernard as your guide. He's amazing. Great personality, knows everything about everything, has an eagle eye, can actually communicate with the animals (no BS - he called zebra and they responded, and then started running toward us; a leopard started walking away; he called it and it returned - he did it about 5 times)

He went above and beyond to drive us out to see male lions roaring outside of our camp at about midnight.

He grew up in the park so he knows where and how to find things.

I wouldn't change a thing, and I highly recommend both the Walking Rhino group and getting Bernard as a guide.

if anyone wants any specifics feel free to email me ( since you were all so helpful to me when I was planning.


Jeff Chisholm
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Unread post by Danie » Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:37 am

Penny wrote:It is wonderful to hear how someone really enjoyed themselves but arn't these NON Sanparks entities making their mentioning on this forum taboo - or so I was told when I made reference to private game reserves and had my posting removed.

Dear Penny

Rhino Walking Safaris is operating within the KNP and is not a private game reserve. They are one of the private concessionaires operating in KNP (agreement with SANParks) (like some of the other concessions in KNP). The area they operate in is an area north of Skukuza (you will see the turnoff to their camp on the tar road between Skukuza and Tshokwane just south of the turnoff to the high level bridge crossing the Sabie River. So they are part of KNP (unlike the other companies/reserves bordering KNP).

Hope this helps!

Danie Pretorius
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guided vs self-guided safaris for a beginner

Unread post by taxcell » Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:50 am

I'm getting the impression from the other forum responses that it is possible to book the campsites and drive around yourself. Can you tell me the pros and cons of taking an organized tour vs doing it yourself - particularly considering I have not booked anything yet and would like to go early Jan.


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Re: guided vs self-guided safaris for a beginner

Unread post by Erland » Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:10 am

I used the reservation tool under Tourism to the left side of this page, and made request for tent camp site at different locations in the park (big camps). One month in advance seemed to be fine for mid-december trip, as I had no problems getting the requested.

I will be travelling in South Africa (mostly Limpopo) all by myself. But that's the way I like to travel. I'll just rent a car in the airport, and are totally free to do what I want (except for fixed dates in Kruger). I may miss some cool stuff, like not getting good game-sightings in Kruger because of lack of knowlegde, but when travelling alone, I can maximise what I excactly wish, like travelling around in a car from 5 AM to 6 PM. Bet I'll see enough to make this trip a memory for life.

Plans are to be made on the fly, but some preperations are good. Like reading in this foum 8)


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Unread post by Toddelelfe » Wed Dec 06, 2006 7:30 am

Hi taxcell, welcome.
Where are you from? Have you experience in southern africa? Have you enough experience in self booking and driving on the wrong side?
For a beginner, like me in 1994, it could be very comfortable, to go on a guided tour in a small group.
But if you an old self guided traveller / globetrotter it is very joyable to book your self and go your own way. You decide, when you leave, where to stop and so on.
No mission on the way :( :wall: :oops: :bmp:

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safari or self-drive

Unread post by taxcell » Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:36 am

If I was to choose driving over a guided tour how safe is it to drive from Johannesburg to the park?

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Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:27 am

Welcome to the forums taxcall - hope we will be able to help you with all your quessies!

The road from Jhb to Kruger is really a good road and really scenic. Loads of people drive that route and never have a prob. I have driven the N12 a good few times and have no problems at all. Will you be landing at Jhb International? You will need some tips on the route to take out the airport from the locals here on the forum - but I know they will all be more happy to assist you.
- Dalene

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Unread post by Boulder » Fri Dec 08, 2006 4:49 pm

The road is perfectly safe but just be aware of your surroundings etc....dont leave an un watched car full of exposed camera equipment cell phones etc in clear view while going to the loo at a garage for common sense prevails as in all things in life.
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1st Visit to Kruger

Unread post by wmahon465 » Sun Dec 24, 2006 6:42 pm

I'm visiting Kruger mid February, Staying just outside the park at Hazyview for 4 days. I would appreciate any advice on self drive with our hire car or using organised game drives plus advice on where the best routes/areas would be for me at this time of year.

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Unread post by DuQues » Sun Dec 24, 2006 10:26 pm

Welcome wmahon465!

Read the forums, especially the tripreports, and you will find out that almost everyone (including me) will tell you to sleep inside Kruger and selfdrive all the way.
You can sit down after a good days drive, have sundowners, and still see the animals (usually hyanea's) through the fence, listen to the sounds, and not leave the park.
Hazyview is nice, but you have to leave Kruger, can't get in before 6, while if you are in the Park you are there already. And it's quite possibly cheaper! Almost certainly actually, and if not, the sounds of the wildlife around you should be an extra factor which makes Kruger cheaper. :wink: :wink:
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

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