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Self drive or Safari company

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Stoffel
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Unread post by Stoffel » Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:58 pm

I agree with DQ. If you can rather stay within the park (maybe only one or two nights) you will enjoy it so much more. Hazyview area is quite conveniently placed if you plan to visit some other tourist attractions in the Lowveld and/or Escarpment. But you can only get the real "feel" of Kruger if you stay inside the park.

Personally I would go for the self-drive option. And the south offers a variety of good game viewing roads. Seeing that you will be in the south I will recommend the Crocodile Bridge area which (is to my opinion) a magnificent area. The Lower Sabie region is also a very good area.
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Unread post by christelsabine » Mon Dec 25, 2006 12:02 am

DuQues, I'd like to confirm what you said: I spent a week near Hazyview in a lodge, went every day to the park - but: Entered at 05.30h in the morning at Phabeni f.e. Perhaps that times changed. Anyhow: Staying inside the park is the mucho mucho better solution. :D

Enjoying all day in Kruger and going back to camp inside - that must be heaven. The outside location always is somehow breaking the Kruger feeling - at least it was for me. I'd never do it again.
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Kruger first visit!

Unread post by wmahon465 » Mon Dec 25, 2006 2:51 pm

Thanks for the replies, this is a 60th birthday present from wife, it includes a further 4 days in Capetown and a few days in the Garden Route area of Knysna. We will be visiting the canyon and some general sightseeing but we do intend to do at least 3 days in the park. We will have our own car but wondered if using the organised game drives would be better hence my suggestions for suggested routes and areas to visit.

The trip is part of a package hence not staying inside the park but if all goes well, we will be back and will follow the general advice. This will be our first time in Africa, we usually holiday in the Caribbean or US.

I am interested in photography and would love to "capture" the big five.

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Unread post by christo » Mon Dec 25, 2006 4:08 pm

Capturing the predators on film is easier while staying in the park, due to various reasons like a larger variety of routes to drive first thing in the morning, etc. Nightdrives & bushwalks are also awesome experiences.

It is easier to do sightseeing from Kruger than Kruger from Hazyview.
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Unread post by Penny » Tue Dec 26, 2006 10:16 am

If your tour package has you staying on the boundary of the Park - there is no problem at all. Most of the gates have sunset and/or night drives which operate from the gate. We have often stayed outside the Park and have had just as stupendous viewing coming in as a day visitor as we have when we have stayed in the Park. So don't lose any sleep over your accommodation but I would definitely book one or two drives and the rest of the time do not try and cover too much territory - on a first visit the southern end of the Park will do very well for photography and I am sure you will easily get to film your big five. There are no hard and fast rules for when the best time is to view game and we have had some of our very best sightings in the heat of the midday sun! Just enjoy the Kruger experience and I am sure you will be back for more!
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Unread post by Meg » Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:36 am

Hi,

You've been given excellent advice above. What an awesome present to be given by your wife!

Doing self drive during the day is a lovely way to explore the park, however I think you're wise to be thinking about organised drives as well. Although many of the lodges in the area do have private drives I think it's nice to do the Park's own ones from the gates (you could easily go from Phabeni, Paul Kruger & Numbi gates from Hazyview - just make sure you check in advance as they need a certain number of people to go). You cannot drive yourself in the park after sunset, but you can do sunset drives from the gate - at least one of these is a must IMO. Quite a unique experience to be in the bush at night, even if you see little (which would be pretty unlucky!).

There is also the possibility of walks from the gates if you're feeling adventurous :wink:

Have a lovely time!
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Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Wed Dec 27, 2006 8:12 pm

Hi wmahon,
so far all suggestions have been great.
I would come in from a slightly different angle.
Firstly, most places at Hazyview are lovely.
You will will be tired after your previous journey and after having had a lot of sensory input.
I would take two day drives from Hazyview and one night drive.
Don't try to do too much in Feb if you are not staying in the Park. The temperatures can rise to high thirties, or forty. If you have no bungalow to hide in midday, it is not fun for the uninitiated.
I would take one drive through Numbi Gate, via Pretorius Kop to Skakuza. Maybe have breakfast at P'kop and lunch at Skukuza.
That means a travel at about 30km/hr.
The other drive I would suggest is from Kruger gate, stop at Lake Panic, Skukuza for breakfast.
Then would be a slow trip to Satara for lunch.
From Satara I would recommend leaving via Orphen gate and going back for some lovely Hazyview sundowners.
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Unread post by Richprins » Thu Dec 28, 2006 7:39 pm

Hello wmahon

Self-driving is the way to go. Macho Mouse's comment about the possibility of extremely high temperatures is VERY important. You MUST make sure your vehicle and accommodation have air-conditioning - at any price. Otherwise it could spoil your trip.

This applies to almost the whole country at that time of year.

However, I must disagree with MM on the advisability of using Orpen Gate. It is a long and risky stretch from there to Hazyview, especially in twilight or darkness.

Rather look at the Central District of the Park from an internal camp on your next visit. Believe me, you'll be back!

It's going to be a wonderful trip! Please report back afterwards!

Richprins

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Travelling to Olifants without a package tour

Unread post by James100 » Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:45 pm

Hi all

I was wondering whether I could get some fairly urgent advice. I am hoping to fly to one of the airports surrounding the Kruger and then travel to Olifants Camp for three nights in Feb. Which airport should I go for and which gate is best for Olifants?

Furthermore, as I am not able to self-drive and the package tours seem to be on the expensive side, do you agree that I can book my accomodation and activities through the SAN Parks site and simply arrange a shuttle transfer from the airport to Olifants? Do you know of any companies that offer reliable transfers?

Thanks very much. :o

James

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Unread post by Loams » Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:54 pm

James

Fly to Kruger International airport, rent a car, go in via Phalaborwa, Orpen or even Numbi and take a slow drive (depending on how much time you have)

You can book your accommodation on this site

I think there might be an airport in Phalaborwa as well

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Re: Travelling to Olifants without a package tour

Unread post by DuQues » Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:16 pm

James100 wrote:Furthermore, as I am not able to self-drive and the package tours seem to be on the expensive side, (...)

You do not have a license or such? You will not be able to do much in Kruger then, just walks and a few drives, unless you are lucky and can hitch a ride with someone....
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Unread post by James100 » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:30 pm

Thanks. Unfortunately, I do not have a licence. My mother can drive, but she is reluctant to do this as she believes she will have to concentrate on the road, rather than the wildlife. as this is her first ever safari, it doesn't seem fair to ask her to do this.

I'm just looking for a more cost effective way of spending four days in a good camp at the park. An example quote I have had is 13,000 ZAR for 3 nights accomodation in a bungalow, road transfer from Jo'Burg, 4 game drives and a game walk. No meals are included. This seems horrendously expensive, especially when you can book the individual components for around half the price.

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Unread post by Jose » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:42 pm

Hi James100 and welcome to the forums.

Reasons are not important, and if you are going to spend a few days at a camp without driving yourself, then Olifants is an excellent choice! Besides you could always book yourself on one or more of the gamedrives organised by the camp.

As for access, another suggestion is to fly from Joburg into East Gate airport (near Hoedspruit). (Check here for rates.) From there it is only a short drive to Orpen gate, which would be the best (shortest too, I think) way to get to Olifants. The road from Orpen, via Satara, to Olifants is usually a productive one too, so make sure you tell your driver to take it slowly, and you have a good chance of some real quality sightings on your way to the camp.

If you need more info, PM me for local transfers.

Whatever option you choose, have a great trip!

Cheers!
Last edited by Jose on Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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DuQues
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Unread post by DuQues » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:44 pm

In that case you can tell her that minding the road is a very minor part of driving around in Kruger.
The area around Olifants is rather quiet, and you will be driving at speeds of around 25 km/h. Selfdrive is way cheaper, and far more enjoyable then a safari company!
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Unread post by bert » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:49 pm

James100 wrote:Thanks. Unfortunately, I do not have a licence. My mother can drive, but she is reluctant to do this as she believes she will have to concentrate on the road, rather than the wildlife. as this is her first ever safari, it doesn't seem fair to ask her to do this.



I believe it wont be such a challenge James.
You have a nice tar road from the gate to Olifants and to adjoining camps, Letaba and Satara you have excelent tar
as well. And if she drives at 20 km you wont miss out on wildlife and still be able to concentrate on the road.
I always travel with a big lens on my lap and still manage to do travelling and searching for animals.

Phalaborwa has a airport and its only a few km. to the gate of
Kruger.

Believe me... it wont be a very big challenge. Just travel slowly


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