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Self drive or Safari company

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Both sounds good

Unread post by andrean » Sat Oct 06, 2007 12:55 pm

Hello again

Yes we thought doing both might be a good choice.

We are thinking of staying at Lion Sands in Sabi Sands reserve and then driving from there? Can you pick up hire cars near Kruger? Given 5 days with two days at the lodge how much can we realistically expect to get round in 3 days driving?

How urgent is booking given we are planng to be there around 25th November?

thank you again

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Unread post by bert » Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:11 pm

Nov isnt very busy in Kruger but i advice you to book very soon. The bigger camps in the south should have a bungalow for 2. Weekends could be tricky
Cars can be rented in Nelspruit, Hazyview and at KMIA airport
airport car rentals
But also book in advance

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Unread post by Penny » Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:20 pm

Andrea I would suggest you try what a fair amount of folk do and that is to combine time at a private lodge in Kruger together with some self drive options. For example friends of ours recently stayed at one and they said the lodge was wonderful with excellent food. They were also pleasantly surprised at how competitive the rates were given that it includes all meals and a morning drive, a bush walk and an evening drive. It (and a couple of others) seem to be in a similar price bracket. Check out the web site. Let me know if you need any more advice. I am currently doing bookings for our January trip and was quite surprised that there is still a fair amount of accommodation available.
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private versus kruger bush camps

Unread post by » Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:37 am

We are planning onn a visit to Kruger NP from July 15 to 27, 2008. We will hire a car and we have tentatively booked our accommodation in bush camps. I have heard, though, that we may not get the best game viewing this way and that we should shorten our stay in the bush camps and stay in one of the private lodges for a few days. This option would be considerably more expensive. Can anyone out there give me their opinion on whether it will be worth the extra money to stay in a private lodge. Our objective is to view nature and to photograph animals in their natural habitats. We are campers and do not feel that we need particularily "luxurious" accommodations.

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Unread post by christo » Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:55 am

I would not do it. yes it is true that the private lodges know eg. the habits of the resident leopard and can find it more easily. It might result in a few better close ups.

The big down side is that your time is not your own and the whole adventure of driving around and finding your own game is lost.

If you are campers why not buy a cheap tent, two sleeping mattrasses, two sleeping bags and two torches and go camp right next to the fence and enjoy nature "in your face"?

This option would even be cheaper than the bushcamps and the nocturnal sounds will serenade you every night.
As an alternative I'll PM you the name of a guy that can make a comping&photo safari an unforgettable experience.
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Unread post by Scipio » Sat Jan 05, 2008 8:43 am

Christo, :clap: :clap:

I totally agree with what you say. Private lodges are way too commercialised & a lot of fun is lost. There is nothing better making your own cup of java in the morning waiting for the veld to awaken. & To find your own Lion/Leopard is the best.

Then there is the Sanparks Gamedrives/walks. :dance:

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Our trip

Unread post by Kalburgi » Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:10 pm

FYI. We had similar considerations. So we rented from JNB drove to Kruger stayed in 2 camps for 3 days, then drove to Private lodge in Sabi Sands (roads from Kruger to Sabi Sands are not very good so allow plenty of time; or better you can choose private lodges within Kruger itself). We stayed 2 nights in the Private reserve. Combining also kept our expenses reasonable.

We enjoyed both experiences...finding game on our own as well as getting closer to them during rides within Sabi Sands although it did feel a bit too ORGANIZED.

If we were to do it again, we would just do Kruger self-drive and some Kruger Sunset and Night drive (esp Satara one leaves at 8 PM for 2 hours).

Have a great trip.


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Unread post by johanrebel » Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:22 pm

It so happens that I know both the Mutlumuvi (Rhino Post, etc.) and Mpanamana (Shawu) concessions well, especially the former.

Shawu is a really nice camp, located right on the Mpanamana Dam, with views of the rather open bushveld beyond, as well as the rising slopes of the Lebombo mountains. Great for watching game coming to drink when the veld is dry, but even at other times a lot of game can usually be seen at a distance. White rhino are especially common, as is plains game.

Like all the concessions in Kruger, Mpanamana is excellent for walking, but not very suitable for game drives (lack of roads). Last time I was there, walks were not offered at all, due to a lack of qualified guides.

You should note that Rhino Post offers game drives only (unless they have managed to find qualified guides by now) whereas Plains Camp is focussed on walks, although they do night drives as well, and even afternoon drives in very hot weather. Xiteveteve (the sleepout) is right on a road, they sometimes drive there as too (e.g. after dark or in heavy rain, I've done both). That sleepout is really great, by the way.

For those looking for fangs and claws up close, driving is obviously the better option. Encounters with predators are less frequent on walks. Having said that, I've seen lion numerous times on walks from Plains Camp, as well as cheetah, spotted hyaena and side-striped jackal. Also walked smack into a leopard once, it was hiding in some very thick bush on a riverbank. Encounters with rhino and elephant are more numerous, though.

The Mutlumuvi concession is 12,000 hectares in size, that's a bit more than 3 square miles! Most walks begin and end at Plains Camp, but they also have a vehicle and can drive to other areas for walks if circumstances so dictate. The vegetation and terrain also make for easy walks.

Given a choice, I would prefer to walk in the Mpanamana concession, because it is more diverse, but especially because of the scenic beauty of the Lebombos. On the other hand, Mutlumuvi is extremely well organized, the staff very competent and experienced, and Plains Camp small, intimate and with a character of its own. Warmly recommended.

I'd be pleased to answer any specific questions you may have about either camp/concession.


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DIY or having it done for you

Unread post by Grantmissy » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:14 pm

I have noticed that increasingly private operators take guests into Kruger (not the official Kruger morning, day and night drives offered from the camps) and they drive the guests around in Kruger and it sounds like if they know where the hotspots are for watching game. But which is better - to plan for yourself and self drive or to make use of the services of these professionals who most probably have extensive knowledge and experience of nature and wildlife conservation?
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Re: DIY or having it done for you

Unread post by Orange » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:23 pm

For me part of the joy of a game park (any one) is the knowledge that the only thing you're certain to see are plants. I can understand foreign tourists (or local ones that have no patience or real love for nature) wanting a "see it all in under 30 minutes" tour, but for me, it's not just about the sightings.

It's the whole experience, the peace and quiet, the lot. And you don't get that if you're racing from one sighting to the next.

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Re: DIY or having it done for you

Unread post by threedogs » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:24 pm

Well, for me it would always be DIY. I am a very independent person and not so good at being around other people I don't know. I would always prefer to get myself about and educate myself as I go, so to speak.
I do like learning things from good guides but not in a mixed group situation.

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Re: DIY or having it done for you

Unread post by hilda » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:44 pm

We prefer to do our own planning and driving Grantmissy! :D (I am sure my SO will agree with me.) I don't think I would enjoy a lot of strange people around me with all their oohs and aahs at any sighting, not even an Impie sighting. I would like to share each and every moment with my SO, and that is that. You can stop where and when you want to for as long as you want to, you can take as many pictures as you want to without other people hanging over your shoulder, etc. I'm also voting for DIY! :thumbs_up:
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Re: DIY or having it done for you

Unread post by saraf » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:47 pm

Well I've done both. The packed OSV with 30 people on it that seem to come from the hotels near Kruger gate fill me with horror.

However I have done a day trip into another, not-to-be-mentioned, park in KZN. That was just me, my SO and the guide and because of his local knowledge we got an amazing experience with an Elephant that we would never have got on our own. We did it because we were unsure of the territory and went back in on our own a couple of days later.

If you are thinking of doing this then I would say the less people the better. Ask questions about the size of the vehicle, the experience of the guide, how long they have worked there etc.
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Re: DIY or having it done for you

Unread post by tent dweller » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:55 pm

DIY for me (us). I would not want to share any sighting or anything with a whole group of strangers. I only want to share things with my SO and LO. I don't do groups at all,I also don't do crowds at all. When we are in the park and we come across a sighting with more than 4/5 cars we just drive right passed. I love learning things from maps and books. After every trip to the Kruger we come home with a greater knowledge than what we went in with.

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Re: DIY or having it done for you

Unread post by Stark » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:41 pm


Self drive is one of THE main attractions of KNP, for all the reasons listed above.
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