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Travelling Alone in the Park

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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peewee2016
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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by peewee2016 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:35 pm

Yes . tamboti is also a fovorit for me. i travel every year alone to knp, this year in september for 2 weeks and november for 2 weeks. evry time alone . i heve never problem in africa. in the knp have great contact , to the other knp - lovers. peter
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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:16 am

Throwdown and Peewee, welcome to the club. :gflower: :D

I also enjoy time on my own where I can be marvelously selfish for a while. I am booked for 5 nights Balule and 5 nights Lower Sabie in December and I am really looking forward to the "retreat".

Chirinda, I so agree. :thumbs_up: Life is too short and regret is a sad emotion that is avoidable.
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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:18 am

Peewee and Throwdown, remember to fly your yellow ribbon. With a yellow ribbon, a friend might be just around the corner.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by George_Brits » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:13 am

Sometimes going solo is the best for some retrospective soul searching!

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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Bush Andy » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:02 pm

I have travelled to the park alone on two occassions and both times were amazing. It is such a different experience being able to switch off the car where ever you want to and enjoy the peace and quiet to yourself. I stayed 3 nights at Lower Sabie on the first occassion and 2 nights at Lower Sabie and 2 nights at croc bridge the second time. I find that my natural pace is a lot slower when by myself (20km/ 25km rather than say 30km/35km) and I tend to stop more often to take in the sounds of the bush. I therefore probably saw just as much as when with others.

From a sighting perspective, I had a great experience on the Muntshe dirt road just off the H10 one afternoon... It was a hot day, I was feeling exhausted, and all I wanted to do was to find a tree to park under to catch a few winks. There was only one large tree on the road ahead (A leadwood) and, as I arrived, I turned the car engine off, reclined the seat, opened my windows slightly and looked to the right only to find a huge Male Lion and a lioness 2mtrs off the road! :shock: ... They clearly had the same idea as me! To top it off, they were a mating couple too and mated next to the road for about 40min and I was the only car in sight! An awesome experience all round.

On a different note - I did nearly run out of petrol coming back to Lower Sabie late one evening and had to coast for a good 5km on and off to avoid being stranded on the side of the road.

Overall spending time in the bush alone is great, but for me I would only do it every now and then as it's nice experiencing a sighting, a braai, a moment with other people - especially if they are people you want to be around! :thumbs_up:
A bird in the hand should be in the Bush!! ;)

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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:50 am

Bush Andy, what an incredible experience with the lions. :D That is a memory to last a lifetime.
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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Stark » Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:30 pm

Hi all, I'm looking for some advice on traveling alone. I'm looking into a solo trip in May for just over 2 weeks in the park. I'm an experienced traveler and love KNP, and view this trip as a once in a lifetime chance. Mrs Stark points out to me that if I need a midlife adventure, she prefers me taking a trip vs buying a motorcycle. :)

I've stayed in the park for longer, but not alone. Typically we'd book 2-3 nights in a row at a camp. What do you experienced solo travelers recommend? Camp suggestions are welcome too. (I've stayed no farther north than Letaba, and my only southern camp stay was Biyamiti. The flights I'm looking at have me arriving in JNB in the early morning, and I'm considering driving to Kruger instead of flying. This would be a first for me, though, so I'd love some advice.
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Kruger Bound in May!
6-8 Berg-en-dal
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12-14 Satara
15-17 Letaba
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Elsa
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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Elsa » Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:33 pm

Stark wrote:she prefers me taking a trip vs buying a motorcycle. :)
I can definitely relate to that! :thumbs_up:
and now I will leave it up to the solo travelers to advise! 8)

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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by BirgitJo » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:50 pm

Hallo Stark,

I did it last year in September and I enjoyed it very much.
I arrived in JHB early morning and drove to Lower Sabie with a stop at Millys and a shopping stop in Malelane.
I think staying at least three nights in one camp is a good idea.
After Lower Sabie I stayed at Tamboti, Shingwedzi and Punda Maria.
The last three nights I went to Mapungubwe to Leokwe Camp. Mapungubwe is more for the landscape and scenery but I had a great lion sihting there :D

Have a great trip and enjoy it :dance:

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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Horrace » Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:47 am

Hi Stark.

The drive is definitely doable in terms of arriving and getting to Kruger in time. If you still have to do shopping I would look at choosing a camp close to a gate as you may not have much time to travel within the park.

I go every year to Kruger on my own. What I find is that if I'm on my own I tend to be up earlier and out camp as gates open (04:30 in the summer). This means I get back to camp earlier around 10/11 in the morning, and I like to relax in the unit. If you move often you have to wait until 2pm to get your unit and I feel this may detract from relaxation.

I agree with the great advice given above that 3 night stays are a great idea. It gives you 2 full days to experience the area and have a moving day.

When deciding how far north to go, bare in mind you still have to drive home! You don't state if you'll be flying straight home from Kruger so take the drive back to Johannesburg into account when deciding where to be for your last night in the park.

As for camps that I truly enjoy - In the South (Crocodile Bridge, Lower Sabie); Central (Tamboti- perhaps my favorite camp in the park); I'm not experience up north but have enjoyed Shingwedzi and am going to be staying at Balule in December.

On other consideration is whether you want to choose camps with shops or not...

Happy Planning
Horrace



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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:58 am

Wow, Birgit Jo, lion at Mapungubwe :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: that is most unusual.

Hi Stark, I frequently travel alone. I also frequently travel with family. I do make a slight changes in my planning when alone.

May is just lovely. I did about two weeks alone a few years ago. I love that time of the year. There are no school holidays, but it is a very popular time with pensioners, so it can be rather busy.

Firstly, plan to be simple about meals. The ritual of preparing and eating with others makes the braai a delight. I find that when I am my own, it becomes a bit of a nuisance. It then seems time consuming and tedious. I am not a foodies at the best of times, so this is really not my scene at all. For this reason, I try to do one good meal at a restaurant and light meals in between.

With the new franchises, this is rather enjoyable. I have also found the Park shops to be much better stocked, so something like a tuna dish is easy and quick to rustle up.

Although I have rather an introverted nature, I do enjoy company. It can sometimes get lonely. For this reason, I will stop in areas where there are people enjoying themselves. Even if I only watch, I get a lot of energy from their joy.

When I am with others, I am lazy, lazy, lazy with my camera. When on my own, I spend more time taking pictures. It helps to plan a trip report, as you are then having an internal dialogue.

I take books that are more carefully selected. Reading becomes my nighttime activity. There are some books, such as "A Game Ranger Remembers" by Bruce Brydon, but I also take books that are of interest to me in other ways.

In terms of camps that I have enjoyed alone....
Croc Bridge
Lower Sabie (the tents)
Skuks
Satara,
Shingwetzi
Punda Maria
Malelane
Letaba

Camps that I have not enjoyed when alone, Berg n Dal, too few roads and takes too long to get anywhere.
Tambotie, one of my favorite camps, but I also had a spine chilling experience there once.

I am planning a ten day trip alone this December. I am spending my first night at Pretorius Kop, the 4 nights and Balule and 5 nights at Lower Sabie.

I am going to say that the north can really be quite overwhelming at times if you are not used to it. Climbing out of your car, on your own at Red Rocks, can make you believe strange things.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Xankanka » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:27 pm

Stark wrote:Mrs Stark points out to me that if I need a midlife adventure, she prefers me taking a trip vs buying a motorcycle. :)

That's a tough one. But like you, I think I would choose KPN. :)
I've gone to Kruger on my own the last 3 times and have no problem doing it again. Possibly getting a bit selfish now, as I can stop at any sighting without having to consider any passengers.
Funnily enough, yesterday I looked at the possibility of staying a fortnight in Kruger in May. Not yet convinced as I like to see birds as well and its the time they go for their winter break.

But you asked for advise, so, here is my tuppence (or maybe only a penny's) worth:

I prefer to fly as close as possible to Kruger. Last time, in September, I flew in to Skukuza Airport. I can certainly recommend that. Easy airport to get to, get car hire, both Budget and Avis available, register with SANParks and drive to destination. I drove to Satara, which is easily doable with time for game viewing.
I think it is even possible to get as far north as Letaba, as one can start driving at 11:30. Game viewing would be significantly less, but if you want to go really north, it's a good start.

Definitely consider staying at least 2 nights in camps, unless it's a stopover on the way to a far away camp.

I looked at going to Punda Maria to explore Crooks Corner and the pafuri area again. It is good for birdlife (but maybe not in May). That's why I looked at getting to Letaba as a one night stopover. Then going down South. I like the mid and southern areas very much. Satara for cats (this year even a pangolin :shock: ), Lower Sabie, Berg en Dal, Pretoriuskop (doggies and sable), and Skukuza (Lake Panic) are some of my favourite places (and of course all the bird hides!).

You don't mention what kind of game/landscape you're interested in. Game is scarcer 'up north', but the landscape is spectacular with all the baobabs. And the Mahoni loop around Punda is superb. But then, everywhere in Kruger is great, so I won't bore you with my favourites. I'm sure you know where you can see what :wink:

Food wise what I do is bring a few sachets of ready meal pasta to have some simple meals to cook. Braaing on your own is not so much fun. Also, nuts and dry fruit for nibbling on during the day. Especially when I'm not near a picnic place or when they don't supply food as Tshokwane did this September :x I also bring a thermos flask, coffee filter mug and ground coffee. Nothing is nicer than stopping at a sighting or shaded place and brew a cup of coffee. 8)

I prefer not to do much cooking when on my own. The previous time I was told how to cook boerewors without a braai. I did that this time. A finger of water in a pan, boil with wors in it and when water is gone cover and leave for a little while (turning wors several times). Perfect :P Probably will do that next time as well with a bit of rice.
Last September I ate mainly in the restaurants (simply 'cause I'm lazy) and can recommend it. As mentioned by others, do 'fly your yellow ribbon'. I've met some very nice people because of my ribbon and been treated to a proper South African breakfast and great company/conversations because of it.

Choose your last stay with driving back to jo'burg in mind. Possibly Berg en Dal is a good place as it is near the N4. (about 450km to Jo'burg). Check the road information on this forum for other routes. Hazyview area is still difficult, as far as I understand, but who knows what it will be like nearer May. Also check up on some of the different rules in South Africa, like the stop junctions and moving out of the way to let others overtake. But above all: stick to the speed limits!

Time for me to stop and let somebody else have some input :wink:

Whatever you decide, enjoy your time in Kruger. It will be brilliant.

Xankie
No travel tale but here are some of my pictures from Sep '16 trip (right-click to open in new tab)

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Stark
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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Stark » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:13 pm

Thank you so much for the advice, Xankanka, Meandering Mouse, Horrace, and BirgitJo! :gflower:

I've booked my camps and am committed to a solo trip. Fly from JNB vs drive, food plans, etc are still to be determined, so I'm sure I will be back to ask for more.

Thanks again! :clap: :clap: :clap:
"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors." West African Proverb
Kruger Bound in May!
6-8 Berg-en-dal
9-11 Lower Sabie
12-14 Satara
15-17 Letaba
18-20 Tamboti
21-22 Skukuza

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Meandering Mouse
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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:03 am

That is wonderful 8) . Please update us as you plan your trip.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Xankanka
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Re: Travelling Alone in the Park

Unread post by Xankanka » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:16 pm

Hi Stark,

Isn't planning fun :think: :lol:
I'm sure you'll have a whale of a time preparing and making all those important decisions.
Keep us informed as to how you plan to travel etc.
It will help others travelling alone as to the possibilities.

We'll be waiting to hear all about it :popcorn:

All the best
Xankie
No travel tale but here are some of my pictures from Sep '16 trip (right-click to open in new tab)


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