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8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

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andyaxa
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8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby andyaxa » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:19 am

Hi all! We're a family of five from New Hampshire in the USA planning a trip for July (after school holidays) 2016. We love the idea of the bushveld camps as we like quieter places and enjoy doing our own cooking etc. With 8-9 nights in the park we were thinking of Biyamiti and Talamati and maybe one other. But I'm not sure about the third camp. Should we do Shimuwini? Maybe something else? It seems it might be too much to try to include something far north?
Thanks so much...I've learned loads just reading the forum!

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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:09 am

A very warm welcome Andyaxa, :gflower:

Both Shimuwini and Sirheni have their fans and I am sure that you will be given good reasons to chose either one of them.

I happen to be a great fan of the Mphongolo loop. Sirheni lies just off this productive and beautiful loop. Because of this position, it would possibly be my choice. I am sure that many people will be able to give input.
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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby leervis » Mon Aug 24, 2015 5:54 am

Andyaxa, I would go with MM. Sirheni is a true bush camp, with the cottages all positioned to give a high degree of privacy. Although the dam that kept water in front of the camp, pretty much all year round was destroyed by floods a couple of years ago, the camp still allows residents to drive in 3 directions within 4 or 5 k's of leaving the gate. As MM says, the Mphongolo Loop which takes you down to Shingwedzi is a favourite of many, myself included. From Sirheni you are also close enough to do a day trip up to Pafuri and to visit Crooks Corner where South Africa borders both Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The only other comment I will make is that if you do decide on Sirheni, take into account the distance that you will need to cover in order to get there. Although it is only about 250 kilo's from Talamati, Kruger driving seems to average out at about 20kph so, 10 hours!
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andyaxa
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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby andyaxa » Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:13 am

Thank you both for your kind replies!
Would 2-3 nights at each of those camps, and surrounding drives, give us a good representation of the park? Obviously it is huge so we will not see everything. Just hoping to hit the right areas for our first trip. Also I am looking for a car/van that can accommodate five people without one person stuck in the middle. I know there is a thread about best automobiles but I haven't found too much info for parties of five, Perhaps I need to dig deeper into those threads.
Thanks again!!

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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:01 am

Biyamiti and Talamati cover completely different eco zones, so I would try to do both. They are popular because of their prolific sightings.

Leervis has very wisely pointed out the distance between Talamati and Sirheni. I think that I would suggest trying to get accommodation with a view for one night at Olifants. Olifants is a large camp, but the view is quite spectacular.

If you have 9 nights, I would suggest that most of the nights are spent in the south. This is where the animals congregate in larger numbers.

My suggestion would be:
3 nights Biyamiti
2 nights Talamati
1 night Olifants
3 nights Sirheni

When my children were young we had a Caravelle that was brilliant for Kruger. I am not sure if something like that would suit you. :hmz:
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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby Tessa G » Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:08 pm

An excellent suggestion made by MM, allowing you the one night at Olifants and its spectacular views as well as a sunrise and sunset that you will never forget.

Sirheni is beautiful and the Mphongolo Loop is one of my favourite drives - my avatar is a photo of a leopard that we spent 3 hours with on this drive on New Years Day 2015.

Enjoy your trip. :D
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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby andyaxa » Wed Aug 26, 2015 2:26 am

Thanks so much! :D
We have been minivan owners for the last 15 years and my wife and I and our girls love the space and height. I am not familiar with the VW Caravelle, however. Do the rear windows roll down? I also saw Hyundai H-1s available. I was reading the thread about best automobiles for self drives, but I can't for the life of me find it now.

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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:47 am

andyaxa, my Caravelle was so many years ago that I am not sure what the updated version has. I am sure that Hyundia would be a good choice as well. The higher car does make viewing so much easier.

Is this perhaps the thread?



viewtopic.php?f=74&t=5100
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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby Elsa » Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:12 am

Andy, I think one of the bigger vehicles will most probably be more comfortable for your needs.

The link MM has given you is one of the topics you can read and there is another very useful one as well.

Do have a look through the Index to Kruger National Topics
Look under the sub heading of
Advice- Travelling - Getting There- Airports

Plus there well be many other topics that you will find useful in planning a trip.
but please do ask if you have any other queries. :thumbs_up:
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andyaxa
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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby andyaxa » Mon Sep 07, 2015 3:09 pm

Thanks again everyone!
We have our bookings in place. Wow, some places book fast, like within hours!

We added another night and plan to enter through Punda Maria and then:
2 nights- Sirheni
2 nights- Letaba (Melville for a splurge...no Olifants views available)
3 nights- Talamati
3 nights- Biyamiti

It could be a lot of time in the van for the girls, but they are older (will be 16,16,13) and my thought is with more days we won't feel the need to rush. The trip is planned for after public school holidays in late July and before private school holidays, so hopefully it won't be too crazy driving in the south.

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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby Elsa » Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:45 pm

Really great itinerary Andy! :dance:
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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:31 pm

Welcome to the forum Andyaxa.

I have just returned recently from North Carolina - including the Outer Banks.

Great choices! I would avoid 1 nighters - too much packing & unpacking.

The Letaba river view takes some beating.

take the tar road north, cross the Letaba river and then turn right to get to the best hide in the park - Mantambebi. It has a great river sweep, and is best in the mornings.
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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby andyaxa » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:48 pm

Thanks BB! The Outer Banks and Blue Ridge Mountains are beautiful.
I've been busy researching, poring over the posts here, living vicariously through all the great trip reports. :D
Availability at Nshawu Guest House at Olifants opened up so we swapped out Letaba for that. :dance:

So the trip now looks like this:

*2 nights-Istanbul
*1 night- Near Dullstroom. We arrive JNB around 10am, but don't want to drive too far first day. (Maybe stay at Walkersons)-Next Day Drive Long Tom Pass, Panorama Route to Little Carthage
*3 nights- Little Carthage in Ndlovumzi Nature Reserve (Visit Moholoholo Wildlife Rehab Centre, Roots of Rhythm Cultural Experience and just relax on the banks of the OIifant. After 3rd night we'll head up to Sirheni, via Giyani and Punda Maria Gate)
*2 nights- Sirheni - (Night Drive??)
*2 nights- Olifants Nshawu Guest House - (River Walk)
*3 nights- Talamati- (Sunset Drive)
*3 nights- Biyamiti - (Morning Walk and/or Sunset Drive. Also we have to move cottages last night, but hopefully that will open up.)
Our Flight from JNB leaves at 7pm, so we'll have one last game drive on our way out through Malelane Gate and with heavy hearts :cry: back to JNB and home.

Does this all sound do-able...not too rushed?

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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby Elsa » Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:10 pm

I think you are covering quite a wide section of the park and will get a good idea of which you prefer for possible return trips!
Nshawu is such a fantastic guest house with spectacular views that its a pity to spend too much time out on the road, well that is how we felt when we were there, that one can relax and take it easy and all in.
I think you have suggested a nice mix of activities and all very doable but personally I wouldn't try and do more than those! :thumbs_up:
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Re: 8-9 Nights in Bushveld Camps

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:34 pm

Twitched the first ever Townsend's Solitaire on Grandfather mountain andyaxa.

BTW there are stunning birds in Kruger. Get a bird book (Roberts Bird Guide for Kruger Park & Lowveld, by Hugh Chittenden & Ian Whyte).

And follow the threads in the stiffnecks section.

Your schedule is great. On the river walk from Olifants ask to be taken to the Pel's fishing owl site.

Talamati sunset drives often turn up civet & serval.

Biyamiti is a game rich area, particularly the big & hairy.
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