Africa Safari Tips, Ideas??!!

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#21
Romsey England
11,555 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by chloe kitty
All info provided is great. We have decided to do a 4 day Safari out of Johannesburg to Kruger. Now, we just have to decide on the company (and that is not easy).
Thanks everyone.
I'd be inclined to deal direct with a safari lodge.
Booking.com is a good place to start - they give very full information, photos, and genuine independent reviews (only those who booked can review) for each lodge - but there are doubtless specialist agencies.
Also consider flying from Jo'burg to the nearest airport such as Eastgate (aka Hoedspruit) or Kruger/Mpumalanga, which avoids a 4 to 5 hour drive from Jo'burg. Transfers from local airports are usually included in safari prices.

Just from limited personal experiences, Klasserie private reserve gave us very disappointing sightings whereas Sabi Sands private reserve gave my other half and daughter more and better sightings than one could hope for. I think that's down to the topography, or mebbe just a matter of luck
It seems to us that the higher prices are on reserves where there is abundant game, though you are treated royally at all.
Do be sat down when you check prices, they're eye-watering. But they include at least two game drives per day, all food and sometimes drink.

Whether at a private safari lodge or a NP rest-camp you can't go out in the dark, unless in a private lodge on a jeep night-drive. This is in order to avoid affecting the diet of the lions

If you are happy to rent a car, do consider just the Nat Park itself and stay in a bungalow in one (or more) of the rest camps or at independent lodgings outside the NP near one of the gates.. That's massively cheaper than the private reserves, and we had great sightings in just a day and a half.
Downsides are that you're on your own, though just like Yellowstone you can be lazy and just watch for knots of other visitors' cars at the side of the road/track or you can book a shared safari jeep. And you're not allowed to leave the designated roads & tracks and plough off into the undergrowth, either in your own car (you wouldn't want to) or in the safari jeeps.
The accommodation at the rest camps is quirky but pleasant and there are plenty of facilities like restaurants, pools, etc. or you can self-cater. Gates to the NP are closed at (6?) pm & day visitors have to be out by then, gates to the rest camps close at (6.30?) pm and residents have to be back in by then. Gates re-open around 5am.

IMHO 3 days (first afternoon, 2 full days, last morning) is plenty.
If you choose to drive and flight timings allow, you can rent a car at Jo'burg (O.R.Tambo) airport, head to Pilgrims Rest & Blayde River Canyon and an overnite at Graskop, leaving just an hour's drive to the NP gates next morning.

Lots of permutations, lots of different folks' opinions which is best.

JB
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#22
Arizona
1,698 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by John Bull
I'd be inclined to deal direct with a safari lodge.
Booking.com is a good place to start - they give very full information, photos, and genuine independent reviews (only those who booked can review) for each lodge - but there are doubtless specialist agencies.
Also consider flying from Jo'burg to the nearest airport such as Eastgate (aka Hoedspruit) or Kruger/Mpumalanga, which avoids a 4 to 5 hour drive from Jo'burg. Transfers from local airports are usually included in safari prices.

Just from limited personal experiences, Klasserie private reserve gave us very disappointing sightings whereas Sabi Sands private reserve gave my other half and daughter more and better sightings than one could hope for. I think that's down to the topography, or mebbe just a matter of luck
It seems to us that the higher prices are on reserves where there is abundant game, though you are treated royally at all.
Do be sat down when you check prices, they're eye-watering. But they include at least two game drives per day, all food and sometimes drink.

Whether at a private safari lodge or a NP rest-camp you can't go out in the dark, unless in a private lodge on a jeep night-drive. This is in order to avoid affecting the diet of the lions

If you are happy to rent a car, do consider just the Nat Park itself and stay in a bungalow in one (or more) of the rest camps or at independent lodgings outside the NP near one of the gates.. That's massively cheaper than the private reserves, and we had great sightings in just a day and a half.
Downsides are that you're on your own, though just like Yellowstone you can be lazy and just watch for knots of other visitors' cars at the side of the road/track or you can book a shared safari jeep. And you're not allowed to leave the designated roads & tracks and plough off into the undergrowth, either in your own car (you wouldn't want to) or in the safari jeeps.
The accommodation at the rest camps is quirky but pleasant and there are plenty of facilities like restaurants, pools, etc. or you can self-cater. Gates to the NP are closed at (6?) pm & day visitors have to be out by then, gates to the rest camps close at (6.30?) pm and residents have to be back in by then. Gates re-open around 5am.

IMHO 3 days (first afternoon, 2 full days, last morning) is plenty.
If you choose to drive and flight timings allow, you can rent a car at Jo'burg (O.R.Tambo) airport, head to Pilgrims Rest & Blayde River Canyon and an overnite at Graskop, leaving just an hour's drive to the NP gates next morning.

Lots of permutations, lots of different folks' opinions which is best.

JB
John,
Thank you for all the wonderful info. We seem to have settled on a Safari company highly rated on Trip Advisor. The tour normally uses Skukuza, but a large hotel is being built there, so it seems that almost all of the companies offering 4 day Safari's are now using Berg En Dal rest camp. Accommodations seem to be OK. I will remember not to become a Lion's dinner! Apparently they camp is fenced in to keep out most of the larger animals.
Thanks again for all your great info.
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May.2010 Celebrity Century Transatlantic
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#23
Columbus, Ohio
18,644 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by John Bull
Whether at a private safari lodge or a NP rest-camp you can't go out in the dark, unless in a private lodge on a jeep night-drive. This is in order to avoid affecting the diet of the lions
Lots of permutations, lots of different folks' opinions which is best. JB
Great that chloe kitty has been getting things lined for Africa. More excellent comments and insights from the wise John Bull. There are lots of different ways in which to set-up and do these types of "adventures". Many options and potentials. Do your research and "home work". See what fits your personal needs, budget, timing, etc.

Africa is more challenging to arrange as you are doing things in the "wild" where conditions are always changing. It is always different every day in these many potential locations.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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#24
Romsey England
11,555 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by chloe kitty
John,
Thank you for all the wonderful info. We seem to have settled on a Safari company highly rated on Trip Advisor. The tour normally uses Skukuza, but a large hotel is being built there, so it seems that almost all of the companies offering 4 day Safari's are now using Berg En Dal rest camp. Accommodations seem to be OK. I will remember not to become a Lion's dinner! Apparently they camp is fenced in to keep out most of the larger animals.
Thanks again for all your great info.
We stayed at Skukuza, very acceptable.
Don't know Berg En Dal or that extreme southern end of the NP, but the camp looks very similar to Skukuza.
If the restaurants overlook a river, watering hole or whatever, get along there early - before 7pm - for the perfect table.

Yes the camps are fenced and guarded, perfectly safe to walk around inside or cook a bbq meal outside on your braai.
But outside the camps, only get out of your vehicle in the few authorised places - you could lose a lot of money as well as your life because it's illegal to feed the animals

Have a great time

JB
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#25
Arizona
1,698 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by John Bull
We stayed at Skukuza, very acceptable.
Don't know Berg En Dal or that extreme southern end of the NP, but the camp looks very similar to Skukuza.
If the restaurants overlook a river, watering hole or whatever, get along there early - before 7pm - for the perfect table.

Yes the camps are fenced and guarded, perfectly safe to walk around inside or cook a bbq meal outside on your braai.
But outside the camps, only get out of your vehicle in the few authorised places - you could lose a lot of money as well as your life because it's illegal to feed the animals

Have a great time

JB
Again, thank you for your wonderful info. We intend to follow our guides orders as we do not want to be an animals dinner. We will only get out of a vehicle if the guide tells us we can !
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Nov. 2018 Symphony of the Seas-Eastern Caribbean
Jan. 2018 African Safari and Cunard cruise
Sept. 2017 Anthem OTS Canada
Jun. 2017 Majestic Princess Dubai to Singapore.
Feb. 2017 Island Princess Panama Canal transit
Oct. 2016 RCCL Harmony of the Seas-TA
July. 2016 NCL Getaway Olympic Charter
May 2016 RCCL Ovation of the Seas-BCN to Dubai
Apr. 2016 Golden Princess SYD to HKG
Nov. 2015 NCL Getaway Caribbean
Oct. 2015 Celebrity Silhouette Med and Holy land
July 2015 Diamond Princess Japan
May, 2015 Quantum of the Seas TA
Jan. 2015 Emerald Princess West Caribbean
Oct 2014 Oasis of the Seas Transatlantic
Jun. 2014 Celebrity Sillouette Med.
Feb. 2014 Diamond Princess SYD to SIN.
Jul. 2013 Caribbean Princess British Isles
Apr. 2013 Carnival Legend Transatlantic
Oct., 2012 Pacific Princess ATH to FCO
Aug, 2012 Rotterdam Rotterdam RT(Norway).
Apr. 2012 Sea Princess SYD to SFO Transpacific
Feb. 2012 Allure of the Seas Caribbean
Oct. 2011 Celebrity Eclipse Transatlantic
Jul. 2011 Mariner of the Seas Med and Holy Land
Feb. 2011 Diamond Princess SYD to Beijing
Dec.2010 Celebrity Eclipse Carribean
Dec. 2010 Diamond Princess SIN to SYD
May.2010 Celebrity Century Transatlantic
Apr. 2010 Diamond Princess Beijing to ANC.Transpacific
Mar. 2010 Sapphire Princess Mexico
Nov 2009 Grand Princess 3 continent
Sept 2009 Golden Princess Coastal
Sept 2009 NCL Star 1 night
May 2009 Sapphire Princess Alaska
Mar 2009 Star Princess So. America
Dec 2008 Rotterdam Panama Canal
Nov 2008 Sapphire Princess Mexico
June 2008 Crown Princess Baltic and Russia
Jan 2008 Dawn Princess Mexico
July 2007 Carnival Spirit Alaska
Feb. 2007 Sapphire Princess Austraila NZ
Aug 2006 Sapphire Princess Alaska
May 2006 Maasdam Canada/New England
plus others

Diamond on RCCL
Elite on Celebrity
Elite on Princess
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#26
Columbus, Ohio
18,644 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by chloe kitty
Again, thank you for your wonderful info. We intend to follow our guides orders as we do not want to be an animals dinner. We will only get out of a vehicle if the guide tells us we can !
Be sure to give us a report back as to how your Africa "adventure" goes, its biggest highlights, etc. Look forward to hearing more.

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

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