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sailco

Game viewing Kruger and Johannesburg area

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Looking for advice on game park lodges in the Kruger and/or Pilansburg area. We'll be visiting in January school holidays but don't want to be surrounded by children. Sabi Sands Game Reverse has come up multiple times (no specific lodge) but so has the alternate area of PIlansburg. We understanding the options are endless but some suggestions for a nice lodge perhaps fully inclusive, would be appreciated. Thank you.

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Posted (edited)

We went to Entabeni Safari Conservancy ( Ravineside) http://legendhospitality.co.za/stay-with-us/entabeni-safari-conservancy/IMG_5378.thumb.jpg.6c0117be67f34dcc0546bd09da2f34f2.jpg 

 

 

IMG_5386.thumb.jpg.cc8d20e82c51874efd7b46cc33a1b99f.jpg           

 

 

IMG_5392.thumb.jpeg.eeda1ac4f8183c6329e810ff1ac81a92.jpegand enjoyed it.  We were on a stopover between Montevideo and Shanghai and went there for three days two nights.  We booked it through

http://www.bst-tours.co.za    They picked us up at our hotel in Johannesburg, drove us to the Lodge - about three hours or so north and picked us up at the end and dropped us at the airport. for our next flight.  Esmirelda was very helpful and made some good suggestions regarding the times etc. depending on our flights. I thought the time spent there was just right - we would not have needed longer there but perhaps could have visited another Park if you want more days.

We had all our meals included and two game drives per day. We enjoyed it a lot. We were there at the end of February, I am sure they could tell you if they get many children there, it did not seem to cater to children especially. 

Edited by Lunenburg

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Posted (edited)

My o/h and daughter took a three-day safari at 5-star Simbambili Lodge in Sabi Sands, and came back full of praise for it, and especially for their guide, Sipps, and his tracker.. 

Saw all the big five on day one, watched a leopard kill & take its prey up a tree, were taken to a hyena den, blasted across the bush in response to a wild-dog sighting etc.

Expensive but worth it.

 

On the basis of that, during a South Africa road-trip o/h and I had a much cheaper 3-night safari in Timbavati.

Lodge couldn't be faulted - but the reserve was desperately light on wildlife, and of course the wildlife is the whole point of a safari.

Serves me right for cost-cutting.

 

JB :classic_smile:

Edited by John Bull

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We have booked a post cruise with the company called BigFive (well known for quality). They are flying us on a small jet from Joburg to Singita property (SabiSands area) and staying at Boulders lodge not a family place.

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On 6/19/2019 at 11:08 AM, sailco said:

We understanding the options are endless but some suggestions for a nice lodge perhaps fully inclusive, would be appreciated.

 

Is there any significance to the inclusion of "Johannesburg" in the thread title? Do you need/want somewhere close to Joburg? Is that one of the places you will be in any event? Where else do you need to be, and when? Are you open to going anywhere other than the Kruger/Sabi area and the Pilanesburg area?

 

And quite important: What is your budget? There are plenty of places that fall into the "If you have to ask the price ..." category.

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Thank you all for the excellent suggestions. I especially liked your comparison JB as we had considered Timbavati also. Sabi Sands just keeps coming up!

 

As Australians, we must pass through Johannesburg airport to get in and out of southern Africa, unless we want to fly a roundabout route via Asia and change planes a few times. We will be on a tight schedule and having visited game parks before in Botswana and Namibia we're just looking for a short break with lots of animals! Thanks again everyone who replied.

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Sailco, I must agree with Globaliser regarding budget. That is a big part of your consideration. The other big consideration is whether you want to go into a malaria area or not. As you are going in January, this is definitely mosquito season (summer) and if it were my decision, I would rather go to Pilansberg (not a malaria area) at this time of year. There are many other safari options from Joburg that are not malaria areas.

 

If you go to Pilansberg, consider Black Rhino as it is a small exclusive lodge and there will be fewer children than if you go to (eg) Bakubung. The suggestion to go to Entabeni is an excellent one and then I would recommend Hanglip Mountain lodge which is in a better part of the park than Ravineside. Wildside Tented Camp is a great choice too. 

 

All these options are excellent value for money and we have personally stayed at all of them. We will be going on our first safari to Leopardsong in Dinokeng which has been highly recommended to us. I will report back after this as it is very convenient from Joburg Intnl Airport and they will provide transport to/from the lodge.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/29/2019 at 11:42 PM, Mercury said:

Sailco, I must agree with Globaliser regarding budget. That is a big part of your consideration. The other big consideration is whether you want to go into a malaria area or not. As you are going in January, this is definitely mosquito season (summer) and if it were my decision, I would rather go to Pilansberg (not a malaria area) at this time of year. There are many other safari options from Joburg that are not malaria areas.

 

If you go to Pilansberg, consider Black Rhino as it is a small exclusive lodge and there will be fewer children than if you go to (eg) Bakubung. The suggestion to go to Entabeni is an excellent one and then I would recommend Hanglip Mountain lodge which is in a better part of the park than Ravineside. Wildside Tented Camp is a great choice too. 

 

All these options are excellent value for money and we have personally stayed at all of them. We will be going on our first safari to Leopardsong in Dinokeng which has been highly recommended to us. I will report back after this as it is very convenient from Joburg Intnl Airport and they will provide transport to/from the lodge.

Your comments are appreciated. When you come as far as us the cost is almost insignificant. We understand that we don't get too many chances to experience wild Africa. In the past we've paid well over $1000 a night for safari experiences and we will take a good look at all your suggestions. Thank you.

 

edit : we will be taking anti malaria medication.

Edited by sailco

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Happy to assist. We have travelled the world extensively but always find that our safaris are an absolute highlight and we never tire of them. It's great to share this passion. The experience of being amongst wildlife is very precious.

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On 6/29/2019 at 3:42 PM, Mercury said:

We will be going on our first safari to Leopardsong in Dinokeng which has been highly recommended to us. I will report back after this as it is very convenient from Joburg Intnl Airport and they will provide transport to/from the lodge.

 

Just back from Leopardsong in Dinokeng. The area is very convenient to the airport and Pretoria and the staff are fantastic.

However the game viewing was not good at all. While we were very fortunate to see a rare black rhino as well as 3 white rhino, we did not see any of the other big five. We did see plenty of zebras, kudu and giraffe. Not many birds either and no crocodiles or hippos.

 

While this was not a big problem for us as we are able to do this kind of trip annually, I can imagine that it would be very disappointing for someone who can only do a safari as a once in a lifetime trip.

 

Edited by Mercury

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On 6/23/2019 at 8:53 PM, John Bull said:

My o/h and daughter took a three-day safari at 5-star Simbambili Lodge in Sabi Sands, and came back full of praise for it, and especially for their guide, Sipps, and his tracker.. 

Saw all the big five on day one, watched a leopard kill & take its prey up a tree, were taken to a hyena den, blasted across the bush in response to a wild-dog sighting etc.

Expensive but worth it.

 

On the basis of that, during a South Africa road-trip o/h and I had a much cheaper 3-night safari in Timbavati.

Lodge couldn't be faulted - but the reserve was desperately light on wildlife, and of course the wildlife is the whole point of a safari.

Serves me right for cost-cutting.

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

37 minutes ago, Mercury said:

 

Just back from Leopardsong in Dinokeng. The area is very convenient to the airport and Pretoria and the staff are fantastic.

However the game viewing was not good at all. While we were very fortunate to see a rare black rhino as well as 3 white rhino, we did not see any of the other big five. We did see plenty of zebras, kudu and giraffe. Not many birds either and no crocodiles or hippos.

 

While this was not a big problem for us as we are able to do this kind of trip annually, I can imagine that it would be very disappointing for someone who can only do a safari as a once in a lifetime trip.

 

 

Now you know my pain at spending a lot (but not enough) money on a private safari, seeing not a single big cat & very little else. :classic_sad:

So glad we combined it with a self-drive & rest-camp bungalow in Kruger NP  - a fraction of the cost and saw so much more.:classic_smile:

 

Now planning a safari in Tanzania, where the game are much more abundant.

But being an 8-hour drive from the nearest ocean it's a bit difficult to fit into a port-of-call day.:classic_wink:

 

JB :classic_smile:

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On 6/29/2019 at 3:42 PM, Mercury said:

 

If you go to Pilansberg, consider Black Rhino as it is a small exclusive lodge and there will be fewer children than if you go to (eg) Bakubung. The suggestion to go to Entabeni is an excellent one and then I would recommend Hanglip Mountain lodge which is in a better part of the park than Ravineside. Wildside Tented Camp is a great choice too. 

 

 

 

Yes agree with your post John. However as I mentioned in the quote above, Pilansberg and Waterberg are also excellent choices. We have always seen plenty of animals at both Waterberg/Entabeni and at Pilansberg for a fraction of the price that you will pay at Sabie Sands. 

 

For this reason, I personally would not recommend Dinokeng: you pay the same price as at Entabeni and Pilansberg but you don't get to see nearly as many animals.

 

If you have the money, of course Sabi Sands is the ultimate choice! I have only been there once and it was indeed a special experience.

 

I wish you a wonderful trip to Tanzania!

Edited by Mercury

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