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Needing advice on short, economical, safari when we’re in South Africa.

Needing advice on short, economical, safari when we’re in South Africa.

Old Jul 26th, 2022, 05:02 PM
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Needing advice on short, economical, safari when we’re in South Africa.

We are on a cruise that ends in Cape Town the middle of December, 22. We have 3 days in Capetown and then would like to take a 3 or 4 day Safari. Neither 1 of us are geared for hiking with heat & humidity, so seeing everything by drives sounds perfect. Do we book a tour& guide in Kruger or is there somewhere closer to Cape Town where we can experience a Safari for less travel to and less money? Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 08:01 AM
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Most of the "big 5" reserves are located in other parts of the country, although I'm sure there are a few smaller private game reserves in the Western Cape that will be close enough. "Economical" and "safari" are, however, two words that don't go well together, except for self-catering accommodations within national parks like Kruger. But those would present some serious logistical issues for a short visit, especially one starting in Cape Town, which is - generally - hundreds of miles/km from those parks.

You might want to start with one of the larger booking agencies just to get a feel for timing, prices, etc. Try Go2Africa - African. Safari. Experts. We’ll Show You Africa | Go2Africa - for example.
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Old Jul 28th, 2022, 11:22 AM
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It will take you about a day to get from Cape Town to Kruger, (or you can fly in the night before to JNB 2hours nonstop) and then it's a 5 to 6 hour drive to your first gate. To be safe, allow most of the last day to get back to JNB from Kruger . There are late night flights that leave from JNB back to the US.

Self catering is not a big deal, the major rest camps inside Kruger such as Berg-en-Dal, Lower Sabie, Shingwedzi and Skukuza have restaurants or cafeterias and shops. The bungalows are very comfortable and run about $150 a night and are air conditioned with refrigerators and kitchens. Morning temperatures are pleasant and that is when the best game viewing is anyways.

Car rentals are available at the airport if you want to self-drive. Roads are modern and paved.

You should see elephants, buffalo, giraffes, hippos, lions, crocs, and many types of antelope and large birds fairly easily. Leopards, rhinos and wild dogs are trickier to find (for rhinos they won't post the sightings on the sightings boards). We were lucky to see a beautiful pair of leopards coming together to mate, very unusual to spot a pair near each other. Good idea to stay in the camps and book a night drive with a ranger to see hyenas.

We were there for 10 days in February and missed the wild dogs but others in our travel group did see them. Our 10-day stay cost under $2000 per person excluding meals, flights and the night tour which we paid for out of pocket. However we were packed 9 to a safari vehicle on our drives and our guides/drivers were all volunteers.

I know there are people who think the only way to go on safari is to use private camps and guides, and to go in the dry season, but that is far from the truth if the budget and timing don't allow it. One thing to be aware of is that malaraia prophylaxis is recommended.

I think you could manage 3-4 nights inside Kruger without too much difficulty (maybe 2 camps) allowing a day for travel at the beginning and end (so 5-6 days total). I do think you will want to use an agency to book, there are companies that can arrange packages using the Kruger camps. December around the holidays may be pretty busy.

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 28th, 2022 at 11:42 AM.
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Old Jul 29th, 2022, 10:18 PM
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For "less money", if you are happy renting a car and driving then I would just hop on a plane to Port Elizabeth, pick up a rental car and drive to Addo NP and stay at a Sanpark Camp. We stayed at Nyathi Restcamp which is a small enclosed camp within the match larger Addo. It was almost like a private camp but at a fraction of the cost. amazing accommodation set on a hill overlooking a water hole. Lots of game throughout the park and it was our first experience of a self drive as opposed to a guided safari and frankly, we much preferred it.

If you are not happy driving then just ignore me!
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