First time to South Africa - what is the best way to visit the Kruger Park area?
  • Hi!

    I am planning on my first African safari, and I intend on going with my wife to South Africa. We know that the Kruger Park area is the best area for that, but we are shocked by the range of safari types, and also at the unbelievable cost differences between one lodge, and another. What is the best way? Exclusive lodge on a nearby game reserve? And if, what safari lodge offers the ebst value for money? Or should we go to one of the camps in the Kruger? And what is the big difference between the one and the other? I am sure that there must be some sort of good value for money solution for a nice safari experience amongst the hundreds of possibilities ... Any advise is welcome! Many, many thanks in advance!
  • Kruger is easy to do on a self-drive basis. Add a open-vehicle game-drive or two in the early mornings or evenings and you'll be guaranteed to have a great time. Don't get hung up on the accommodation options - find a suitably priced venue close to or inside the park. Or, to avoid confusion and crowds, why not try Swaziland - its close-by, very easy to visit and there the options aren't so bewildering. Try a two nights at Hlane Royal National Park and two at Mkhaya Game Reserve. You can access them via http://www.swazi.travel
  • Wow ... that was quick .... so my wife quite likes the more comfortable side of life ... are things good on that aside in Swaziland, and what is the easiest to get to Swaziland? Via Johannesburg also? We are coming from the UK. So do all safari lodges offer open game drive vehicles in the Kruger? And is there a portion of the Kruger where one can go off-road. I would love to get some advise for Kruger vs private game reserve ... Many thanks! B
  • Bernardus, as you've seen Kruger has many many options, and the various lodges have different approaches to game-viewing, some rely on viewing within Kruger, others have sufficient wildlife within their immediate area to not need to cross to Kruger. Try this website to narrow things down a bit: http://www.krugersafaris.travel/ - it has a nice split into pricing categories... and drop them a mail if you want more help. I know the folks who man this site and they are good people.
    As to Swaziland - "yes", Johannesburg is definitely the point of entry. You can self-drive to Swaziland (4 hours drive) or fly-in to Manzini (45min flight). In Swaziland you can again self-drive with a rental car, or if you prefer to be shuttled around speak to Swazi Trails - tours@swazitrails.co.sz . As to comfort, Swaziland is certainly not as "fancy" as some of the upmarket lodges near Kruger, but then again nor are the prices over the top. Mkhaya Game Reserve offers an all-inclusive experience with meals and game-drives all packaged in. Do a bit more research and then let me know if there is anything else I can assist with.
  • Wow .... many thanks! I will check this out! A good alternative indeed. Any advise on a good, but more reasonably priced safari lodge in or near the Kruger? I can compare that way ...
  • I am happier talking about venues in Swaziland because I know them personally... when I go to Kruger I am normally using my roof-top trailer tent... so I'm not well-versed with the lodges themselves. Try that website - the venues there are hand-picked by the site operator, venues don't pay to to be on that site... so there are no dodgy ones.

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