Advice on Kruger tour companies/ lodges
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Nov 8, 2012 12:54 AM Last Post By: LodgeTrackers
Nov 1, 2012 7:45 PM
Advice on Kruger tour companies/ lodgesHello,
We are two women traveling to SA in December (arriving CT 12/3 and leaving J'burg 12/15) from New York. We have travelled a lot, though never in Africa.
We've been reading a lot of posts on Kruger self-drives, but I think we'd prefer not to drive. Neither of us drive manual transmission, we don't usually drive in our travels, and we've never been on safari before so we're concerned about spotting things (especially in summer).
So we are strongly leaning towards trying to arrange guided tours - either a few shorter excursions or a few day (~3) tour. We'd do driving or a combo walking-driving (We are not trekkers and would rather not carry all of our belongings).
We'd appreciate any recommendations for how to do this -- reputable tour agents, guides through lodging, etc. - on a moderate budget.
Currently we are planning to spend several days in and around Cape Town and fly CT to Kruger around 12/9 . Which Kruger airport should we fly to?
Leaving Kruger - is the train to J'burg worthwhile and safe or should we just get a shuttle back?
Thanks very much for your advice.
Nov 1, 2012 8:51 PM
I recently stayed at Vuyani Safari Lodge which is a private game reserve with morning and evening game drives within the private reserve. One activity they offer is a day trip to Kruger with a ranger who is very good at spotting the animals (we saw so many animals we would never have seen if we were on our own). I would recommend this lodge.
You would fly to Hoedspruit from Cape Town (might be via Joburg, not sure). The lodge will come and pick you up from the airport. Not sure about the train back to Joburg but I would not bother driving, I would fly back to joburg from Hoedspruit.
Nov 2, 2012 7:45 AM
2Hello and maybe you could consider KwaZulu Natal? There is a good choice of game parks with great variety on budget and activities. You can even do a 'game-boat' trip at White Elephant which I think is very unique. There are spectacular mountains, vast beaches and and ocean with seasonal turtles & whale watching. Everything to is within easy reach of Durban Airport. Please take a look at www.safarikzn.com where is a lot free information on the province.
Nov 3, 2012 10:27 AM
3I've been several places in the area and I really like Thornybush and Timbavati. Booked via Siyabona.com the two last times.
Thornybush: Jackalberry Lodge, not too expensive, small lodge with high standard. The lodge is fenced, but you'll see animals from your chalet, two of them have verandas outside the fences. The reserve isn't the largest, but large enough, there's no guarantee that you'll see the big 5, but the game viewing is always good. Great walking safaris.
Timbavati: Royal Legend Safari Lodge, about the same price as Jackalberry. The lodge is unfenced which means that someone takes you to and from Your chalet when it's dark. It also means that you see animals all the time, we saw giraffe, civet, antelopes, monkeys and Even a leopard at night. Timbavati doesn't have fences towards Kruger so the animals May or May not be in the area.
Nelspruit has direct flights to Cape Town, I Think you have to fly via Johannesburg if you fly to Hoedspruit. There Are also shuttleservices from Hoedspruit/Nelspruit to Johannesburg.
Nov 8, 2012 12:54 AM
Sounds like you really have a wonderful trip coming up. It can often be super tough trying to decide between all the different options offered when coming on safari!
I would suggest checking out a private reserve, such as the Klaserie, Timbavati, or Balule. Thornybush, as mentioned above, is also a fantastic destination.
In my opinion, this is always best for first time safari goers, as you have a personal highly experienced ranger and tracker to help you find & identify animals, and to teach you all about our beautiful African bush.
My personal favorite is nThambo Tree Camp in the Klaserie reserve, which offers a rustic luxury at great value, and includes all meals, drinks, and activities. Otherwise, in Thornybush, we really enjoyed Chapungu - They do a very good stay-for-3-pay-for-2 special at all Thornybush lodges.
Other moderately priced lodges include Arathusa in the Sabi Sands, and Umlani bush camp in the Timbavati :-)
If you have any questions at all, feel free to message me!
All the best,
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