Genuine "Big Five" safaris in or near the Western Cape
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Apr 6, 2013 4:02 PM Last Post By: rmalone
Mar 25, 2013 6:55 PM
Genuine "Big Five" safaris in or near the Western CapeHi all,
I'm currently planning a trip to South Africa and would like to go on a genuine "Big Five" safari sometime during my visit. I will be based out of Cape Town and, if possible, I would like to go on a safari in or near the Western Cape. I've been doing some of my own research online but have encountered so many different options that I can't make up my mind. Addo Elephant National Park looks incredible but it's over 8 hours outside of the city and, in all likelihood, I won't have access to a rental vehicle during my trip. It's possible that I'll either meet someone with a vehicle while I'm there or wind up using the intercity bus system but I'd still like to minimize travel time while getting the best possible experience I can get. Are the private game reserves worth the price of admission or should I hold out for a national park? I'm just happy to be traveling overseas for the first time in my life and getting an opportunity to see such a beautiful country but, ideally, I'd like to see some large animals roaming freely in their natural habitats rather than in cages. I'd also like to do it relatively inexpensively and in reasonable proximity to where I'll be staying.
Thanks in advance for your help! :-)
Mar 26, 2013 2:35 AM
Mar 26, 2013 4:19 AM
Mar 26, 2013 10:14 AM
3i agree with mrs trellis and rudi k - krüger np and / or surroundings is what you are looking for.
around cape town (2-3 hours around the city) there are some private game reserves, some of them have the big 5, but if you are looking for a genuine safari experience, not the place to visit at all. its not like in a zoo, but its not like "beeing in wild" either. and as they are not cheaper than private game reserves around krüger np, there is not reason "budget wise" to stay there either in my opinion.
for krüger np and/or surrounding i suggest the following options:
fly to johannesburg and go on a 4-5 days very good value for money camping tour (that gets you back to joburg) to krüger np. nomad and drifters are south african companies that offer good tours.
fly to johannesburg, rent a car and drive to krüger np (about 5 hours) or fly to krüger mpumalanga airport and drive to krüger np from there and spend a couple of nights in restcamps in the park, self-driving. this option will probably more expensive than going on a drifters or nomad tour.
i personally like addo np and think that it is sometimes a bit underrated. its great especially for large elefant herds and for buffalos. if not too unlucky, you should also see rhino and lion, but you would have too be quite lucky to see leopard. but: addo np is about 750km away from cape town, so more than a 8 hours drive. if you have to fly to port elizabeth, you might as well fly to joburg and go on a krüger tour :-)
Mar 26, 2013 5:03 PM
4Our first two trips to southern Africa we flew into Capetown. Enjoyed CT, but had to realize that it was a day or two drive before one could get into the big wildlife. We now fly in to Joberg.
For what its worth, you might try this. Find a Garden route backpacker tour, take Baz Bus, catch a ride, but somehow get to Port Elizabeth and from there find a budget tour to Addo.
Here are some links that may or not be useful
Lungile lodge is a luxurious beachfront backpackers with a great vibe!
They boast high starndard facilities including communal self catering facilities and are only 5 minutes walk from beach, entertainment centre, booming night life and restaurants.
You can go sandboarding, scubadiving, Addo elaphant game drives, township and city tours, whale watching, sundowners.
As an alternative, check out budget airlines such as Kululu for flights to near Kruger.
Mar 27, 2013 1:01 PM
Mar 27, 2013 2:11 PM
Mar 27, 2013 6:52 PM
7Cheers for the replies, folks. I was hoping to avoid going all the way to Kruger but, now that I've found out about Baz Bus and their safari packages, I'm not going to discount it as a possibility. Having said that, I also like rmalone's suggestion about going as far as Port Elizabeth and getting a budget tour of Addo. Not the ideal arrangement, perhaps, but definitely a good fall-back plan. Besides, for a guy who grew up in rural Atlantic Canada and has never been overseas, this will be the adventure of a lifetime regardless of what I wind up doing! ;)
Anyway, thanks again for all the suggestions.
Edited by: intothewildblue
Mar 31, 2013 12:57 AM
Apr 2, 2013 6:41 AM
9Agree with the above, Kruger (and or the eastern Cape Reserves of Shamwari, Amakhala, Kariega etc) are your best bet for a genuine experience. There are daily direct flights from Cape Town to Kruger Mpumulanga airports and direct also to Hoedspruit Airport ( you also fly via Johannesburg for a cost saving but a little longer in time)
Have a look at a combination safari such as http://www.safari365.com/tours/cape-town-and-kruger-combination-safari
Apr 6, 2013 4:02 PM
10You will have a wonderful time no doubt. It chances are you will be able to return to South Africa in the future, then do the Cape Town / Addo Park option this time and Joburg / Kruger next time?
A painless way to get an idea of prices of flights to Kruger area use www.kayak.com and look at the costs of flying to Nelspruit from Capetown.
Though we have never taken one, preferring to self drive, there are backpacker tours to Kruger from Nelspruit.
Noticed that Funkymonkey Backpackers gets some good reviews and apparently has Kruger tours http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g312633-d1203219-Reviews-Funky_Monkeys_Backpackers_Safaris-Nelspruit_Mpumalanga.html#REVIEWS
Check out all our reviewed and recommended accommodation and book online.