Kruger Safari Advice - What makes for a great Kruger Safari?
There are a few key bits of key Kruger advice you should consider before committing to a safari. Here are our recommendations:
Private versus Government Lodges in Kruger
The private areas of the Greater Kruger National Park are independently run and compete on a commercial basis against each other. The result is that they provide the best standard of accommodation and service possible. Also, due to the open fence policy between Kruger National Park and the Private Game Reserves, animals roam freely throughout and there is no discernable difference between this and the Government operated area.
By contrast, the Government owned Kruger National Park is administered by South African National Parks, which provides a standardised level of accommodation and facilities that are usually kept low. The parks are developed to cater for the independent self-drive and self-catering market, one needs to adhere to the Government regulations, and many activities such as night game drives, off road tracking and walking safaris are not permitted.
As a result, the private Kruger lodges are highly recommended for international clients with limited time.
Kruger Game Rangers
The single biggest factor for a successful safari is the quality of guiding and tracking. You will spend upwards of 6-hours a day on safari with your ranger, so being with someone that is trained to know the area and animals intimately is imperative. With a good ranger you have the best chance of spotting wildlife, as well as understanding your natural surroundings.
Kruger Traversing Areas and Safari Etiquette
Due to Kruger private lodges working in joint traversing areas, game rangers often work in conjunction with other game vehicles, sharing the location of events such as a lion kill, and tracking animals off road. The main difference between a Private Game Reserve and the Government run alternative, is that in the private reserves rangers will track the animals off road through the bush in open-top game drive vehicles, whereas in the public reserves you are restricted to driving on the roads and sightings can be at a great distance. Private reserves also restrict the number of vehicles at a sighting for greater exclusivity, and offer night game drives (which aren't available in the public reserves).
Kruger Private Lodge Costs
Often cost is the major stumbling-block when deciding on a private game reserve over the Government alternative. If you break the experience down, prices quoted for a private Kruger lodge experience include the accommodation, three meals per daily (certain lodges will also include alcoholic beverages) and two game drives daily, with expert rangers. Most lodges have a staff ratio of maximum two guests per staff member, so service is generally world-class. When all of these factors are considered, private game lodges offer good value.