What are the best Kruger Camps to visit?

 

Heading to the Kruger Park is super exciting but the planning can be both an exhilarating and daunting undertaking. With 12 main camps, 5 satellite camps, 5 bush camps, and 2 overnight hides, not to mention luxury lodges and wilderness trails, you are forgiven for not knowing which to choose and what to expect when staying in one of the Kruger camps.

Here are our 5 favourite Kruger Camps and what you can expect:

Punda Maria Rest Camp

The Northernmost Kruger Camp is first on our list and with good reason. Punda Maria is perhaps the best camp for birding in the whole of the Kruger. This lush green camp is known for sightings of Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied and Terrestrial Bulbul, Bearded Robin and Black Eagle, all this before even leaving the camp itself!
Running in a 25-kilometre course around the camp is the Mahonie loop, perhaps the most rewarding birding drives in the Kruger. A patient birder will be rewarded for taking their time on this trail by being able to spot Yellow Oxpecker, White-breasted Cuckooshrike, Crested Guineafowl, Cape Parrot, Yellow-spotted Nicator, Stierling’s Barred Warbler and Dickinson’s Kestrel. A select few might even see the Narina Trogon, a shy and elusive species.

Lower Sabie Rest Camp

Lower Sabie is situated in the southern region of the Kruger Park and is a very popular family destination. With an abundance of foliage and watering holes, there is plenty of game, making Lower Sabie ideal for game drives.
There is always something to see in the region. Lions are quite common as well as Cheetah. Lower Sabie is also a great location for viewing White Rhino and there are large herds of Buffalo that roam the area. The watering holes and dams also make it an ideal place for birding as there is a variety of bird species close to the water’s edge.

Olifants Rest Camp

If panoramic Kruger views are what you are after look no further, Olifants is one of the best Kruger camps for breath taking vistas. Set on a hill, the camp overlooks the Olifants River and long stretches of bushveld.
Olifants offer a wide range of game due to the fact that it is a transitional zone, where one ecosystem flows into another. To the North Mopane trees provide cover for Zebra and Impala while the rolling plains to the south are home to Buffalo and Giraffe.
Ideally placed shaded lookout platforms along the Olifants River makes it easy to view the river’s edge and gives views of Hippopotamus, Crocodiles and the occasional Lion kill.

Letaba Rest Camp

Letaba is perhaps the best of the Kruger camps for first time visitors to the Kruger. It offer a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from air conditioned bungalows, safari tents, 2 guesthouses, rusting huts and camp sites, making it ideal for those on their first safari as well as experienced campers.
The camp is green and lush, known for its large trees and indigenous gardens. Bushbuck wander freely around the camp and other residents include Tree Squirrels, Fruit Bats and Vervet Monkeys.
Letaba is known for the large mammals that call the area home, particularly around the Letaba River’s sandy riverbed. Lion and Cheetah kills have been known to take place in the riverbed as well, a real treat for those visiting the restaurant which overlooks it.

Satara Rest Camp

Satara is one of the best Kruger camps to visit if seeing the big cats are on your itinerary. Lion, Leopard and Cheetah pray on the grazers that call the area home due to the fertile grazing lands that surround the camp.
The other members of Big 5 (Elephants, Buffalo and Rhino) are also spotted frequently in this part of the park. Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Waterbuck, Giraffe and Impala are also plentiful and Honey Badgers are a rare treat for those on safari.

Each of these Kruger camps are definitely worth a visit. Each has their own charm and attractions, making the Kruger the ideal safari destination. If you are still unsure which the ideal camp is for you, look no further; simply drop us a line and we will help you plan your ideal Kruger experience.

 

What to know about visiting South Africa

Heading to South Africa?  Need to know what to pack? Unsure about visas or malaria? Here is what you need to know:

Do you need a Visa to visit South Africa?

South Africa is a Visa-free country to a large number of countries and for those that are not on this list a Visa can easily be organised at your local South African embassy. The following countries are exempt from needing a Visa – but remember it is always a good idea just to contact the South African embassy to confirm.

Visas are NOT needed by the following nationals:

-Australia                 -Austria                                -Belgium

-Canada                    -Denmark                            -Finland

-France                      -Germany                            -Greece

-Iceland                     -Ireland                                 -Italy

-Monaco                   -Netherlands                     -Norway

-Portugal                 -Russian Federation       -Spain

-Sweden                 -Switzerland                       -United Kingdom

-United States of America

 Climate

South Africa has been described as having the best climate in the world. It’s an ideal holiday destination year round as the country enjoys warm, sunny days throughout the year and mildly chilly nights during the winter months. Rainfall occurs in the summer months, (November to March) except for the Cape region which has the bulk of its rainfall during the winter months of June to August.

When is the best time to visit? Although South Africa can be visited at any time of the year safaris best undertaken during the winter months of April to October while Cape Town and the Garden Route are great to head to in summer months from October to March.

 Malaria

There are some areas in South Africa where malaria occurs. Malaria is a common illness found in the Sub-Saharan areas of Africa and is transmitted via the female anopheles mosquito. Most of South Africa is malaria-free though.

The anopheles mosquito that carries the malaria disease are found in the far north and east of the country in the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and northern Kwa-Zulu Natal areas.

Which areas are known for having malaria?

The following areas are known for being high risk Malaria areas; the Kruger National Park. the game parks and coastline in the northern half of KwaZulu-Natal and the northern and eastern parts of Limpopo.

The high risk months are the summer months of September to May when rainfall is at its highest.

What precautions to take?

– Speak to your local doctor about taking anti-malaria prophylactic medication.

– It is advisable to wear long-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved trousers at night (mosquitoes tend to be most active in the early evening).

– Make use of insect repellents on a regular basis, spraying any exposed skin every hour.

– If possible burn insecticide oils or candles in your bedroom.

– Sleep under a mosquito net. Nets are available in most upmarket safari lodges in malaria areas.

Crime

South Africa is a country of warm smiles, sun filled days and fascinating cultural diversity. It unfortunately also has a reputation for being a country with a high crime rate. While not completely inaccurate, statistics are high/ However most crime takes place in ‘crime hotspots’ which are mainly focused in inner city and some economically depressed urban areas. Although it is unlikely that one will experience crime first hand, it is advisable to always be aware of your surroundings, keep an eye on belongings and do not flash them about and follow your guide or accommodation’s recommendations of which areas to avoid.

Exploring the Highlights of South Africa

South Africa is divided in to nine provinces, each with its own charm and attractions that you can choose to visit. From the hip and happening metropolis’s of Gauteng to the laid back ‘fairest Cape of them all’, to the game rich savannahs of Mpumalanga to the mountain kingdoms of KwaZulu Natal, there is so much on offer for everyone to experience and enjoy.

Western Cape

The Western Cape is home to Africa’s southernmost point and its heart is the Mother City – the stirring City of Cape Town. The iconic Table Mountain, The impressive Cape Point, Nelson Mandela’s prison on Robben Island and the beaches and thick forests of the Garden Route all have to be visited. Inland from the coast, which boarders both the Indian and Atlantic oceans, one will find the majestic Cape wine lands, which offer wine-tasting excursions of Cape Town. Table Mountain dominates the skyline of Cape Town. Set in a National park, great for hiking to enjoy the beautiful fynbos in its natural habitat.

Great for: Road-tripping, wining and dining, the incredible natural and cultural attractions.

Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape frontier has an interesting climate ranging from the semi-desert Karoo to the lush rainforests of Alexandria. The province is generally flat and mountainous in sections with ranges such as the Stormberg and Drakensberg providing great hiking and biking trails. It home to the famous Addo Elephant National Park as well as several other well-known private game reserves such as Shamwari and Amakhala and is a no malaria area. For those looking at raw and rustic travel experiences, the Wild Coast awaits and is ever popular with backpackers.

Great for: Bush and beach combination holidays, malaria-free safaris, family holidays and hiking tours tours.

KwaZulu-Natal

Kwazulu-Natal, the home of the Zulu kingdom, stretches from the Drakensberg mountain range in the west, through the rolling hills of the natal midlands and the savannahs of northern Zululand to the tropical beaches on the Indian Ocean. This province is diverse in its offerings. Exotic beach resorts dot the coast while inland mountain retreats and quaint BnB’s allow one to relax and unwind. For good reason Kwazulu-Natal is a popular vacation destination for the locals of South Africa and is definitely worth a visit.

Great for: Battlefield tours, exceptional game parks such as Hluluwe-Imfolozi and Phinda, hiking the Berg, lazing about in beautiful warm oceans.

North West

The North West consists of rolling grassland and savannahs that rise slowly up into the Magaliesberg mountain range. Along the southern border of the province one will find the Vaal River, one of the largest rivers in South Africa and a watersports hotspot. The North West Provice is home to the gambling and golfing Mecca of Sun City and the Palace of the Lost City. Two of South Africa’s top malaria-free safari destinations are found here in the Pilanesberg National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve.

Great for: Malaria free safaris, short-break safari holidays, hiking the Magaliesburg and hot-air balloon safaris.

Limpopo

Limpopo is South Africa’s northern most province and is named after the Limpopo River basin which flows along its boundary. Limpopo is South Africa’s gateway to Africa as it shares borders with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The province is home to several incredibly large Baobab trees, world heritage sites featuring bushmen rock art sites, iron age artifacts and fossilized dinosaur footprints. The province is home to fantastic safari parks such as Kruger, Mapungubwe and Marakele.

Great for: Big 5 safaris, malaria free safaris in the Waterberg, birding safaris, incredible landscapes and cultural heritage.

Northern Cape

The Northern Cape is South Africa’s largest province in terms of ground area. It dominated by semi desert like landscape which comprises large tracts of the Karoo, Namaqualand and Kalahari. Wild daisies carpet the arid Namaqualand region in the springtime, drawing thousands to enjoy this natural phenomenon. The province is also known for its gemstones. The Big Hole in Kimberley which was dug by hand is of particular historical interest and where the largest diamonds have been unearthed.

Great for: Star-gazing in the Karoo, Kalahari big cat game viewing, Kimberley Big Hole, flowering Namaqualand, paddling the Orange River.

Free State

The Free State is locally known as South Africa’s breadbasket as it is situated on flat grassy plains which provides rich soil for farming the county’s grains. Towards the northern part of the province the flat lands arch in elevation as they lift to form the Maluti Mountains. This area plays host to the famous Golden Gate Highlands National Park which has some of the most beautiful vistas due to its higher elevation. The smaller towns such as Clarens are great stop overs on road trips and host interesting arts and crafts communities.

Great for: Hiking the Golden Gate Mountains, Clarens village tours, road tripping on open roads.

Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga is well known for as South Africa’s premier safari destinations as it hosts the finest safari lodges and bush camps such as the Kruger camps, in and around the iconic Kruger National Park. This province is mainly made up of the Lowveld which forms the base of the Drakensberg Escarpment in the west and stretches out all the way to the Mozambique border in the east. This massive expanse of bushveld and wilderness is home to an awe-inspiring abundance of animal, plant, bird and reptile species. The area is also known for being one of the best places on the planet to see the Big 5 in the wild.

Great for: Classic big 5 safari hotspot, Kruger National Park, Kruger Camps, super luxury lodges, Blyde River Canyon.

Gauteng

The economic hub of South Africa, Gauteng (meaning place of gold due to its origins in the gold rush of the early 1900’s), plays host to the famous Cradle of Humankind where the oldest hominoid fossils have been discovered. It has breath-taking botanical gardens, sophisticated first-world cities, vibrant townships to explore and smaller game reserves great for day visits. Most of the province is on what is known as the Highveld, which is a high-altitude grasslands which slope down into the savannahs of the bordering provinces and rise into the Magalieberg Mountains and Witwatersrand.

Great for: Cradle of Humankind tours, Anti-apartheid and mining museums, superb restaurants and shopping malls.

Zambia Lodges

The Southern African country of Zambia,  named for the mighty Zambezi River that flows through its borders, is a safari and nature treasure. It is home to 19 incredible national parks and reserves.

The safari accommodation found in the country is not only affordable, but are some of the best on the continent, each offering a unique experience, tailored to reflect the park or reserve they are located in.

These are some of the best Zambia lodges on offer:

 Gorges Lodge

As far as Zambia Lodges go, Gorges Lodge, located in the Victoria Falls National Park, is one one of the best. It offers stunning vistas over the Zambezi River from its perch above Batoka Gorge. Not for the faint of heart, the main lodge is set on the very edge of the gorge, 250 meters above the raging waters below.  The accommodation, ten stone and thatched chalets, is set against an indigenous garden backdrop, and each has a private deck from which to take in the stunning surrounds and wildlife.

Gorges Lodge is perfect for those with an adventurous spirit. Its location in the Victoria Falls National Park allows guests access to activities such as elephant back safaris, white water rafting and bungee jumping.

King Lewanika Lodge

For those looking for Zambia Lodges that offer something a bit more on the wild side, one need look no further than King Lewanika Lodge, right in the heart of Liuwa Plains National Park‘s vast grassy floodplains.

King Lewanika Lodge is the only fixed lodge in the park, and is made up of 6 luxurious villas. Each villa is raised above the surrounding plains, allowing for magnificent views of the plentiful wildlife of the area.

Mfuwe Lodge

If you would prefer a Zambia Lodge a touch more on the luxurious side, look no further than Mfuwe Lodge, the jewel of  South Luangwa National Park. It boasts every luxury one could wish for, and more. 18 bespoke chalets have private decks that look out over the banks of a lagoon.

The lodge features top-notch facilities that include a spa, outdoor gym, and excellent dining facilities. Also on offer are superb safari activities, such as thrilling night drives and guided walking tours.

Mfuwe Lodge is also known for its four-footed guests- a herd of elephants has tried checking in at reception before- a uniquely African event!

There are many more Zambia lodges to choose from, each with their own unique surrounds and offerings. Contact us to experience one of these magnificent lodges and enjoy the beauty Zambia has to offer.