Tag Archives: Big 5

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.

 

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.

The Kruger Park

South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park spans over 2 million unspoiled hectares and is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. The Kruger Park, as it is known locally, is one of the world’s most fertile and abundant wildlife sanctuaries, and famously hosts the majestic Big 5. The Kruger Park is a dream destination for anyone wishing for a safari getaway.

Kruger Park guided safari

There is plenty to see when out on a game drive while in the Kruger Park.  The park’s incredible diversity of life includes 336 tree species, 507 bird species and 147 mammal species. Whether you choose to do a self-drive safari or guided game drive, there are plenty of ways to see what the Kruger Park has to offer. When doing a self-drive safari, you need not be concerned about wear and tear on your vehicle, as the Kruger Park boasts a well-maintained road infrastructure.

 

RWS walking safari

Driving safaris are not the only type of safari on offer in the Kruger. Several camps, like Rhino Walking Safaris Plains Camp, offer walking safaris, where keen-eyed, well-informed guides are able to find even the most elusive animals.

The famous African Big 5- consisting of the lion, leopard, rhino (white and black), elephant and Cape buffalo- can be found in the Kruger Park. The highlight of any Kruger safari is spotting all 5 members out in their natural habitat. Imagine being on an early-morning walking tour, the sun rising above the plains, and spotting a family of elephants in the distance. Picture enjoying sundowner drinks with a view of a waterhole, where a pride of lions joins you in enjoying some refreshments after a hot day. The Kruger Park is a magical place where just such occurrences can take place.

The Kruger Park offers different accommodation options to suit anyone’s budget and taste. From the versatile accommodation types at Skukuza Rest Camp, to the rustic rondawels of Pretoriuskop Rest Camp, to the more luxurious lodges like Singita Lebombo, there is something to suit everyone.

Singita Lebombo
Pretoriuskop Rest Camp

No matter what your budget, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Let the experts at Safari Index help you find the best option for your pocket. Contact us today to book your dream safari getaway to the Kruger  Park.

Timbavati Lodges

Timbavati Nature Reserve is found in South Africa‘s Lowveld region, bordering the world-famous Kruger National Park. This private reserve comprises 53000 hectares of open woodlands, mopane tree belts, rocky outcrops and dry river beds that teem with an abundance of wildlife and birdlife species. The reserve is also home to the iconic African Big 5. Large herds of buffaloes and elephants are seen regularly, and it is a good place for spotting the elusive leopard. The Timbavati is also home to a rare and unique specie: the white lion. These stunning animals have been the subject of many books and documentaries.

A major advantage of visiting the Timbavati is that the reserve has a much lower density of lodges and camps than most other reserves and parks in the Lowveld. This means that there are much fewer safari vehicles on the roads, allowing for a more exclusive and less crowded safari experience, especially around game sightings.

The is a small selection of lodges found in the reserve, offering accommodation options to suit various budget types, from super luxury to mid-range to more affordable. These are some of the best lodges and camps to stay at when visiting the Timbavati:

Walker’s River Camp

This self-catering camp is set on the banks of the Klaserie River, and is the perfect option for families and groups. It accommodates a maximum of ten guests in en-suite chalets. Each chalet has its own private outdoor shower, as well as mosquito netting on the beds. The kitchen is fully-equipped and has a gas stove, fridge, freezer, oven and microwave. The lodge has to be booked out it its entirety by one group, making it perfect for those a budget. Guided game drives and bush walks are offered to guests, providing thrilling encounters with wildlife in the reserve. Relax with family and friends after an exciting day of game-viewing: enjoy a drink around the pool or a braai in the outdoor boma.

Umlani Bush Camp

Umlani Bush Camp is a charming, rustic safari camp set in the heart of the Timbavati. This delightful camp provides a genuine wilderness experience and the chance to truly reconnect with nature. The accommodation is made up of traditional-style round huts. Each hut is constructed from reed and thatch, helping them to blend wonderfully with the surrounding wilderness. The huts have en-suite bathrooms, open-air bush showers, comfortable beds with crisp white linen, draped mosquito netting, and soft towels- all ensuring comfort in the bush. Enjoy waterhole views from the bush bar and deck, cool down in the sparkling pool, end enjoy award-winning meals in the outdoor boma.

Kings Camp

This ultra-luxury lodge is the perfect destination for those who want to experience their African safari in the ultimate style and comfort. It is designed in a colonial style, with lavish decor and classic, antique-style furniture. The lodge is set among beautiful gardens and overlooks a busy waterhole- you can watch the wildlife come to drink while sitting back and enjoying a cold drink or reading a book. The service is exceptional and the staff cater to guests’ every need. The spacious rooms are air-conditioned with en-suite bathrooms, as well as secluded outdoor showers. Facilities include a pool, gym, spa, library, business centre and WiFi connectivity. There is also a private 4-bedroom luxury villa, where guests can enjoy the services of their own personal butler, chef, game ranger sand game-viewing vehicle.