It is confusing there's lots of accommodation and lots of tours, I used to own a backpackers lodge in Pretoria and used to sort out safaris for people, so I'll try go through all your questions 1 at a time, some answers may over lap though:
1, you can self drive: hire a car, book your own accommodation and just go
OR you can do an organised safari which can pick up / drop off in jo'burg, pretoria or Nelspruit, all accommodation, meals, game drives will be inclusive
OR you can book with a private reserve, get your self there, do game drives with them or take your own car into Kruger. You're not allowed to self drive on a lot of private reserves
2, i used to book a lot through krugertours.com
3, there are some safari companies who book accommodation in the park as when they get a booking but it isn't guaranteed they can get where you want. Most companies have there own camps (sometimes on a kruger rest camp, sometimes on a private game reserve, sometimes just near the park).
4, you can get a 4 day 3 night safari from R4800 per person, with transfers, game drives (open vehicles), meals, park entry fees, guide etc all in. price rises are more for better accommodation rather than different activities
1, the rest camps in kruger National park are all self catering, depending on the camps there are cafes and or restaurants and shops. private game reserves have mainly lodges which provide meals, although there is some self-catering, but you need to shop before you go on the reserve.
2, some of the private reserves are part of the greater kruger park, (no fences between them and the national park), they are big 5, advantage is that they don't allow private vehicles on or less people than KNP. A lot of tours stay in a private reserve but do drives on the private reserve and in KNP.
3, you should have no problem getting on a tour for Jan / Feb, accommodation in the national park restcamps, depends what you are looking for.
WHERE TO GO
1, southern / central kruger has a higher density of animals
2, if you are going to self drive i would say if you are staying 2/3 nights stay at just one camp, 3 or more try 2. You will not necessarily see more by covering more distance.
i know it's not for everyone but I'm a fan of an organised safari for the ever safari, the guides know where and what recent sighting have been plus they know more about the wildlife can can explain how they are tracking, what indicators they see, and explain more about animal behaviour which will all add to any sightings.
There is a colony of fruit bats that live underneath the thatched roofs of the outdoor dining pavilions at Skukuza Camp in Kruger. They hang upside down from the rafters and sleep during the day. The fruit bats were one of the more interesting animal species that we saw at Kruger, partly because it was one that we didn't expect to see. Apparently, they don't attack people, and the workers weren't concerned about them. You just don't want to sit at a table directly underneath them, in case they decide to produce some guano...
These are photo shots taken once every 30 seconds. It may happen that the update is disrupted due to power failure ( this camera is in the African wilderness after all), or bad weather conditions.
Wonderful.. even I love to watch this web cam, will give the web site!!
If this site does not work please go to the sanparks site at:
( you will have to copy and paste) and click on the WEBCAMS option
Zebras have tightly knit family groups, which is fundamental to their survival. A lone zebra is a very easy kill. Each stripe on their body is different, and this helps them recognise one another.
Unfortunately many people today still make use of animal skins for clothing and their furniture.
We have had many encounters with giraffe over the years. I think the best one was when we rounded a corner having just left Olifants restcamp, and had to almost immediately apply the brakes. There was a HUGE giraffe, sedately walking in the middle of the road!
That is was blocking the way was not something it was aware of, and we followed it for about 300metres, till it disappeared into the thick bush on the left. We were so close, we could almost reach out and touch it.
This begs the question of whether it is good that animals are so domesticated that they dont worry when a car is travelling behind it... hmm...
The word HIPPOPOTAMUS comes from 2 Greek words, meaning RIVER HORSE. They are closer relations to the pig though, than to the horse.
Little baby hippos are born underwater, swimming before they van walk! Haha
They have this red coloured pigment that seeps out of its skin that lubricates and helps protect it.
The giraffe is a creature that many people find intriguing. It seemingly doesnt make any noise (although this is untrue, they do, this is called 'infrasound'), and is rather aloof and mysterious.
They live to about 25 years old, with a tongue that can reach 53 centimetres long! They are 'prehensile'.. which means that they can easily grab and hold onto various objects with this tongue. They are the tallest creature in the wild, standing a proud 1.9metres tall at its birth (and in its socks haha)
Zebras are wrongly deemed passive and non-agressive - do not let this fool you! They can be very unpredictable and can cause harm. If their ears go back, it is a sure sign that you should make tracks, and quickly!
Baboons are prolific in the KNP. You might get excited when you see your first one, but when, 20 minutes later, you have seen at least another 30 or so, the enchantment fades somewhat haha. Much like springbok, they too are beautiful creatures, but they are everywhere in the KNP, so people often just glance casually at them, looking for the more elusive animals.
Baboons spend a lot of time grooming each other and taking care of each other. They are looking for ticks and fleas continuously it seems.
However much you would like to do so, please do refrain from feeding them peanuts or any other treats. They have become domesticised to a certain degree due to feeding by the public, and this is alien behaviour in a wild game park. They are wild and must not become at all dependent on humans.
Hippos love water. They lounge about in it, submerged, for most of the day, mostly due to the intense heat on the surface. They are keen swimmers albeit their heftiness. When they lie in the water one can only see the tips of their nose, ears and eyes, so they are still totally aware of what is going above water, but keeping cool at the same time.
It is because of this too that so many people are killed every year by hippos. They cause the most deaths to humans than any other creature. They lurch out of the water at their unsuspecting victim, who might be swimming or washing their clothes, and with jaws like these, there is little chance for survival.
We had been trying for about 45 minutes to photograph this hippo with it's mouth open. We had nearly lost hope, when it gave this delicious yawn :)
There are simply tons of zebra in the KNP - always wonderful to watch in their herds. They stay inherds as a safety measure, as grazing alone could prove quite dangerous! (an easy catch for predators)
A sedate and genteel sort of creature, the giraffe is much loved by all. She is seen as a beacon in the wild, and can spot danger many miles away because of her advantageous height!
She can stand as tall as 5.4 metres high, and usually sleeps in this position, as if she is on the ground when sleeping, if danger comes, she would probably not be able to get up and away in time. It would be quite dangerous for her!
She is a vegetarian and can go for a few weeks sans water, getting the much-needed water from the vegetable shoots she eats.
This insect looks just like a pile of twigs and sticks. You have to look carefully around the park as you may think by looking casually that there are no animals around, but a closer inspect may turn up all sorts of creatures about.
It’s easy to get disappointed if you arrive at the park with the expectation that you will see all of the Big 5 during your stay. The park is HUGE! You may be very lucky and get to se all of the big five, but there is SO much more to see than just the lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant!
There are birds, monkeys, baboons, snakes, dung-beetles, butterflies, cheetahs, duiker, wild dog, lizards, mongoose, zebras, warthogs, porcupines, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, turtles, fish eagles, vultures, hyenas, eiland, nyalas, frogs and terrapins…The list is endless!
During our drives throughout the park, we will often switch off the car engine and just sit for half an hour. It is amazing what you see and hear when you take a minute to pause and listen.
Enjoy being in Africa and make the most of your experience by taking note of all the creatures that cross your path: great and small!
These monkeys can be found almost everywhere in the park, sometimes even in the camps. However some visitors feed them which results that the monkeys become agressive and too close to humans and one has to shoot them. Remember this is a game reserve - so DO NOT feed any game.