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Self Driving Trip to Kruger-Mkhuze-Hluhluwe-Drakensberg


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Hello All,


We are planning to do a self driving trip for about 10 days (starting & ending in Jo'Berg) with 6 adults, 1 75 yrs old & 2 8 yr olds. With only 10 days we would rather maximize in 1 region than fly around the entire country like a checkbox tourist. Your advice on the following will be very helpful:


1. Is such a trip with 2 nights at each location advisable - or are there better ways to check out South Africa ?


2. Is it possible to hire a guide to stay with us for the entire trip ?


3. What is the likely drive time from central Kruger to Mkhuze (should we be planning for a overnight stay along the way) ?


4. Is it advisable to take 2 4x4s or 1 large vehicle ?


Thank you all so much for your help.

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Sorry, I should have added this is planned for mid-August 2012, will it be too cold to be enjoyable ?

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Hi Maji,


Welcome to Sararitalk. Members have wealth of experience and knowledge of safari travel and issues and I'm sure others will chime in with ideas for your August safari.


I am doing a similar 13 day guided trip this August with my mother. You may find the answers to some of my questions in this thread useful, http://safaritalk.net/topic/7599-kruger-and-kzn-parks-questions/ As you can see the itinerary has changed quite a bit as I aimed to maximise game viewing between varied habitats.


Our itinerary is:


1 night Moholoholo Rehab Centre

1 night Satara

1 night Tamboti

3 nights Olifants

1 night Pretoriuskop

1night Berg-en-dahl

2 nights Hilltop Camp, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi

3 night Lalapanzi, St Lucia


I booked our guide in late October, and even then she was having trouble booking 2 night stays in Kruger as it is school holidays and overseas visitor numbers peak in July, August and September. I have asked her to make more 2 night stays in Kruger and she may have already done so.


Our original itinerary included a visit to Mkhuze, however I dropped this in favour of 2 and 3 night stays in Hluhluwe and St Lucia respectively. If we want we will do Mkhuze for a day trip either on the way from Hluhluwe to St Lucia or as a day trip from St Lucia.


You have ten nights and plan to spend 2 nights in 5 locations if I have read your post correctly. I think your itinerary is a bit rushed, and I don't know if you can drive Mkhuze to JNB in a day, others here will be able to give good advice on distance and driving times.


If you are doing a self-drive I'd suggest driving one way only and then flying back to JNB from maybe Richards Bay in order to gain a night or 2. Its a shame to rush through the attractions of the Blyde River Canyon which has some of the best scenery in South Africa. How about doing something like this?


1 night Blyde River Canyon or Moholoholo


4 nights in Kruger split between a central and southern camp such as Satara, Letaba, Crocodile Bridge and Lower Sabie


2 nights in Hluhluwe


This leaves 3 nights for a trip to the coast staying at St Lucia from where you could visit Mkhuze or the Isimangaliso Wetlands area, do some coastal activities such as whale-watching, beach activities and a river cruise in the Wetlands Park. I have read 2 recent positive reports of Tembe Elephant Park, however we didn't include this as we expect to see loads of eles in Kruger and Hluhluwe and it is a long drive to and from the park. The extra nights could also be spent seeing more of the Drakensburg.


Alternatively, with the size of your group you may be able to book a private itinerary with a provider such as Wild Wings, who also offer reasonably priced group departures to Kruger.


I looked at a few accommodations for pre-Kruger night and Both Blyde River Canyon Lodge and Zuleika Country House offer a good standard of accommodation at a reasonable price. I chose Moholoholo on the basis of a recommendation of family members who visited and I believe they have a honey badger and a caracal there, so if Mum misses out on those species in the wild she has those memories. In addition to Forest Camp they have self-catering facilities at Ya Mati and I think Mountain View sites.


Happy planning,





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We have done a self drive trip to Kruger, you can read my trip report here.



I also did a shorter guided trip, staying outside the park which you can read here: http://safaritalk.net/topic/7615-balule-and-kruger-on-a-budget-and-a-week-in-tofo-mozambique/


If you plan to stay in the camps in KNP you need to book well in advance. This site is probably a better one to ask about where to stay and you can book the rooms online.http://www.sanparks.org/forums/index.php


We booked well in advance and still struggled to get rooms in the camps we wanted. I would advise at least two nights, if not three at each rest camp. This gives you much more flexibility to explore the areas without having to rush to get from one camp to the next. We had some single nights and these felt very rushed.


Re vehicles, with your group size I would either look to get a guided safari truck, or split your group between several vehicles. We booked a 4x4 for two and even with this viewing can be obstructed and I found I at least could make use of the back seat. Plus you need to account for a lot of luggage including food etc unless you plan to eat at the restaurants (service was very slow in Satara so I'd advise against it).


Have a great trip!


All the best



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