We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Kruger experience

Australian Capital...
Level Contributor
15 posts
Kruger experience

I’d appreciate the opinions and advice of all knowledgeable people in this forum!

We are first timers planning a Kruger Safari and after wading through an overwhelming mine of information, we’re considering these options :

- 3 nights at Kambaku safari lodge and another whole day and night in the Blyde canyon route

- 6 days Pretoriuskop campsite

- 6 days Kurula lodge and Kruger adventure lodge

These are all itineraries put together by tour different operators

The animal experience is the priority not the accommodation!

All these are within our budget, but we don’t want to spend if it does not add to the experience!

Thank you

11 replies to this topic
Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Level Contributor
9,483 posts
65 reviews
1. Re: Kruger experience

I will speak in favor of Kambaku Safari Lodge.. Owner-operated and a good base for your game drives with professional Guides and Trackers. I know it well. Plus - it has a great 'spirit'..

And I would save it for last.. a sort of 'reward', a Big Finish, so to speak, where you have nothing to do but enjoy yourselves. They do everything else.

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
1,344 posts
29 reviews
2. Re: Kruger experience

I second the Kambaku option, but if animals are the priority, not accommodation, 3 days of safari is not much time.

Kulhula is not in Kruger, but close by. Game drives, which are an extra cost, are done in the Parsons Reserve which is a small fenced reserve. I would not choose that.

Pretoriuskop Rest Camp is in Kruger Park. I presume your TO has included San Parks ranger led game drives in the quote. To me this does not make sense. 6 days is a long time in 1 rest camp and this type of "safari" in Kruger is far better done as a self drive holiday.

Have a read of the pinned post at the start of this forum on "How to do Kruger" to get an understanding of the differences between private lodges and SanParks self drive holidays.

To keep within your budget, I would suggest 3 nights at Shindzela Tented Lodge, which is virtually next door to Kambaku and quite a bit cheaper. This could then be followed by 3 days of self drive in Kruger staying at the rest camps - 2 nights at Satara and 1 night at Skukuza. Fly to Hoedspruit from Johannesburg, collect a hire car and drive yourself to Shindzela, then on to Kruger. Return the car at Skukuza Airport or Nelspruit Airport and fly back to Johannesburg. It is very easy driving.

It is very easy to book this yourself, however, if you prefer a travel agent, I would contact a South African TO to organise this for you. Wild Wings and Lodge Trackers are two that come to mind who regularly contribute to this forum and are well regarded on Trip Advisor.

Long Island, New...
Level Contributor
6,588 posts
21 reviews
3. Re: Kruger experience

If that’s the Pskop camp outside kruger park, I’d choose something else. As above, Kurula is outside the park. Kambaku is a great lodge and a grest option.

Since it looks like you have more time than money (me too), add a self drive in Kruger. It’s grest fun and the best value anywhere. No, your tour operator likely won’t recommend it because they can’t make money on it. But you could add 3 nights at Skukuza or Satara to Kambaku for about $200 (US) per night for both of you.

I don’t know how you’re getting there, but rent a car st the airport you’re flying to (best is Hoedspruit for Kambaku) and you can drive yourself to the lodge and into Kruger. There are restaurants and shops in Kruger and we always book a bungalow with ensure bathroom and equipped kitchen just in case we want to have a braai (bbq) put in the bush.

I love both the lodge experience and the self drive experience. Both are great fun and really stretches the budget! See www.sanparks.com for info and booking.

Cape Town, South...
Level Contributor
972 posts
3 reviews
4. Re: Kruger experience

I know in Pretorius kop someone has some permanent tents in the camp site . They supply meals and game drives during the day BUT use SANParks Vehicles at night and it costs a fortune . NOW the Camp sites in Pretorius kop are booked through the SANParks site . and are very reasonable but you have to have your own camping gear . So rather book a nice en suite hut in Camp and it still works out a lot cheaper than the organised tents and those tents still have to use the communal ablution blocks that all the campers use .

A self drive is a real game experience no need for guides all you need is a map and soon you will be a pro at looking for animals

look up the site on www.SANParks.org and book on line

Spoil yourself and book a private lodge for a few days

Australian Capital...
Level Contributor
15 posts
5. Re: Kruger experience

Thank you bwanadave, suesmi, cbir and Ballechin.

I like the idea of ‘rewarding ourselves ‘’ bwanadave!

suesmi , is Kurula and Kulhula one and the same? Yes, I agree, 3 days is not enough, we will look into the option of Shindzela lodge or Satara as you all have suggested. We are also planning on staying in Addo for 2 days.

We might leave the self drive option for the next time ( if we are fortunate enough!) The plan was to fly into Hoedspruit from joberg in the Kambaku lodge option or to be picked from joberg by the lodge vehicle in the other 2 options .

I have been reading all the excellent posts on the forum and have looked up the SAN parks website too, but it is overwhelming the first time!

Can one stay in the SAN parks lodge and still do a private group safari if we can organise it ourselves?

We are actually a family with 2 grown up children, I am beginning to think that it is time we did reward ourselves with Kambaku!

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,174 posts
1 review
6. Re: Kruger experience

If you are planning on staying in the SANP camps, I wouldn't spend the full 6 nights in P'kop. Perhaps a night or two, and try some of the others. Skukuza, Lower Sabie, Satara are all in good game viewing areas and worth staying at

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
1,344 posts
29 reviews
7. Re: Kruger experience

Satara is a rest camp in Kruger, not an alternative to Kambaku and Shindzela.

Don't be put off by the idea of self drive. It is super easy and you will find animals. If you go to Kambaku/Shindzela first, you will get the idea of how/what to look for. You cannot do private safaris from Satara, however, SanParks do run ranger led drives - morning, sunset and night, at around $30 per head.

But if self drive does not appeal, by staying at Shindzela, you could probably squeeze 4 nights in for much the same cost as Kambaku.

As far as transferring to Kambaku or Shindzela, the cost of transfers will cost several hundred dollars. Fly into Hoedspruit and hire a car there to drive yourself to the lodge. Way, way cheaper and a straight forward and easy drive. The lodge's website will give explicit directions.

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
1,344 posts
29 reviews
8. Re: Kruger experience

Also have a look at Pungwe Lodge and Africa on Foot if you like the idea of doing guided walks as well as game drives.

Pretoria, South...
Level Contributor
3,105 posts
28 reviews
9. Re: Kruger experience

I think you'll find these two threads informative.



Edited: 09 June 2018, 09:48
Australian Capital...
Level Contributor
15 posts
10. Re: Kruger experience

Thank you everyone. The idea of staying for a 2 days in Kambaku and perhaps another 2 days in one of the SAN parks sounds good. Shindzela has no availability on our travel days. Travel between the 2 places might become a problem if we don’t hire a car, is there any other option?

Which SANparks camps are closest to restaurants etc, if we don’t have a car and are not inclined to self cater.

Reply to: Kruger experience
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted