A self-drive in the Kruger National Park or a safari in a private game reserve? A question asked by tourists and locals alike, time and time again. Surely the animals are the same? One could even argue that between the Kruger and a private game reserve such as the Sabi Sand or Timbavati one could see exactly the same elephant, since the animals have the luxury of roaming freely between the reserves. But that’s rubbish. And here’s why… Botswana has no fences.
My first ever sighting of a hyena was on a main road in the Kruger National Park – it was a hyena pup. What a sight! But instead of being able to follow the hyena through the bush in a 4×4, we were jostling for a vantage point with a bunch of other tourists. In a closed VW Golf. Heads and cameras were outstretched in an ungainly attempt to get a half-decent photo. After half an hour we reached the front of the queue and our reward was a 30 second view of the adorable pup before being hooted at – yes…hooted! Time to move on in search of our next impala.
A real safari is about the overall experience. Tales over pre-dinner drinks from courageous rangers and the sudden use of the flash light during dinner to see the hippo in front of the deck all create the memories that urge us to return at the first opportunity. It’s about submerging yourself in an African fantasy while at the same time seeing real nature in all its spectacular (and at times brutal) glory. It’s about stepping up onto a safari vehicle in search of the Big 5. It’s about the thrill of marauding through the bush after a pack of wild dogs in hot pursuit of an impala.
Why is the game viewing better in a Private Game Reserve?
It’s private! No cars of other tourists in a dazzling array of blinding colours.
Safari vehicles can go off road. In a national park you will be limited to animals visible from the main roads.
The best and most knowledgeable rangers in the business work at the private game reserves.
Rangers are not restricted to national park hours, which means that they can go on night drives. It also means that you can stay as long as you want on a sighting!
Elevated, open-top safari vehicles give you the best view possible so you can get the perfect photo.
Rangers can lead walking safaris so that you can get that perfect photo right up the rhino’s nostril!
You might often hear about about ‘traversing rights’ in reference to your safari experience. So what are traversing rights? Traversing rights allow neighbouring lodges to drive on each others’ land which means more space for you to explore and find animals. The larger the traversing area the better! More land = more biodiversity. Limpopo, Mpumulanga and in KwaZulu-Natal.