I planned for a trip to South Africa in June, and went with 10 other ladies on this trip and this is indeed an experience of a lifetime. Finally, my dream came true, as I had wanted to visit South Africa for a very long time.
Our highlights: -
Kruger National Park (4 game safari)
Pakamisa Private Game Reserve (horse riding, 1 game safari)
Hluhluwe iMfolozi National Park (oldest national Park in South Africa)
St Lucia Estuary (UNESCO, sunset boat cruise)
We stayed at the following lodges -
Hout Bay - Villa Afrique
Kruger - Imbali Lodge
Pakamisa - Pakamisa Paradise Game Lodge
Hluhluwe iMfolozi National Park - Falaza Tented Camps
Shakaland - Traditional hand-woven Beehive Hut.
There are alternative or cheaper package if you avoid Kruger National Park. There is a daily conservation fees of about SGD50 per person a day, excluding your hotel / lodge accommodation. Most of the established lodges are mainly 5 star, and you will be charged perhaps for SGD2,000 a night.
To me, there is no compromise, as Kruger is the largest national park in South Africa, and to really enjoy a great safari experience in the bush, there is no alternative to Kruger. There are some cheaper accommodations or even guests houses, which are located outside of the National Park. But being so much further away, I think time will be lost for driving when you go for your safari. As we travel in the period of June, it is the winter season in South Africa, and this is considered the best time for game viewing. Animals are more likely to go to the water holes for drinking, and it is so much easier to spot them.
We had sunrise and sunset safari in a day. In the morning, we woke up as early as 5 30 am, and then have a light breakfast. Then, we have to put on our full gear, wearing the appropriate jackets, gloves, and pants to keep ourselves warm, as we drove out of the lodge in total darkness. When the winds blew past our face, it was really chilly. We were there to see the sky and the horizon changing colours from pitch black, and then slowly the orange tinge spreading along the horizon. And then finally, the sun rose up to the sky. It was not easy to take the pictures as there were many trees all around.
The ranger guide would point to us, the direction to spot the animals. He is well-trained, and he knew what to look out for. As he drove, his head was sweeping from left to right, and his pair of eyes was constantly, trying to pick up the sights of any animals, if they were chewing the leaves somewhere, with the bodeis partially hidden by the trees.
We were lucky that for the 3 days and 2 nights stay at Imbali, we spotted a lot of animals, and out of the BIG FIVE, we managed to see the four of them. The leopard is a very elusive animal, and it is a nocturnal animal, and thus we missed seeing them in Kruger.
I like to share some of the pictures that I took for my trip in South Africa.
Reminds me of the animated movie - The Lion King.
A group of baboons was crossing the road in front of our vehicle.
More pictures to come. Do come back for more.
If you are looking for the best airfare to South Africa, you normally fly to Johannesburg for a trip to Kruger National Park. For some others, they will fly into Cape Town, and then connect to Johannesburg.
It is a 7 -hour drive to Kruger Park, otherwise, you can also fly from Johannesburg to Kruger, but I understand the airfare is not cheap.
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More pictures to come.
My Next Dream Destination - South America in 2015!