The vast Greater Kruger Park is undoubtedly the best safari experience in South Africa, and by combining a couple of nights at an affordable private safari lodge and then self-driving in the Park it is possible to get a fantastic safari experience at a very affordable price.
Start with a Stay at a Private Safari Lodge
Staying in a private safari lodge is a sensational experience and the very best way to get a close-up encounter with African wildlife.
Generally located within a concession in the Kruger National Park itself or in one of the neighbouring private reserves or conservancies, private safari lodges offer unbeatable safaris in stunning settings.
The safari lodges in the private reserves that border Kruger offer some of the best game viewing in the country, and a stay at any of the lodges will include all meals and accommodation, as well as 2 game drives per day where you go out with a qualified guide in an open 4x4 vehicle in search of the Big 5 and other wildlife.
As well as offering the best possible introduction to the joys of a safari, starting with a safari lodge also means that you will be able to better follow and identify the animals that you will see if you decide to drive yourself around the Park later in your trip.
Drive Yourself around Kruger
After the safari lodge, you have the choice of either spending a couple of days driving through Kruger independently, and stopping overnight at one of the South African National Parks (SANParks) camps in the Park, or basing yourself just outside and travelling in as a day visitor.
A self-drive safari in Kruger is a truly wonderful experience - the thrill of driving along a road by yourself and coming across a pride of lions basking under a nearby tree, or waiting at a peaceful waterhole and having a sighting all to yourself is hard to beat. The Park boasts an exceptionally rich mix of wildlife, including some 490 species of bird and 147 mammal species, including the Big 5.
If you are keen to do a lot of self-driving inside the Park then we would definitely suggest staying at the SANParks camps - the accommodation is simple and unfussy, however the camps offer excellent value for money and the chance to extend your safari experience at a fraction of the cost of a private safari lodge.
Exploring the Lowveld around Kruger
After your safari you can then spend a few days relaxing in the beautiful surroundings of the Lowveld area which is adjacent to the Kruger Park. The small village of Hazyview is the ideal base to relax and explore this area, and the many attractions include the Blyde River Canyon, the well known Panorama Route, elephant and chimp sanctuaries, and a couple of excellent animal rehabilitation projects. For the more adventurous visitor there are hiking trails, white-water rafting, and balloon flights that all offer a great way of seeing this beautiful part of the country from a different perspective.
Of course, as Hazyview is only 20 minutes drive from one of the gates to Kruger, you could always pop-back into the Park if you fancy a bit more wildlife...
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Classic Kruger Self-Drive Trip
Klaserie Game Reserve
Destination: South Africa.
This classic self-drive itinerary starts with a few days at one of the top-rated budget safari lodges in the Kruger area before you head out into the Park to explore on your own.
This is a 7 night itinerary including Klaserie Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.
This 7 night itinerary is perfect for anyone who wants to combine a stay in one of the leading budget safari lodges in the Kruger area with a few days exploring the spectacular scenery of the Lowveld area that adjoins the Park.
This is a 7 night itinerary including Balule Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park and Hazyview.
This self-drive itinerary offers the complete Kruger Park experience - it start with a few nights at one of the most attractive and romantic budget lodges in the area, then includes a self-drive adventure in Kruger before finishing with a few nights at one of our favourite places to stay whilst you explore the Lowveld area that adjoins the Park.
This is a 10 night itinerary including Klaserie Game Reserve, Kruger National Park and Hazyview.