It was my dream, as well as many others, to go on an African Safari for as long as I can remember. The problem with safari’s is you always hear how expensive they are. A couple thousand dollars for just a few days. I wasn’t sure when I would ever get to experience a safari due to the price so when I was headed to South Africa I was doing my research and came across Kruger National Park and that’s where my affordable safari adventure began.
Kruger is a 7,523 square mile national park in South Africa. It is the home to thousands of free roaming safari animals and filled with beautiful landscapes with rolling hills, mountains and plains. The animals are wild and live off the land. You can find the big 5 here; lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, black rhino among many other animals species.
How to get there:
Kruger National Park is located in the North Eastern part of South Africa. We flew from the states to Johannesburg and then took a domestic flight from Johannesburg to Nelspruit. Once having arrived in Nelspruit we picked up a rental car and drove to the crocodile bridge entrance of the park.
Where to stay:
You have a couple of options when visiting Kruger. The first is to stay in a resort OUTSIDE of the park. These are usually upscale, expensive but beautiful with plenty of amenities, however you are set to the resorts schedule .
What we did, and what I would recommend, is staying at one of the many camps inside of Kruger National Park. Each camp has different types of lodging, tent spots, platform tents and yurts that feel like hotel rooms. These camps cost from about $50 to ~$120, very affordable. We moved around while in the park to experience the different camps and here is what I can tell you:
Lower Sabie – This camp sits right on the Sabie river with beautiful views. You can enjoy dinner and watch the active river with hippos and crocodiles. This camp is also right near a pond that almost always has hippos in it and is lively with other wildlife such as hyenas and lions.
Olifants – High up on a cliff this gorgeous camp has sweeping views of the valley below. The animals are a little harder to find this north in the park but the landscape is beautiful.
Skakuza – This is the largest rest camp in the park. It has good dining options and plenty of accommodations. This camp also sits on the Sabie river with grand views. This camp does get busy throughout the day as it is a common stop for tours and travelers.
Once you’re inside the park you drive yourself and spot animals. It’s awesome to be on your own schedule and go where you want to go. If you want to take a guided tour those can be arranged at the camps. There’s nothing quite like having a lion pride walk across the street in front of you or a heard of elephants eating alongside your car and it is extremely rewarding when you spot the hard to find leopard.
In the end we spent for an entire week, airfare, rental car, lodging for a safari around $1,000 and I would do it again in a heart beat.