I have visited the Kruger park over 15 times with my family over recent years. Tom Kelly's overview of the Kruger gives the impression that it's hard to eat cheaply there - but the Kruger is a great pace for a budget family holiday. You can stay in cheap accommodation at most rest camps (usually fixed safari tents for two or four or budget huts for two-six which are spotlessly clean and have comfortable beds and a wash basin). In addition to more expensive restaurants, all the rest camps have cheap cafes and shops selling food so you can eat well indoors or have a BBQ (braai) under the stars for next to nothing. In general, most of the wildlife tends to congregate in the Southern area of the park (from Skukuza down to Crocodile Bridge and across to Malelane)so this is the area I would most recommend - but the Northern areas of the park have fewer tourists and thus are more peaceful.
Don't be afraid of walking in the bush (with a guide), if you can. I remember noticing a baby tortoise when walking with a guide once. It was (and so was a small chameleon) cute, in fact from the planet cute.
My best memory of safari is having told our guide that I was interested in snakes (and other small stuff), we got a radio call to say that another landrover had trapped a rock python in a small area of grass/bush. We went flying over there, and got to the area where the snake was - about 2m x 2m. It took 10 minutes to find the snake, which was about 2m long. The guides said I could catch it if I wanted, so I did. It was very exciting, and I was shaking somewhat by the time I'd got it held firmly (It bit my arm and hand in the process). The young boys in our landrover were pretty excited to get to touch the snake, and my wife took some photos. After extracting the snake from where it had tucked itself into my shirt, we let it go, unharmed. A rock Python is a constrictor (so non-venomous), so I had no ill-effects from the bite, but did have to take an antibiotic as they do have notoriously dirty mouths.
We once went back to our "tree-house" to change into swimming gear, and saw a snake on the veranda. I instinctively grabbed it, and had to fend off its attempts to bite me with my shorts which were in my left hand. I couldn't get a good look at it to see for certain that it was a harmless bush snake, so I had to let it go into the trees before it bit me.
Another tip: Always pick scorpions up by the tail. And if the claws
are big, then the sting is likely to be less dangerous, and vica-versa.
A useful tip for people going on self-drive safaris - you may come across places in the parks called 'look out points' - don't get out of your vehicle!
The signage was quite confusing and when we went with a guide later on, he was shocked that we'd been out of the vehicle.
Also, beware group safaris - definitely cheaper but sometimes your companions can get agitated by the animals - at the time the guide had been worried about the fact that my brother and I were only 12 and 14 but in the end it was the fully grown woman who was scared of the elephants and moaned to be taken back to the lodge.
The best holiday - if you have the opportunity to take your children on a safari, go for it! My brother and I will never forget it and it was a real eye opener in other ways too - such as seeing for the first time whole communities living on the embankment of motorways in tin houses - they can't teach you in school the way seeing that in person can.
I am 41, have cerebral palsy and am an out-going person and go anywhere in my wheelchair. I am unable to talk, so communication takes time to get used to.
I am interested in animals and anything to do with nature, so when I saw the epic-enabled advert I thought: “Wow, yes please,” quite expecting to be told I was too disabled.
But I was accepted on Alfie's tour in August 2005 and had an absolutely brilliant time. I have to have a special loo seat when I travel and this means I have extra luggage. This was not a problem. I took my carer, Caroline, with me on safari to the Kruger Park.
We saw all of the animals you can imagine, including monkeys, lions, leopards, hippos, elephants and giraffes.
We even saw two giraffes in courtship! They were about 50 metres away from our safari truck. We couldn't believe our luck, it was awesome to see them flirting with each other. I think I will remember that forever. The food was lovely as well.
The only problem I had was when we got to the bush camp and had to get out of my wheelchair to go on a "normal" safari truck. I am very floppy and despite being supported by Caroline and Denise on the seat, I wasn't very comfortable so I had to miss some of the trips round the reserve. Although I did meet Simba, the six month old lion cub. He was really inquisitive of our wheelchairs and very playful toward the rangers and his playmate, a six-month-old Labrador.
Not being able to sit on the normal safari truck didn't spoil my holiday because I had done everything else and met lots of lovely people.
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