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South Africa - organise selfdrive in safe way

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Old Thursday 30th May 2019, 22:02   #1
albatross02
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South Africa - organise selfdrive in safe way

Hello together,

how is possible to organise tour by own my on steam in South Africa ?
Target is bird watching and some other wildlife.
Which is best time ?
How is possible to avoid unsafe areas ?
Krueger nationalpark is huge and maybe enough for 2 or 3 weeks ?

I have 3 - 5 weeks time.
Single person.
How much I have to calculate for accomodation especially in national parks ?
Tent is also an option. Is it easy to get tent place in nationalparks or is booking in advance needed ?


Thank You very much.


Best regards
Dieter
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 06:57   #2
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Yes, you can easily spend 2-3 weeks in Kruger and if you decide to do that, all you need to know is here.....

https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/

Start by looking at a map of the park and plan your route from that.

Make sure you get a 'Wildcard', much cheaper than paying for a daily entrance.

https://www.sanparks.org/wild_new/

Also, buy this book, it has a superb pull out map showing all the sites in South Africa which makes planning a route very easy.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Southern-Af...s&sr=1-2-spell

Car hire is easy to organise and cheap in SA too though look out for rip pffs when you return the car, they always seem to find a 'scratch'.

If you PM me with an email address, I can send you my report of a 4 week trip including Kruger.
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 07:53   #3
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Car hire is easy to organise and cheap in SA too though look out for rip pffs when you return the car, they always seem to find a 'scratch'.
When you pick up the car make a careful inspection and photograph it from all angles, especially any obvious scuffs, dents, scratches and window chips: and do it right in front of the car hire representative.

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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 10:15   #4
Larry Sweetland
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From our experience I'd advise arranging car hire in advance. We didn't, and it was more expensive when we got there. We found a little saloon car fine for almost everywhere, and didn't ever wish we had a 4x4. Kruger's really easy for that. Agree you could easily spend all your amount of time in Kruger, along with some other nearby higher elevation sites eg Dullstroom and Magoebaskloof (or however you spell it!)

Agree with Andy that Southern African Birdfinder is an absolute must. Possibly the world's best bird finding guide for any region

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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 14:36   #5
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Andy, John and Larry thank You for the information.

Car I rent mostly via check24 with full insurance.
This is possible for Johannesburg.
It is also possible to fly to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.
It costs 200 Euro more, but maybe save some hours driving ?

With car rentalcars.com large car is a little bit more expensive than small car.
It costs around 300 Euro for 3 weeks. But not full insurance I think. In case of accident or scratch you have to pay some money.
Check24 is about 500 Euro with full insurance also glas, bottom, roof, wheels.
In case of accident or scratch you have to pay nothing.
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 15:47   #6
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Rough Guides South Africa and Southern African Birdfinder contain most of the information you need.

The core dangerous place is Johannesburg itself. Simply drive out of it immediately.

I also recommend looking at Jon Hall's mammalwatching.com website and adding some places like Marrick for nocturnal mammals.
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Old Friday 31st May 2019, 16:10   #7
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Some very good advice already. Dealing with a few other points:

1. Best time rather depends on any specific interests, but generally October - November is probably the best period. Kruger can get very busy, especially during school holidays; try to avoid these.

2. It's definitely best to book Kruger in advance, which you can do on the SANParks website.

3. Definitely camp as much as possible to keep costs down. Generally you should expect to pay around $15 per night to camp at (very good) private camp sites; Kruger will be more.

4. If you have several weeks at your disposal, I think it would be a pity to just do Kruger. As good as it is, there is way more to SA. In 5 weeks you could fairly easily do an entire loop of the country if you don't mind longish drives.

5. Don't hire cars with full insurance! Buy a separate excess insurance policy (annual worldwide policies cost around $70, although check the maximum hire period). It's way cheaper.

6. It's obviously necessary to be vigilant about safety in SA, but don't get paranoid! With some basic common sense you are very unlikely to have any trouble.
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 06:59   #8
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Some very good advice already. Dealing with a few other points:

1. Best time rather depends on any specific interests, but generally October - November is probably the best period. Kruger can get very busy, especially during school holidays; try to avoid these.

2. It's definitely best to book Kruger in advance, which you can do on the SANParks website.

3. Definitely camp as much as possible to keep costs down. Generally you should expect to pay around $15 per night to camp at (very good) private camp sites; Kruger will be more.

4. If you have several weeks at your disposal, I think it would be a pity to just do Kruger. As good as it is, there is way more to SA. In 5 weeks you could fairly easily do an entire loop of the country if you don't mind longish drives.

5. Don't hire cars with full insurance! Buy a separate excess insurance policy (annual worldwide policies cost around $70, although check the maximum hire period). It's way cheaper.

6. It's obviously necessary to be vigilant about safety in SA, but don't get paranoid! With some basic common sense you are very unlikely to have any trouble.
As I said, I have a report with what I think was a very good route that we planned ourselves in 2014, pm me with an e-mail address if you want it.
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 08:32   #9
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4. If you have several weeks at your disposal, I think it would be a pity to just do Kruger. As good as it is, there is way more to SA. In 5 weeks you could fairly easily do an entire loop of the country if you don't mind longish drives.
I would suggest the opposite - don't be tempted to drive too far. You could spend months just in north-east SA (and Mozambique is right next door).
St. Lucia is enjoyable with a good campsite and good food. Many years ago we also enjoyed the "giraffe" walk in the Hans Merensky park, and a visit to Phalabora mine was well worthwhile.



You could also try to get some more responses on this thread.
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=319358

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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 12:02   #10
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5. Don't hire cars with full insurance! Buy a separate excess insurance policy (annual worldwide policies cost around $70, although check the maximum hire period). It's way cheaper.
Hi DMW, I am interested in it. What to look for, and how to find a brand which I can buy in my country? I got something called worldwideinsurance for some time, but they stopped offering it outside Britain.
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 12:21   #11
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Hi DMW, I am interested in it. What to look for, and how to find a brand which I can buy in my country? I got something called worldwideinsurance for some time, but they stopped offering it outside Britain.
I use www.icarhireinsurance.com. I even can verify that they do pay out when a Peruvian wall jumps out and attacks your vehicle!
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 12:30   #12
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I would suggest the opposite - don't be tempted to drive too far. You could spend months just in north-east SA (and Mozambique is right next door).
St. Lucia is enjoyable with a good campsite and good food. Many years ago we also enjoyed the "giraffe" walk in the Hans Merensky park, and a visit to Phalabora mine was well worthwhile.



You could also try to get some more responses on this thread.
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=319358
Yep, a perfectly reasonable alternative to focus all your attention on a small area. Horses for courses! Can't say I much cared for St Lucia, though. My favourite part of SA is Bushmanland (Pofadder, Brandvlei, Aggeneys etc).
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Old Saturday 1st June 2019, 14:19   #13
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Yep, a perfectly reasonable alternative to focus all your attention on a small area. Horses for courses! Can't say I much cared for St Lucia, though. My favourite part of SA is Bushmanland (Pofadder, Brandvlei, Aggeneys etc).
Poffadder was a cold, windy, grit in your teeth, sand in your arse crack place when we were there, brrrrr.
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Old Sunday 2nd June 2019, 07:49   #14
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I'd stick to one part of the country and then revisit. It's as easy as travelling in Europe - probably easier for us English speakers. I've been four times and love it. In the parks, it's not at all dangerous and outside the big cities I've never felt at all worried. I've taken my kids three times and I'm a pretty protective father. When I was last there a SUV was about 15 a day. I have done it in saloons but a bit of extra height and clearance was worth a few quid. I'd recommend Mkuze and Marrick - if you're into mammals. I'd use a tent in Kruger - and definitely book in advance - but elsewhere accomodation is very cheap. Even with four of us we didn't feel the financial need to camp anywhere else on our last trip. Definitely get hold of Southern African Bordfinder Cohen et al.

A report of my last trip is here, I'd recommend this route although Chelmsford was mainly to break up the long drive to Marrick. http://www.stevebabbs.com/home/trip-...6-south-africa
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Old Sunday 2nd June 2019, 14:27   #15
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Thank You very much.
So many excellent advices.
Buy the way I feelt not unsafe in US, but visit only small town and nationalparks.
Small towns in US maybe much safer than big towns in Germany.
On left site I drove 3 x in Thailand, 6 x in New Zealand, 4 x in Australia, ones in Ireland and in Cyprus.
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Old Thursday 6th June 2019, 20:53   #16
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Thank You very much.
So many excellent advices.
Buy the way I feelt not unsafe in US, but visit only small town and nationalparks.
Small towns in US maybe much safer than big towns in Germany.
On left site I drove 3 x in Thailand, 6 x in New Zealand, 4 x in Australia, ones in Ireland and in Cyprus.
Driving in SA is certainly no more difficult than driving in Europe.
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 16:31   #17
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Driving in SA is certainly no more difficult than driving in Europe.
What is the difference, more aggresive, don't take care of rules or other reason ?
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 17:27   #18
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What is the difference, more aggresive, don't take care of rules or other reason ?
Steve said that there is basically no difference between driving in SA and Europe, it's pretty safe.

Keep your doors locked if passing through Cities or Towns and be vigilant when stopped at lights and to let you know, in some places, we heard traffic lights reffered to as 'robots'.
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Old Friday 7th June 2019, 21:50   #19
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Here in Bavarian driving is often overspeeded and drivers are rectless.
If I drive to Austria which is only 60 miles away, it is much more relaxed.
I like to avoid big cities, because I prefer nature and smaller towns.
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