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Good value owner-run property with varied accommodation and excellent views of game on flood plain below. Relaxed in style; well-known as location of early internet broadcasts

This Safari has been created to give you a cost-efficient introduction to the best of the public and the private parts of the Kruger, using self-driving to keep your costs down and to give you the freedom to explore the Park at your will.

Leopard on Game Drive at Elephant Plains
Bulls on Game Drive at Elephant Plains


On arrival at OR Tambo you will transfer to Domestic Departures where you will catch your flight to Hoedspruit. On Arrival at Hoedspruit Airport you will collect your car hire and drive yourselves to Olifants Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park.

Visiting Olifants will expose you to an unforgettable window over Africa. The camp is situated atop a hill which towers several hundred feet over the eponymous river. Views from the lookout platforms allow one to see game congregating on the floodplain below, just as a soaring eagle would survey it as it hunts from the skies.

Overnight: Olifants Restcamp


Today plan to explore the Kruger National Park in your own vehicle, at your leisure. In addition, optional activities may be pre-booked including early morning and evening Game Drives (by climbing aboard a SANParks vehicle, you avoid morning and evening gate curfews and have the chance of more diurnal game sightings).

View frokm Olifants Restcamp
Rondavels at Olifants Camp

Morning walks are extremely rewarding and this is a productive area. An evening bush braai can be organised too. Olifants also offers astronomy sessions after dusk; films are sometimes shown too.

Unique to Olifants is the chance to participate in a mountain bike trip in to the bush. This requires a certain level of fitness. It must be prebooked; in our experience departure will depend on the weather and the condition of the bikes - they are limited in number and can take a while to fix if there are problems prior to your visit. You should come right, and it is a truly memorable experience to pedal amongst the Big Five.

Overnight: Olifants Restcamp

Add/ change restcamps option

Letaba Restcamp is a short (one hour) drive from here. You can swap this night or add more there to extend your stay. We do recommend at least one nights at Olifants for the view and the greater range of activities than at other camps (cycling and astronomy).


Today you make your way in your own vehicle across the Olifants and Letaba rivers to Satara Rest Camp, game viewing en route. Take the day over it. Arriving in time for the curfew and to use the shop (if you wish), you can also pre-book similar evening activities and something for the next morning. Make sure that you consult the sightings board as this is a really active part of the Park for sightings (contribute your own too).

Black maned lion near Satara
Self-drive Kruger sunset

Satara is a busy camp, and not without reason. It is situated in an excellent game viewing area, with the bush relatively open and the animals plentiful and diverse. The camp itself has a rustic charm, with the bulk of the accommodation set out in a series of circles. Satara is well wooded and the bird-life is prolific. At night the clink of fruit bats is fused with the chirping of cicadas and crickets. The calls of owls and nightjars add to the symphony that is punctuated intermittently by the whoop of hyena, the screech of jackal and the roars of lion.

Overnight: Satara Restcamp


Today you will make your way into the Sabi Sand Reserve (drive yourself out via Orpen an in to the Reserve via the northern Newington Gate) where you will check into Elephant Plains Lodge.

Elephant Plains is a privately owned and operated property within the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, part of the 2.2 million hectare unfenced Greater Kruger National Park system. Many years of strict conservation policies and successful habitat management have resulted in a rich diversity of fauna and flora. Here you will (hopefully) come up-close-and-personal with Africa's Big Five in your open game viewing vehicle.

Buffalo at Elephant Plains

You will be taken out twice daily, morning and evening in the vehicle with your armed Guide and Tracker. There will also be the opportunity to walk in the bush after breakfast. Whilst deciding what to do, bear in mind that Sabi Sand is particularly reputed for leopard sightings! You may be lucky enough to encounter other rarer species such as the endangered wild dogs and cheetah.

Overnight: Elephant Plains, Sabi Sand


Basic accommodation here is in Rondavels (chalets) that are the fabric of the Lodge and go back to when it was used as a familt=y bush retreat (it is still privately owned by descendants). they are cosy, air conditioned and have a deck. There is an option to upgrade to one of six glass-fronted Suites with views over the plains.

Rondavels at Elephant Plains

Overnight: Elephant Plains, Sabi Sand


You can arrange to get your car picked up arrival by the hire car company, who are based reasonably close by to save rental cost (it is relatively cheap to get them to collect it). If so, then we will transfer you to an airport for your onward journey, or you can drop your car at nearby Nelspruit, Hoedspruit or Skukuza.

Extension Options

From Elephant Plains you can continue south to other budget areas in a different part of the Reserve (you have to go out and then re-enter via Shaw's Gate) such as Umkumbe which has a wonderful situation on the perennial Sand River, for contrast.

Other good options include going on a Walking Safari. Cheaper options in the vicinity include Balule Walking Safaris at Tsakane and Indawo; a more luxurious choice is the outstanding 3-4 night trail at Rhino Walking Safaris, a concession insid ethe Kruger Park itself.

If you are heading back to Johannesburg, consider keeping your car and self-driving back via the Panorama Route and Blyde River Canyon which is at least a full day's trip.


Highly recommended

  • Two of the best SANParks government Restcamps, notable for the view down over the river and floodplains with its elephants and hippo (Olifants), and the decent chances of good night sighting, particularly on night drives (Satata)
  • Very good value, reasonably equipped, comfortable chalets in a good location in the northern sector of the Sabi Sand, with reliable game viewing all year-round. A taste of luxury!

Don't miss

  • Sunset from the main river bridge close to Olifants Restcamp
  • Taking binoculars on to the viewing deck and finding a peaceful spot to watch the mammal traffic on the plains below
  • The opportunity to walk, at Olifants, Satara and Elephant Plains. They are quite constrasting environments representing riverine hills, great open plains and mixed busveld respectively. The game, birding and scenery varies accordingly

Arrival/ Day One Fly OR Tambo to HDS Eastgate. Collect car. Overnight: Olifants
Day Two Explore Park. Optional walk, cycle, drives, braai. Overnight: Olifants
Day Three Full-day self-drive transfer to overnight: Satara
Day Four Explore Park. Self-drive to Newington Gate. O/N: Elephant Plains
Days Five & Six Twice daily Drives plus morning Walk. Overnight: Elephant Plains
Day Seven Return car to airport and fly, or drive on. -- TRIP ENDS --