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KRUGER SAFARI ACCOMMODATION CATEGORIES  

We've talked about our Safari price ranges and what you get included in them. Here we want to give you an idea of what, generally, you can expect from a Lodge in each of the categories.

CLICK TO EXPAND THESE CATEGORIES

$$ Basic to Three Star click

These are Government facilities offered by SANParks inside the Park, and small owner-run properties outside the Park. They are basic, clean and good value for money. The main Kruger restcamps fit into this category; we cover these separately and some of the larger ones have Safari Tents as an attractive option. There are also smaller bush camps, but these are booked well in advance.

If you go for this price range you probably have a budget consistent with self-driving. Camps and Lodges in this category do not include activities, food or transport in their prices and you need to factor these expenses into your planning as the cost of each of these is comparable to that of the roof over your head. You are not allowed to exit your car or put limbs outside apart from at Restcamps and nominated "get-out" points.

You will not enjoy the expertise and insight of an experienced Guide other than when you join the Park Board's activities, which you are advised to book in advance (they fill up quickly).

Clientele: best suited to people who have some Safari experience under their belt and feel that they will derive pleasure without the benefit of a full time Guide. Those who are constrained by budget but "must see" the Kruger. The local South African market, or people with a South African "can-do" approach to life. People who get excited by the idea of driving themselves around big five territory.

$$$ Three & Four Star click

Spending a bit more opens up the possibilities of the Private Reserves and a few Kruger concessions. Most of the Lodges in this category are in the more 'peripheral', or harder to access, parts of the Greater Kruger. You will start to see Reserves such as the #Klaserie, #Balule and Timbavati feature here. There are also good options in those satellite Reserves that are fenced out of the Kruger but nevertheless offer good game viewing - Kapama and Thornybush, for example.

Generally this category of Lodge offers a more exclusive Safari experience than the Government facilities. They offer smaller numbers of beds; these are related to the number of game drive vehicles that they operate in their area. Eight to ten beds (one game viewing vehicle) is a small Lodge; 24-30+ is more typical of a Lodge in this category.

Here you will find various inclusions in your daily rate, normally twice daily game drives in an open-sided Safari vehicle, food and accommodation but not drinks. There are other extras for your account.

Being private land owners or concessionaires, these Lodges are able to traverse off-road to follow up on that hunt in progress or sighting. Operating hours are not constrained by the gate opening and closing times. Walking is more of a core part of the proposition so you get out and explore the bush in a totally different way.

$$$$ Four & Five Star click

This category moves you into the really good Private Lodges. The best value Lodges in the world-renowned Sabi Sand fit into this category (or above), as do most of the Kruger concessions.

These Lodges are characterised by excellent locations which generally means the presence of perennial water and very good game viewing. They are usually situated in scenic spots - overlooking riverbeds, at waterholes, on the crest of a hill overlooking plains - chosen for their views.

The rooms are more like suites, well-separated, private and with your own facilities such as your own deck for game viewing during the time that you are not out beating the bush on drives or walks.

The service and attention to detail at these Lodges is consistent with that of a four- or five-star hotel in the real world. The amenities are better than the preceding categories and will usually include, for example, a swimming pool.

There is going to be some form of entertainment laid on in the evenings. It may be as simple as sitting around a camp fire discussing the events of the day or listening to the long tales (which every Guide is an endless source of), or there might be dancing, a lecture or the opportunity to watch a film.

These Lodges often share traversing land in a larger area such as the Sabi Sand or Timbavati, and often cluster into groups making your choice about the style and atmosphere that you want from a Lodge.

Clientele: The first time Kruger visitor ought to spend at least two nights appreciating the fully potency of the Safari experience at one of these Lodges. Most guests are repeat clients. Most are overseas visitors.

$$$$$ Five Star click

These Lodges occupy the Greater Kruger's prize positions, both from the perspective of game viewing and location. They are considerably more exclusive than the preceding Lodges, and almost certainly have a large amount of land which they can traverse exclusively. This reaches its ultimate expression in the private concessions within the Kruger itself. Established around the turn of the century to up the ante of the competition between the Government and Private areas, they have had the effect of driving up the already excellent standards everywhere.

The levels of comfort are exemplary and you will find a Spa, gym, massage facilities. The food is more haute cuisine than bush buffet. But those places that we have chosen do not lose sight of the fact that your principal reason for being there is to be in the wild.

Clientele: once-in-a-lifetime visitors, honeymooners, people who have saved up for a particularly special experience.

$$$$$+ Five Star plus click

These Lodges offer the ultimate Safari, fit for a star. And they are where many of the stars do go. The service and attention that goes in to making your experience unforgettable are remarkable. The ratio of staff to guests resembles that of the most exclsuive cruise ships in the world (four- or five- per guest is not unusual).

You every desire will be fulfilled provided that it is humanly possible (and legal). If you can find fault with these places then we would be very interested to know.

Clientele: People who know what they want, expect no compromise in terms of the effort made to produce sightings or the level of comfort. People who can afford it. Disproportionately US-derived clientele, plus international guests who travel extensively and have standards they require met.


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  • Read on to find what our Rate categories cost, mean, and what you get for them
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