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Old 24th June 2014, 13:57   #16
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Default Re: Splendid South Africa

Amazing pictures and great writeup. You have given lots of valuable information Thank you. Need to plan a trip soon
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Old 24th June 2014, 15:30   #17
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Excellent write-up and brilliant snaps. Africa is a must to visit for wildlife lovers. Echoing the request from most, it will help many if you can post approximate expenses and the way you planned the trip.
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Old 24th June 2014, 17:43   #18
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Default Re: Splendid South Africa

A great write up, with brilliant pics. Really loved the way you have also included the price structure, this will really help them who want to plan a similar visit.

Recently my brother had been to Kenya, but due to the cost involved even i had to back out, maybe this is the place that will give me my share of jungle thrills.

I have a question though, my elder bro has visited South Africa quite a number of times, and he has been warned multiple times to not wander out alone, due to risks of being mugged. How was your experience on that front, and were you warned as well by any of the hotels you stayed it?
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Old 24th June 2014, 22:28   #19
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Thank you guys for liking the travelogue and rating it 5 stars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks GTO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gokrish View Post
Dear Trek! Very good travelogue accompanied with beautiful pictures. In fact, just running my eyes through your posts, I was bowled over by the photographs. The picture of the Olifants river is mind blowing and you were there at the right time. By gravel roads, I think you meant the roads on your last three pictures? Seen this type of roads in Japan too! Please upload some more photographs of the safari.
Thanks Gokrish. Kruger has tarred roads which connect the various rest camps within and the gravel roads are the smaller roads which loop out on either side of the main road allowing you to drive further inside the jungle. Below is an example of a gravel road:

Splendid South Africa-p-302.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by arun_kun View Post
Indeep you are very lucky to spot big cats so many times. I have been to Kruger in 2012 and I did not spot so many.
But the Kruger experience is really something. After all those things we see in National Geography/Discovery from childhood, it feels great to see them in person in wild. Very Very nice pics.
Yea, we indeed feel very lucky to observe this amazing array of wildlife from such close quarters. Living inside the jungle adds to the whole experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by padikpanther View Post
Thanks Trek for the amazing pics and precise narrative. Was lucky to be at the the 3rd point of the Migration triangle - the Ngorongoro in 2010. More photographs please.
Thanks padikpanther. I am eager to hear about your experience at Ngorongoro. You should put up a travelogue!
Will put up more pictures shortly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinP View Post
I Agree, Africa is an amazing place! Nothing like the bush as they call it. Any pics of cars? The motor industry is very vibrant in SA and they manufacture most cars. I recall from my childhood, an ad in the South African publication of CAR for the BMW 333i, was floored they put the 535 engine in a 3 series!
Yea 'Bush' was the word that often came up while talking to people around in Kruger. One thing which was very prominent was the local people's love for the wildlife and the commitment to preserve it.

It seems you have spent considerable time in SA. Born and brought up there?

Well as any self respecting BHPian would have done it, I visited the Franshhoek Motor Museum and it was an amazing experience. I am putting together another thread on it.
Also, I spotted a lot of cars from our desi manufacturers Tata & Mahindra - Indica, Vista, Manza, XUV500, Xylo, Bolero etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushibeta View Post
+1. Nice narrative Trek! The pictures have narrated the African safari experience very well. I started recollecting cherished memories of my 2006 visit to Lake Manyara & Ngorongoro Crater the moment I started reading your travelogue.

Post some more pictures

Regarding the road experience, I travelled from Arusha to Lake Manyara in Tanzania; the roads were sheer bliss to drive.
Thanks kaushibeta. I am eager to hear about your Tanzanian experience. Share some pics buddy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snan View Post
Splendid - good to see an Africa lover. Once you are smitten it becomes an addiction - so beware !!

Also you are lucky that you could spot the leopard so close to the road and so clearly. I have been on safaris so many times in the continent and have seldom seen it so casually walking so close to a path
Yea, the leopard sighting was quite something. We spotted it early morning and we were the only car around. We managed to drive as close as possible and then switched off the engine and watched the amazing creature walk by.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vickzkool View Post
Trek

A wonderful travelogue with some brilliant pics , if you don't mind can you please share a rough estimate of the expenses for the entire trip , the best time of the year to visit , documents required for South African visa , details such as how far in advance we need to book to guarantee accommodation in the cottages that you have mentioned.
Apologies for bombarding you with so many questions , me and wifey are completely smitten by your travelogue and we are exploring this option very seriously , once again thank you for sharing.
Thanks vickzcool. I am glad I am encouraging more people to experience Kruger. If like most Indians, who go to SA in an 'organised tour', they are never given the option of visiting Kruger by the tour operator and thus most of them miss out on the true bush experience.

Regarding the trip cost, I will put in some details shortly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deoelect View Post
Fantastic write up and pictures Trek. You were indeed lucky to spot a variety of animals in the safari. I visited Tadoba couple months back and all I could manage was a leopard Looking at your travelogue (plus the self drive option) has really inspired me and I'm looking forward to plan for South Africa now!

If you don't mind, could you please share the expenses incurred and the gist of the planning done?
Thanks deoelect. Tadoba is where I got smitten by the jungle! But I am really surprised that you could not spot a tiger as it has the highest density of all places. But then you spotted the elusive leopard which the majority of visitors aren't fortunate enough to see.

I will put up details on the expense shortly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by premjit View Post
Trek, Those are some amazing pictures and the information you have provided is pretty valuable too. Can you please share some indicative costs and a little about driving rules there. I suppose you have an Indian DL and renting a car isn't an issue. Keep it coming, my friend.
Thanks for reading the travelogue premjit. As long as your licence is in English and has a photograph, that should work just fine. No need for an International Driving License. Although if you have one of those old booklet type, it's best to convert it into a smart card type.

I will share info on the costs shortly.

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Originally Posted by catchjyoti View Post
Amazing pictures and great writeup. You have given lots of valuable information Thank you. Need to plan a trip soon
Thanks catchjyoti. Glad that you liked it. Hope you experience the wild terrain soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gadadhar View Post
Excellent write-up and brilliant snaps. Africa is a must to visit for wildlife lovers. Echoing the request from most, it will help many if you can post approximate expenses and the way you planned the trip.
Thanks for reading gadadhar. I will put up the costs info soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AtheK View Post
A great write up, with brilliant pics. Really loved the way you have also included the price structure, this will really help them who want to plan a similar visit.

Recently my brother had been to Kenya, but due to the cost involved even i had to back out, maybe this is the place that will give me my share of jungle thrills.

I have a question though, my elder bro has visited South Africa quite a number of times, and he has been warned multiple times to not wander out alone, due to risks of being mugged. How was your experience on that front, and were you warned as well by any of the hotels you stayed it?
Thanks Athek. Kruger will definitely give you your share of the 'Big Five' plus a lot of other animals.

Yea I was warned too to not venture out alone after dark. One late evening, around the V&A waterfront in Capetown, I was approached by a man asking for money, just short of begging. I just kept walking and made it to a nearby restaurant. I think as travellers to a new place, it's best to exercise some amount of caution. And so we used to always take a taxi ride back to the hotel in the evening. Better safe than sorry.

Last edited by trek : 24th June 2014 at 22:36.
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Old 24th June 2014, 22:50   #20
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Originally Posted by trek View Post
It seems you have spent considerable time in SA. Born and brought up there?
Yebo! spent most of my formidable years in the Southern Part of Africa, from Cape to Kinshasa!

If you fell in love with SA you have to visit Zambia...its called the real Afirca http://www.lonelyplanet.com/zambia
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Old 24th June 2014, 23:07   #21
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Default Re: Splendid South Africa

Uploading few more pics from Kruger:

The Phabeni Gate from where we entered the Kruger National Park:

Splendid South Africa-p1-624.jpg

Splendid South Africa-p1-626.jpg

Warthog:

Splendid South Africa-p1-735.jpg

Vultures scavenging a dead elephant:

Splendid South Africa-p-048.jpg

Sharp Horns:

Splendid South Africa-p-127.jpg

Wonder what these fellows were up to:

Splendid South Africa-p-270.jpg

Three's a crowd:

Splendid South Africa-p-155.jpg

While on one of the gravel roads, we came across this herd of elephants just around a blind corner. Since there were babies in the herd, I did not dare to stop very close and moved ahead just managing this one close-up pic:

Splendid South Africa-p-134.jpg

Young Fawn:

Splendid South Africa-p-237.jpg

Wild Buffaloes:

Splendid South Africa-p-297.jpg

Another herd closer to the road:

Splendid South Africa-p-486.jpg

They are very powerful creatures and even lions would think twice before engaging a full sized creature or an entire herd.

These two giraffes were hitting each other with large swings of their necks:

Splendid South Africa-p-281.jpg

Can't recollect the name of this bird:

Splendid South Africa-p-156.jpg

Red-billed hornbill:

Splendid South Africa-p-160.jpg

Pink Laughing Dove:

Splendid South Africa-p-176.jpg

White Stork:

Splendid South Africa-p-301.jpg

Crested Guineafowl:

Splendid South Africa-p-338.jpg

Owls:

Splendid South Africa-p-528.jpg

This must look menacing at night:

Splendid South Africa-p-217.jpg

Side shots:

Splendid South Africa-p-554.jpg

Splendid South Africa-p-558.jpg

Splendid South Africa-p-355.jpg

Seeing double!

Splendid South Africa-p-368.jpg

Mug shots in the right attire!

Splendid South Africa-p-380.jpg

Splendid South Africa-p-381.jpg

Last edited by trek : 24th June 2014 at 23:14.
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Old 24th June 2014, 23:54   #22
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Thanks for the travelogue. Some splendid pictures, especially of the Zebra ! Just checking again, is Kruger really a 'true bush experience' ? It appears to be too sanitised, too prim, modern accommodation inside the park kind of a place. Too touristy in other words. Is it exciting, as in that you are in jungle, and not like a really, really big zoo ?
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Old 25th June 2014, 09:54   #23
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Originally Posted by Vitalstatistiks View Post
Thanks for the travelogue. Some splendid pictures, especially of the Zebra ! Just checking again, is Kruger really a 'true bush experience' ? It appears to be too sanitised, too prim, modern accommodation inside the park kind of a place. Too touristy in other words. Is it exciting, as in that you are in jungle, and not like a really, really big zoo ?
Thanks Vitalstatistiks.

Well, the main rest camps like Satara, Skukuza, Lower Sabie, Olifants etc do have facilities in the form of the proper cottages, restaurants etc. In that way yea the area inside the rest camps is sanitized. However if you need a more secluded place to stay there are several other smaller bushveld camps like Biyamiti etc wherein people can stay in tents etc (though the camp will be still surrounded by an electrical fence).

Even in bigger rest camps, there are designated camping areas inside and most locals do carry their camping equipment and pitch a tent to stay. However, if you refer to the bush experience in terms of pitching a tent anywhere in the jungle and spending a night, then that's not possible in Kruger. You need to stay at any of the rest camps for your own safety and to avoid the man-animal conflict as much as possible.

And regarding the feeling of being in a zoo, that's never gonna happen since Kruger is way too big (size of a small country!) and there is no guarantee that you will spot animals! Most of it depends on luck as you can never guess what will turn up in your tracks. That 'zoo' type of experience usually happens when people go to smaller private reserves (many in SA) which contain few animals and the guide knows for sure where to spot them.

Also, all main rest camps in Kruger organize walking safaris / hikes (with an armed guide) through the jungle which can really up the bush quotient!
Be assured that when in Kruger, you are in a REAL jungle.

Last edited by trek : 25th June 2014 at 10:04.
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Old 25th June 2014, 09:57   #24
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Originally Posted by KevinP View Post
Yebo! spent most of my formidable years in the Southern Part of Africa, from Cape to Kinshasa!

If you fell in love with SA you have to visit Zambia...its called the real Afirca http://www.lonelyplanet.com/zambia
Thanks for the recommendation, hoping we make a trip soon to Zambia. So do you miss SA in any way? How often do you make a trip back there?
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Old 25th June 2014, 11:09   #25
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Some Additional Details regarding the trip planning and approx. costs:

Mumbai-Johannesburg-Mumbai Return flight - Approx. INR 48k/pp (pre-booked)

Capetown:

Capetown Accomodation (4 nights) - INR 15500 (pre-booked)

Taxi to Capetown hotel - R 300 (In case if you land during daytime, there are MyCiti buses which transport you to the city for about R 40/pp)

Hop on Hop off Bus - R 270/pp for a two day pass

Two Oceans Aquarium - R 125/pp

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens - R 45/pp

Table Mountain Cable Car & Entry - R 215/pp

Half Day trip to Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope & Boulders Beach - R 530/pp (booked via a local operator)

Franschhoek Motor Museum - R 60/pp

Full Day Meals - Approx. R 150/pp (if you eat out at all times). Since our hotel room had a microwave and utensils, we cooked basic meals few times.

Evening Taxis back to hotel - Approx. R 30 to R 50

Garden Route:

Bungy Jump (Face Adrenalin) - R 790/pp
Pics + Videos (shot from onsite cameras) - R 200/pp

Elephant Sanctuary - R 475/pp

Birds of Eden - R 160/pp

Overnight Stay at Backpackers Hostel in Wilderness - R 450

Overnight Stay at George - R 830. This cost can be minimized depending on your choice of hotel. We were a bit tired to hunt more for hotels and hence just checked in on seeing a decent place.

Car Hire for the Garden Route - Approx. R 1050 inclusive of one way drop off charge of R400 since we picked up the car from Capetown and returned it at George Airport.

The Figo (Tempest Car Hire) we rented was a heavy drinker, we spent about R 900 on fuel for the two day journey.

Kruger National Park:

Distance between Johannesburg & Kruger Gates (south) - approx. 550kms (5 hours drive). Keep in mind that entrance gates to Kruger shut around 5:30 pm and so if you have a late afternoon flight landing in Johannesburg, then it will be difficult to reach Kruger the same day.

We stayed overnight at Graskop Hotel en route to Kruger since we wanted to drive the Panorama Route. We paid R 900 for a one night stay. Though the hotel was very boutique in nature and very beautiful, we did not want to spend so much for just an overnight stay. Anyway, there are other options available in the small town.

Accommodation in Kruger Rest Camps - Approx. INR 22500 for 4 nights (pre-booked)

Conservation Fees - R 248/pp per night.

Car Hire - VW Polo Vivo - R 4500 for 6 days.
She was very economical with the mileage, we filled her up with approx. R 1400 of fuel and traveled more than 1800 kms.

We cooked both the times during our stay in Kruger and it was actually fun making meals in the open kitchen.

The above listed are all the major expenses, there were many other including shopping for souvenirs, tips, grocery shopping, local sim recharge etc.

I hope I am not missing out on any other details, will add them later on if I recollect.

Regarding the best time to visit Kruger, the dry season between May to September offers you a good chance to spot animals as the bush thins out and it's easier to see across distance. Bookings have to be done through the official site: www.sanparks.org.

Also if visiting during this time, do visit the Hermanus town along the Garden route as that's when a lot of whales come really close to the shore and its counted as one of the best land based whale watching destination in the world.

Last edited by trek : 25th June 2014 at 11:18.
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Old 25th June 2014, 12:40   #26
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Thanks for the recommendation, hoping we make a trip soon to Zambia. So do you miss SA in any way? How often do you make a trip back there?
Danny Archer (Leonardo Di Caprio) in Blood Diamond: T.I.A. This is Africa. Sums it all up.

I haven't managed to go back in a while, Its an experience living there and will always miss it!
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Old 25th June 2014, 12:41   #27
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Thanks padikpanther. I am eager to hear about your experience at Ngorongoro. You should put up a travelogue!
Will put up more pictures shortly.
Thanks trek. Its already up there in the travelogues section. When time permits you can visit the thread 'Who Let the Bulls out', its 4 years old now
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Old 25th June 2014, 14:13   #28
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Beautiful insightful travelogue from Africa! Loved those animal pictures; really nice. I also plan to visit S.Africa when I will get time for it. You were really lucky to spot the lions there I feel. Nice pictures too.
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Old 26th June 2014, 22:44   #29
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Thanks trek. Its already up there in the travelogues section. When time permits you can visit the thread 'Who Let the Bulls out', its 4 years old now
What a superb and epic journey you guys did. Very few people from India would dare to travel like this. Loved reading your experience. Cheers
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Old 26th June 2014, 22:46   #30
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Beautiful insightful travelogue from Africa! Loved those animal pictures; really nice. I also plan to visit S.Africa when I will get time for it. You were really lucky to spot the lions there I feel. Nice pictures too.
Thanks for reading W.A.G.7 Appreciate your post.
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