As part of my Kruger National Park blog series I wanted to offer some insight into the SAN Parks accommodation in Kruger National Park. I hope this will be of use to anyone planning a trip to Kruger.
First things first, the SAN Parks (South African National Parks) website is fantastic! When looking to book accommodation for our adventure I trawled a lot of the forums across the internet and found very little reference to this website or the capability of it. In fact, I was labouring under the misapprehension that you had to call and email to book any SAN Parks accommodation, which would be a slow and cumbersome process. This is not the case. The website http://sanparks.org.za/ is fantastically efficient. Once you have registered you can book all your accommodation online, stating your preferences for accommodation types, check pricing and review up to date availability and make live bookings. One thing to be aware of, the booking engine of the website closes for a couple of hours maximum per day (circa 11pm GMT) to allow updates to occur, though in reality we found that it was back online after half an hour… it’s not a big issue at all, just ensure you don’t try and book a holiday at midnight like we did!
What’s more – if you want to change your accommodation mid holiday, the receptionists at the rest camps are very accommodating. For example, after heeding the words of wisdom from a local Kruger expert, we decided to trade our Mopani accommodation for Satara, to enable us to spend more time in the game rich central area of Kruger National Park. Availability permitting, this was actioned in the drop of a hat by our receptionist at Shingwedzi and no fee was levied – despite the change being requested barely 24 hours in advance. Great service!
I honestly had no idea what to expect of the SAN Parks accommodation. When we’ve safari’d in Kenya and South Africa before we’ve been in lodges and camps where we are cocooned safely in a lush and extremely comfortable environment where everything is done for you…All you need to do is get out of bed in the morning and everything from then on is handed to you. We knew Kruger National Park would be different -that’s why we wanted to try it. Knowing this, and after reviewing the images on the SAN Parks website and visiting trip advisor, I had set my expectations at a hostel (very basic) standard of accommodation and expected little more – boy, was I in for a surprise! The accommodation is fantastic!
We stayed at the following 5 camps, for two nights each…
Punda Maria, see http://www.krugerpark.co.za/Kruger_National_Park_Lodging_&_Camping_Guide-travel/punda-maria-camp.html I have written a specific review about Punda Maria for anyone interested in staying there.
Shingwedzi, see http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/camps/shingwedzi/default.php I have written a specific review about Shingwedzi for anyone interested in staying there.
Bateleur Bush Camp, see http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/camps/bateleur/default.php I have written a specific review about Bateleur for anyone interested in staying there.
Satara, see http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/camps/satara/ I have written a specific review about Satara for anyone interested in staying there.
Tamboti Tented camp, see http://www.krugerpark.co.za/Kruger_National_Park_Satellite_Camps-travel/tamboti-tent-camp.html I have written a specific review about Tamboti for anyone interested in staying there.
In summary, on a self drive in Kruger, for as little as £50 a night you can have access to a fantastically equipped hut with a kitchen, A/C, an amazingly comfy bed, very friendly neighbours, a fantastic warm shower and Big 5 game on your doorstep. To put this into perspective, the price difference between high end Kenya lodge accommodation and SAN Parks rest camps can be as much as $930 a night per couple! The entire holiday to Kruger for us both this year (flights, accommodation, car hire, food, petrol) cost less than our 3 nights in a high end Kenyan lodge in 2010. Would I trade either experience? No way! But after investing in quality guides in our safaris previously we are delighted that we have found a cost effective way to curb our safari obsession. The question is….how soon can we go back and stay in these places again?
Photos taken during our South African safari are available in our Taraji Blue online photo gallery.