African Safari Adventure

How to have the ultimate bucket list African Safari in South Africa

For many people it is a bucket list item to take part in a true African Safari. Now there are many countries in Africa that offer this extraordinary opportunity. What is there not to like about it? I believe that’s why it’s so high on many peoples bucket list.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
About to start my first Safari

There are hundreds of safari packages in many African nations. Some of which are extremely expensive because they are the most popular. I am talking about Kenya and the world famous Masa Mara or the Serengeti in Tanzania, all are outstanding safari choices if you wallet and budget allows for it. There are also countries like Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa all offering African Safari packages, which are a little kinder to the wallet. It is South Africa that I choose for my Safari destination and the world famous Kruger National Park. In this blog post I will give you a detailed account of how it all works, what I saw and when and how you can also have this amazing experience.

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Kruger National Park

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - Kruger National Park
A birds eye of Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park was registered as a protected area in 1898. It is the first EVER area of land to be protected in South Africa. However, it was not until 1926 that the Kruger National Park got its current name and become the national park of South Africa. The National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa covering an area of 7,523 square miles (similar to the size of Wales) and has UNESCO World Heritage Site Status. 

Kruger National Park is located in the north east of South Africa. Open to the public with the entire area now protected. The National Park is a huge safari park offering daily and night-time safari’s with guides/rangers.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - Baggage Reclaim in Hoedspruit Airport
Baggage Reclaim in the African bush

Kruger National Park offers sightings of all the big five (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Cape Buffalo) but the park has all the other animals you would expect to see in Africa like Hippos, Impala, Wildebeest, Zebra, Cheetah, Jackals, if you’re lucky enough African Wild Dogs. There are 17 different lodges dotted around the park. The park is split into 9 different zones with the oldest and most famous being Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Sabi Sands lies in the south west of the park. It is here at Sabi Sands Game Reserve that I choose to have my African Safari Adventure and what an adventure it was.

How to get there?

As I mentioned, Kruger National Park is massive, it is nearly the size of Wales in the UK and it has 3 small airports dotted about the park. I flew from London Heathrow Airport to O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and then got a connecting flight to Hoedspruit airport. This is one of the most popular airports in Kruger National Park. From arriving at the airport I had arranged collection all part of the package I had chosen.

The driver was extremely helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. The drive from the airport to Sabi Sands is approx. 1hr 40mins but because we were talking so much it only seemed like 20 mins. I totally recommend arranging collection and drop off, it does not cost to much more and it saves all the stress of car hire and then trying to find the reserve. The roads are also not great and for much of the drive it is on dirt tracks so allowing someone else who knows the area to do it is something I really recommend.

Elephant Plains Safari Lodge

There are many lodges and reserves to choose from in Kruger National Park to complete your African Safari and the choice for me was Elephant Plains Lodge in the Sabi Sands. From arriving at the lodge I could tell I was going to enjoy this adventure. The lodge is beautiful and open planned. The moment I arrived, I was greeted and shown to my room, my cases were taken for me and I was able to settle in. There was a knock on my door, it was Keizer. He would be by Safari Guide for the next 3 days, introduced himself and asked me a few questions and because I arrived around 14:20pm I was able to join the afternoon Safari (more on that a little later).

The Lodge is stunning; there is a bar, restaurant, and two swimming pools. The main pool is an infinity pool and one of the days, I sat in the pool and watched a herd of Elephants in the distance grazing. I will never forget that moment. The meals and food are all catered for you and included in the price and there is free tea and coffee in your room. I have a full tour of the lodge on my You Tube channel and I have put the video below so you can see what the lodge is like for yourselves.

As you can see the lodge was perfect. The surroundings were outstanding, the staff were exceptional and the food was out of this world. It is the perfect base for your African Safari Adventure. However, for me the best was yet to come.

African Safari Adventure

Firstly, I need to start by saying and clarifying I have been on safari before. I had the pleasure in 2010 on taking part on a safari in Game Reserve in South Africa. However, this was just a day visit to a game reserve which was still amazing but it is not and was not a true African Safari adventure. I was about to embark on my first. For me, I had always wanted to complete a Safari in Kruger National Park.  

As I mentioned there are many game lodges through-out Kruger National Park and they all offer the same in terms of safari. Many people have been asking me about the actual safari and I have given a detailed description below on all the drives that I took part in while staying at Elephant Plains Lodge in hope that you too get a great understanding on how they work. The thing to remember here is, the African summer gets extremely hot. Sometimes it can reach over 40C in Kruger National Park during the peak of the day and it’s just to hot for the animals to be doing anything.

Two game drives are spilt across the day. The first of the day starts at 05:30am before it gets to hot and your second starts at 16:00pm when it starts to cool down a little. Each drive lasts approx. 3hrs maybe longer, depending on what is around. This means animals are more active in these times and you have much more chance at seeing the Big 5.

The Big Five

Another question I have been asked a few times about the African Safari . So let me try to explain.

The term, “the big five” is actual centuries old. It’s a term used in the 19th century when hunting was big business. Kings, Queens and Emperor’s would be queuing for a chance to hunt these animals. They became known as the five most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. The name stuck hence today they are referred to as “the big five”.   

Lion

Maybe one of the most sought after animals in all of Africa. Nothing speaks Africa then a Lion. It is powerful, intelligent and beautiful and that is why everyone wants to catch of glimpse of the “king of beasts”

Elephant

The world’s largest and heaviest land animal. The African Elephant can stand at nearly 3m tall and weight 7 tons. They live in herds which is controlled by the matriarch. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to see a tiny baby elephant?

Buffalo

The most dangerous animal out of the big five. Yes, more dangerous than a Lion. Buffalo’s kill on average 150 people per year in Africa. They are moody, aggressive and territorial animals and not to be taken lightly at all.

Rhino

The second largest animal to walk on land. The sad part however, sightings are becoming less and less as this animal is being poached to near extinction. Any sighting of a Rhino in the wild is a truly magical experience. The Rhino is classified as “critically endangered”.

Leopard

the most majestic animal of the big five and the most elusive. Everyone wants to catch a sighting of a leopard in the wild. They are considered to be one of the most successful predator in Africa. They spend most of their time in trees.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - Safari Big Five

DRIVE ONE.

As I mentioned, I arrived at the lodge in the middle of the afternoon so I was able to catch that afternoon’s drive. Meaning this would be my first African Safari in Kruger National Park. I had expectations (we all do) of course, I wanted to see the big five. That was my goal for the next 4 days and 3 nights. I would be a very happy man if I could leave Kruger National Park and say without any doubt, I had seen the big five in person. In the wild.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
Tracker, myself and Guide (Keizer) from left to right.

I got into the jeep at 15:50 excited, a little nervous. I had NO idea what was about to unfold but I knew no matter what I was going to do it. Meet the other guests that would be riding with us on this afternoons drive. The Jeep can hold nine adults and there was only three of us on this drive. We meet, shook hands and introduced ourselves. Our guide for the afternoon introduced us. Keizer told us he would be our guide for the entire 4 days. He introduced himself and gave us a little health and safety briefing. These are wild animals and anything is possible on any drive. There must not be no shouting, no standing up in the vehicle and getting out the vehicle unless Keizer says it is safe to do so.

We set off, we left the lodge. Drove around the corner, literally 4 mins and there in the tree with an Impala kill was a Leopard. I could not believe it. We stopped by the tree and watched her eat her food, then to the surprise of everyone on board – our tracker spotted the two leopard cubs in a bush nearby. What a start to this safari. As we sat and watched the leopard and her cubs, some Hyena turned up hoping for some food to drop out the tree. We then had to leave the area as another vehicle wanted to view the leopards so we left and carried on, what else might we see. I had finally seen a leopard in the wild.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - Leopard with a kill
Female Leopard in a tree with a kill

We drove around for about 20 minutes to see what else we could find; I saw some Impala, different array of birds like the kingfisher and an African Eagle. We then got to a watering hole and there sat in the water-cooling down in the intense heat was one single male buffalo. We sat again and watched. Within 30 minutes of my first drive, I had seen two of the big five. I was high on life and at this rate; I might see all the big five by the end of the night! After watching the bull we left him in peace as he was getting a little agitated by our presence.

We bumbled on, we saw a few more Impala, bushbuck, Egyptian Geese and any more birds (to many to mention). We drove for around 1hr or so and stopped for a coffee break, during the coffee break our tracker discovered Hyena tracks in the road and he said they looked very fresh, maybe a few hours old. So after coffee we headed off to follow them, just round the corner to where we were having coffee was three Hyena. Literally, like 10/12 meters away. We stopped and watched them and they were moving quickly. They seemed to be on the trail of something, so we followed them.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - Buffalo
A huge Buffalo cooling off in a waterhole

They lead us to another sighting of another leopard. This leopard was perched on a fallen tree and as she was laying in the evening sunshine, she looked stunning. What a beautiful looking animal. She was also giving out a call. Keizer told us that it is a mating call. She was advertising herself to any males that could be passing through the area. Amazing. Again, we left her in peace and carried on, the sun was setting and the sky was looking amazing, I saw some of the most stunning sunsets while in Kruger National Park. We stopped to enjoy the setting sun and as the sun set on my first drive and first day I knew I was in the best place I could possibly be. I was one lucky person. What a brilliant first day on my African Safari.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
Stunning Female leopard enjoying the evening sunset

DRIVE TWO.

My first early drive and my first full day in Elephant Plains Lodge.

Overnight there was a huge thunderstorm, so when I finally did wake up it was still raining and everything was a little damp and wet. But that wasn’t a bad thing as it was a little cooler and that means more animals would be up and about today.

I meet the gang and Keizer at 05:20 ready to start the drive. We left the lodge and headed around the corner again to see how the leopard and her cubs were getting on. We found a clan of Hyena this time hanging around the tree and the Impala smelt really badly now. This time we could only see one of the cubs up a tree trying to stay clear of the Hyena below.

We left, drove on and found a big herd of Zebra and Impala. We watched as there was a tiny little Zebra foal running around and being all cute. Keizer said the foal was a few weeks old at best. The little foal was having a great time chasing the Impala around. We then saw a bushbuck, he was a beautiful animal. We left and carried on, it was still raining at this point. I wore waterproofs that were given to us. These were to help keep us dry and warm. They did the job so we drove around for maybe 1hr trying to find some animals. Keizer got a call on his radio (something in another language) so he raced off. I figured it has to be something important.

Lions had been spotted in the reserve and we got there before anyone else. In fact, three Lioness were sat under a bush trying to escape the rain. Which was getting more persistent and heavy by the minute. They did give us a little show, got up, and walked about a little but that is about all they did. Again, I was not bothered. That is three of the big five I have now seen. In less than 24hrs and now, I only have two more animals to go. Keizer had no choice at this time but to call an end to drive as the rain was intense and we were all getting extremely wet. Tested to the limit, the waterproofs were starting to leak.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
Trying to stay dry with the lions

DRIVE THREE.

By the afternoon, the rain had stopped and the sun was back out. The afternoon drive was happening and the first order of the day was a stop just by the lodge to check on the leopards with the kill. Again, Hyena surrounded them. One cub was in the tree eating the Impala and as they were doing so, she dropped the entire rest of the carcass and the Hyena clan went crazy. I have never seen or heard anything like it and I cannot thank Keizer enough for being there at the right time to allow us to see that.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
Wildebeest herd grazing

We headed off after such a wonderful and dramatic display in search of anything else. I stumbled upon Wildebeest, Zebra and Impala. We also saw for the first time Hippo. We stopped by a water hole and there was 4 or 5 Hippo in the water hole. It was fun watching them. We had been into the drive about 1hr by now and there was talk of another Lion in the area, the big male. Therefore, we rushed into the area of the reserve to see if we could see him. It took the tracker a little while but he did manage to find the big male lion who was just laying down and chilling out. After all, it is his land.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - male lion
The “King of Beasts” a fully grown male lion

He is the “king of beasts”. He was massive. You could see the power, the muscles and strength. When he looked at you. You wondered what he might be thinking. He was an intimidating animal for sure and he differently had my respect. A great sighting again. We drove around a little more and it started raining again. It is my luck, I have come to Africa for sunshine and I get rain! However, it was not too heavy at this time so we continued on our bumble. Some more activity on the radio, again they were speaking a language I did not understand so had no idea what was happening but Keizer certainly was not hanging around.

To the delight and shock to all of us, Keizer had given us the opportunity to see the extremely rare and endangered African Wild Dogs. When we spotted them, I could hardly believe it. I never thought I would get to see the dogs let alone a pack of them. Keizer told us that the dogs had literally crossed into the reserve this afternoon so wanted us to see them as they could just as quickly leave by nightfall. What a moment for me and one I will never forget. My first ever sighting of African Wild Dogs or the painted wolf, as they are also known. We left the dogs as the rain got heavier and we headed for the lodge once again.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - African Wild Dogs
The endangered African Wild Dogs

DRIVE FOUR.

It was another early morning drive, a 05:30 drive and you get a wakeup call at 5am each day. I was in the jeep at 05:20 ready to go with the group and this morning the sun was shining and it was already very hot. Maybe like 28 degrees already, so we know today was going to be a hot warm day.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
The grazing herds of the African bush

We left the lodge and checked the leopards again, nothing this time around. However, overnight Keizer did tell us that at 04:20am that morning a leopard was in the reception area of the lodge drinking from the pond. He believes they are still in the area. We came out the lodge and bared a left this time around and after 10mins or so we ran into a huge herd of Wildebeest, there was some very young ones within the herd and the parents were being protective. There was also some Impala with them. There is always strength in the numbers in the African bush.

It was then onto the waterhole, as it was heating up very quickly Keizer thought there might be some animals at or heading for water so we headed for the largest body of water on Elephant Plains. We found Hippo, African Fish Eagles and a redbill hornbill bird (Zazu for the Lion King).

We left the waterhole and headed further into the reserve to see what we might find.

Our tracker found some Lion footprints again in the track and said they were extremely fresh, so we headed in that direction. Our tracker told us that the Lions were close as the tracks were getting fresher and more of them. Keizer said we are getting close to maybe seeing some Lions. Our tracker told us the footprints stopped meaning they went into the bush he believes there could be 4 or 5 different lions, this might be our chance to see the pride.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - lions on a hunt
Lions on the hunt for breakfast

Amazing to me, our tracker got off the vehicle and headed into the bush! I am not kidding! Keizer then drove off. I DO NOT WANT TO see a man be eaten today. Keizer drove around for what seemed like a lifetime, but was maybe 8 minutes or so and then our tracker got on the radio and announced he had found the Lions! Our tracker guided Keizer into the bush and there they were. 3 female lioness and it looked like they were on the hunt. We stayed with the lions for some time and followed them through the African bush; Keizer would explain their behaviour and what they were up to. It was fantastic.

It was then time to return to the lodge for breakfast. What another brilliant drive, on the way back we spotted Hyena again. Always a delight to see them. That would end another brilliant drive. 

BUSH WALK.

Yes, you may think I am crazy but this is a thing. If the weather conditions allow then the rangers will take you out on the reserve on foot in the hope, you see some of the things you would not see on the vehicle. Today would be that day as the weather was exceptional.

The bush walks start at 09:30 and it was already 33 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. We had a safety briefing from Keizer. It was very strict on this one as we could potentially meet any animal in Africa after all there are NO fences or gates and we know there is a leopard close to the lodge.

We began the bush walk, we left the lodge and turned right. I walked along the track and the first thing Keizer wanted to show us from the different types of plants and flowers in the reserve and which animals might use them for different things. We also had a demonstration on elephant dung, as there was a rather large pile, maybe 4 to 6 days old meaning Elephants had passed right by the lodge recently. As we walked we were shown different animal prints in the mud. Keizer explained how you can tell what animal it is and which direction it’s travelling.

We saw Hippo. Impala, Leopard and Wild Dog prints all along the walk. As we walked a little further into the bush, Keizer demanded everyone be still and extremely quiet as up ahead was a big bull elephant eating the trees. It was great to see the elephant, he was unaware we were there and we quieting left him to his breakfast. We walked a little further into the bush and again, Keizer would explain the different plants. He showed us the tree frog eggs and how the fall into water. He also showed us some small geckos and we saw a big bull spider. I loved it. We started making our way back to the lodge as everyone was soaked in sweat. It really was getting hot. On the way, back however we spotted a herd of Giraffe.   

DRIVE FIVE.

This would turn out to be my last evening drive in Kruger National Park as I was scheduled to leave tomorrow lunchtime. I wanted this drive to be as epic as the rest but on this trip, there were still two of the big five I had not seen (hope you are counting along with me). We left desperately hoping that I would get to see the last two remaining animals I had not yet seen in this amazing place.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - African sunsets
I saw some of the most beautiful sunsets

We left the lodge and my expectations were high for my final evening drive. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky this afternoon and 38 degrees at 4pm when we left. I was ready for the next 4 hours, and maybe even more so then the other drives. The sun was so intense this afternoon I had to wear my hoodie to protect my head of sunburn.

We drove out the lodge, starting the drive. We saw a few impala and couple more Zebra, but that was about it for what seemed like ages. Then, we approached a small watering hole and to my amazement, standing in the waterhole like a gift from god was the biggest, most magnificent Rhino I had ever seen. He was a lone male bull but he was in prime condition. He looked incredible. I was so happy and excited. I could not thank Keizer enough for giving me this opportunity. That’s also another one of the big five meaning I had one more animal left to see on that list, and I was still hoping that today would be that day.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
A very special moment for sure.

We stayed and watched the rhino for a little while to just enjoy the moment. It was a moment I will not forget in a hurry. We left the rhino to enjoy the sunset. As the sun started to set in the African bush, it was also starting to set on my last full day in Kruger National Park and I could not help but reflect on my time here and all the amazing things I had seen.

We stopped for a little coffee and tea break and was able to get out the jeep to enjoy the setting sun, which was also looking beautiful this evening.

We stopped by another big herd of Impala, Bushbucks, Kudu and Zebra as we started making our way back to the lodge. On the way back we stopped at the leopard den to see if anything was happening and not much was taking place although one of the cubs was still up a tree just hanging on a brunch. This would be the end of the drive and the end of my final day in Kruger on this epic African Safari adventure.

DRIVE SIX.

My last drive in Kruger National Park and last trip out in the African bush on my last African Safari. It was as always an early start, a 5am wake-up call and 05:30am drive. All my expectations throughout this trip had been meet and this morning I woke up with NO expectations at all. Just a joy and excitement on what we may find on my last drive.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure

It was not long after we left the lodge that we came across a small herd of Zebra and Giraffe. Is there anything better that screams African Safari? We watched them for a little while and we discovered they were a family. It was lovely to see and lovely to watch them. We pressed on and about 10 minutes after we came across a herd of Buffalo. There were about 5 or 6 males, known as a baculaor herd hanging out in the morning sunshine. It was getting warm as well, already 27 degrees at 6am. The feeling is, today is going to be a hot day.

We stayed and watched the herd of Buffalo for a while, as we approached them they all got up and started to move off. They did not seem to bothered by us being there, but Keizer kept his distance as these are the most dangerous animals in Africa. Buffalo kill more people in Africa than any other mammal in the bush.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
A herd of Buffalo

We headed off and left the Buffalo to their morning breakfast and we went in search of what else we could find.

Keizer was getting some reaction on the radio, I had no idea what was going on as I could not understand the language but I knew something was going on as Keizer speed up a little and it was as we were on a rally time trial as we started to race through the bush. I could not help but think what we were about to stumble up on.

To my amazement and utter joy what Keizer and the team had managed to find was a huge super herd of elephant. They were moving quickly through the bush and it was a little tough to keep up with them. So Keizer speed ahead of the herd, parked up and we hoped they would walk right past us. Which is exactly what they did. They walked right past the jeep; I could have just reached out and touched them. That is how close they came. 

I could not have been happier and on my last drive, with 45 minutes left to go I can now say I have seen the African Big Five during this trip. Amazing job by the team and I was completely blown away by the entire experience. There is something to be said, in seeing a huge herd of elephant making their way through the bush, going about their daily life. It was everything I had hope it would be and more. They were fantastic and even had little babies in the herd. It was the perfect end to a perfect trip and mind blowing African Safari.   

I can not thank the team at Elephant Plains Lodge for the exceptional work and team work. If it was not for them there is no way I would have seen the safari big five in 3 nights and not only that but to also see the African Wild Dogs was a total unexpected treat and a moment I will never ever forget.

This drive would be the end of my time in Elephant Plains Lodge.

I do just wanted to touch on some other aspects of this trip as these are questions I have been asked by a few people. I want to make sure you have as much information as possible so you can experience the once in a lifetime adventure that I did.

Food & Drink

When you make the booking you are asked to complete a questionnaire, within this questionnaire your asked about your food preferences. Once you’ve completed it, you send it back to the booking agent and then your food is taken care off. Meals are set for you each day. You are not given a menu for example for lunch or dinner. All the meals are carefully planned to meet the guests needs and believe me, they are exceptional dishes. Think of it as a kind of all inclusive package. Breakfast, Lunch and dinner are all included in the booking price.

Here is the look at some of the dishes I had during my 3 night stay in Elephant Plains Lodge.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure - African Safari Lodge Food
Mint Crumble (top left), Breakfast (bottom left), Pork Skewers with rice (bottom right), Meatballs with salad (middle right) and steak with potatoes and veg (top right)

There is also free tea and coffee in the restaurant area and in your rooms if you want it. The bar is also open from early evening until late at night for any drinks with a selection of wines, sprits and beer (charged at extra costs).

If the weather allows, for dinner they sit you outside around the campfire under the stars. It is a beautiful way to see the end of the day. You are able to talk with the other guests on their day in the bush and make friends. It is a real social time and something I always looked forward to, lovely food, great surroundings and fantastic people. Always the perfect end to a brilliant day.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
Dinner in the evenings was perfect under the stars next to the camp fire

Budget/Costs

I am going to be completely honest and transparent for you all so you can see the real costs of this African Safari. This way I hope it helps you to be able to make informed decisions on your next bucket list trip.

Price per Adult £862 for 3 nights

Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Airport Transfers to and from the Lodge. Six Safari Game Drives (AM and PM) and bushwalks if weather allows. Unlimited Tea and Coffee.

Not included: Transport to Johannesburg, transport to Hoedspruit. Tips and alcoholic drinks

If I factor in the flights, that was another £480 which meant this Safari package cost me a grand total of £1,342. That would be the cost per adult. For example for a family of four (if all over the age of 18), the approx. cost would be £5,368.

I totally understand this is not the cheapest of holidays to have, but this is once in lifetime. I know that spending nearly £1.3k on 3 nights away is a lot of money, but for me this was money was well spent. You can get some good deals on Safari Packages, I have seen deals like pay for 3 nights and get a 4th free for example so it is always worth shopping about before you book anything.

Summary

I am finding it hard to find the words to express how great this trip was. I will do my very best to summarise the African Safari adventure but I am finding it hard.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
Birds eye of Kruger National Park and chance to see how big this place really is

There is nothing like taking part in a true African Safari. That is why it is on many bucket lists for many people, it is a dream to be able to see nature in the wild and at its very best. From the different animals, to the plants and the amazing African sunsets there is nothing I would have changed about this trip.

For me it certainly was a bucket list adventure that I had been longing to complete. I urge you if you are reading this and wondering if it is for you do not think about it anymore. If you enjoy nature, enjoy being outside and want the adventure of lifetime then this really is for you. Not only that, but you also get to meet some incredible people as I did.

Elephant Plains Lodge was the perfect place to call home for the African Safari Adventure and I cannot thank the staff and crew enough for looking after me during my stay.

African Safari Bucket List Adventure
Out on an evening drive

I cannot wait to have another African Safari adventure. It is quickly becoming one of my favourite continents. As you may know, I did link this stay as part of a bigger trip in South Africa and the people, food and atmosphere could not have been better. Stop thinking about a safari and start planning one. Believe me when I say, you will not regret it.

You can check out the lodge and flights availability and current prices.

Check flight availability and prices to Johannesburg.

TOP TIPS:

I wanted to share some tips with you, if you are thinking about booking and might have already booked your African Safari here is some information I wish I knew before I went.

  1. When arranging flights into Kruger National Park I would try to make sure you get to the lodge of your choice at around lunchtime of just before 2pm. This will allow you to then take part in that afternoons game drive.
  2. When booking make sure you complete the questionnaire. It will help give the lodge the information and will ensure your stay is much more enjoyable. Do not forget to include food you will NOT eat and food you WILL eat. It helps the chefs plan the meals for your stay.
  3. Kruger National Park is massive. If you are self-driving then please make sure you know your route to the lodge. The signposts within the park are not great and the roads can be tough to negotiate so make sure you plan your route and you know where you are going.
  4. You will need to pay to drive within Kruger National Park. (Because I booked a package the park entrance fee was included) but remember if self-driving you will need some cash for the gates.   
  5. There are three airports in Kruger National Park, make sure you know which one your lodge is the closest too. You can ask your booking agent. Airports in Kruger can be reached via the major cities in South Africa so planning a trip is easy.
  6. I have an essential packing list of items I really recommend you take with you. (You can find the list below).
  7. Most lodges offer the same daily pattern with a few of them differing slightly. However, the majority of lodges in Kruger National Park follow a daily routine (which I have posted). This does not mean you have to obey to the routine, for example if you wanted to sleep in a little on one of the days and skip the 05:30am game drive you are more than welcome to do so. You will need to let your safari guide know the day before so you are not disturbed.
African Safari Bucket List Adventure - Elephant Plains Daily Routine
Tip 7 – Daily Safari Routine

Packing list essentials:

I would like to make sure you have everything you need to ensure your African safari is the best trip you will ever take and so I do have a few recommendations on some essential items I believe you should take in your suitcase.

  • Light Fitting Clothes. The African bush can get extremely hot during the summer months (Dec/Jan/Feb) so light fitting clothes like linen would be great for keeping you cool.
  • Hat. A hat of any kind is essential.
  • Sun Cream. You will need sun cream or sun block for your African safari. Make sure you have plenty with you and put it on a few times a day.
  • Insect Repellent. A bug spray is also essential.Make sure it is a level 5 or more in strength. At the end of the 3 nights I had 11 bites over my body. 
  • Sun Glasses. I would always recommend I decent pair of sun glasses. Make sure they are polarized; this will help when you get to waterholes or if it starts to rain.
  • Light Rain/Water Proof Jacket. You are in nature. It does rain and Kruger National Park is known for its massive thunderstorms. In the 3 nights I was there, we had two. I wish I had brought one with me. It will certainly be going into the case next time. If it was to rain while out in the Jeep, you are provided with waterproof ponchos. At the time that is all I had and it was not enough to keep me complete dry.
  • Waterproof Boots/Shoes. Again, same as above. Having wet feet and then being cold is not fun for anyone. This will just help in the event of a thunderstorm or rainstorm. I am very glad I had mine with me.
  • Camera. For many people this might be the top of the list. I only used my iPhone for this trip, which was enough for me, but after spending time with other guest and meeting new people and seeing their cameras and photos I most certainly will be looking into a new digital camera in 2022. This will just depend on what type of images you want and how you want to use them. I would also if you can, make sure the camera is water resistant or waterproof for when it is raining.  
African Safari Bucket List Adventure

If you do have any further questions regarding the safari or Elephant Plains Lodge please get in touch. You can reach me on Instagram (@SticksW4) or email address (sticks-world@hotmail.com) or use the contact form on this website. 

Until Next Time…

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