Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:36 pm

Hi,
We are two couples who have 6 full days in and around Kruger in February. We will be doing self-drives through the park on the last 4 days, out of Satara and Berg-en-Dal camps, along with a few ranger-guided sunrise/sunset/night guided excursions, but our first two full days are based from the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate (we have a car). This hotel offers a 4:30 AM to 11:30 AM ranger-guided excursions for R1100 pp, which is rather pricey, as well as sunrise/sunset excursions from Kruger Gate for less than half that price. We have certainly heard of the great reputation of Sabi Sands for game viewing, but my question is whether the Sabi Sands excursion is worth the much higher higher price. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

Re: Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:55 pm

I have never done drives at Sabi Sands, but I hear that they are very good, in that the guide will take you to what you would like to see. It is never a given, but it sounds like they get it right most times. They are also allowed to go off-road to get you closer to the sightings, which won't happen in Kruger. If your budget allows for it, I would suggest doing one trip into Sabi Sands. \O

Re: Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:11 pm

Welcome, Dave! \O

I would certainly do at least one, unless you've done a similar thing before?

These sort of things can be spoiled a bit by the heat or rain in February, however, but as Sprocky says it is the best way of guaranteeing Big 5 sightings, compared to self-drive, and you will have come a long way, and expect to see as much as possible! \O

Not sure what the price includes, regarding refreshments etc., but that is pretty standard for the area.

Hope this helps! X#X

Re: Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:41 pm

Welcome Dave

I was, once, with a guide in a private reserve (Ngala)... they have radio to search all what we would like, and like said Sprocky they can go off-road (alas) to have a closer sighting... it's really a plus for us \O

but there was a pack of Wild Dogs... we never found them.... :-(

Re: Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:20 pm

Sounds a bit expensive to me :-? But then again I do not know your budget ;-)

Re: Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:22 pm

During our last trip to South Africa in July 2013, we stayed two days in Elephant Plains, Sabi Sands.
It was expensive but we think that it was worth every penny.

I don't know if the guided drives you are talking are the same thing. We had a couple of guided drives in the Elephant Plains part of the Sabi Sands game reserve, we went off-road, came close to sightings that we hadn't seen in Kruger, like Nan said the drivers have constant contact with our driver and inform each other when they had seen a sighting and even use each others position to mark the location of a certain animal one of the jeeps had seen(in our case Leopards).

If I see the amount of money you have to pay for one Game Drive in Sabi Sands, I would recommend one(or two days) in Elephant Plains Sabi Sands(you will get 1 morning drive, breakfast, guided walk, lunch, late afternoon drive and diner per day) for a little more than you will pay for one Game Drive.

If you want more info you may PM me O:V

Re: Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:49 pm

Hi Dave. A warm welcome to the forum.

If this is going to be your one and only trip to SA then I would say that the R1100.00 would be well spent.

Also, when you analyse the cost - R1100.00 for seven hours which must include a breakfast somewhere along the line. This works out at R157.14 per hour.

I do not how much Kruger Game drives cost these days but I am sure it is more than or pretty close to the R157.14 per hour and you get nothing to eat or drink and you stick to the roads.

In my mind the R1100.00 would be good value for money --------- if my analysis is correct.

In any event I wish a safe trip out here and a fantastic holiday.

Re: Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:47 am

\O
and I forgot... in a very open car... and maybe the only passenger... that is a plus too O/\

Re: Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Sat Jan 11, 2014 11:10 am

Welcome Dave-Canada!

Lots of good reasons already being mentioned. I'd do it as well. Although I didn't really appreciate the pampering of the private game reserve we stayed at some years ago, the drives where fantastic. We would ask for a particular critter and the tracker would look for spoors and find them for us. No guarantee, but pretty close to it.

vinkie, would you share more info with all of us please? Even some pix of the camp would be appreciated. \O

Re: Sabi Sand early AM safari from Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:48 pm

I agree with what was said before. When we stayed at a lodge in the Masai Mara the drives were great and the guide fantastic but I think it makes a difference whether you are a guest at a lodge or a day visitor. When we went on a sunset drive to Sabi Sands from Hazyview it was the worst drive ever.

I think as most of the lodges are very expensive they do not like any regular tourists on their roads and there might be only one reserve to allow drives.

We had a very windy and unpleasant ride to Sabi Sands in an open safari vehicle. On the way to our reserve we saw some zebras and warthogs. On the actual drive we saw virtually nothing. Finally there was a leopard and I was the only one to see its back and tail as it was moving into the bush behind us. After that they tried to find it for us and drove like mad not looking for anything else but to no avail.

I did not go on a drive from the Protea Hotel. They might be better but from my experience I would not recommend going on that very expensive drive.