Travel

South Africa Overland Safari Tours

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 19th, 2019 6:58 pm
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
9660 posts
1344 upvotes

South Africa Overland Safari Tours

With Antarctica out of the way (although I want to plan to go back again), I am setting my sights on South Africa as a first African trip.

It seems that South Africa may be a good start: South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Was hoping to see the following things at once: Kruger, Okavanga Delta, Nata, Victoria Falls, Chobe, etc.

Has anyone done something similar? Any pointers and tips on where to start? I’ve seen itineraries but not how “comfort” is as they describe. On road and accommodation.

Any tips on budgeting your spending there on water bottles and food/snacks while on tour?

Thanks!
30 replies
Sr. Member
Dec 20, 2005
563 posts
68 upvotes
Just rent a car and do a self-drive in the Kruger National Park. I stayed at the Lower Sabie camp last month and the amenities were great. Lots of wildlife around too. Much cheaper and enjoyable to do it this way.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
9660 posts
1344 upvotes
mcbg1 wrote:
Apr 8th, 2019 9:12 am
Just rent a car and do a self-drive in the Kruger National Park. I stayed at the Lower Sabie camp last month and the amenities were great. Lots of wildlife around too. Much cheaper and enjoyable to do it this way.
So do Kruger yourself. What about the other areas?
Sr. Member
Dec 20, 2005
563 posts
68 upvotes
speedyforme wrote:
Apr 8th, 2019 9:44 am
So do Kruger yourself. What about the other areas?
You could also take a side trip to Victoria Falls and do Chobe for a night or two. Being able to see the animals from the water gives you a different perspective. I would also suggest you look into Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. Not as touristic and developed but definitely the highlight of my many trips to Africa. Very affordable too compared to other parks.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 5, 2004
1410 posts
334 upvotes
Toronto
Well, chances are you will spend far less money going to Antarctica than doing the trip you described, hitting all of the countries( I've been to all of the places you mentioned)

Personally, I wouldn't want to keep going to numerous game parks. Expenses aside, once you see all the lions and zebras in one park, they won't be much of interests any longer. At least this is what I observed on my trips: first time people see the animals they are excited and by 4th-5th day, nobody gets up with a sight of a lion nearby as they've been seeing them every day. You can also do a lot of parks as day-trips too, to save money ( if that's your goal) There are numerous options from Zambia's Victoria Falls where you can do a day trip to nearby parks in nearby countries. Those are just some thoughts.

I just came back from South Africa. It is a very easy country to self drive. Car rental is cheap too, especially if you can drive manual.

I would actually suggest you consider Namibia. Gorgeous country, you can drive there from South Africa


1 thing I have to mention, some car rental companies won't allow you to drive out of South Africa. Others have restrictions for certain countries, so inquire during booking where you can and cannot drive. Zimbabwe may be on the forbidden list.
Dmitri Markine Wedding Photography: My 500pix||My Flickr||My Pinterest||My Instagram
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
9660 posts
1344 upvotes
demi2004 wrote:
Apr 8th, 2019 12:05 pm
Well, chances are you will spend far less money going to Antarctica than doing the trip you described, hitting all of the countries( I've been to all of the places you mentioned)

Personally, I wouldn't want to keep going to numerous game parks. Expenses aside, once you see all the lions and zebras in one park, they won't be much of interests any longer. At least this is what I observed on my trips: first time people see the animals they are excited and by 4th-5th day, nobody gets up with a sight of a lion nearby as they've been seeing them every day. You can also do a lot of parks as day-trips too, to save money ( if that's your goal) There are numerous options from Zambia's Victoria Falls where you can do a day trip to nearby parks in nearby countries. Those are just some thoughts.

I just came back from South Africa. It is a very easy country to self drive. Car rental is cheap too, especially if you can drive manual.

I would actually suggest you consider Namibia. Gorgeous country, you can drive there from South Africa


1 thing I have to mention, some car rental companies won't allow you to drive out of South Africa. Others have restrictions for certain countries, so inquire during booking where you can and cannot drive. Zimbabwe may be on the forbidden list.
Thank you for that perspective. I found a few and wasn't sure what to make of it. Sounds good but also sounds like lots of driving on a bus. Having said that, this is my first taste of Africa so I wanted to see how much I can cover so if I wanted to come back and explore more than I can slow it down. Also, it may be a place I would prefer to have someone guide me and take me around (tour).

This was one I was looking at, def seems more affordable than Antarctica IMO:

https://www.detourafrica.co.za/tours/af ... -days.html
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
5766 posts
843 upvotes
Last year we took an eight day mobile camping safari in Botswana. We were just four guests (got lucky) and we loved it. We specifically didn't want a lodge based safari but you can certainly choose that instead. We booked with Anton and Rebecca at Lelobu Safaris and would do so again in a heartbeat. I know camping safaris aren't for everyone but we loved it. We didn't have to do any of the work (like with a participation safari) or cooking. We rode around in an open sided safari jeep and had an amazing guide (who also does freelance work and can arrange stuff for people privately if anyone is interested). All food, water, booze (beer/wine), pop, juice is included.


After Botswana, we found our own way to Zimbabwe (easy), stayed a few days near Vic Falls, and then found our way to Zambia (easy) to swim at the top of Vic Falls before flying back to South Aftrica. We then rented a car for 17 (?) days and drove around Kwa Zulu Natal & Free State: Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, St Lucia, south Drakensberg (visited Lesotho from there), then drove up to the north Drakensberg for lots of hiking. A few nights in Clarens (for Golden Gate Highlands hiking) before heading back to Johannesburg. Driving was super easy to arrange, get around, etc. We mainly stayed in self catering units and did our own cooking for dinner. We packed snacks and lunches for days on the road.

We stayed two nights in iMfolozi and 1 night in Hluhluwe. The former was amazing for us! In the St Lucia area we visited iSimangaliso Wetland park, did the hippo and croc cruise, went whale watching (we chose the right season lol), did a night safari. The hiking in the Drakensberg was nothing short of amazing. We did the Amphitheater hike, the chain ladders hike, Tugela gorge hike, and hikes in GGH NP.

Ok, I could go on for ages so if you're interested in more info, ask away!!!

ETA: forgot to say that our safari included the Okavango, Moremi, Kwai, Chobe, Savuti

https://www.botswanabudgetsafaris.com/2 ... tovicfalls

Also, FWIW, we went to many different parks and never got tired of seeing wildlife. I mean, you might eventually slow down instead of stopping to see zebras and impala but I can honestly say that we never got tired of seeing animals.
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
5766 posts
843 upvotes
speedyforme wrote:
Apr 8th, 2019 9:44 am
So do Kruger yourself. What about the other areas?
If you decide to drive in this area, I'd suggest taking a look at the Blyde Canyon. That will be our next visit to South Africa: Cape Town, Kruger, and Blyde Canyon :)
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2015
2301 posts
1436 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
speedyforme wrote:
Apr 8th, 2019 9:44 am
So do Kruger yourself. What about the other areas?
You can def Drive Kruger yourself (did that over Christmas 2017 / New Years.

We drove from Johannesburg to Kruger. There’s tons of safari lodges (we stayed at Imbali Safari Lodge and it was awesome). From there we drove over and stayed in Hazyview (check out Tanamera Lodge). We drove the Panoramic Route (a must!). From there we flew to Victoria Falls for 3 days.

After South Africa we went to Mauritius for a few days of relaxation.

Price wise it depends when you go.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
9660 posts
1344 upvotes
Thanks guys, it looks like from the sample itinerary I posted, it looks like it covers most of your recommendations.

The only hesitation we have is doing it ourselves (driving etc). We'd prefer to be taken around.

Also my husband doesn't want camping, I'm OK with it which is why we are looking at "accommodation" service level.

With that said, is there anything glaring from this sample itinerary that doesn't seem good?

https://www.detourafrica.co.za/tours/af ... -days.html
Deal Addict
Jun 15, 2015
2301 posts
1436 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
speedyforme wrote:
Apr 9th, 2019 7:30 am
Thanks guys, it looks like from the sample itinerary I posted, it looks like it covers most of your recommendations.

The only hesitation we have is doing it ourselves (driving etc). We'd prefer to be taken around.

Also my husband doesn't want camping, I'm OK with it which is why we are looking at "accommodation" service level.

With that said, is there anything glaring from this sample itinerary that doesn't seem good?

https://www.detourafrica.co.za/tours/af ... -days.html
I love animals - but after 4 nights on a safari I was done. That itinerary exhausts me- but that’s just me.

You don’t need to drive around Kruger yourself. Sorry I should of clarified. When you stay at a “Safari Lodge” there are 2 game drives per day- one at 6am and another in the afternoon at 4:30pm with a guide (times may vary depending on when you go). We never had more then 6 people in our Jeep and our own personal guide. Half way through the game drive (which are 3-4 hours each) we would go to a gorgeous lookout point and have drinks and snacks that the ranger took with him. During the day you are free to do what you want at the camp (they offer hikes and other activities) OR you can just hang out by your own personal pool as the animals walk by. Meals were all included.

We just used the car to go from airport > Kruger (5 days) > Hazyview (Drove the Panoramic view ourselves & did a tour) and then dropped the car at the airport to fly to Victoria Falls. Driving there is easy and I heard all kinds of stories but it was perfectly fine. This was a luxury camp with something like 12 villas. We stayed at two really other interesting properties in that area (Tanmera Lodge which was wonderful and the view from our suite was just amazing .... and Timamoon Lodge the night before we started our Safari).

I also was looking at doing a tour and my friend who is a TA talked me out of it and gave me her suggestions. I’m glad I did it the other way. You may want to call a TA or call Goway Travel as they are an exotic tour operator they can customize everything for you (tour etc) whether or not you want a rental car or not . The individuals who deal with Africa all have either lived there and/or have personal experience with it.
Sr. Member
Dec 20, 2005
563 posts
68 upvotes
I would also warn you to do some research if a tour takes you to a ''shelter' where you can take pictures with baby cheetahs and lions. Nothing good happens to these animals when they grow up.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Dec 11, 2008
9660 posts
1344 upvotes
mcbg1 wrote:
Apr 9th, 2019 9:16 am
I would also warn you to do some research if a tour takes you to a ''shelter' where you can take pictures with baby cheetahs and lions. Nothing good happens to these animals when they grow up.
Thank you for that. I suspect I wont be getting anywhere near animals on these trips and if I do, it is them walking up to me.
Deal Fanatic
May 14, 2009
5766 posts
843 upvotes
speedyforme wrote:
Apr 9th, 2019 7:30 am
Thanks guys, it looks like from the sample itinerary I posted, it looks like it covers most of your recommendations.

The only hesitation we have is doing it ourselves (driving etc). We'd prefer to be taken around.

Also my husband doesn't want camping, I'm OK with it which is why we are looking at "accommodation" service level.

With that said, is there anything glaring from this sample itinerary that doesn't seem good?

https://www.detourafrica.co.za/tours/af ... -days.html
While it's totally not my cup of tea, you may like doing it that way.

Personally, I didn't want to spend any less than two nights at any one camp (doesn't matter if it's tented, lodge, whatever). Also there seems to be a lot of driving, which is to be expected with this itinerary but you have to be okay with 'losing' that much time in a vehicle. And given such limited time, you'd have to be okay with not getting too far into 'the bush'.

For VF, depends on what you want to do there. We wanted to see the park, raft the Zambezi, bungee, etc. so we needed more time. VF town itself is small and there isn't that much to see. So a quick visit might be enough for you ;)

As for the itinerary in general, I'd choose an itinerary that has dates that match the season. What I mean is, for example: what time of year is best to see wildlife in specific areas? When is the right time to visit the pans? Etc etc.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Apr 26, 2004
11455 posts
1676 upvotes
Mississauga
I did a short safari in Hwange NP, Zimbabwe and a week-long one in various parks in Botswana a couple years ago and just loved it. I also visited Victoria Falls and took a microlight flight over the waterfall, which was one of the most amazing things I've ever done.

Never been to Kruger, so I don't know the situation there, but for the other parks, I would highly recommend a guide. They have a remarkable ability to spot animals that the layman would never see. Unlike Kruger, the "roads" are often more of a suggestion and if you're not used to driving in these conditions, it can be hairy. It can be really hair if your rental breaks down while your surrounded by wild animals that will quite easily trample or tear you to pieces.

Top