How to do the cheapest safari EVER and not miss out on anything!

From an affordable safari in Kenya, to the real deal in South Africa

A few weeks ago in Kenya, we managed to do a Safari for a very affordable price, read here how!

What we didn’t know back then is that here in South Africa we would beat that price!

There’s over 400 National Parks in South Africa, we’ve already witnessed that the nature of this country is so so rich. The most important and famous park is the Kruger, which hosts the Big Five and many more animals, so it’s the best for game drives. How to do a cheap safari here? Go with your own car!! Yes, as crazy as it sounds, you can just drive in the park, and you only pay the entrance, about 25€ per person. A ridiculous amount compared to the 80€ per person that we payed in Kenya, or the 200€ per person that most people paid on our same safari in Kenya ( Read here how to do a cheap safari in Kenya). Of course, the 25€ is only the entrance and doesn’t include accommodation, so you are free to choose where to stay.

Self drive safari in Kruger Park

The infrastructures in the Kruger are amazing, good roads, good camps, restaurants, even fuel stations! You can stay in the camps inside, which is a bit more price but we think the experience must be amazing. In that case, you need to book much in advance. We stayed out of the park because it was almost fully booked and we preferred something more budget friendly. A great option, what we did, is to stay in Marloth Park which is a small park 15 minutes from one of the gates to the park (Crocodile bridge gate), and since you are staying in a park as well, you may see animals like zebras, wild hogs, gazelles, wildebeests…

We’ve only seen the South part of the park, between Crocodile bridge and Skukuza. We were told this area is where you can see most animals, and it didn’t disappoint at all! We saw more different animals in one day in the Kruger, than in five days in Kenya! Lions hunting buffalos, twice. Many, many elephants and giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, kudus, nyalas, zebras, leopards, cheetahs, the very difficult to spot rhinos, and many more…. It was an amazing day of non-stop spotting animals.

They say when you drive on your own, you will probably miss a lot. But our experience by just following the road was incredible. Or maybe we were extremely lucky! Anyway, finding the animals on your own is a whole different experience. We found the rhinos hidden behind some bushes where there was absolutely nobody else around. You feel extremely lucky and proud! (rhinos are very very hard to spot. They are shy and hide from humans because they have been hunted so much…)

To get an idea of how doing a self-drive safari in the Kruger park, watch this video now!

Where to find accomodation?

We are sure that the best experience would be staying inside the park. There are many camps and lodges to choose from, but all of them very pricey and fully booked a year upfront. We found a really good solution to still get the vibe of sleeping in a park, but much more affordable and just 15 minutes from the Kruger! We stayed in HomeBase Kruger, in Marloth park. It was very cool having animals visiting us every now and then, like Pumba and zebras! You can also see giraffes, kudus, tortoises and a bunch of non predator animals, so it’s very safe. We higly recommend staying there! The place was really nice, with free breakfast, a kitchen for you to use, good wifi, and they gave us many tips!

In case it’s fully booked, you can search for other acommodations in Marloth Park via this link or the banner on the right side!

 

So, if you come to South Africa, definitely don’t miss out on the Kruger! I can’t believe we almost left it out of our tour and I’m so glad we went there!

2 thoughts on “How to do the cheapest safari EVER and not miss out on anything!

  1. Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed post. I am currently planning a trip to celebrate my mother’s 60th birthday. Based on your experiences, will you recommend forgoing visiting Kenya to see the animals in their “natural habitat” and “settle” for seeing it at the Kruger Park? Thanks.

    1. Hi! Thank you for reading us and for your comment. Our experiences doing a safari in Kenya (Masai Mara) and in South Africa (Kruger) were both amazing but completely different. First of all, I want to clarify that in both cases you will see the animals in their natural habitat. Here are some things you need to know:

      1) In Kenya the safaris are only allowed with a guide. In South Africa, at the Kruger park, it is allowed to enter with your own (or rental) car, but of course you can go with a guide as well. We did it by ourselves and it was the best, however we would not recommend to drive by yourelf if this is your first safari experience.
      2) Price per person per day in Masai Mara was 80$ (including accomodation and meals). In Kruger it was 20$ for a self drive (only entrance fee). Nor sure about going with a guide…
      3) Safaris in Kenya are a bit more of an “adventure”. Getting to Masai Mara is a long drive on a terrible road. Accomodation varies between camps with electricity 3 hours a day, and luxurious lodges. Depends on your budget. While in the Kruger the infrastructures are much more developed, there are roads, accomodation inside the park (most of the times fully booked long in advanced), some restaurant and even a samll gas station.
      4) Even if in both cases you see the animals in their habitat, Masai Mara felt somehow more “real”.
      5) In Masai Mara we saw groups of hundreds of animals, like zebras or wildebeests, every now and then (besides all the other animals). In Kruger we saw less amount of animals, but more variety.
      6) If you are travelling around August, you can see the big migration of the wildebeest, which must be amazing.
      7) Is your trip for the Safari only, or you want to add some other activities? In Kenya you can fly to lovely Diani or Zanzibar (Tanzania) for some days enjoying the amazing beaches. South Africa, on the other hand, is great for doing a road trip like the “panorama route” or the “garden route”. You can check our blogs about these two routes for more information 🙂

      It’s very difficult to answer to your question, so I hope this helps you decide. But be sure that both are great options! Let us know what your final decission is and we hope to see you around here again!

      Cheers,
      Richard and Blanca

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