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Tented camp recommendations?

Tented camp recommendations?

Old Oct 27, 17, 5:12 pm
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Tented camp recommendations?

Looking for any tented camp recommendations south of Balule/Klaserie, I'm fine if it's in KNP proper/concession vs a reserve but I'd like if it had electric if possible. So far I'm considering Rhino Post, Hamilton's, & Shindzela. (I'm aware they're probably wildly different in quality, it's the tent experience I'm after - in a different location from our lodge stay.)

I'd like to keep the cost under 7500ZAR/$530 pp or 15000ZAR/$1100 night, so that unfortunately puts &Beyond's Ngala & Tanda Tula out of my budget. Am I missing any nice spots I should be considering?
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Old Oct 28, 17, 2:12 am
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First of all, it is important to distinguish between Rhino Post Safari Lodge (not a tented camp, obviously) and Plains Camp (which is). Both are in the same concession (Muthlumuvi) in the KNP, and operate under the same flag.

It is also important to note that Plains Camp does walking safaris. They may offer afternoon/night drives in inclement weather of when the guests so desire, but the focus is on walking. The Muthlumuvi concession has a very limited road network, so if you do go on game drives, these will be conducted mostly on public roads in the KNP.

The road network on the Mluwati concession (Hamilton's etc.) is more extensive, but they still use Kruger's public roads for game drives at times.

Shindzela has exclusive use of an entire farm in the Timbavati, as well as almost exclusive traversing rights on a number of adjacent properties.

Hamilton's accommodation is the most luxurious of the three. The tents at Plains Camp and Shindzela do have electric (LED) lighting and en suite bathrooms, but no power outlets. The tents at Plains are much larger than those at Shindzela. However, Shindzela will close for most of January for a major upgrade. I'm not quite sure what will change in the accommodation department, but will find out.

Johan
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Old Oct 28, 17, 4:22 am
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Another area quite often overlooked and as such less frequented, private land, but open to Kruger, is the Manyelti reserve, just to the north of the Sabi Sands - there are a couple of decent tented camps there, within your budget - Honeyguide Khoka Moya and Honeyguide Mantobeni
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Old Oct 29, 17, 1:10 pm
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Originally Posted by wijibintheair View Post
the Manyelti
Manyeleti. (Not being pedantic, just for those wanting to do an online search).

The Manyeleti is a provincial reserve, the main (public) camp used to be known for drunken revelry and debauchery, especially on weekends.

The private concessions in the Manyeleti are a bit of a hybrid, as the main and secondary reserve roads that are open to the public run right through them. There's very little traffic, though, and the game viewing is generally rather good.

Johan
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Old Oct 29, 17, 5:10 pm
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Thank you, Johan Rebel and wijibintheair. I'm also looking at Kapama Buffalo Camp but have seen negative comments because this reserve is fenced but I'm unclear as to the pros/cons of this as a visitor.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 3:11 am
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Ah.....Kapama....
There are many people who moan about Kapama, saying it is just a hotel in the bush, it is a glorified zoo, too many people etc.

Yes it is still fenced, which can been see as a positive from a game sighting perspective, and easier to monitor on an anti-poaching basis. However, the other side of the argument is with regards the game not being allowed full range of its natural habitat.

As for the reserve and experience - I can only speak of personal experience for a couple of days. I went there with negative expectations and came away with a much better view of the place.

The reserve was immaculately maintained, very seldom felt like it was crowded and safari guides and staff were all excellent.

Buffalo camp is a very comfortable camp and a great deck and pool area, with raised tents, which at times have the game walking right under the tents. It has a feel more of a lodge with tented rooms, rather than a traditional tented experience, if that makes any sense?

Johan Rebel may have more intimate knowledge.
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Old Oct 30, 17, 6:24 am
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Originally Posted by wijibintheair View Post
Ah.....Kapama.

Yes it is still fenced, which can been see as a positive from a game sighting perspective, and easier to monitor on an anti-poaching basis. However, the other side of the argument is with regards the game not being allowed full range of its natural habitat.

The reserve was immaculately maintained, very seldom felt like it was crowded and safari guides and staff were all excellent.

Buffalo camp is a very comfortable camp and a great deck and pool area, with raised tents, which at times have the game walking right under the tents. It has a feel more of a lodge with tented rooms, rather than a traditional tented experience, if that makes any sense?

Johan Rebel may have more intimate knowledge.
I do, and I agree on all points.

Buffalo Camp is really nice. Those raised tents should appeal especially to those who like to watch birds between drives. That river bed along which the platforms have been positioned supports a considerable diversity of birds, and can throw up some interesting surprises.

A huge amount of money has been invested in Kamapa, and it shows. The road network is very well designed and maintenance is top notch. And so forth.

Kamapa is directly across Argyle Road from Eastgate Airport, so for guests flying in or out the transfers take the form of a game drive.

Having said all that, there are several downsides. To whit:

- Buffalo Camp has a unit that seems have been added as an afterthought, right next to the parking lot. You don't want to stay in that one.

- The Cahora Bassa powerlines run diagonally across the reserve. Major eyesore!

- The R40 provincial road and the railroad run along the entire western boundary of the reserve. On calm nights, cars, trucks and trains can be clearly heard as far away as Buffalo Camp. Detracts from the experience, in my opinion.

- Kapama is completely fenced. Although very large by South African private reserve standards, that still makes it a bit of a glorified zoo, in the sense that it somewhat takes the suspense out of the game viewing. Once, for example, you've seen their lions, you know that you will not be surprised by others just around the next corner.

- I would not recommend the larger camps. River Lodge has, if I'm not mistaken, somewhere between 70 and 80 suites. Yikes!

Depending on one's interests and expectations, Kapama need not be a bad choice at all.

Johan
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Old Oct 30, 17, 1:44 pm
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Thank you both for the detailed responses. As it's our first trip to SA (and the husband was less than thrilled with the idea of the 'rougher' tent options) it sounds like Kapama Bufffalo Camp might not be a bad option for us before we head to either Balule or Klaserie.
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Old Nov 1, 17, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by isabeloh View Post
it sounds like Kapama Bufffalo Camp might not be a bad option for us before we head to either Balule or Klaserie.
It is also quite close to both. Klaserie is right up Argyle Road, and Balule is on the other side of Hoedspruit. About 30 minutes to either, excluding time spent traveling inside the reserves.

Johan
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