The quick answer to the above question is NO!
Every year we lead hundred’s of clients on Private Kruger National Park Safaris for either a Full Day Safari or an Overnight Safari in the Park. In many instance our clients start with the question – does private mean expensive ? BUT all of them say that its was the best decision they ever made to go on a Private Safari with us. Here a examples of what they say on TripAdvisor :
Pat Symcox – South African Cricket legend
As a South African who has been blessed to not only travel the world playing and commentating on international cricket and also to spend many days in wonderful places within our country, I can honestly say that I look forward to nothing more every single time than spending time with Andrew Wagner in the Kruger National Park. His knowledge of the Park and all its offerings cannot be surpassed. He is the best in the business of taking people out into the Kruger Park. Having invited friends and family to join us on occasions, they constantly remind me of their amazing experiences with Safaria. Nothing is too much trouble. I cannot recommend Andrew enough and will vouch for his service at every opportunity.
Jonathan Anderson – New Zealand
I have taken safaris in numerous countries around Africa, and Safaria was without a doubt the best experience I’ve had in a national park. Andrew and his team went to every length to ensure that our time with them was exceptional.
Whilst the cheaper shared Safaris seem attractive, one needs to define their own expectation of the Safari experience that they want. Often guests planning their South African Safari watch endless documentaries and movies and fall in love with these evocative scenes of Africas wildlife wandering across the plains, having up close and personal experiences and they assume that this is a standard experience. The truth is that it isn’t and a shared safari is certainly not going to provide you with that.
The point of a Private Safari is that is offers you a personal experience that is your own and is designed by your guide around you and your expectations. Why id this relevant ?, well because you will undoubtedly have better sightings, more enriched experiences and far deeper levels of information. Who just wants a guide that points and gives you the basics when you could better understand the species, how it fits into Kruger, the history of its evolution in the reserve, ethology and ancient beliefs and wisdoms. A great guide will better understand you and your personal requirements, expectations and tailor a safari just for you. Its important to also add that Private Safari guides are generally more experienced, are better qualified and have a more diverse narrative that talks to a wide variety of topics and interest. Private Safari guides are personal hosts that manage your travel, safari storyboard and safety over the duration of your stay. They are committed to your experience and thats whats makes the difference. We have never met anyone who has had a negative experience on a Privet Safari and thats because Private Guides inherently do what they do to ensure that their guests leave having had the best experience possible.
The average Shared – Full Day Safari is between $60 and $95 per person excluding the Parks entrance fees. For that you will have between 3 and 8 guests ( who usually all have different expectations) and a Guide that will have the minimum qualification required.
A Private – Full Day Safari costs around $365 for the vehicle and can accommodate up to 9 guests depending on the size of the group (excluding park entrance fee). Sure, for a couple this is more than the shared safari but the difference in exclusivity, guide and experience far surpasses the difference in rate. Just go and read all of our Safaria reviews on TripAdvisor and you’ll quickly realise from what our guests say.
When it comes to inclusive Overnight Safaris in the Kruger National Park you can either stay in one of the high 4star Private Lodges around $440 per person per night ($880 per couple) or you can travel on a private itinerary through Kruger National Park Camps with your own Private Guide and vehicle, inclusive of meals for $350 per person per day. The Private lodges will offer you a finer dining and lodging experience and 2 x 3hr game drives per day. A Private Kruger Safari will stay in the fully services Park bungalows and eat at the local restaurants but you will spend full days exploring the park with far great opportunities of seeing a wider variety of game and savanna. In Kruger we traverse 2 million hectares as opposed to just 10,000 hectares.
So before you make your decision based on budget consider the experience you hope to have and rather leave knowing that you had an incredible one rather than wondering if you should have invested in a better experience. The most important aspect is always the Guide and we recommend that you plan a private Safari with a Guide who has the relevant reputation and feedback from clients because then you’re guaranteed a standard and quality experience.
Private Safari Guides are about personal insights, personal experiences and personal care. You will never regret having decided on a Private Safari !