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Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

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Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

Hey all!

I'm travelling to Greater Kruger in September 2024 from Australia before heading to Kenya.

I have travelled to Kruger NP in the past but never to a private reserve.

I currently have a budget of approx. 40,000-45,000 ZAR for this portion of the trip and have narrowed it down to 2 options:

Option 1:

- 4n Timbavati (21,500ZAR) @ Shindzela

- 3n Klaserie (17,000ZAR@ nThambo

Total of ~38,500ZAR not including transfers

Option 2:

-4n Sabi Sands (39,980ZAR) @ Nottens - not including transfers

Which would you recommend? 7 nights in Timbavati+Klaserie or the 4nights in Sabi?

I am a photographer, and mainly am interested in big cats and nice scenery.

I really don't care about luxuriousness of the lodges, just want to know which combination will give me better photographic opportunities in the end! Do I go for more game drives, or more density????

If you have any other suggestions, please do swing them my way!!!

9 replies to this topic
Levittown...
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267 posts
30 reviews
17 helpful votes
1. Re: Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

I have been to sabi sands and klauserie and loved both of them.

I stayed at arathusa in sabi sands and would love to go back there (much better pricing than the place you m

entioned) and they have great trackers (I had roy) and it is located on a watering hole.

Also in klauserie I stayed at senalala safari lodge and loved it there....corlina is amazing (she is the mother of the place) and geena is also a great tracker). At senalala we had a few lion sightings and we were right next to them for a bit, had 2 leopard sightings BUT we had the most amazing wild dog sightings which was my favorite part of the trip.

For me (and I'm planning a trip right now). I would definitely do a longer stay ...... you could do a few days at a less expensive place in sabi sands and then head up to klauserie (which is what we are hoping to do). As a matter of fact we are looking at 4 days in klauserie (senalala) and 4 days in sabi sands and we are also looking for the big cats.

I have not been to Kenya yet (prob ) next year but have been to Tanzania and you will have some great sightings there. Are you going to photo Giza (the black leopard)? We were going to go there this year but we cannot go for as long as I feel I need for Kenya.

if you have any questions--I am not an expert but just love africa and have been to 11 countries thus far (and this will be my 3rd trip to South Africa). please feel free to reach out.

BUT I vote for the longer stay :)

New York City, New...
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3 reviews
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2. Re: Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

I am a serious amateur wildlife photographer and will have my 10th trip to Africa this year. Seven of those trips have included time in the Greater Kruger Area. I tend to combine time in the Sabi Sand with time in the Timbavati. I actually prefer the Timbavati. I have had amazing sightings in both. Klasserie and Timbavati are adjacent and at places separated by the tar road from Hoedspruit. I have seen lions and wild dogs on that tar road and followed them from it.

There a few things I look for when selecting a lodge:

1) Making sure that they put no more than 6 in a vehicle.

2) A permanent water source whether it be one of the rivers with year-round water or a waterhole because it attracts the animals in the dry winters.

3) A significant traversing area involving different terrains.

4) Rangers knowledgeable about photography. You can usually tell this from the lodge's social media or website.

5) I prefer lodges that use trackers because I had trackers spend significant time finding the big cats.

6) I don't want young children in my vehicle because of movement issues at sightings (this is from experience).

Sometimes the ability to hire a private vehicle may come into play. I also am not into birds and generally do not want to be with birders.

Make sure to discuss what you may want with lodge management ahead of time. The fact that i return to the same lodges greatly helps here.

Finally, I also prefer a certain level of luxury so that becomes a factor too but often with that level of luxury many of the things I enumerated above are satisfied.

My feeling is that it is always best to spend as much time in the bush as possible so would usually opt for more days. However, I am fortunate in that my time in the bush is limited by the length of my vacation not by my budget.

New York City, New...
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2 029 posts
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1 helpful vote
3. Re: Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

Sorry, didn't realize this was an old post dredged back up

Liverpool, UK
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6 484 posts
15 reviews
4 helpful votes
4. Re: Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

Typically I would always say stay longer. But for a photographer, the number of other people in the vehicle could be an issue. Both due to their differing needs / wants and due to the space. In both nThambo and Shindzela if the lodge is full, the osv will be full and even if you persuade your fellow travellers you want an edge seat every drive you don't have space for changing lenses etc. You can't expect the guide to manoeuvre the vehicle just for you, although they will try and get a view of a sighting for everyone.

There are several companies that run photo safaris, these ensure everyone in the vehicle is as interested and engaged in the photography aspect, positioning, light etc and allows the guide to spend longer at sightings thinking about the photos. Also some have a gimble set up so you don't need to try to monopod in the back of a shared vehicle.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
69 posts
330 reviews
51 helpful votes
5. Re: Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

curious why you prefer Timbavati over Sabi Sands? Thinking of staying at Mala Mala, and want to make sure it's not a mistake. Thanks.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
69 posts
330 reviews
51 helpful votes
6. Re: Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

curious why you prefer Timbavati over Sabi Sands? Thinking of staying at Mala Mala, and want to make sure it's not a mistake. Thanks.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
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2 029 posts
3 reviews
1 helpful vote
7. Re: Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

As I said, I have had great sightings in both. I've just had a lot of luck and some of my most memorable sightings in the Timbavati. These include a pangolin, white lions, a large pack of wild dogs (more than 20) playing in a waterhole, lion cubs climbing on downed trees, and interacting, a male lion killing a hyena and multiple herds of elephants coming together. Don't get me wrong, I continue to go to both the Timbavati and Sabi Sand. I have, of course, seen leopards, lions, rhino, wild dogs, general game, and kills in both. I just believe the Timbavati is under-rated.

I have not gone to Mala Mala and likely won't because they no longer use trackers and as I said above, I believe the trackers enhance the experience. They work hard to track the cats if they are being elusive but the trackers I know are also great at spotting the small things.

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
69 posts
330 reviews
51 helpful votes
8. Re: Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

Thanks. What are your thoughts about splitting time between the two areas? What camps would you suggest?

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Sabi Sands (4n) OR Timbavati+Klaserie (7n) Combo

I almost always split time between the Sabi Sand and TImbavati. Which camps depends on what is important to you and your budget. I always go to Kings Camp in the TImbavati . I have been to several lodges in the Sabi Sand including Londozoli, Singita, Leopard Hills, and Kirkmans. I now mostly combine Leopard Hills and Kings Camp which share a management company and reservation agent.

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