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Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve

London, United...
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7 posts
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Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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We are going to Kruger in January... I know there are no guarantees of seeing the big 5, but where do you think it would be most likely Balule or Sabi Sand? We don't have a big budget so I need somewhere good value too. Thank you.

10 replies to this topic
Johannesburg, South...
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703 posts
1. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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Hi SusannahD45,

There are great value for money options in Balule, but with regards to having more chance of seeing the Big 5, and lots of other wildlife, I personally would go with the Sabi Sands. There are a few possible options to look at if you are on a conservative budget, but you would need to give an indication of what that budget is.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

White River, South...
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2 923 posts
6 reviews
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2. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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I agree with Brett's recommendation.

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

Tempe, Arizona
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10 575 posts
60 reviews
73 helpful votes
3. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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I think most of us would choose Sabi Sand given the choice you are considering. Good values can be found at Notten's and Inyati. Least expensive lodge within Sabi Sand is Umkumbe, which has a smaller amount of land for game drives than others, but is right on the river and the reviews are good.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

London, United...
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7 posts
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4. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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thank you! I was thinking around R2000 a night per person. Is that realistic?

Sydney, Australia
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3 119 posts
43 reviews
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5. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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Susanah

Inyati in Sabi where we are staying in September is R4000 ppspn. If the budget is more or less fixed around R2000 ppn have a look at Naledi Bush Camp in Balulue Reserve. Note Marula suite there is R2150 ppn. We are going back to Naledi again this trip as we loved it and find it is one of the best value for money options. The game viewing was very good (big 4 plus) however we did not see leopard there, where we are assured of seeing leopard at Inyati. However, TA posters reviews of Naledi (No 1 in Balule) attest to their presence there and there have been recent sightings of wild dogs. The reviews of Naledi speak for themselves -Rating - Excellent (all aspects).

Pilanesberg...
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455 posts
7 reviews
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6. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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Sabi Sand most definitely. R2000pp/n is a bit light, look at R2450pp/n at Elephant Plains in Jan 2014. Umkumbe I'm not familiar with, but seems to be within your budget. I trust you will visit as early in Jan as possible. If not just google time of floods Kruger 1st before you book - it's normally at the end January.

Lastly Sabi Sand have their reputation with good reason, so even if just over your budget go for it and cut down somewhere else.

Regards, Jaco Rautenbach

Owner, Adventure Travel Africa

Gold Coast...
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5 631 posts
47 reviews
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7. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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Hi Susannah

Yes I agree that Sabi Sand is a wonderful choice.

However you should also consider Timbavati that no one has mentioned. It has an unfenced boundary with Kruger Park, lots of big traversing areas [big help] and importantly some of the lodges could be a bit more budget friendly for you.

Check out some reviews...

http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotels-g471860-c3-Timbavati_Private_Nature_Reserve_Kruger_National_Park-Hotels.html

We visited both on our last trip and we went straight from one to the other, and had excellent Big 5 sightings in the Timbavati, in fact many more herds of buffalo and elephant, rhino, and similar numbers of lion. The leopards were amazing, seen on almost each drive Of course there is no guarantee of what you will see on any day.

However I do hope when there you can also focus on some of the other wildlife too, there is much more to enjoy than just the Big 5, an old hunting term, that has simply been overused and now pushed as a marketing tool by many of the reserves.

Tempe, Arizona
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10 575 posts
60 reviews
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8. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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R2000PP is a little light for the places we have mentioned. Elephant Plains was recommended, and I would agree with that. But its lower rates result in high occupancy all year around, I do see availability for Rondavels in January - and you can see them too.. www.elephantplains.co.za.. use their Book Online link and insert your dates. It will show you what is available. Rates for those would be R2450PP, and certainly worth increasing the budget enough to take advantage of them. If you will be self-driving, you need to budget your time also. Depending on where you start, of course. From Johannesburg, 6 hours would get you to the lodge, I believe. There are gate fees where you enter Sabi Sand at the Gowrie Gate and the lodge can (and should) explain all that to you.

Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari

London, United...
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7 posts
12 reviews
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9. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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thank you everyone! Lots of research to do now!

Johannesburg, South...
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703 posts
10. Re: Balule Nature reserve or Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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Hi again Susannah,

Agree with Dave. Even though there are some nice options in the Sabi Sands for a more conservative budget ZAR2000 per person per night is definitely on the light side, especially for the time of the year you are looking at.

Good suggestion thesandmans. Timbavati is defs a reserve worth looking at for some potentially great game viewing. Have a look at Simbavati River Lodge, Kambaku, Motswari. In addition to what was mentioned in the Sabi Sands, you can also look at Arathusa or Idube.

Regards.

Brett | Owner | Safaris For Me | South Africa

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