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Balule best in April or September?

Heaton, United...
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124 posts
61 reviews
62 helpful votes
Balule best in April or September?
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Hi. We visited Sabi Sand and Timbavati reserves in September 2014. We want to return for another safari, visiting Balule and Modlito this time in 2016. We loved the incredible sightings and the dry weather in September but thought we would like to see the area when there is more vegetation for a different take on it. We're thinking of April and would appreciate any information on weather conditions for that time of year - temperatures and rainfall - that you can share with us. Alternatively, we can return in September instead. Also, if anyone has visited either of those reserves we would love to hear from you! Many thanks in advance.

9 replies to this topic
Glasgow, United...
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40 posts
28 reviews
11 helpful votes
1. Re: Balule best in April or September?
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Hi Cybergran, we visited Naledi Enkoveni which is in Balule in September last year. We have previously done safaris in April and the game viewing is much better in September.

Balule is at the western edge of the Greater Kruger, and in my opinion has some problems due to this. I could not fault the lodge, which was excellent in every way, but the game is sparse, and at the end of 4 days, we felt that we were just seeing the same few animals again and again.

The other problem is that the traversing area goes to the western boundary. You can see and hear the very busy road which runs down the side of the Park, and watch the enormous trucks thundering by, as you enjoy your morning coffee. Then there are the huge power lines and pylons that you pass by on every drive, and a number of smaller powerlines, as well as fences and tumbledown buildings/walls, and what appears to be abandoned farm machinery. Instead of the silence of the bush, you hear the rumble of the road, or the buzzing of the powerlines.

In the end, I didn't post a review of Naledi, as it seemed unfair to give it a poor rating, when in fact it is Balule which should have a poor rating.

Heaton, United...
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124 posts
61 reviews
62 helpful votes
2. Re: Balule best in April or September?
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Thank you so much for your response. I was having some doubts about the lack of animals on the reserve from some of the reviews, so you have confirmed this for me. As you well know, safari holidays are not cheap and the number one attraction is the animals. I appreciate that it's not a zoo with animals available 24/7 but we had such good viewings on our previous visit that I am sure we would be disappointed if game is sparse. Apart from that we really don't want traffic noise and power cables - we have plenty of that in the north east of England!! Thank you again, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. I hope you find your next safari more enjoyable!!

South Africa
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85 reviews
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3. Re: Balule best in April or September?
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Balue is big, and there are lodges, were you donot hear the road at all! We never heard the road in our lodges in Balue. And game can be a lot too. It just depends, if ghe game is there or not. Like everywere.

April is also a nice period to go.

calgary
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3 reviews
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4. Re: Balule best in April or September?
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Hello-we visited the sabi sands (7 nights at three different lodges), balule (three nights) and kruger (self drive for 4 nights) last August. While we loved the thoughtful staff at our lodge in Balule and the beautiful setting on the river, the wildlife sightings were not as consistent as the Sabi Sands. Also, the reserve itself is newer and as such it is not as far removed from civilization and we did notice power lines and other "farms" and private lodges around. There were a number of first time safari goers at our lodge in Balule and they all seemed quite happy; however, we did not enjoy the wildlife experience as much as being in the Sabi Sands and Kruger. We did not see leopard, only a glimpse of rhino and we saw the same lions (mother and two cubs) throughout our three day stay with the exception of a new lion pride on our last day. We may have been a little unlucky but Balule is farther from the Kruger and I think the farther away you get the less animals on balance.

Heaton, United...
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124 posts
61 reviews
62 helpful votes
5. Re: Balule best in April or September?
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Thank you sunsandpalms for taking the time to respond to my question. We loved Sabi Sand when we visited but Timbavati was even better, absolutely sensational. I think we may put Balule on the back burner for a while, perhaps the game won't be quite as scarce after a few more years. Meanwhile, back to planning again!

Heaton, United...
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124 posts
61 reviews
62 helpful votes
6. Re: Balule best in April or September?
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Thank you Annamieke for your response. Any information and advice is always most welcome.

South Africa
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1 462 posts
85 reviews
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7. Re: Balule best in April or September?
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Some lodges are kurhulalodge and Casart game lodge. Very nice places.

Gold Coast...
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47 reviews
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8. Re: Balule best in April or September?
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Hi again Cybergran

I just have to add to the excellent post and advice above from sunsandpalms.

Generally the more you go on safari, the more your 'viewing desires' tend to change, and appreciation of a more diverse range of bush and wildlife often comes from visiting over again.

Sounds like they had a great experience by visiting both the Sabi Sands as well as enjoying some driving in Kruger Park itself, maybe that’s something that you may want to consider doing, rather than just being limited to the smaller private reserves where you only get to see a tiny portion of Kruger, along with what other guests, including first timers, want to see [and not really Kruger!].

Just a thought…

Heaton, United...
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124 posts
61 reviews
62 helpful votes
9. Re: Balule best in April or September?
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Dear sandmans, thank you again for your input. We did visit Kruger National Park in 2014 but just for the day. I must say that I found it a bit disconcerting to have 20 or more vehicles at a leopard sighting and I dare say that the leopard may have felt the same way!! I don't think I would consider staying a few days there but that may be my loss. I'm still researching various reserves and lodges but I must say that I loved our Timbavati stay & I wouldn't be at all surprised if we go back there and also do a second reserve that we haven't seen before. At least there is plenty of time left to do the research and, hopefully, make the right decision.

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