We often hear our guests say that going on a Kruger safari is a ‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’ for them or a ‘Dream come true’, and we’re always encouraged by the fact that they chose to make that dream a reality, with us.
Nothing beats that burst of excitement when your flight finally lands in South Africa or when you step off the shuttle vehicle and into the heart of the bush. Here at Kruger Wildlife Safaris, we know that budgeting and saving up for travel can be a tough task, which is why we want our guests to make the most of their trip while they’re here in the Kruger National Park.
Now we all know that a big part of going on safari (or any holiday for that matter) is capturing it… not only in your heart and mind but also physically, so that you can share your experience with friends and family back home. Yes, ensuring that you capture a few Insta-worthy photos on a budget safari in the Kruger is a must.
Having said that, photography is often a whole new ball game for some of our guests and when the time comes for you to snap a photo of that lion, leopard or giraffe sighting (whatever it may be), you need to know exactly what to do. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and called in a photo aficionado for you.
We have some of the most passionate, funny and enthusiastic guides in Kruger Park (no seriously… our guests always have good things to say about them when they review us on TripAdvisor). Plus, our team loves to share their knowledge of the Park and they know exactly what to do at a sighting on a budget Kruger safari.
So, in the spirit of helping you make the most of your safari, we sat down with our guide and master wildlife photographer, Debbie Linforth, to get her tips on how to snap awesome safari photos, when and where (PS: we’ve also put links to image examples, in these tips, to help you visualise how to take your photos)
Golden hour – the best time for photography is at dusk and dawn, an hour after the sun has risen and an hour before it sets. Utilise the light for your photographs to give it more of a magical feeling, whether it is an animal, landscape or just a scenic photo. Try to capture the beauty of any object with the golden light.#2
If you accidentally overexposed a photo or if it is a cloudy day with no good light, try taking your safari photos in monochrome. It will give your photo more of an artistic feeling. If you have a photo editing program (on your phone or computer), it is easy to change a colour photo to black and white.#3
Don’t be afraid to ask your guide to position the vehicle while on your budget Kruger safari in a way that makes it easier to take your photos. Usually, your guide will re-position the vehicle in order for everyone to have best view in cases where the object is at a difficult angle (e.g a lion sleeping under a tree or a leopard laying down on a branch with a lot of foliage).#4
Don’t just use your camera while on a game drive, walk around in the campsite between the drives and see what else there is to photograph. While on a safari vehicle, you don’t really get to see more than half of the smaller creatures as you are moving on the roads. If you take a stroll in the camp, it will give you the opportunity to see more of our colourful birds in the Park, interesting insects and reptiles and up close footage of wild flowers.
This is a well-known tip but it really works! To make your photos more attractive, use the “one third” rule. In your viewfinder on your camera (or the screen), make imaginary lines that are divided into three lines horizontally and three lines vertically. When choosing an object to photograph, try and get that object in one of the “one third” imaginary blocks. This way, your object will stand out more instead of just being dead center in your photo.
A lot of people, while on holiday or on a budget safari in Kruger, are so focused on getting photos taken of every moment of the trip, that they are actually miss out on what they are really seeing. Don’t spend your holiday looking through your viewfinder all the time. Take the time to actually embrace the moment when, for example, a lion walks past your vehicle or elephants are playing in the water – as soon as you’ve taken your photo or video, put your device down, and savour the moment!
You definitely won’t need an image example for that last tip, but we thought we’d include one anyway…
In each of our Kruger Wildlife Safaris blog posts, we aim to give you tips and advice to make the most of your time in the Park. If you haven’t read any of our other posts, why not give our blog page a visit when you’re done here?
Let’s go back a little. Perhaps you’re undecided about a Kruger safari? Or perhaps you weren’t even looking into a safari in the Kruger National Park, and happened to stumble upon this page (lucky you!).
The truth is, there are many, many reasons as to why a Kruger budget safari should be on your travel bucket-list… so we’re going to help you out by giving you a few of them.
The Kruger National Park is said to be larger than the country of Israel – and has a land area of around 20,000 square kilometres. The park also has nine gates with which to gain access to the Park and 12 Main Rest Camps. Around it, you’ll find proper road infrastructure and several airports in and around it including Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and Skukuza Airport. Needless to say, Kruger Park is huge and easy to access, which makes planning a trip there seamless.
As for the experience itself, according to South African National Parks, there are about 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals species in the Kruger, meaning there’s plenty to see, learn about and enjoy. This is also why guests find themselves coming back year after year, because while there is a lot that you can see in one trip, the Park has something unique to offer on each visit.
Catering to different individuals and their needs, there are several types of accommodation for guests. One of our most popular safaris (as you may have guessed) is our Kruger budget safaris, which sets you up in Huts, while you stay in the Kruger National Park.
It’s a great option if you feel that camping isn’t your thing but you don’t want to pay too much for accommodation that’s in a concrete building. Plus, you’ll still get all the essentials on your Kruger safari, like two daily guided game drives and Breakfast and Dinner.
With our safaris in particular, which are based at Pretoriuskop Rest Camp, there’s also a swimming pool for those hot summer days, a curio shop where you can buy a few souvenirs and a restaurant, if you’re feeling peckish around lunchtime. Better still, our itineraries are flexible enough to allow you to experience all these wonderful facilities in your free time, in-between your game drives and meal times.
Bonus: If you embark on a budget safari in the Kruger that’s three days or more, you’ll also get the opportunity to visit the incredibly-beautiful Panorama Route on one of the days (be sure to keep reading as we’ll go in-depth on this later on in this blog post). Intrigued? Why not ask one of our consultants about it?
Marula trees rustling in the wind. Cicada beetles playing their sweet song. The sound of the African bush is captivating! As we always say, it’s something that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
It’s no secret that being in the sanctity of nature is therapeutic and, sometimes, even life changing. Driving through the Kruger National Park and admiring the surreal beauty of it all can be a truly fulfilling experience, allowing you to get away from the stress and monotonous hustle and bustle of everyday life.
It’s a timeout that allows you to truly appreciate the world around you, and trust us, once you’ve seen these majestic animals in their natural habitat, you’ll completely fall in love with the bush and the idea that Africa’s wildlife should roam free and be able to be safe in their own environment. Yes, your time in the bush is always guaranteed to be an awesome and unforgettable experience.
Like we said earlier, we want to make your Kruger budget safari as worthwhile as possible, which is why we give guests that embark on a safari of 3 days or more, a little something extra when they safari with us.
South Africa is a land rich in diverse landscapes and natural wonder. The Panorama Route is one such wonder and is a must-see when in South Africa, giving guests an opportunity to see some of the country’s most beautiful sights. The road journey itself is enough to take your breath away!
Should you choose to, on one of the days, you’ll be able to leave Kruger Park with one of our guides (which means sacrificing your game drives for that day) and visit several sites along the route, including the Blyde River Canyon, Three Rondavels, Lisbon Falls, which is about 92m high, and God’s Window, where you’ll be able to enjoy an elevated, panoramic view of the Lowveld area.
The Blyde River Canyon, in particular, allows you to experience epic scenery (hint: remember that ‘one third’ photography tip from Debbie for this one) and is widely seen as one of the best canyons to explore in the world!
Double Bonus: (yes, there is such a thing): The more time you spend in the Kruger National Park, the better! But, if you happen to stay with us for five days or more, you’ll get to do a SANParks Bush Walk with an experienced ranger! If you think seeing the Park by vehicle is a thrilling experience, wait until you get to walk around in the bush and see the wildlife as well as the foliage up close and from a different perspective!
In this day and age, budget travel is a reality. And it’s amazing how much you can actually see on a well-structured budget, without having to sacrifice on the quality or authenticity of the experience. Let’s be honest, travel is seen by most as a luxury, and no one wants to put money into something that’s not worthwhile, right?
The good news is that there are always options when it comes to getting advice about travelling to a new country, tips on how to save up for you Kruger safari and a guide on what to do when you eventually get there! As always, the Kruger Wildlife Safaris team is here to help so be sure to pop us an email if you have any questions.
Having said that, for those of you that have already planned and booked your Kruger budget safari, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram! We always post wildlife sightings and photos of what our guests experience while on their safari, which means it’ll give you a good idea of what to expect on yours. See you soon!
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I went on Safari with Outlook Safaris in June last year on part of a year out. Everything about the company was perfect, even before booking everything was very well taken care of. When I initially emailed with questions I was replied to very quickly and all the information I received was very useful,Robert was very patient with me. The drivers who picked me up in Jo’Burg were very friendly and professional and made the journey up to the Kruger Park very pleasant.I stayed in the most basic accommodation provided but it had all I needed including a fan and heater because the temperature varied so much. The Skukuza Park is stunning, with beautiful birds, baboons all wandering around. The game drives were amazing.
I just want to say that this was one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had. From the moment I first arrived until the sad last day I had to leave was amazing. Moss driving our group to Kruger National Park that first morning. Not sure if it was the early hour, but everyone was quiet and either looking out of the window, listening to their ipod, or getting some more sleep. I wasn’t sure what to expect. After our first stop for gas and snack some conversations started. By the end of the trip, I really missed seeing everyone every day and sharing those wonderful memories. I had such a good time building friendships and sharing laughs. I think I enjoyed making those new friends as much as seeing all of those wonderful animals in their own environment.
Both my husband and myself have traveled extensively and have had unquestionably one of the best experiences of our lives with Outlook Safaris. The first safari we took was the Classic 7 Day Kruger Park Safari, and this January/February we enjoyed the 5 Day Explorer Safari. Both safaris were wonderful and we were able to see many of the “harder to find” animals. The staff is enthusiastic about their jobs and it shows.Their excitement is only outdone by their knowledge of the bush.I would recommend also an overnight at Outlook Lodge on your return to Johannesburg where Chef and Manager Francois will pamper you with wonderful meals. The downy beds and intimate surroundings are refreshing after a soujourn in the bush. All in all, an experience never to be missed.
– Mary & Jim
An incredible company. Debbie the guide and also game driver has a wealth of knowledge and passion for the wilderness like no other. Being a single female traveller, I felt completely safe. All the staff are friendly, the meals delicious and the experience is second to none! The game drive vehicles are large enough to feel safe but small enough to have an intimate experience with the animals.
– Laura M