Answering questions about Africa from dear friends and readers, currently on a nine-month world cruise…

One of the most exciting sights in Kruger National Park is the elephants, along with the big cats, wildebeests, Cape buffalos, hippos, small animals, and birds. We were as close as we could safely be when we took these photos without the use of Zoom.

Last night, I received the following email from our dear friends Lea Ann and Chuck, who are currently on Royal Caribbean nine-month world cruise as follows:

On Wed, Feb 28, 2024, 12:21 AM, Lea Ann wrote:
I hope you dont mind we imposing upon your time but you are the most knowledgeable of anyone I know about this park. As you may know we have been rerouted around the African route to avoid the Suez Canal. We are sadly going to miss Egypt but no guarantees on seeing the pyramids anyway due to the other crisis up there. Going to Africa is my dream come true so we are elated!
Now for my much needed information. We want to go on a safari, of course. And what better place than Kruger National Park. Right in your wheelhouse!  Here are our thoughts. We are due into Dubai on 5/9. We would like to fly from there to Kruger NP and leave to meet the ship in Seychelles on 5/14. Not near enough time but it’s the best place in our schedule that we can go without missing a lot of the other opportunities on the cruise.  Here is a link of a place I was looking at for a 4-5 day trip. Have you heard of them? What do you think? We are looking at the luxury one. Otherwise, have you heard of any other types of safaris that can be all inclusive or partially? I know you have lots of contacts and Im hoping you could put me in touch with someone that you could recommend without a lot of trouble for you. I don’t want to impose but for me you are the one that knows this area more than anyone!
We are so excited and cant wait for this adventure. Thank you so much for  any help you can provide.
Chuck says hi too!
Love ya! Lea Ann

Our response:

Lea Ann and Chuck, we’re thrilled to hear that you are coming to Africa, particularly South Africa. We only wish we would be there when you come. We’re excited to hear about your experiences. We’re happy you are enjoying your nine-month cruise. I bet the days are moving too quickly!

We wish we had an easy answer regarding the quality of the tour company and lodges you are considering. During our four years in South Africa, we never stayed at a lodge or camp in Kruger National Park since we stayed in Marloth Park, which was only 20 minutes from one of the ten entrance gates, Crocodile Bridge.

About once a week, we did a self-drive into Kruger, which is allowed, but visitors aren’t allowed, for their safety, to leave the vehicle unless at a camp, lodge restaurant, or petrol station. We often participated in guided tours with visiting friends, using only one of the few guides or safari tour companies recommended by Louise and Danie, our dear friends and property owners/managers.

SanPark manages Kruger National Park, and they have a fantastic website with recommendations on where to stay and the camps approved to conduct business in the park. Their site may be found here. It is an excellent resource for safaris, camps, and lodges.

As for the tour company you’ve selected, we can’t give you any feedback on the quality of their camps and safaris. In our four total years visiting Kruger National Park, we probably went on over 200 safaris, most self-drive, and about a dozen guided safaris. All were exceptional.

But, as we became more experienced, we preferred the self-drive safaris since guided tours with others in the vehicles can become repetitive when they stopped for each impala and warthog when we were easily able to see them in our garden in Marloth Park, along with many other animals.

Since we were so close to the Crocodile Bridge entrance to Kruger, we never investigated any camps or lodges. We’d suggest you deeply research reviews on other sites for this company and its camps on such places as TripAdvisor or other travel sites. We’re sorry we can’t help in this regard. Their offerings may be legitimate and excellent for your five-day needs.

If you would like to check further before committing, since you have plenty of time, I suggest contacting Louise at Not only does Louise manage and own many properties, but she also owns a tourist center in Marloth Park that handles everything regarding safaris, camps, and lodges in Kruger National Park. There are many “scam” type operations in South Africa (not to scare you, but it is important to know), as there are in many countries.

Louise is a native South African, and there are no fees to you for her assistance. Her knowledge and experience with Kruger is astounding. She can also book venues for you if you consider other options. Also, she may know something about the company you are considering and if it is safe and legitimate.

As for your Seychelles return….This is urgent! To enter Seychelles, you must complete an immigration/visa form. Without this, you won’t be allowed to board the flight from South Africa to Seychelles. Here is the website with the critical notice you must read and comply with. Please click here. This must be done before traveling to Seychelles. Since you are going off on your own, I doubt the cruise line will arrange this for you. Please check with them for details, but proceed with caution if they say they do it. They may not know the nuances required to enter Seychelles from a plane, not the cruise ship.

I hope that we’ve answered your questions based on our personal experiences. We promise you will not regret visiting Kruger National Park. It remains one of our favorite experiences in our world travels and may prove to be the same for you.

Much love to both of you and travel safely.

Jess & Tom

Photo from ten years ago. February 28, 2014:

As we were getting ready to leave Marloth Park after a three-month stay…Thank you, Mr. Tree Frog, for serving as the mascot for all the “small things” that brought us so much pleasure during our time in Marloth Park. Even you will be remembered. For more photos, please click here.