What would you do to relax and unwind yourself from the hustle and bustle of the city?
I think of roaming freely inside the Kruger National Park trying to find a Rhino or some wildlife that I have never spotted earlier. I go on new routes, whether it be tar or dirt and try to enjoy the vegetation and the landscape that surrounds the area. The Kruger National Park has a lot to offer and this was my top destination choice to showcase to my family including my parents travelling from India and my younger brother and his family – 2 kids and his wife.
|Family Photo taken by my daughter
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves where animals roam freely inside the grasslands. This game reserve is home to all the Big 5 wild animals – Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo. It’s 360km from north to south and 65km from east to west. The park has around 10 gates by which you can enter. There is a day visitor pass but then you have to leave the gates before their closing time which is different as per the summer and winter seasons.
The Sanparks Reservation website took care of the places to stay. I booked accommodation via their online platform wherever it was available for 10 people with 6 adults and 4 kids starting from age 13 to as low as 2 years. The next task was to plan how we travel and drive around inside the Kruger National Park. Should we hire a bigger vehicle that can accommodate 10 people or should 5 people go in my personal car and we hire another similar car? This is the dilemma you and I will always face when we have a larger group of people because coordinating inside Kruger National Park is difficult because the mobile network signals are really weak in certain areas outside the camps.
We didn’t go ahead with any kind of vehicle booking after the initial discussion and thought of making the decision when all of them reached South Africa. I also didn’t want the money to be blocked by the transport provider two months ahead of time. Finally, the day came when my brother’s family came and we picked them up from the airport. Some days later, Mom and dad also arrived and I picked them too. So we were again on track for the planning and discussion for the upcoming 5-day trip inside the Kruger National Park.
The best view is possible in cars that have a higher ground clearance and which go well on dirt roads as well. There are some tracks that need 4x4 vehicles. But as you increase the level of your cars, the prices are increasing significantly on all the popular car rentals like Avis, Europcar etc. Secondly, they all were giving 200kms per day which is really less to see and drive around inside the park considering you have to travel 450kms on the first and last day from Johannesburg to one of the gates. It means that your 5 days = 1000 km are already gone in 2 days. This kind of arrangement meant more cost on the hiring vehicle.
The best way to overcome this is to map out the path using Google Maps so that you know how many kilometres you plan to travel. The second option is to pay a little higher charge and choose Unlimited Mileage when renting your vehicle.
Secondly, we needed a car seat for my brother’s son and he was less than 5 years of age. My son’s car seat was already there in my car so it was sorted for one of them. Fitting two car seats in any car will take away the middle seat space completely where 3 adults could have sat. So it meant that a bigger car option was also out of scope considering we were already 10. Planning a trip initially, despite being hectic and challenging, is necessary if you want to enjoy the journey afterwards.
The next item to check out is from where you will pick up the car and what time? Generally, the outlets closer to you will serve you only from the morning at 8am to the evening at 6pm. It then adds up to an extra day of the whole rental plan for the category of car. So the best option and solution here is to get it from the airport and return it at the airport because mostly it’s open day and night or 24 hours. It will cost you some money to travel to the airport via Uber /Bolt/Gautrain but then you save on the extra day of rental.
Being a deal hunter, I had to look out for all these things before I could actually confirm the vehicle and the overall cost of the vehicle. We took out all the 3 laptops and logged into the various car rental providers. While searching on Google, I came across Sani Car Rental South Africa, which initially I thought maybe doing a road trip picnic to the Sani Pass in Lesotho from Underberg. But after visiting their website, I found that they had the most number of categories of vehicles available as per your needs. From luxury vehicles to value-for-money vehicles for a small family or 2 people, they had everything available to be booked.
My brother narrowed down on a vehicle like the Suzuki Ertiga, which will not only provide a better view from the car but also will be able to accommodate the luggage of 5-6 people in the boot. My personal car was going to take the luggage for another 4. We then went ahead to O.R Tambo airport in my car and directly went to the counter of Sani Rentals. The booking experience was awesome and the counter opens at 530am and closes at 11pm. We rented the Ertiga the night before and returned it at a similar time, late at night. It definitely saved us an extra day and the prices for the category at Sani rentals were definitely cheaper by 15-25%. My brother added some extra insurance so that he didn’t have to pay any fees in case of any misfortunes and then also he saved some money from the famous rentals.
Finally, we could make it to our 5-day trip inside the Kruger National Park and my parents and my brother could identify more wildlife because of the higher ground clearance as compared to what I could see in my sedan. Also, the best part of hiring a vehicle is the safety that you get in case the vehicle breaks down. You just call a number and they will come to the place where you are with an alternative vehicle which is not possible even with your personal vehicle. It’s a big relief when you are on holiday and I have faced it with a personal vehicle and it spoils all the fun when it happens. So don’t overthink, plan your trip across South Africa and Namibia using Sani Car Rentals.
I have already started working on a road trip to Namibia and I am definitely going to rent a car with Sani Rentals again. What about you?