Guided Safaris vs Self-Drive: Pros & Cons

A guided or self-drive safari, which is better? The good news is that both options are spectacular and there are many game lodges in South Africa from which to choose, it really just comes down to personal choice. Let’s take a more in-depth look at these two options so that you can make an informed choice. 

Guided safaris

If you’re embarking on a guided safari (also known as a mobile safari), all the tiresome work of setting up camp and cooking is done for you by the staff accompanying you on the trip.

Pros

  1. The guides are expert trackers who will be able to identify (through factors such as spoor and droppings) where wildlife has recently been and follow the path, giving you a much better opportunity to witness these amazing animals.
  1. The guides will ensure that you have all the correct documentation to allow you into the park, as well as securing premium camping spots every night. 
  1. You don’t have to drive at all – sit back, relax and revel in the wild environment.
  1. Usually, a guided safari group is made up of people from a variety of places; you have the opportunity to make new friends with whom to share the experience.

Cons

  1. You have to follow a set itinerary.
  1. Guided safari packages can be pricey and therefore not recommended if you’re travelling on a tight budget.

Honestly, there aren’t many cons when choosing a guided safari, it’s a once in a lifetime experience. So, if you have the chance to go on this adventure, go for it!

Self-drive safaris 

A self-drive safari offers complete flexibilityIt’s an ideal choice if you enjoy camping or are on a budget. You can set up camp at one of the many sites, cook, eat and sleep on your own terms and leave as soon as the park gates open so you have as much game-viewing opportunity as possible. 

Pros

  1. You have the ability to set your own flexible schedule. 
  1. When you find a great sighting, e.g. one of the Big 5, you can stay and watch for as long as you want – the time is yours.
  1. If you’re an avid photographer constantly looking for the ‘perfect shot’, opt for self-drive. With fewer people in the vehicle, you have more space set up for epic photos of sensational wildlife. 
  1. The challenge of being your own navigator. You choose which routes to take; there’s no telling what you’re going to see! 

Cons

  1. You’ll need either rent out a pre-packed safari vehicle, or rent a normal vehicle and bring all of your own camping gear including food, cooker, power cables, lights, etc.
  1. There are no expert guides to recommend the best paths, you will have to make a choice and may, or may not, see a large variety of animals.
  1. You need to put in place safety precautions in case there’s an incident such as a flat tyre or injury. It’s recommended that you have a full first-aid kit with you, and if you’re going to be in areas with no cell phone reception, it’s worth renting a satellite phone for the duration of your trip.

The bottom line is that experiencing the magic of a safari is what matters, so whether you choose guided or the self-drive option, just relax and enjoy the natural beauty surrounding you.
If you prefer to stay in luxurious accommodation, appreciate fine cuisine and enjoy daily, exclusive game drives, Pondoro Game Lodge is an option for those who prefer a place that they can call ‘home’ during their safari.

Be Sociable, Share!
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *