Self-drive safari

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For those staying either at the Augrabies Falls National Park or the Kalagadi Transfrontier Park, self-driving is an interesting alternative to a guided safari. Unless you really know a lot about safari, it should never replace the experience of guided game drives and walks in the company of an expert who can not only find the animals but also explain them to you. However to complement guided game drives, or for those who feel they know their way around their African wildlife, it makes an exciting and rewarding way to see game. The parks are laced with a network of roads, predominantly dirt tracks (exclusively so in the Kalagadi, and appropriate only for 4×4 vehicles) There is a real thrill in setting off into the park, under your own steam, equipped with a map showing roads, waterholes and notable features, a pair of binoculars, a bird and mammal guide, and perhaps a packed lunch. You can then do whatever takes your fancy: spend half an hour with a herd of zebra or impala (which would never happen on a guided game drive), or head for a waterhole and sit with your bird book trying to identify as many species as possible, or simply to drive slowly around, taking in the amazing scenery and hoping to spot some big game. More so than other national parks, the emphasis at both Augrabies and Kalagadi is as much on scenery as wildlife, and on the chance to get so far away from daily civilization, a very rare pleasure in this day and age.

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