Rest Camp or Game Lodge, Self-Drive or Organized Tour, Etc.

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<p>Hello,</p> <p>We will be coming to Kruger National Park, South Africa for the first time in a few months. Not sure if we have the same viewing experiences and crowding, using inside park rest camps or outside private game parks and lodges. Are equivalent dawn-morning-etc. game drives and vehicles available from all these location options? Is south too crowded or is viewing really better there? Is main accommodation difference only between luxury vs. modest? Is self-drive or small size organized tour from Joberg better for beginner? How about safety and crime? </p> <p>Would appreciate your thoughts.</p> <p>Thanks, Time </p>

Crime sadly is part of life in SA. Had a simple gold chain necklace ripped off my neck two blocks from our hotel and right next to the federal tax office in downtown Capetown, which is one of the safer cities. Doubt if you will actually be in downtown Jo'berg since most tourist stay in the safer suburbs of all these cities these days.
I visited SA, stayed in a lovely Jo'berg suburb (Waverly) for a month and traveled extensively on my own around the country and in downtown Jo'Berg in the mid 1970s. It was sad to return last year and see the core of these formerly wonderful cities abandoned to normal business activity and a walk of a few blocks now fraught with danger. Even sadder to learn a friend from that time had recently been murdered in his own home, assailants unknown and his home later stripped clean once new of the murder got out. Newspaper reported a cold trail on that crime and he was a prominent architect. The sobering side of life in SA. (And yes, it can happen anywhere)
Yet, the modern suburbs today of these cities are full of activity and will dazzle you with the good life.
There is still a lot to like about SA and there has been as much improvement for many as their has been a loss for the few. Stay with tours and those who know where and how to get about. Don't try much on your own and do not wear or carry anything that can be snatched away from you. I want SA to work. And most of all I want it to be safe for everyone.

Dont leave out the Winelands of South Africa! The vineyards have vines originally from France. Stellenboach is wonderful and La Residence is a wonderful wonderful hotel if you do not have a budget.

Self drive in Kruger is a great way to go. You rent a vehicle at JNB and drive to Kruger. The lower part is good and so is the middle. spend 2 or 3 night in the lower and 2 or 3 in the middle. Enjoy it.