Drive: Wildlife self-safaris

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    Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

    Drive: Wildlife self-safaris

    Drive: Wildlife self-safaris
    By admin


    MORE THAN YOU CAN BEAR

    The grizzlies in Canada

    The Route: The Icefields Parkway, which stretches 230km from Lake Louise to Jasper in the Canadian Rockies.

    The Experience: This route takes travellers into the World Heritage listed Canadian Rockies, home to majestic mountains and meadows of wildflowers. To see bears in their natural habitat you'll need to plan your trip around their sleeping schedule though – they will be out and about from June to September.

    The Rockies have two types of bear – the black bear (a threatened species in Banff National Park) and the grizzly bear (a sub-species of the brown bear). Grizzlies have often been sighted along the Icefields Parkway, so you may not even have to leave your car. You know you're in a bear's territory when you see gouges in tree bark – this is a bear's scratching post.
     
    The Vehicle: A Ford Explorer standard SUV or similar from DriveAway Holidays is priced from $860 for seven days' hire, collecting from and returning to Calgary.

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     For more information, visit www.driveaway.com.au

    THE LION'S SHARE

    Kruger National Park, South Africa

    The Route: The Panorama Route, starting at the Paul Kruger Gate and heading north to Orpen Gate, takes a day to drive. There are nine entry and exit gates in the park.
     
    The Experience: Don't expect the animals to respect the road rules in the Kruger. Lionesses stretch out on the hot bitumen, rhinos take up two lanes, elephants have been known to rock cars with their trunks and zebras cross the road without looking left and right. This is the best place in Africa to see the Big Five – lions, rhinos, leopards, buffalo and elephants. With almost 700km of sealed roads running through the park and nine entrance points, the Kruger is open to anyone with a vehicle. Expect to drive slowly to catch a glimpse of car-shy creatures and keep the window down to experience the sounds and smells of the African bush.

    The central region is the best for game sighting as its grassland supports herds of herbivores. For the lions this means dinner, but they won't hunt until the day cools down. In the heat of the day it is likely they will be idling relaxing under a shady tree. And as a word of warning for Kruger visitors – you are in the animals' territory, not vice versa, so do your research and don't do anything that would put you or your passengers at risk.  

    The Vehicle: A Kia Sportage 2×4 Auto or similar from Hertz is priced from $752 for seven days' hire, collecting and returning to the town of Phalabowra.  

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    For more information, visit www.hertz.com.au

    NEVER SMILE AT A CROCODILE

    Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory

    The Route: Take the Explorer's Highway from Darwin, followed by the Arnhem Highway.  

    The Experience: Kakadu is home to one-fifth of Australia's mammals plus over one-third of its birds and the best time to spot them is at dawn and at sunset. Take a cruise down East Alligator River to see saltwater crocodiles, the kings of Kakadu. However, as they grow to over six metres in length, it's best to obey the warning signs and keep away from the edge of waterways. Mamukala Wetlands is a paradise for bird-watchers, with brolgas strolling through the water lily-strewn billabongs, while from September to October you can see magpie geese congregating in their thousands. Many native animals, such as bandicoots, are nocturnal so it pays to pack a torch if you are out and about in the evening. Kakadu National Park has two main bitumen roads and is well signposted.

    The Vehicle: Clients should note that vehicle hire can be more expensive in the Northern Territory due to the varied road conditions and distances covered. Driving restrictions in certain areas also apply. A full size 4×4 Mitsubishi Pajero or similar from Holiday Autos is priced from $1862 for seven days' hire, collecting from and returning to Alice Springs.  

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    For more information, visit www.holidayautos.com.au

     

    Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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