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General Kruger help

Miami, Florida
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General Kruger help

Looking for some general advice as I make my first trip to South Africa in August. I am trying to see as many of the big 5 as possible in a short period of time. Basically I will have a day and a half in the park. My general budget is ~$200 USD for hotel per day.

I arrive in Jo'burg at 6pm Saturday night. My plan is to rent a car and drive most of the way to Kruger. Is it safe to drive at night? Any recommendations on a hotel to stop at for the night? Which gate should I drive to?

Sunday I plan to self drive throughout the park. Any ideas which camp I should stay at?

Monday morning I am interested in taking a morning safari. Monday night I will need to catch a flight to cape town from either Jo'burg or the airport by Kruger. Still trying to make that decision.

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Pretoria
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1. Re: General Kruger help

Hi

I would surely not recommend driving at night, I know of people who drove into hippos on the road near Nelspruit, and crocodiles near Malelane.

I recommend you drive with the N4 highway past Emalahleni (old name: Witbank) to Nelspruit the next morning.

There is a hotel at the aiport.

Drive to kruger's Crocodile bridge gate near the town of Komatipoort

Then proceed to the rest camp called Lower Sabie or Skukuza.

The route between these rest camps is a route where you can expect to the see the big 5, although this is not guaranteed. These rest camps lie in an area with lots of water, so that means there is a lot of game around.

These are touristy camps, very suitable for first timers.

Accomodation will cost you less than $150 per night in in a bungalow.

Look at www.sanparks.org.Click on parks on top, then on Kruger, then on camps on the left

Edited: 21 February 2011, 08:13
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Nelspruit
Nelspruit
Mpumalanga, South Africa
Pretoria
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2. Re: General Kruger help

I recommend flying from the KMIA airport near Kruger to Cape Town, but remember it is a good 2 hours drive from Kruger to the airport, obviously depending on where in Kruger you are.

The KMIA airport is roughly between Nelspruit and White River

There are direct flights from KMIA to Cape Town

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Cape Town
Cape Town
Western Cape, South Africa
Nelspruit
Nelspruit
Mpumalanga, South Africa
Hazyview, South...
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3. Re: General Kruger help

Allthough I would prefer driving at day time, the N4 is a very well maintained road and can easily be driven at night.

I understand you just want to do about half of the distance that evening so Emalahleni (Witbank) would be a good overnight spot.

There is right next to the Highway "The Ridge", a casino and Hotel complex which you could make us of.

Nevertheless, consider you will only make up 2 hours. Being tired after your flight and jet lag, I would rather drive early morning. The highways around JHB are fine on a Sunday, so there is are no traffic jams to be expected.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Edited: 21 February 2011, 08:52
Somerset
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4. Re: General Kruger help

All good advice but bear in mind that there is only one direct flight Nelspruit (kmia) to Cape Town (dep 1315 arr 1555). So you will have to plan your departure carefully. You will need to be at KMIA by 1215 latest. Alternatively you would have to fly via Johannesburg or drive to Johannesburg for onward flight to Cape Town. Both of these would be very time consuming so worth a bit of time spent planning.

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Cape Town
Cape Town
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Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Greater Johannesburg, South Africa
Gauteng Province
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5. Re: General Kruger help

Hi

I would not recommend self driving at all, rather go with an tour operator so that you can enjoy yourself rather than having to worry about safety.

Hazyview, South...
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6. Re: General Kruger help

Campwild

What are you trying to imply? That when self driving you have to worry about safety?

I see you are promoting a specific tour company in your posts.

Should you in any way be connected to that company, please note that self-advertising is strictly againat TA rules!

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Miami, Florida
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7. Re: General Kruger help

Thank you everyone for your help.

I think I am going to book a bungalow at Skukuza as Lower Sabie was fully booked. Do you think it is worth while to keep looking for a cancelation at Lower Sabie or am I ok either way.

I am assuming that Skukuza will have tour guides that I can book the night I arrive for a morning safari the following day?

Pretoria
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8. Re: General Kruger help

When are you going?

There are ALWAYS cancellations. But book Skukuza NOW, you can always change your booking later.

Check online for cancellations, their computer booking system is open for everyone to see.

Yes guides are available for a game drive the next day.

Book a tour guide immediately when you arrive at the camp.

You can also do this online now, but in my experience it is not necessary to do it now.

I recommend a morning walk with a guide in the bush (if possible), as well as a game drive with a tour guide.

The night drives are often a but of a disppointment.

Take very warm clothing of you are going in our winter, the safari vehicles on the game drive are open. It really gets chilly on those.

Remember your beanie!

Skukuza is the head office of the park, so there is always something happening there. Do visit the museum and watch the sun set from the restaurant deck.

Edited: 22 February 2011, 05:00
Pretoria
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9. Re: General Kruger help

If you are going to Skukuza, you should consider entering at the Phabeni gate (recommended) or Paul Kruger gate.

These are near Hazyview.

The drive to Skukuza will be shorter if you enter at these gates, compared to entering at Crocodile bridge.

Although there is nothing wrong with going thru Croc bridge.

To get to Phabeni, from Nelspruit you simply drive north to White River, then Hazyview and at the big shopping mall on your right, turn tight. Drive about 10km and look for the turnoff to Phabeni gate.

If you stay at Lower Sabie it would be adviseable to enter at Crocodile bridge gate near Komatipoort.

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Nelspruit
Nelspruit
Mpumalanga, South Africa
Hazyview
Hazyview
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Pretoria
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10. Re: General Kruger help

By the way, when staying at either Skukuza or Lower Sabie, I recommend the following routes as the self drive routes with the most game:

Skukuza to Croc bridge, and Skukuza to Satara rest camp. The area around the latter is known for lions, while Skukuza is known for leopards.

The restaurant at Satara is also quite popular, but it is not in the same league as the very nice restaurant at Lower Sabie.

In my personal experience the route between Skukuza and Berg en Dal or the route between Skukuza and Pretoriuskop does not have that much game, although this is not set in stone.

There could however, be rhinos on these two routes.

Edited: 22 February 2011, 05:24
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