We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
16 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

I was wondering if anyone know what to do between our drive from JNB to Marloth Park ( first 2 nights lodge?).

We arrive in the morning at JNB so by the time we get our luggage, rent the car and buy a sim card I believe we will leave JNB AROUND 10-11 am. It's around 4-5 hours driving between JNB and Marloth Park. Any good route recommended ?

How bad we go off our road if we stop at the Botanical Garden in Nelspruit? I heard it's a must see.

Anywhere we can stop to take some pictures or visit something in our way ?What about buying supplies ? Will be too late that day to enter Kruger but our lodge is actually offering us a night drive if we're not too tired ( so that's with a question mark until we get there)

Will also be interested in some places we can visit from Marloth Park to Hoedspruit. We were thinking about Graskop, Blyde Rver Canyon, Berlin Falls and Bourke's Pot Holes? any particular order we should follow, anything else that is a must see missing?

We are leaving early in the 3rd day Marloth Park heading to Hoespruit ( our next lodge in the area).

Any routes or ideas will be greatly appreciated , tips too :)

Somerset
Level Contributor
3,529 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

The drive from Johannesburg to Marloth Park is not particularly scenic. On leaving the airport you will head for the N12 (towards Witbank) this will lead you on to the N4 which will then take you straight through to Marloth Park. It can take a while to clear the suburbs of the city but once on the N12/N4 it is good roads, very few built-up areas but nothing particular of note. We normally stop about mid-way for a refreshment/toilet break in one of the petrol/service areas. There are usually a couple of small shops (drinks/snacks etc) and good toilets. There are a couple of stretches of the N4 which are Toll Roads so be prepared with some cash available.

We have visited the Lowveld botanical Gardens in Nelspruit a couple of times, they are OK but in my opinion not "must see". We have stayed with friends who live in Nelspruit so have had plenty of time to potter around. If you do decide to look in there, when you get to the centre of Nelspruit you turn off to the left on to the R40 (towards White River) and the gardens are on your right hand side (quite a busy dual-carriageway road) There is also a large shopping mall (Riverside Mall) adjacent to the gardens. As I say, with your time somewhat limited I personally would just head straight on toward Marloth Park.

For provisions you are best to stop in Malelane, a small but busy town. At the traffic lights in the centre you have a Super Spar supermarket on your left and on your right there is a Pick n Pay (the most common supermarket in SA).

It is a long drive and with the couple of stops for a break and then shopping for provisions I think you will have had a long day. Just settle for the evening game drive you have been offered.

When you leave to go to Hoedspruit, head back to Nelspruit, at the centre turn on to the R40 (White River direction) then turn off on to the R37 and head towards Sabie at Sabie turn on to the R532 for Graskop, on this stretch are Mac Mac Falls. At Graskop keep on the R532 which will take you along the Blyde River Canyon with Lisob Falls, Berlin Falls, The Pinnacle, Gods Window (quite a climb up a path to get to the view-point), alternatively a short distance further on is Wonderview where you just turn off the road, park your car and you are at the viewpoint which is pretty identical view to God's Window view, Bourke's Luck Potholes which are well worth a visit and the Three Rondevels all worth a visit but depends on how much time you have available. After the Three Rondevels you will eventually turn right on to the R36 shortly after going through the Strijdom Tunnel turn right onto the R527 which will take you to Hoedspruit.

What to do in Hoedspruit? For me there is one absolute "must do". How do fancy stroking the nose of a hippo and hand feeding it ? 13 years ago a ranger called Toni Joubert who lives in a house on the riverbank, went down to the riverbank after the river had flooded, he found a tiny newborn hippo, no sign of its mother. He took her home, called her Jessica and hand reared her. At first she slept in the house but now being fully grown has a large mattress on their stoop (porch). Toni and his wife Shirley have lovingly cared for Jessica all these years, she is free to come and go as she pleases. She spends most of her time in the river, sometimes with other hippos downstream or just relaxing by the little wooden jetty they have. Each morning and afternoon you can go along and listen to a short talk about her and then feed her and give her a drink from a bottle (weak tea or coffee !!) . About 18 months ago they also rescued another young male hippo (Richie) but I haven't met him yet. For more info just "google" jessica hippo. If you are following the route I outlined earlier as you approach Hoedspruit on the R537, about 8 kms before you get there, you will see signs by the road for Jessica Hippo and it is about 8 kms off the main road, along a dirt road (good condition) to Jess's place.

Other places around Hoedspruit - The Endangered Species Centre where you can see cheetah and wild dogs amongst other things but it is a bit too zoo like for my liking.

Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitaion Centre - I found far more interesting with a talk about their work and then a tour round. I have since read a post by a very well respected and experienced guy on this forum who was somewhat sceptical of how many, if any, animals/birds they actually reintroduced to the wild. So whilst that has raised certain doubts with me I can't deny I found the talk fascinating and did enjoy the tour.

Sorry that this is so long but hope it will offer some useful information.

Enjoy your trip.

Somerset
Level Contributor
3,529 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

Small correction - at Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre it should read painted dogs (not wild dogs!)

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
16 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

Thank you for you detailed reply, I really appreciate the effort :)

One quick question; how much should I have cash for tolls between JNB and Marloth ? Any tolls booths between Marloth and Hoesdpruit?

We are staying at Hippo Pools Resort close to Hoesdpruit.

The resort offered us some game drives in 4different camps:

Tsakane - but I read some bad reviews on Trip Advisor about safety ( no riffle, unsafe cars ) Thornybush, Tshukudu or Kapama.

Did you ever used any of these? Any recommendations ?

Somerset
Level Contributor
3,529 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

Charges do change but I think you will pass 3 toll booths en route Johannesburg to Marloth Park (Approx charges R186 - R97 - R103 maybe if anyone has been along recently they will confirm or correct that)

Dont know Tsakane but have stayed many times in Thornybush Game Reserve. We always stay in a small lodge called n'Kaya Lodge, as we have been back about 8 times you will gather we are quite satisfied there. The game viewing has always been excellent. Haven't stayed in Kapama but it adjoins Thornybush so similar terrain.

South Africa
Level Contributor
1,651 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

Marloth Park is a small residential game reserve adjacent to Kruger, where some of the residential properties have been turned into lodges. From Marloth Park, it takes about 20 minutes to get to the Crocodile Bridge Gate of the Kruger National Park, and you have to be out again by sunset. So realistically, to have time for an afternoon game drive in Kruger you would need to arrive around lunch time. Many of the lodges in Marloth Park do their own little game drive or night drive in Marloth Park if time is short, usually this involves driving around between the houses and along the fence that separates Marloth Park from Kruger (overlooking the Crocodile River on the other side of the fence). So this may be what the lodge has in mind when they talk about a night drive on the first evening. Alternatively, they may hook you up with a night drive conducted by the Kruger Park itself, departing from the entrance gate (no private operators are allowed to do night drives inside Kruger). If you only leave Joburg by 10 or 11 am there will not be time to do a game drive in Kruger on the first afternoon.

In the Hoedspruit area, the game reserves you mention are all smaller, fenced in reserves. Some like Tshukudu are too small to have the big five, so they have lions in a separate camp. Thornybush and Kapama are a similar size and have enough wildlife to give you a decent game viewing experience. Personally, I would rather want to do game drives inside the Kruger National Park than one of these smaller reserves. Not sure if that is an option at the place where you will be staying.

The drive from Marloth Park to Hoedspruit will take you the better part of a full day if you are going to go via the Panorama Route and visit Graskop, God's Window, Berlin Falls or Lisbon Falls, Bourke's Luck Potholes and Blyde River Canyon. And that is what I would recommend - make a day of it, leave early and have enough time to enjoy the view points and waterfalls, and aim to get to Hoedspruit by sunset. When you pass through the tunnel, you may want to stop at the African curio market there if it's not too late in the day.

Just curious, how did you decide on Marloth Park and Hippo Pools Resort for your accommodation? Did a travel agent recommend this?

Gold Coast...
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
Level Contributor
5,278 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

Hi there

Just to add to the question from Wild Wings above, I too am curious why you are staying in Marloth Park and not experiencing the thrill of staying right inside Kruger Park itself?

Somerset
Level Contributor
3,529 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

Wildwings/thesandmans - totally agree with your sentiments but as I read it the OP has booked accommodation so all we can do is offer hopefully, helpful advice.

In my opinion Hippo Hollow Pools Resort is possible further from decent game viewing than Marloth Park. I'm afraid it will be a bit a a bind driving 60km to Phalaborwa Gate/100km to Orpen. Thornybush and Kapama are possibly the nearest of the options they have and even Thornybush is about 50 km, much of it on dirt road.

However of the options I would still choose Thornybush because, assuming the vehicle they are in will have the usual radio contact with the Thornybush vehicles they should at least get some decent sightings in the very limited time available.

We choose to stay at n'Kaya Lodge because we have always enjoyed excellent game viewing. Thornybush has acquired several new tracts of land and is somewhat bigger than when we first went. Their cheetah (our favourite animal) population is growing and is always a delight and have always seen the Big 5.. We know the staff there quite well by now so it is like home from home. I am sure the OP will enjoy a visit there albeit brief. We do of course always head into Kruger after Thornybush so get plenty of wide open spaces. Great pity it doesn't look as though the OP will not really get the chance to fully enjoy the experience.

Lochristi
Level Contributor
8 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

We to want to stay in Marloth park and rent a house for one week.

Can someone tell me if there is a daily entrance or conservation fee if staying in Marloth?

Thanks in advance.

Hazyview, South...
Level Contributor
3,809 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

The daily conservation fee for Kruger Park is R248.00 per person, if staying in Marloth park or not.

A wildcard may be of interest, depending on how often you plan to drive in:

https:/…pricing.php

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Paris, France
Level Contributor
853 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Drive JNB - Marloth Park , Marloth- Hoedspruit activities ??

We found from experience that it is quite a hard slog into Kruger from Marloth Park despite it being fairly near. We have only stayed there to rest up after a long international flight before entering the Kruger, for which it is perfect. I would rather stay somewhere with easy access to a Kruger Gate like Hazyview. Also have a look at Bucklers Africa in Komatipoort which is 5 mins drive from the Crocodile Bridge Gate, it has self catering units plus being right on the river where you can watch a large selection of animals come to drink.