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Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

Heidelberg, Germany
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Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

Dear all,

I am trying to finalize our 6 day self drive route for our upcoming trip to South Africa. So far I have planned the following:

July 1: Arriving in JNB, get rental car, overnight in Nelspruit (place tbd)

July 2: Enter Kruger at Crocodile Bridge, overnight at Skukuza Camp (booked)

July 3-6: 3 nights at Arathusa Lodge in Sabi Sand

Now my dilemma begins. I would like to enter Kruger again on July 6 and do some game driving, but exit on the same evening. As Orpen seems to be the closest gate to Arathusa I would like to enter Kruger there. Our flight departs at 19:25 on the next day (July 7) and I would preferably include the Panorama Route on the way back to the airport. I made up 3 potential itineraries to JNB:

1) Enter at Orpen, do game driving, exit at Orpen, stay overnight in Hoedspruit and drive Panorama Route to JNB

2) Enter at Orpen, exit and stay overnight at Phalaborwa (is this feasible?) and drive Panorama Route to JNB

3) Enter at Orpen, exit at Paul Kruger or Phabeni Gate, stay in Hazyview and skip Panorama route

What do you think? Are the distances doable?

Thanks a lot in advance!

Lisa

Edited: 07 March 2014, 18:48
Frankfurt, Germany
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for Garden Route
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1. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

Hi Lisa.

No 3 will be very stressed. You want to leave Arathusa after the morning game drive @9ish. Add an hour to get to Orpen, you will have to more or less rush through Kruger to get to the gate before 17.30.

No 2 might be to far off also.

No1 sounds the most realistic. Get up really early, see the 3 rondavels, bourk luck holes and drive through to JNB. Save God's window, wonder view and pinnacle rock for your next trip,even w/o them it is an ambitious program, providing you want to be @JNB at 1700 at the latest.

Edited: 07 March 2014, 20:41
Tempe, Arizona
Destination Expert
for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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2. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

After 3 days & nights at Arathusa with terrific game viewing, a drivealong through Kruger might seem like an anticlimax. I would seriously consider leaving Arathusa at a normal time, 1030AM.. You can be at Hoedspuit about 1200noon. Stay the night at African Rock Lodge.. or even at Tshukudu! Next morning - breakfast, drive the Panorama Route and continue to the airport. You will be on the R12 during the last part of that drive. Watch for exit 429 to ORTambo & Pretoria off the R12.

Back to the day you leave Skukuza for Arathusa - I just drove 3 weeks ago from Gowrie gate over to Orpen Gate, down through Kruger to a lodge in the south. It took me 3+ hours to reach Skukuza. And that's the path to take going from Skukuza TO Arathusa. Much easier than leaving Kruger at Paul Kruger Gate and then driving to Hazyview, up to Acornheok, over to Hluvukani and then to Gowrie Gate.

Dave Patterson - Owner - TheAfricaSafari

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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3. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

One more thing.. you do know, I hope, that you cannot exit from Skukuza at Paul Kruger Gate, and then enter Sabi Sand to drive to Arathusa up through Sabi Sand. I would have not thought to mention this.. but, when I was at Arathusa last month, talking with the Manager on duty at the time - phone rings. Someone is at Shaw's Gate, very near Skukuza, and they have just been told they can NOT drive up to Arathusa on Sabi Sand roads. It was another 3 hours before they reached Arathusa, having driven back to Hazyview, up to Acornhoek, etc., and finally reaching the Gowrie Gate.

Heidelberg, Germany
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4. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

Dear Dave,

thank you for this useful hint. I wasn't aware of the fact that we have to exit Kruger at Orpen Gate.

I really like the consept of Tshukudu. Is there another similar place around? I like to have several options before making a final decision:)

Thanks a lot for your help!

Lisa

South Africa
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5. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

The drive to Joburg airport is at least 6 hours so watch out ...

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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6. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

No, Tshukudu is one of a kind.. decent rates, too. Let me add that you can exit at Paul Kruger gate and still go to Arathusa.. It's a lengthy drive on busy roads. What you cannot do is exit at Paul Kruger gate and enter Sabi Sand at Shaws gate (which is very close to Paul Kruger gate) and drive up through Sabi Sand to Arathusa.

Even if you drive up from Skukuza through Kruger Park to Orpen gate, you still have a long drive to Arathusa. And you still need to know what to do and what roads to take to Gowrie gate and the Arathusa, when you do exit Orpen gate!

Randburg, Gauteng...
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7. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

Hello, for your accommodation in Nelspruit, look at Mercure Inn, well priced and good value for money. Also just off the main road, so easy to find.

Lyn - Owner - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

Naracoorte
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8. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

'After 3 days & nights at Arathusa with terrific game viewing, a drivealong through Kruger might seem like an anticlimax'

I cannot stress how much I disagree with this comment. I can't think of any situation in which a drive through Kruger could be described as an anti-climax. It is not something to be compared. It is unique. It is Kruger National Park. It is worthy of any amount of time one can spend inside it's boundaries.

Gold Coast...
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for Kruger National Park
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9. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

I agree Tryhard !

Our very first trip to Kruger was not even a full day. It was just a half day 'drive through'

From the first elephant we came across five minutes through the entrance gate and then the giraffes that walked by our car a few minutes later that’s it, we were hooked!!

10. Re: Arathusa to Kruger to JNB on Panorama Route

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