KNP - Help needed





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  1. #1
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    Default KNP - Help needed

    I'm in the process of planning our first trip to Kruger in September. This trip will consist of driving up to KNP from Cape Town on the 20th Sept, travel thru the Kruger as that is the main reason for the holiday, drive down to the Sani Pass on the morning of 1 Oct, spend 2 nights close to the Pass to explore it and the area surrounding the pass and then travel home over 2 days.

    On the specifics we will be able to arrive at Kruger late afternoon the 21st Sept until early morning 30 Sept for departure to Sani Pass.
    Camping is the only option as that is what we enjoy, only me and the fiancee, pitching a tent for one night is not a issue, D4D is equipped with everything needed to take care of ourselves without power(Dual Batt, solar, D250S, NL fridge).

    The current idea is to travel thru the majority of the park starting at Punda Maria Rest Camp and use the last eveining to rest at Malelane/Berg-en-Dal or Crocodile Bridge and this is exactly were the issues starts and the help is needed, we have 10 nights to spend in the park, what camp sites would be suggested seeing that our main objective is to explore the majority of the park and see a lion in the wild.

    A friend suggested spending the majority of the nights in the central and lower regions and only spend 3 nights traveling/exploring our way from Punda Maria to the central area, is this advisable.

    What is your suggestions:
    Where to enter the park
    Where to exit
    What camps to visit in the journey

    Please help, I have spend 4 hours in the Kruger 2 years ago and this year finnaly we will be able to spot us a lion.

  2. #2
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    My limited experience is that the north and south is so different and that I would spend about 4 nights north and 6 nights south.

    The north has less animals but also much less people so I enjoy it.

    I do not know enough about all the camps to compare them.
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  3. #3
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    In your planning process, do yourself a favor and try out the Tzendze Rustic Campsite. Definitely on my 'to do' list, it has a LOT of favorable reviews on this forum.
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  4. #4
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    Maroela also if you can get a booking, lovely camp.

    As for the North VS South, that's a personal preference as the geography changes so much, we have seen Cheetah in the North and Leopard in the South. Lower Sabie and Croc bridge will almost guarantee sightings
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  5. #5
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    Use the camps as a place to sleep. If you want to have the best chance of seeing animals, you need to be out on the road.

    I leave camp at 6 in the morning, drive around until 12 - 1, drive into the nearest camp at the time, have a bite in the restaurant, and off again getting back to camp for them to close the gate behind my rear bumper.

    It's not everybody's cup-of-tea, but I see a LOT of animals. This weekend I saw the big five several times (all five several times), including 3 leopard sightings, of which two was point blank.

    That's my recipe, and if it's animal views you're after, it works.
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  6. #6
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    I'm getting a headache just trying to squeeze the whole park in, in 10 nights, my biggest problem is I'm always trying to see everything.

    Currently I have it at:
    1st night: Punda Maria
    2nd: Tsendze Rustic Camp
    3rd: Balule Rustic Camp
    4th: Satara Camp
    5th: Skukuza Camp - (is it worth seeing)
    6th: Lower Sabie Rest Camp
    7th: Lower Sabie Rest Camp
    8th: Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp
    9th: Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp
    10th: Malelane Satellite Camp or Berg-en-dal

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
    Maroela also if you can get a booking, lovely camp.

    As for the North VS South, that's a personal preference as the geography changes so much, we have seen Cheetah in the North and Leopard in the South. Lower Sabie and Croc bridge will almost guarantee sightings
    Seems as if they are interested in Zee Lionz....

    My suggestion would be.

    Punda or Singwedzi - Spelling!!
    Maroela - a lot of ellies.... and buffalo!
    Letaba - nice museum
    Satara(2 nights - it's a central camp, quite big and can get busy, but we have had our best sightings in this area)
    Out at Crock Bridge, or Berg en Dal. - our last stay at crock bridge was fantastic with the Scorpion plague.
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  8. #8
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    Scorpion plague, hmmm, I would prefer seeing tha animals than carrying my fiancee around

  9. #9
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    I would do the following if it was up to me:

    1 x Punda Maria
    2 x Shingwedzi
    1 x Tsendze
    1 x Balule
    2 x Maroela / Satara
    2 x Lower Sabie
    1 x Croc Bridge

    I have not stayed at the first three camps, so I have little info there.

    Balule has no power but amazing night sounds and very quiet. Maroela is very nice but not a lot of roads around camp, I've seen lion on the road leading to the camp and plenty around Satara, Lower Sabie and Croc Bridge.

    Enjoy the trip.
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  10. #10
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    Default Kruger Park

    Hi Racetech.
    I see you have lots of advise. herewith my penny's worth. We spend at least 3 visits a year in the park as it is so close to us.

    Night one in Park- I would enter the park at Orpen Gate and camp at Maroela camp site. It is a nice drive from Nelspruit.
    Day two – Drive up the Timbavati road then across the Ngotso Weir road towards Balule and Olifants – have brunch at Olfants then drive to Letaba – refuel and then north to Tsendze Camp. This is near Mooi plaas set up camp and then do a late afternoon drive north towards Mopani and back.
    Night two – camp at Tsendze
    Day 3 – Drive on gravel roads to the west of the tar road (See Shongololo trail) up to Shingwedzi. Have brunch at Shingwedzi. Drive around on Shingwedzi river road down toward Satara
    Night 3 camp at Satara
    Day 4 circular drive down to Tshokwane on gravel and back to Satara H6,s35,s33,s36 and s126
    Night 4 Camp at Satara
    Day 5 Drive down to Skukuza for brunch and sight see around area (take s36 south from Tshokwane then the maroela loop road) then drive on to Lower Sabie taking the S30 then S128 Booking at lower Sabie for camping and then do an afternoon drive up the H4 Tar to Skukuza but up to Nkhulu then turn back to lower Sabie for your night camp. They have a great restaurant.
    Night 5 camp at Lower Sabie
    Day 6 Drive down all southern roads to Crocodile bridge and back s28 and return via s130
    Night 6 camp at Lower Sabie
    Day 7 go through central south section (N’watimhiri road) toward Stevenson Hamilton Memorial and explore surrounding area. Drive west towards Pretoriouskop and explore side roads S65 ands7 and s3. Book into Pretoriouskop
    Night 7 camp at Pretoriouskop.
    Day 8 drive down to Berg en dal via H2-2 then onto H3. Drive north up to S113 and turn left down to s23 then back along s114 to Berg en dal. Book in and if you have time do som afternoon sight seeing on local road network
    Night 8 camp at Berg en dal.
    Day 9 drive along all southern gravel roads towards Crocodile bridge. S25, s26 and h15 are all good roads
    Night day 9 camp Crocodile bridge
    Day 10 exit and return trip to Natal.
    Enjoy your trip
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  11. #11
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    Just keep in mind that Lower Sabie & Croc brige to me is like high class squatter camp sites, totally over populated..........not my liking at all

    It is also easy to change your booking from one camp to the other if outside the long weekends/school holidays.

    Tsendze is a must!

  12. #12
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    You are going to kill yourself driving!

    Although I really enjoy entering the Park via Pafuri (one of my favourite spots in Kruger) and sleeping over at Punda, it is really a route to far if you are driving from Cape Town. The entrance at Punda is not that much closer to make it viable.

    Having said that, try to sleep over for at least two nights per camp. It can be VERY tiresome to pitch camp every day.

    So, IF you MUST see the whole park, I would recommend:

    Enter at Phalaborwa and stay at Shingwedzi for 2 nights. Then you can visit Pafuri and Punda in one day and still enjoy the marvelous Shingwedzi camp and environs.
    Two nights at Tsendze, which will allow you to explore Mopani/Letaba and even Olifants via the river road. On route to Satara, you must visit Olifants for the view/ambience.
    Two nights at Satara (not up to standard from my last experience, but location, location, location ...) Do Nwanetzi and Tamboti routes?
    Instead of Satara, consider Balule, if you are lucky to get a stand.
    Skip Skukuza.
    Two nights in Lower Sabie
    Two nights Berg-en Dal. THis will give you 3 days + to explore the greater area including Skukuza/Pretoriuskop. Look out for wild dogs! Plenty of rhinos!

    I you do not see ze Lionz during this trip, then you do not know what one look like ;-)

    Exit Malelane and you are on your way to KZN from the N4
    Last edited by hatjohan; 2015/04/07 at 03:47 PM.



  13. #13
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    I agree with hatjohan, except that BERG-EN DAL is most certainly on my never to waste my time list for Kruger.
    I just find it a waste of time camp.

    for mid way down the lower section of the park, Pretoriaskop is a must for an over night stay.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikevr View Post
    hi racetech.
    I see you have lots of advise. Herewith my penny's worth. We spend at least 3 visits a year in the park as it is so close to us.

    night one in park- i would enter the park at orpen gate and camp at maroela camp site. It is a nice drive from nelspruit.
    day two – drive up the timbavati road then across the ngotso weir road towards balule and olifants – have brunch at olfants then drive to letaba – refuel and then north to tsendze camp. This is near mooi plaas set up camp and then do a late afternoon drive north towards mopani and back.
    night two – camp at tsendze
    day 3 – drive on gravel roads to the west of the tar road (see shongololo trail) up to shingwedzi. Have brunch at shingwedzi. Drive around on shingwedzi river road down toward satara
    night 3 camp at satara
    day 4 circular drive down to tshokwane on gravel and back to satara h6,s35,s33,s36 and s126
    night 4 camp at satara
    day 5 drive down to skukuza for brunch and sight see around area (take s36 south from tshokwane then the maroela loop road) then drive on to lower sabie taking the s30 then s128 booking at lower sabie for camping and then do an afternoon drive up the h4 tar to skukuza but up to nkhulu then turn back to lower sabie for your night camp. They have a great restaurant.
    night 5 camp at lower sabie
    day 6 drive down all southern roads to crocodile bridge and back s28 and return via s130
    night 6 camp at lower sabie
    day 7 go through central south section (n’watimhiri road) toward stevenson hamilton memorial and explore surrounding area. Drive west towards pretoriouskop and explore side roads s65 ands7 and s3. Book into pretoriouskop
    night 7 camp at pretoriouskop.
    day 8 drive down to berg en dal via h2-2 then onto h3. Drive north up to s113 and turn left down to s23 then back along s114 to berg en dal. Book in and if you have time do som afternoon sight seeing on local road network
    night 8 camp at berg en dal.
    day 9 drive along all southern gravel roads towards crocodile bridge. S25, s26 and h15 are all good roads
    night day 9 camp crocodile bridge
    day 10 exit and return trip to natal.
    enjoy your trip

    +1 ;d

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne CH View Post
    I agree with hatjohan, except that BERG-EN DAL is most certainly on my never to waste my time list for Kruger.
    I just find it a waste of time camp.

    for mid way down the lower section of the park, Pretoriaskop is a must for an over night stay.
    \\\\\\\Berg en |Dal is the best camping camp in the deep South ...best leopards , Wild Dog Matjulu waterhole is BRILLIANT for afternoon photography ..TOP camp

  16. #16
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    Never camp at Lower Sabie or Skukuza ..A SPAR Parking lot has more bush atmosphere..Just my 63 years experiences and Kruger preferences ..North by far the best >>Tsendze best camp in Kruger ...GREAT BIG 5 area
    Last edited by Peter Betts; 2015/04/07 at 04:00 PM.

  17. #17
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    10 days is way too short ..(We have 18 nights at Tamboti in Aug as an example ..1 camp!!) to do N S you need 3 week min
    Last edited by Peter Betts; 2015/04/07 at 04:04 PM.

  18. #18
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    Can't comment on the camping bit, I always chalet or bungalow.
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  19. #19
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    I love the Kruger Park and have been there at least once a year for every year of my life, so I hope you also have a wonderful experience. I think you are too ambitious, though. For me the park is not just about animal sightings but also the atmosphere. I would suggest you leave some time for just sitting at viewpoints, waterholes and even in some of the camps, especially those on rivers. If you have ten days you will almost certainly see lion anyway, and the slower you drive the more game you’ll see.

    The North is wonderful but to make the most of it you would have to stay longer. For Example, the Pafuri area is quite far North of Punda Maria so you would probably not be able to go there as your itinerary stands at the moment. So I would suggest the following:

    Tsendze 1 night (haven’t been there but great reviews and wilder than other camps)
    Letaba 2 nights (I think the most beautiful camp with huge trees and a spectacular flood plain)
    Balule 1 night (rustic, but can skip this one, perhaps in favour of another night at Tsendze or Letaba)
    Satara 2 nights (excellent game viewing and lion country, but the camp is not great)
    Pretoriuskop 4 nights (from here you can explore the whole Southern region, from Tshokwane Southwards, although to do that you will have some of those day-long drives Sakkie spoke about.)


    I’m sure you’ll be back sooner than later to see other camps. Take it easy and enjoy!


    PS. If you'll be pitching tent so many times I suggest you research ideas for dealing with rock-hard ground ...
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne CH View Post
    I agree with hatjohan, except that BERG-EN DAL is most certainly on my never to waste my time list for Kruger.
    I just find it a waste of time camp.

    for mid way down the lower section of the park, Pretoriaskop is a must for an over night stay.
    I also tried to avoid Berg en Dal in the past, it being too close to civilisation and to "modern". For some reasons we have stayed over on two occasions in recent times and came to love the camp and the area. And if you want to leave the park quickly and have to travel to KZN, it is the ideal location.



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