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  1. #1
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    Default 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Hi folks,

    Going up to Kruger on Sunday for the first time ever. Excited. I am part of a party who has booked so no say in where/when, but I will be doing a fair bit of the driving, so have a few questions please given we will be staying at Malelane and entering the park daily. I am a real Kaapie with little to no experience of the northern part of SA in general:

    1.) Is it easiest to drive from Joburg (hiring an 8-seater van at ORT) direct via N12 and N4 to Mbombela and across to Malelane? I pick up possible issues with Belfast?

    2.) I believe from looking at the forum that Malelane has a great Super Spar, so that should allow us to do food shopping there (keep the spend local).

    3.) Recommendations on entering the Malelane gate super early vs a bit later in the mornings (missing rush) - we have two 75 year old folks in the car?

    4.) Any must visit spots in the south of the park?

    5.) Is heading up to the central or northern parts of the park even vaguely feasible or worth the extra time in the car from down south given that we are fixed overnighting at Malelane?

    6.) Are there easy spots to buy refreshments/toilets in the park, or does one need to be pretty self-sufficient in this regard?

    Thanks folks - really looking forward to my first Kruger experience. Anything else you can recommend would be much appreciated. Perhaps something I am not even thinking about....

    Much appreciated.

    Andrew

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Legg View Post
    Hi folks,

    Going up to Kruger on Sunday for the first time ever. Excited. I am part of a party who has booked so no say in where/when, but I will be doing a fair bit of the driving, so have a few questions please given we will be staying at Malelane and entering the park daily. I am a real Kaapie with little to no experience of the northern part of SA in general:

    1.) Is it easiest to drive from Joburg (hiring an 8-seater van at ORT) direct via N12 and N4 to Mbombela and across to Malelane? I pick up possible issues with Belfast?
    N12, N4 straight to Malelane. Easy route. A few road works around Belfast Millies.
    2.) I believe from looking at the forum that Malelane has a great Super Spar, so that should allow us to do food shopping there (keep the spend local).
    100% correct
    3.) Recommendations on entering the Malelane gate super early vs a bit later in the mornings (missing rush) - we have two 75 year old folks in the car?
    Rather get in as early as you can, potentially better game viewing options
    4.) Any must visit spots in the south of the park?
    Depends on time frame and amount of days in the area.
    5.) Is heading up to the central or northern parts of the park even vaguely feasible or worth the extra time in the car from down south given that we are fixed overnighting at Malelane?
    Not feasible to head too far north. A long day of just driving would get you as high as Tshokwane Picnic Spot.
    6.) Are there easy spots to buy refreshments/toilets in the park, or does one need to be pretty self-sufficient in this regard?
    All the rest camps, Afsaal Picnic spot and as mentioned above, at a push Tshokwane Picnic Spot
    Thanks folks - really looking forward to my first Kruger experience. Anything else you can recommend would be much appreciated. Perhaps something I am not even thinking about....

    Much appreciated.

    Andrew
    Answers in red, many nice roads in the southern part of the park. Just depends on your time frame and how much time you want to spend in the park.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Quote Originally Posted by AfricainHD View Post
    Answers in red, many nice roads in the southern part of the park. Just depends on your time frame and how much time you want to spend in the park.

    Be cautious when/if stopping at the big ALZU, leave someone at the vehicle.
    100%
    And beware of the speed traps as you exit the highway and approach Belfast. Think it is 80km/h zone
    Last edited by hatjohan; 2022/06/23 at 11:58 AM.



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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    And take the Schoemanskloof road to Nelspruit, then stop at the Joubert en Seuns farmstall. You can thank me later.
    "When a clown enters a palace, he does not turn into a prince, the palace turns into a circus."

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  7. #5
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Great advice from Africainhd.

    All I can add is that the Superspar has great meat, biltong and bakery.
    For the old folks, bare in mind that the dirt roads take a long time to drive and there are no bathroom facilities on the dirt roads. Keep hidrated enough but be aware of the times required to get to a rest stop. The distances can be very misleading for first timers. That's all. Enjoy it!
    Last edited by LandyLove; 2022/06/23 at 01:16 PM.
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  9. #6
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Dont want to derail someone. Schoemanskloof is a dangerous route because of the amount of ore carrying trucks using it and people taking chances overtaking and most of the time its blind spots. I would not recommend it. Oranges are everywhere available. Its now school holiday time, the gates will be busy. Malelane out of school holiday very rustic but if you want to go in early be there 5:30 to avoid a long queue. Take entry forms at the gate for the next day to complete at home. You can check on the SANPARKS website how many permits are available daily and if you have to prebook at a fee to prevent disappointment. Only the driver are required at the office, you get checked at the gate if everything are in order. Between Nelspruit and Karino there are road works. At the tollgate the most left hand lane are for etoll holders. Follow the robots and boom gates. Malelane have a SRAR, PICK & PAY and SHOPRITE.
    It rained a month ago and the last two days also,there are lots of water in the veldt the animals are not necessarily at the waterholes and rivers they spread out. Sightings on Latestsightings whatsapp and Latestsightings APP confirm this. I left on Thuesday. Dirt roads not in good shape with the rain and traffic. Enjoy
    Last edited by bertus; 2022/06/23 at 01:54 PM.

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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Be prepared it is going to rain next week.

  11. #8
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    As a visitor to the park since 1985, the best advice I can give you is ......... take your time. No point to rushing from one spot to the other. Plan your days in order that you do not rush to get out.

    Also remember that you can exit at Croc bridge and drive on tar back to Malelane
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  13. #9
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Quote Originally Posted by bertus View Post
    Dont want to derail someone. Schoemanskloof is a dangerous route because of the amount of ore carrying trucks using it and people taking chances overtaking and most of the time its blind spots. I would not recommend it.
    Enjoy
    Compared to the Elands River Valley Road (N4), Schoemanskloof remains the better option.

    Entering via Malelane Gate I would recommend that you book a day visitors pass. You might be turned away as they reach their daily quota quite quickly.

    The area up to Skukuza is easily accessable for day visitors entering at Malelane.

    Consider Entering at Malelane and exit at Croc Bridge. Croc Bridge and Lower Sabie are good game viewing areas.

    I can recommend the Mug & Bean at Lower Sabie. Afsaal and Nkulu are also worth visiting.

    A good option for dinner in Malelane: https://www.google.co.za/maps/place/...8!4d31.5036969

    The Superspar in Malelane is a 1 stop shop! The best Spar in SA!

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  15. #10
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Pity you stay outside the Park as you will only get in after the Good light is gone and the Folks staying inside have swept the roads >> next time stay in Park and go further North to get way from Crowds >> say Orpen Gate North. I say this as a Visitor annually apart from Covid since 1951 also the Big Picnic Spots south Like Afsaal, Tsokwane and Nkulu are large Foodhalls in the Bush rather when you go North next time go to the atmospheric Picnic Spots without Fast Food and Shops etc Like go to Muzandzene (TOP SPOT) , Nwanedzi , Mooiplaas, Babalala and Pafuri ..much better Kruger atmosphere
    Last edited by Peter Betts; 2022/06/23 at 02:49 PM.
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  17. #11
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Quote Originally Posted by LandyLove View Post
    Great advice from Africainhd.

    All I can add is that the Superspar has great meat, biltong and bakery.
    For the old folks, bare in mind that the dirt roads take a long time to drive and there are no bathroom facilities on the dirt roads. Keep hidrated enough but be aware of the times required to get to a rest stop. The distances can be very misleading for first timers. That's all. Enjoy it!
    I just Mark my Territory I only last 30 mins or so out there
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  18. #12
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Luka View Post
    And take the Schoemanskloof road to Nelspruit, then stop at the Joubert en Seuns farmstall. You can thank me later.
    There used to be a small waterfall to the right (east?) When I was a small kid, we used to pitch tent there and overnight on our way to the Park.
    The spot is still there, no waterfall and a dumping site.
    How times have changed!



  19. #13
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Come on chaps, this is South Africa, all roads are dangerous using some logic here.

    Stay alert with driving and when you park a car, like you do in the rest of the country or wrap yourselves in bubble wrap and stay home.
    Mike

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  20. #14
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Quote Originally Posted by hatjohan View Post
    Be cautious when/if stopping at the big ALZU, leave someone at the vehicle.
    100%
    Really? What issues have been reported? We always enjoy stopping there.
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  21. #15
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Some must visit spots in the South...
    Biyamiti Weir
    Panic Bird Hide
    Sunset Dam
    Have a meal on the deck at M&B Lower Sabie
    Transport Dam

    Enjoy...

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  23. #16
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Quote Originally Posted by AfricainHD View Post
    Come on chaps, this is South Africa, all roads are dangerous using some logic here.

    Stay alert with driving and when you park a car, like you do in the rest of the country or wrap yourselves in bubble wrap and stay home.
    Ja, but as one Mr Orwell has said, some are more dangerous than others



  24. #17
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Cecilh View Post
    Really? What issues have been reported? We always enjoy stopping there.
    Smash and grabs?
    Why the guards in the parking lot with the huge guns?



  25. #18
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Put the exit gates onto your GPS. Set the exit as a destination and use that to guide you as to when to trun around. Cops set up speed traps on the roads close to the exits so give yourself enough time to exit at the limits. There can be heavy fines for being late out of the park.

    Enjoy, it's a magic place.
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  26. #19
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Quote Originally Posted by hatjohan View Post
    Smash and grabs?
    Why the guards in the parking lot with the huge guns?

    The amount of cash on premises is a concern of theirs, hence the guy on the lookout tower as well.
    Mike

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  28. #20
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    Default Re: 1st Time Kruger Park advice

    Some good advice here and some I would ignore but up to you to see which is which, except to say AfricainHD knows his stuff.

    I dont know a lot about the road from Jhb to Nelspruit but when I have done it I used the N4 and then Schoemanskloof. Busy but nice scenery and stop at Jobert and Sons.

    When I enter the park I download the entry form from the SANParks website and complete it at home, when I get to the gate it allows me to get to the front of the queue while others cmplete their forms.

    You will be restricted to the South of the park, but I think you could safely do Malelane to Skukuza, Lower Sabie and Back to Corocdile Bridge in a day.

    As far as time of the days go, get there early, the gates open at 06:00 and close at 17:30 - that is both camp and main gates so you will still entr the park at dark and get out just after sunset. No need to worry that the over nighters have chased anythng because they are bound by the same times at the moment.

    Stop at picnic spots when you need to and dont spend too much time at any of them as the road may be long. I dont recall if you said you were going in multiple times but if you are then alternate which stops you make. Leave enough time for :Kruger Road Blocks".

    Speed is limited to 50kms on tar and 40 on dirt. The 'H; roads are usually (95%) tar and 'S' roads are dirt.

    Here is my biggest bit of advice. Just enjoy it. It is one of the most magical experiences I have ever had. I still appreciate every minute that I get to spend in the park and cannot get enough of those minutes. I made a video of our first trip and although it is quite crappy I can see the overwhelmed look when I watch it again.

    Take in the beauty and nature as much as you can.
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