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 Post subject: Re: Journey from Jo'burg to Punda Maria gate
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:41 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 10:37 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Harties and Luanda
N1 to LOUIS TRICHARDT- Hook a right at second stop sign(still on N1) keep straight... for quite some time.. follow the road signs... Nice road, a little dodgy at some sports... Else you can turn right just after the Capricorn Toll gate and go via Soekmekaar ect..
N1 Rd‎

Head north on N1 Rd
Partial toll road
About 1 hour 4 mins.
go 100 km
total 100 km

Turn left to stay on N1 Rd
About 1 hour 42 mins
go 138 km
total 238 km


Continue onto R101, About 2 mins
go 2.7 km
total 241 km

Turn left onto Nelson Mandela Dr/Nelson Mandela Sb St
Continue to follow Nelson Mandela Dr
About 2 mins
go 1.5 km
total 242 km


Turn right onto Rissik St - About 1 min
go 900 m
total 243 km


Turn left onto Mark St
About 1 min

go 550 m
total 244 km


Slight right onto Landdros Mare St - About 7 mins
go 9.1 km
total 253 km

Continue onto R101- About 1 min
go 1.0 km
total 254 km

Continue onto N1 Rd - About 1 hour 19 mins
go 97.9 km
total 352 km


Turn right at Songozwi St - About 2 mins
go 2.1 km
total 354 km


Continue straight onto R524
Destination will be on the right
About 1 hour 53 mins

go 128 km
total 482 km

Satara 9-4-2011 till 10-4-2011
Lower Sabie 10-4-2011 till 17-4-2011

 Post subject: Travel from Johannesburg (OR Tambo) to Malelane gate
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:35 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:29 am
Posts: 10
Hello -
We'll be arriving late at night into OR Tambo, spending the night in an airport hotel, and then heading out early the next day for KNP. Our first camp is Berg en dal so it looks like the Malelane gate will be best.

My question is: what is the best route to get from the airport to the Malelane gate (with a stop along the way for groceries, refreshments and lunch)? There seems to be a number of different way to do this (especially getting out of Johannesburg) and I'm a bit confused!

So I'd appreciate your expert advice.

thanks much~
bustergirl :P

 Post subject: Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:55 pm 
Senior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Africa's Largest City
As a result of all the new Highways in and around Johannesburg I thought I should update these directions
From O.R.Tambo airport to Southern gates
Follow signage in the airport complex to Boksburg/R21 South
Once on the R21 south take the 2nd off-ramp to Benoni/ eMahlaleni N12 east.
Be careful through the roadworks around Benoni, but these clear about 40km from the airport
The N12 joins the N4 just outside eMalahleni
Continue along the highway through the toll gates at Middelburg and Machadadorp
Once through the 2nd toll gate you have choice of 2 passes down into the Lowveld. My personal preference is the Schoemans Kloof pass, but the other pass is also OK. I prefer Schoemanskloof as it is more scenic and avoids the smelly paper mill at Ngodwana
The 2 routes join again at a T junction once you are down the passes
Just before Nelspruit there are still roadworks, so watch the signage , but keep to the N4 option

Crocodile bridge & Malelane gates
Stay on the N4 through Nelspruit and through the next toll plaza
Go through the town of Malelane (where shopping for groceries can be done at either the Pick 'n pay on your
left or the Spar on your right at the 1st traffic lights)
Malelane Gate is well sign posted just outside the town
Crocodile Bridge gate: Continue on the N4 to Komatipoort and turn left into the town. Go straight through the town and the gate is about 10 minute drive

Kruger & Phabeni Gates
Take the White River/ Nelspruit turn off off the highway and follow the signs very carefully There are some very confusing traffic circles as you come off the highway
I am not familiar enough with the area to give you exact directions here, but follow the signs to White river
Once in White river Take a left turn at the 1st traffic lights and right turn at the next lights
Stay on this road till you see the big shopping centre on your left and turn left
Stay on this road till you reach the T junction just outside Hazyview
Turn left and go into the town of Hazyview
At the Spar & Pick 'n Pay centre turn right... There is also a KFC on this corner
For Phabeni gate you will have to make a right turn about 10 min drive out the town
For Kruger gate. Stay on this road until you reach the gate, Be careful of speed limits, stray farm animals and people on this road. Personally I prefer to go in at Phabeni as it takes almost the same time to get to Skukuza as it would on the road outside the park, with the added benefit of the possibility of a great sighting

"In the end we conserve only that which we love, we love only that which we understand, we understand only that which we are taught"
(Baba Dioum, Senegalese Ecologist)

 Post subject: Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:46 pm
Posts: 22
I use for planning road trips - both here in SA and overseas. A very comprehensive and useful site.

 Post subject: Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:29 pm 
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:02 pm
Posts: 17042
Location: mind in SA, body in The Netherlands
Always use Google Maps
Works very fine for me
And with the see where you drive feature (street view) i can even check the road signs
Or the places where to stop

Submit your Images

 Post subject: Re: Driving (best route) to/from Kruger
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:31 pm 
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Posts: 651
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
FAC Member (2012)
How long should I expect it to take to drive from OR Tambo to Lydenburg and the on to Phalaborwa gate? We want to try and see the Taita Falcon on the way to Kruger. Are the roads good and safe? We have travelled to Kruger thru Nelspruit a number of times and also up the N1 through Polokwane to Phalaborwa, but have never taken this route. We will be driving midweek, leaving the Airport by 8AM at the latest.

Counting down the days
Always Dreaming of Africa!

 Post subject: Re: Driving Out of JNB Airport to N4 East
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:37 pm 

Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 11:07 am
Posts: 171
Location: Western Cape
Elephantears wrote:
How easy is it to navigate out of Car Rentals from the airport towards Malelane? I am sure a few of us overseas travellers have missed the relevant turn off or the slip road in their time!!
Are there any road works or other hold ups currently on the N4 East bound?
Thank you very much.

Like they say, it's really easy if you know the way....As an frequent visitor to OR Tambo, and having had to navigate from the Car Rental Parking garage several times a year, I can tell you that it is really quite easy. Just remember the following:

1. You need to take the exit to the R 21 (S) to Boksburg.
2. This occurs fairly quickly (about 700 m from the exit of the parking garage where the rental cars are).
3. Even if you do rent a GPS from the car rental company, the GPS will not acquire a satellite by the time you need to make your exit (to the left) onto the R 21. Therefor do not stare at the will just miss the exit. I learned this the hard way. Just watch the road signage. It is quite clear.
4. Most of the rental car companies have detailed maps of the exit from OR Tambo, and as such will be able to explain the route in detail to you.
5. The Google directions ( (enter Europcar OR Tambo International Airport as your departure point and Malelane Gate, Kruger National Park as your destination) are quite good.
6. In the unlikely event that you miss the exit to the R21 (S), do not panic. Continue with the R 24 towards Johannesburg and then get onto the N12 (East)/N4 at Gillooly's interchange (and by that time you GPS should start working).

Now some more seasoned travellers will join this conversation and point out all the mistakes of the above...

Moving on...

 Post subject: Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:22 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 30

Planning a trip to Kruger and we would usually enter the park at Malelane, however our first night this time is most likely going to be at Shingwedzi. We will be travelling from an airport hotel in Jhb and would probably leave between 5am-6am, can anyone advise how long it should take to get to the camp and should we enter at Punda or at Phalaborwa?
We will need to make a stop along the way to do all of our shopping.
Advice on routes and amount of time we should expect it to take would be very useful.


 Post subject: Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:15 pm 
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 3:04 pm
Posts: 537
Location: Nottinghamshire UK

It is a long trip and you will need up to 6 hours to get to Phalaborwa. Then another 3 hours in the Park to get to Shingwedzi - assuming you will be keeping to speed limits and stopping to look at the occasional animal!

Some beautiful stretches along the way, especially coming down the escarpment. A friend was in the area recently and says the roads are not too bad. Best route is probably the motorway to Polokwane and then via Tzaneen.

Only once done the Punda route and that was leaving during the chaos of the 2000 floods - and it took ages! Not sure of real life timings.

You might want to rethink your first night - Mopani or even Letaba would be more manageable. Also depends on the time of year - you get an extra hour and half in the summer to get to your destination.


 Post subject: Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:55 pm 
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Posts: 200
Award: Sighting of the Year - Small creatures and/or insects (2012)
Hi KirstyL

I agree with Richard. To drive from Jo'burg airport - even if you get away before 6 am - is a very very long drive to Shingwedzi. I would suggest doing a big shop at Phalaborwa ( excellent Spar about 1Km from gate) and then stopping over at Letaba, then you can drive up to Shing the next day and enjoy whatever you see along the way.

Have a great trip anyway!

_________________ 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.

 Post subject: OR Tambo to Phalaborwa
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:38 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:55 am
Posts: 142
Location: Redmond,WA USA
Rethinking my previous plan of driving from the airport to Phalborwa,staying at a B&B then doing my shopping in the AM for a fairly early entrance ot the park
However,looking over my schedule( I always do this close to leaving when I am less optimistic) I realize i will be trying to get out of the airport around rush hour(taking the earliest flight out of KTP which gets in 1425)so the earliest I could be on the road would be 1530 if all goes smoothly at the car rental place
So...what is a logical half way point to stop out which has a reasonable selection of hotels and restaurants
Or should we just push on arriving really late into Phala?

2/22/14 Twee Riveren
2/23 Nossob
2/24-25 KTC
2/25-27 Kieliekrankie
2/27-28 Grootkolk
3/1 Nossob
3/2 Twee Riveren
3/4 Mopani
3/5-7 Letaba
3/7-9 Lower Sabie
3/9-12 Biyamiti
3/13 Berg en Dal

 Post subject: Re: OR Tambo to Phalaborwa
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:43 am 
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 4:22 pm
Posts: 11
When exiting the parking area at ORT make sure you take the correct lane for the onramp onto the R21 North as this onramp is close to the exit from the parking garages. The R21 towards the N1 near Pretoria is now a double carraige freeway with 4 lanes in both directions. As is the N1 north until just north of Pretoria where it becomes a freeway with 2 lanes in both directions up until Polokwane/Pietersburg. So rush hour traffic will hopefully not be too big a problem. There is electronic e-tolling on the R21 and the N1 until the crossing of the N4 in Pretoria but since you have a hire car this will probably be taken care of by the car hire firm. There are 4 manual toll gates between Pretoria and Polokwane with a total cost of appr. R122.50 (appr. $11).
There is a Protea hotel just before Polokwane/Pietersburg at the Shell Ultra City. I would suggest you stay over here as it is an approximate 3 hour drive from ORT. The bypass road around Polokwane/Pietersburg is appr. 3 km from this point and from here it is still about 200 km to Phalaborwa. The R71 between Moria/Boyne towards Tzaneen has now been rebuilt with wider shoulders so the road condition is excellent. It is possible that the last section near Moria/Boyne is still under construction or being fInished off so there can still be some delays. It is good advice to drive this section during daylight as the scenery is nice especially the section through Magoebaskloof. Hope you enjoy it.

 Post subject: Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:23 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Spanish Mediterranean coast, where the sun is for free ( at the moment)
Hello everybody !!

Do you think it´s a good idea to drive from ORT the N4, then R539, R37 to Sabie and R532 to Graskop. We would spend the night here and continue the next day along R532 ( Blyde river) heading to Phalaborwa gate.
We have read that R540 to Lydenburg, and R36 are in very bad condition.

I see that many people prefer to drive the N1 to Polokwane.

The last day returning to ORT we plan to depart from Crocodile bridge N4 and we should arrive to ORT before 17pm, we suppose it is a 4:30 hours drive so we shoudn´t have any problem, should we? We are a bit concerned because if we had a traffic jam or any other problem we could miss our international flight so we´ll depart early in the morning ( we prefer to be bored in the airport being too early than worried in the road).

Thank you, discovering this forum has been great ! :thumbs_up:

 Post subject: Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:57 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:33 am
Posts: 3
Arriving back in S.A. and Kruger next month, just wondering what the state of play is with the e-tolls around JNB and if anyone knows how hire cars are being affected by this. Are the cars being fitted with tags and you are billed later for the tolls? Or is there something else? I like to think that when I leave the car at ORT there is nothing left to pay. One of the companies once charged me for topping the fuel tank up even though I had it filled to the brim at the airport filling station.
Spending a night at Montecassino before driving up to the park, entering at Malalene or Crocodile Bridge dependant on timing, I see we are liable to be held up by road-works on the N4.
Re Phalaborwa always used to use the R 71 from Polokwane after spending the night there at the Garden Court though did stay once at a hotel in Phalaborwa which made for a quick and easy entrance. Have entered through Parfuri and Punda Maria without any problems, it's only when you go into Google Earth that you realise how many people live on the outskirts of the park. The routine used to be to enter in the North and work our way South but the years are taking their toll and it is now easier to enter from the South and do a loop.

 Post subject: Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:06 pm 
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Hi GeorgeM13

Whilst I cannot help you with the condition of the roads, I can tell you about the hire cars and e-tolling as we were out Nov/Dec 2013. Rental cars are now fitted with tags and you are billed for the relevant roads after the vehicle has been returned. This means that (a) you do not know how much it is costing and (b) you are billed for it some time after you have returned home (or returned the car). To be honest we did not even know about the new tolling as had only encountered the toll plazas we passed through on the way to Kruger and paid in cash as needed. We did get an e-mail from the rental company on our return to explain about the tags and that we would be charged on return. Like you, we like to have everything paid up before we get home but can't fathom how else the rental companies could do other than they are doing. In fact, I don't even know on which roads you get e-tolling. Hopefully the South Africans living in country can give you more info on that part.

Hope this helps a bit!

_________________ 2012 Trip Report
... and how I miss being back in the KNP.

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