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 Post subject: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:59 pm 
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Hi all!

I'm from Barcelona and we're visiting South Africa for the first time this August. Obviously, Kruger NP is in our Must Do list, but after searching information for some hours, I still have some questions that may be very basic and probably stupid, but I wouldn't like to see myself out of the Park for bad planification, so here we go:

- We (me and my gf) want to stay inside the Park for about 5 days and 4 nights, so I began to look for accomodations, and I saw all the booking online webpage. However, I didn't find the way to book the entrance fee (which I think is named Conservation Fee, isn't it?). How does it work? Should I book only the accomodations and buy/pay the fee once I will be there? I've read that they allow a specific number of people to get to the Park per day...

- We usually go camping with our own tent, so in order to save some money we were thinking of booking the camp sites, so here it goes which is probably the dumbest question ever: Do I need to carry my own tent? I've read some comments here talking about the renovation of the tents, and some others talking about the best spot to put on the tent, so I got really confused about that.

- Would you suggest us moving every night to another rest camp, or staying in the same one and move around every day?

- I think there's cooking facilities everywhere, but just to be sure, should I carry some cooking tools?

Well, I don't come up with any other question so far, if some of the experts here (I've read comments of people who has been visiting this Park for the last 30 years :shock: ) can give me a hand, I would be very grateful.

Thanks you in advance!


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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:38 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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- We (me and my gf) want to stay inside the Park for about 5 days and 4 nights, so I began to look for accomodations, and I saw all the booking online webpage. However, I didn't find the way to book the entrance fee (which I think is named Conservation Fee, isn't it?). How does it work? Should I book only the accomodations and buy/pay the fee once I will be there? I've read that they allow a specific number of people to get to the Park per day...

the conservation fee can be paid at the camp when you check in. Depending on where you will be travelling, an international wildcard may be cheaper as it will cover the conservation fee for any SANPark including. Table Mountain and Boulders beach (if you are going to. Cape Town)

- We usually go camping with our own tent, so in order to save some money we were thinking of booking the camp sites, so here it goes which is probably the dumbest question ever: Do I need to carry my own tent? I've read some comments here talking about the renovation of the tents, and some others talking about the best spot to put on the tent, so I got really confused about that.

if you book a campsite, you will need all your own equipment -tent, bedding, towels, cooking implements. Every campsite has a barbeque that you can use (purchase wood or charcoal at the shop). This is the cheapest option. All camping areas have access to communal bathrooms and communal kitchen with hot plate and boiling water

Some camps have tented accommodation. These are permanent safari tents and cost from about ZAR 500 per night. The basic safari tents have beds, bedding and towels. Some share ablutions. The more expensive ones have cooking utensils. This will be noted in the description.



- Would you suggest us moving every night to another rest camp, or staying in the same one and move around every day?

I would suggest a maximum of 2camps if you are staying 5 nights

- I think there's cooking facilities everywhere, but just to be sure, should I carry some cooking tools?
yes, the picnic sites have facilities but no utensils or plates etc

Well, I don't come up with any other question so far, if some of the experts here (I've read comments of people who has been visiting this Park for the last 30 years :shock: ) can give me a hand, I would be very grateful.

Thanks you in advance![/quote]

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KNP July 2013


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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:01 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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AdriaBCN, a very warm welcome :gflower: I wish you a pleasant stay in the Park and on the forum.

Cheetahlady has given you a pretty good run down. All I would like to add, is that as a new person to the Park, I would suggest Lower Sabie and Satara Camps. They tend to have good facilities, excellent choice of roads and great sightings.

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:48 am 
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AdriaBCN - A very warm welcome to the forums!!

Ditto what Cheetahlady and MM have said. :dance: :dance: :dance:

Whatever you decide, I do hope you have a wonderful stay in my most favourite place!! :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:21 am 
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As August and September are very popular months to visit, there is little availability at Lower Sabie and Satara.
From 20 August till the end of the month, there is one camp site available at Lower Sabie.
If these dates suit you, book it as soon as possible as it will soon be taken.
Satara is full so you can only hope for a cancellation there.
A nice camping area is to be found at Berg en Dal Camp and they have quite a lot of sites open ( not over the weekends though )
Skukuza, a very large camp, but central to good game viewing area has a view stands on odd days.
The small but great Crocodile Bridge Camp has no camping left but a few nights in their safari tents ( with fridge, beds, bedding and barbecue place supplied ) available.
These camps all have shops for basic food supplies or even a pot and eating utensils.
Book as soon as you can!


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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:27 am 
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Warm welcome to the forum AdriaBCN! :clap:

I think Cheetahlady & kite have given you good advice and covered your questions well and I agree with MM re those 2 camps.

Please do ask if there are any further questions. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:30 pm 
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If, as Kite warns, you cannot get into these very popular camps, Croc ridge and Maroela cover similar areas. You will just have to plan a little more carefully, as they are small camps without the facilities of the larger camps.

The southern part of Kruger will be very busy the first weekend in August, so I suggest you keep away if at all possible. It is the weekend of the Skukuza half marathon and it will be very busy.

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 4:14 pm 
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I agree with has been posted earlier.

Max 2 camps in 5 days.

Do not forget that there are beautiful rest camps further north than Satara.

Then when camping - never leave any foodstuffs unattended as the Vervets and Baboons know exactly when to raid. Keep all foodstuffs locked away.

Enjoy camping in the KNP, it is a wonderful experience especially around your little camp fire listening to the sounds of the African dark.

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:38 pm 
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Good advise has been given all round so all that is left is for me is to say WELCOME :gflower: will be watching closely for a TR of your experience :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:07 am 
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Hi again!

Thank you very much for your charm and prompt answers! I've already registered so as to do the reservations, but I have raised a couple of doubts and we haven't decided the camps yet:

We plan to be inside the Park from the 19th to the 23rd of August, according to Meandering Mouse, for that time I will have skipped the half-Marathon, but I guess that the southern part of the Park will be very busy anyway, as well as the main camps like Satara. As far as possible, we'd like to avoid massifications, so we think that a good option could be to stay 2 nights in Lower Sabie as all of you have suggested and explore the south, and then stay the other 2 nights in Olifants or Letaba so that we can scout the central-north part, but we're afraid these 2 camps could be too far away from Lower Sabie.

What do you think? It may be a long distance to cover, but as gmlsmit said, the north must be beautiful and we wouldn't like to skip it.

As for the facilities in the camps, I guess that all of them have gas-station and a mini-market or so to purchase wood and meat (we would carry packaged food from outside, since it seems to be far cheaper). If so, I think that could be enough for us.

Again, thank you so much for your help!


Last edited by AdriaBCN on Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:50 am 
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Hello!

I'd suggest Satara. You an cover the prime cat country, and easily make your way up to Olifants or Letaba. Don't worry about crowds...we spend a majority of our time there and you aren't pressed in and there are plenty of roads to explore. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:38 am 
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I agree with Stark. If you can get accommodation in Satara, it is first prize in the central area.

As much as I love Letaba, for a newbie, I am a bit hesitant. If you want to see lots of game, the predators tend to be where the grazing is best. It is predominantly Mopani land, and in winter it can be very disappointing, if you are new and come with certain expectations. There is a dramatic change in the eco zones after Olifants.

Olifants does not do camping, but keep your eyes open for booking in Balule. For many of us, it is a firm favorite. Their bungalows are very reasonable, but difficult to get. If you an get one for a night, grab it. You will not be sorry. They also have a delightful, intimate camping area, but it does not have electricity.

Gmlsmit did suggest further north, in which case I would recommend Punda Maria and Shingwetzi. Punda Maria covers a diversity of eco zones, including the very beautiful Pafuri area. Shingwetzi offers the possibility of following some interesting river routes.

Mopani land is not for the uninitiated who has limited time.

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 7:23 am 
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Welcome to the Forum AdriaBCN! :D

Great advice from the 'mites so far! Have a great time in the Park and we definitely would love a trip report to read all about your wonderful sightings and experiences! :dance: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:52 pm 
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Adria, as I'm sure you have seen, availability can be viewed by camp for the whole month eg August or by day for all the camps in the whole park.
This will help if your dates are set as you can see which camps have vacancy for camping! You mentioned 19 to 23 August and the park is very full then.
Your best bet at the moment is to book your 4 nights camping at SKUKUZA, which is a large camp with a shop, in the midst of the best game viewing area. There are 4 consecutive nights as I write this but the weekends are always busy.
The other suitable camps either are full or have only 1 night open for camping.
Once in the park you can check if there have been cancellations and may be able to move.
With only 4 nights, you will find enough variety to keep you busy each day with drives from Skukuza.
Book as soon as possible as your options have decreased day by day.
Good luck!


Last edited by kite on Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Some basic questions
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:51 am 
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Thank you very much for your tips! They're priceless!

As you made me note, my choices were decreasing day by day, so I've already booked my accomodation. Kite, I've considered your option of Skukuza, so I've booked my last 2nights there in a camp site, but as Lower Sabie has good reputation also, I've booked 2 nights in a bungalow there. Therefore, I may discover 2 different camps and areas, although they're actually quite close to each other.

Now that I've solved the issue of the accommodation, and I have your valuable attention, would you suggest me some specific activity? Should I book it in advance? I've checked it on the webpage, and it seems there are many available activities, so it may not be as critical as the accomodation...

And slightly off the topic, but after visiting Kruger NP we plan to head to Swaziland for a couple of days more, after which we'll have 6 days left in South Africa. Just 2 questions then:

Wild card is valid also for Swaziland national parks? If so, I think we would pay off a "Couple" Card, so we would purchase one (I guess we can do it at the entrance of Kruger, can't we?)

And finally, any recommendation for our last days in South Africa? We'd love to fly to Cape Town, but unfortunately it is too expensive for us, so we were thinking of Drankensberg and the border with Lesotho. Is it a good idea?

Thank you again and I promise an extensive report when I'll be back to Barcelona!


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