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 Post subject: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:20 am 
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Hi all,
I have been lurking on this forum for a while, mainly as a part pf my daily dose of 'Africa' and also in preparation for our next trip.
We are from the UK.
We first visited SA (and Kruger) in 2004 and fell in love with Africa.
This resulted in us spending every single holiday since 2004 in Southern Africa but somehow we didn't make it back to Kruger, until now that is.
We are planning to visit Kruger in March-April 2013.
We are taking our parents and in-laws with us this time.
They (4 of them) are in their sixties.
We have booked the following accommodations -
1 night - Berg-en-Dal
2 nights - Satara
2 nights - Bateleur

We could finalise this trip only last week and this is the best we could get for 6 people at such a short notice.

Our first trip to Kruger was also our first trip to Africa and we didn't know what to expect and we rushed around doing too many things in a two-week holiday.
To tell you the truth, I don't remember very much of the logistics of that trip.
It is a bit overwhelming to plan to feed 6 people and to have to plan the whole menu beforehand!!
I am hoping you guys will be able to help/advise with a few things to make this trip a once-in-a-lifetime trip for our parents -

We are planning to fly into JNB from London, pick up a car (a big van actually!) and drive straight to Berg-en-Dal.
We will need to stock up on the groceries and all essential supplies on the way there.
So here are a few questions -

1. What are the options of places where we can do our grocery shopping?
Which ones would you recommend for the variety of fruits, veg etc?
2. How do you store your fruits, veg and meats in your vehicles?
Do we need to buy a ice box/cool box?
If so, where can we buy such boxes?
Any tips on food/grocery storing in a van for 6 people are very welcome!
3. Regarding meat supplies - Some of us eat only chicken and no red meat.
I know that we will be able to buy red meat in a few camp shops.
What shops would you recommend inside the park and how easy it is to buy chicken inside the park?
4. Do we need to buy wood for from outside the park?
Is this available in any shops inside the park?
4. Can anyone give me information regarding the kitchen utensils available in the accommodations we are staying at -
Berg-en-Dal - BA3U (3 units)
Satara - BD2N (3 units)
Bateleur - GA6 (1 unit)
I mainly want to know whether any pots and pans are provided.
How about plates, glasses, cutlery etc?
5. After leaving Bateleur, we will be going to Limpopo Forest Tented Camp (Mapungubwe Park) for one night and then on to Tuli Block.
We need to stock up on the groceries again on the way to Mapungubwe for our remaining week in Tuli Block. Where do you think we should do our food shopping on the way to Mapungubwe from Bateleur?

I know you guys do this planning very often and have a wealth of experience!!
Thanks a lot for all your help in advance!


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:54 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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A very good morning to you and welcome to the Forum.

I shall try and help you with one or two questions, but know that the other 'Mites will be of great help on all the other questions.

On your way to Malelane Gate (on the N4) you can either do some shopping at a mall in Nelspruit or at the Malelane Spar, a small supermarket with lovely fresh fruit and veggies, meat, etc., which is just next to the N4 at the little town of Malelane.
In the past one could even email them and send your list of groceries and the date and time you will be collecting it.
They do it for you and pack it in black containers, just ready to pick up.
If they are still doing it, I don't know.
You can buy meat and chicken there and because Berg and Dal are just a short distance from Malelane, you can immediately put it in the freezer apartment.
Nowadays all the chalets have a double door fridge.
Yes, I think you must get yourself a cooler bag(s), available at any supermarket.
You can put your meat in the cooler and fill up with ice, available at all the shops in the camps.
In this way you can travel with it from camp to camp.
But the 'Mites will give you lots of handy tips how to keep your meat cold :thumbs_up:
Pre-packed chicken for braai is available at the shops in the park too.

The kitchens of BnD, Satara and I am sure of Bateleur too, are well equipped with pots, pans, cutlery, plates, glasses, usually everything you will need - and even more :D

Wood is available in the park, though expensive.
If you have space enough, you can buy some at the supermarket, I know that Malelane has braai wood available.
But you can also stock up in the park.

Can't help you with the rest of the questions, but you will have answers in no time :thumbs_up:

KTP: Dec/Jan
Kruger: May 2013


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:47 am 
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Welcome to the forums. :thumbs_up:

As Leana says, there is a mall in Nelspruit and the village of Malelane (very near the gate) has a Spar, and a bigger supermarket Pick n Pay.

Both come highly recommended by other mites.

Pick n Pay now offers the service to email your order and it will be ready. They will vacuum pack your meat and freeze it, as well as do your general shop. I can look out the email if you would like, just let me know.

Yes a coolbag would be a good idea to transport your meat and perishables from camp tp camp.

I would only buy meat in the park, if absolutely necessary, as it is expensive, and sometimes not the best quality.
Best to get before you enter.

Yes all those units you've booked have all pots pans plates glasses etc.......though if I'm honest, they are fairly basically equipped, but you should manage.

As far as menus, you can braai some nights, and then decide your menu for the others. There are only hotplates not a full oven so it will limit what you cook.

I always plan well before we arrive what we will eat each night, and then make a shopping list to cover all items needed.

I'm sure others will give you menu ideas!!

Hope that helps.

Will leave others to advise on Mapungubwe.

Hope you have a wonderful time. :thumbs_up:

Val.


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:38 pm
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Thanks a lot Leana and Val. Really useful information.
Val - Could you please let me know the email address you mentioned?

Also, one more thing - I have noticed on this forum that it is possible to book particular bungalows/units at each camps. Is there an email address or web page where I would be able to make such a request?

Thanks.
Kavita


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:36 pm 
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Kavita

Most of the camps prefer a fax with a special request. :rtm:
The fax number of each camp is on the front page (homepage) of the camp on the Sanparks webpage.

Maybe one of the 'Mites have the latest emailadresses :hmz:

Please visit the topic, ACCOMMODATION PHOTOS (KNP), it is a very useful topic for choosing a unit for a special request. :thumbs_up: On page one of this topic you will see an index for each camp and the unit numbers.

But please follow up after making a special request - by email if you can. Just make sure they have received your request. :doh:

Do not hesitate to ask if you have any more questions :lol:

Leana


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:51 pm 
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The email is fmalelane@pnp.co.za

I haven't personally used this store for email, but the Pick n Pay in Upington were very helpful, so I am sure Malelane will be as well!!

Agree 100% with Leana about requesting specific accommodation, just be aware, someone else may have requested it before you do.

Sadly we will just miss you, as we fly out in 5 weeks time for our usual 6 month stay in SA, and 4 of those months are in or around Kruger (early Nov-early March) :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:56 pm 
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Crested Val - :mrgreen: :mrgreen: must you remind us about this 4 months :naughty:

Just joking :lol: - time is flying :whistle: almost November :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:02 pm 
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Hi Kavita and a very warm welcome to you :D

I often buy a grilled chicken from Pick n Pay, fresh salad and rolls for my first night. This will be possible at Malelane.

I tend to be very cautious about where I buy chicken to keep for any extended period. November is sweltering, so it is salmonella season de lux. I am not much of a meat eater myself, but I tend to go the bacon and eggs route, or anything that does not have a high risk of gastro.

I love the look of your itinerary.

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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Location: Lonehill, Sandton RSA
After your stay at Bateleur camp, which exit gate are you using?
You have 2 options, Punda Maria gate, which takes you on a long, slow drive to Louis Trichardt (Makhado) (140km more or less)
If you choose this route, as you enter the town of Louis Trichardt, you will find a shopping mall with a good Pick&Pay supermarket on your left hand side (before you reach the N1 road that will take you north towards Mapungubwe).
You will find a selection of fresh veg and meat there.
If you choose to exit via Pafuri gate, you will have to travel to Musina for your shopping. (about 143km) There is a Spar which sells groceries, and meat.
I haven't been there for some time, so I can't comment on the selection of other shops in the town.
You will have to travel via Musina to get to Mapungubwe anyway.
We eat very basic meals when we're in the park, we barbeque most nights, with sweet corn on the cob, or baked potatoes (wrapped in foil and cooked inthe coals)
Breakfasts we have rusks and coffee, or cereal.
Lunch will be sandwiches or salads made with pasta as a base, etc.
I'd stay away from chicken, it gets very hot in the park, and chicken goes off very quickly.
Smoked meat, or boerewors, which contains preservatives, lasts longer.
You can buy basics like bread in the park shops in Kruger, just remember Bateleur doesn't have a shop or restaurant.
We always book perimeter huts, we don't ask for special numbered huts, and have never been disappointed.

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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:58 am 
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Thanks a lot for all your helpful replies.

Lonehill-Birders - Would you recommed one road over the other? We want to reach Mapungubwe at a reasonable time so that we can enjoy that part at least for one afternoon.

MM - Good point re transporting chicken. Now I need to think harder for veggie options!

Leana - Thanks for pointing me to Accomodation Photos thread.

Val - 6 months in SA!!!! That would be my dream. One day I will be able to retire and spend more time in the bush :(

Do we need to buy drining water as well? That will take up a lot of space in the vehicle.

Can anyone tell me about the restaurant in Satara? Is it worth going there for one dinner? Is it buffet style? Is there a webpage where I can find out about the costs, menus etc?

Thanks all!


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:07 pm 
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I will pm you some veggie options, once I've looked them out!! :thumbs_up:

There are conflicting views on Satara's restaurant.
It had earned a bad name for it itself, but several recent reports have been more hopeful. :|

The water is quite safe in Kruger.
Some people prefer to buy the bottled stuff, and that's their choice!!
We usually buy a couple of small bottles, then when they are empty we fill them with tap water and put them in the freezer.
Then next day we take them on our journeys, and they start to melt, but give you nice cold water!!


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:29 pm 
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Hi Kavita,
Two things will be the most important on your trip.
Your car/van and your accommodation.

Go for a Volkswagen Kombi, or Mercedes micro bus.
Everyone is comfy with a high seat and a great view.
With 6 people you may consider hiring a 'VENTER' trailer.
It's small but you can plonk all the luggage bags in it and it frees up the van for more important things (camera's, cooler boxes, binoculars etc)


I saw this online

http://www.sacarhire.co.za/pages/testimonials.php, where they hired the car and the hire company provided the cooler boxes :D (i have no affiliation to these people at all)


We normally take 2 cooler boxes for meats/chicken etc (3 or 4 people for 5 nights).
By the time you have put the food in it , with the ice, there's not much room.
You are going to need at least 2 cooler boxes for 6 people's food and maybe a smaller one with ice for cold drinks .

Depending on what time your flight arrives, I would consider staying first night at Skukuza (I am not a fan of Berg-en-dal).
Its a big camp, but the 6 bed cottages GC6D are very nice (quiet and away from everyone).
Maybe even 2 nights in skukuza, because packing and unpacking 6 people is a pain.

The family units in the park are two bedrooms, with three beds in each. (sleep 6).

Also, next to skukuza is the best waterhole in the park, lake panic.
Nice to break a game drive by chilling out there for an hour.

Getting food is easy.
You will be going through Nelspruit on the way there.
You will find everything you need there.

Think of it like this
Woolworths = Marks and Spencer
Pick and Pay = Waitrose

At pick and pay you could buy your ice boxes as well as a couple of storage boxes.
Ice boxes may be expensive R500 a shot, and the bins maybe R70 each.
You can pack all the bits (bread, tinned fuit etc in the bins).
Try and bring one of the fold up picnic cooler bags for your drinks.
I would avoid buying meats in the park (expensive and quality is not fantastic)


If you like chicken woolies (woolworths) make the best barbeque packs (kebabs come in sealed 6 units about 6 GBP per pack),
Fits easily into cooler, and its prepacked in plastic.
Get your cold meats (chicken, turkey etc and make sure its shrink wrapped.


Last edited by neilo on Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:51 pm 
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kavita wrote:
Also, one more thing - I have noticed on this forum that it is possible to book particular bungalows/units at each camps. Is there an email address or web page where I would be able to make such a request?
Have a look Here for some addresses for bungalow requests.
Also a specific topic on Here
Enjoy!

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Kruger - May 24th - June 6th 2014.


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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:49 pm 
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Location: Lonehill, Sandton RSA
kavita, I can't answer your question about the route to Mapungubwe, but I can say that, if you decide to leave through Pafuri gate, it will take you longer to reach the gate, because of the 50km/h speed limit, than going via Punda Maria. I'm not sure of the condition of the road from Pafuri, we've never had problems, but haven't travelled along this road for a few years.
The road to Louis Trichardt has 80km/h speed limit at long stretches, because of the rural settlements in the area. It could take up to 2 hours to get from the gate to Louis Trichardt, then an hour for shopping, and another 1 1/2 hours (more or less) to get to Mapungubwe.

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 Post subject: Re: First 'serious' trip to Kruger - Help needed please!
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:58 pm 
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neilo wrote:
Go for a volkswagen Kombi, or mercedes microbus. Everyone is comfy with a high seat and a great view.

First check if the windows can open on those. Otherwise photography is going to be hell.

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