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Phabeni or Malelane Gate

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Helol
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Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Helol » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:31 am

Hello all!

Well, I will be returning in November, for the 2nd trip this year to KNP.

Outline plan is:

Stay overnight at O R Tambo hotel (flight arrives after 2200 hours)
Pick up hire car around 0700 or thereabouts
Drive to either Malelane or Phabeni Gate
I will be exiting the park at either Malelane or Croc Bridge, as I return to Swaziland for another visit to where I used to live

I plan on 6 nights as follows:

I was originally going to drive to Malelane, and then drive up to:
1 night Skukuza (for practical reasons as I dont want to rush up to Satari) and then
2 nights Satara
2 nights L. Sabie and then back down to
1 night probably Berg en Dal

BUT!

I am wondering whether a better plan would be to drive from O R Tambo, and enter at Phabeni...? Is the road to Phabeni ok for a female driving alone?

Where-ever I end up, I need to exit the park at either Malelane or Croc Bridge to drive to Swaziland (route of which I am familiar with).

Any thoughts/ideas on the proposed itinerary?

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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by DinkyBird » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:32 pm

I prefer the direct route along the N4 to Malelane. But I do not know the route to Phabeni well enough to comment. And if the road works just before Kommatipoort are still in progress in Nov, I would enter and leave at Malelane.

I like your planned itinerary!
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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Horrace » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:12 pm

Hi Helol,

The road to Phabeni is quite safe from a crime point of view. It is however longer, includes quite a bit of mountainous (although relatively scenic) driving between White River and Hazeyview, and more complicated in terms of reaching ones destination.

If my wife were to travel to Kruger, either alone or with my kids, I would defiantly encourage her to use Malelane, as it is an easier drive, and compared to Phabeni, a "safer" drive all round.

I personally use the "unsafest" of all the southern gates - Numbi, and would not recommend this route.

The only reason I would suggest you use Phabeni is if you wish to add a different road to your itinerary, assuming you will enter and leave through Malelane.

Personally, I would prefer to spend 3 nights at LS rather than having a night at Bergendal, unless you are doing so to facilitate leaving the park very early on your last day..

Either way, you'll have an amazing trip - enjoy!

Horrace


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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:53 am

Hi Helol, I really like the sound of your itinerary. :D Lucky you.

I often travel alone and have never encountered problems with the Phabeni Gate. That would be my personal choice.

I find that the road from Nelspruit to Hazyview is easier than the highway to Mozambique. The freeway has lots of trucks and there are often roadworks.

The other route might be fractionally longer, but once past White River, it is very scenic indeed. Hazyview has two good shopping centers where you can stock up on everything that you need. The drive from Hazyview to Phabeni is only about 10 kms and it is a very safe road to drive.

The S1 is an extremely pleasant and if you arrived to Skuks at a reasonable hour, you can take a sunset drive to Mathkenyane.

I am not too sure about what day of the week you will be arriving. It is also important to bear in mind that weekday traffic will delay you until you pass Benoni. It will also be heavier to the Moz border. My planning always takes traffic into account. I hate being tense because of time.

I wish you an absolutely wonderful stay. :D
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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by isinkwe » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:12 am

I drove the White River to Hazyview ( R 40) then to Phabeni gate on Friday and again yesterday- no problems with the road or safety at all.
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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Albert » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:24 pm

The drive from OR Tambo to both Malelane and Phabeni is fine, safety-wise. On both routes you can be delayed by heavy traffic; so I tend to add 30 - 45 minutes to the predicted (Google maps) travel time.
I would personally prefer the Phabeni option (shopping in Hazyview is convenient, particularly with the new Hazyview Junction Mall!), and the travel options inside the park between Phabeni and Skukuza is (imho) much more interesting than the Malelane-Skukuza trip. Also, if you are planning to leave via Malelane then entering at Phabeni gives some variety.
One last thing; I find the JHB morning traffic is best tackled after 08:00!
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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by chirinda » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:27 pm

If you choose the Phabeni route, be sure to use the R40 as isinkwe said, and not the R538 from White River to Hazyview. The R40 is a much better road.

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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Helol » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:28 am

Thanks everyone, really appreciated!

I have just this minute booked my final couple of days in the park for early/mid November. Here goes:

After a restful sleep in an airport hotel, I will leave O R Tambo on Monday morning between, probably around 0700-0730 for the drive to Malelane or Phabeni (Still can't decide, I think it will be an on the spot decision!).

- First night Skukuza (planned more as a 'stop over' en route to Satara).

- then 2 nights at Satara

- then 3 nights at Lower Sabie (I may try and take one of thse nights, and add it to Satara instead).

- Final 1 night at Berg en Dal before exiting at Malelan or Croc Bridge for Swaziland

The reason for Berg en Dal, is that it will give me good time to explore the S25 (which I briefly travelled on in April,) in slow time, rather than rushing around if I had stayed at L.Sabie for an extra night, then driving down always watching the clock before leaving for Swaziland.

This time, I plan to spend time at the waterholes etc, as this is something I didn't do in April. Can't wait!

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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Crested Val » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:44 am

That all sounds great Helol, but just maybe you could consider delaying your departure from the airport hotel till 8-8.30 otherwise you will probably hit heavy traffic!!!! :shock:

Otherwise, wishing you safe travels and a wonderful trip!!! :thumbs_up:

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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Helol » Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:38 pm

Thanks Val, I shall bear than in mind when I pick up the hire car. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Herman » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:13 pm

I agree with all the others above , but I can't imagine that you would be able to wait until after 8 am to depart from OR Tambo :lol: The traffic is not too bad in the direction you'll be travelling, even before 8 am. The traffic into Johannesburg is the problem.

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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Helol » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:44 pm

Haha! That thought had crossed my mind too Herman.

Providing I can pick up the hire car early, I would be on the road much earlier than 0700, probably closer to 0600 if I could! (assuming hire car companies are open mostly 24 hours a day at the airport...).

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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Helol » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:50 pm

Speaking of safety and driving alone, I was quite alarmed to read the post on the KNP FB page, whereby a lady is taking her gun with her to KNP.! For those of us coming from overseas, it doesn't fill one with confidence, especialy lone females! :shock:

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Re: Phabeni or Malelane Gate

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:37 am

Helol wrote:Speaking of safety and driving alone, I was quite alarmed to read the post on the KNP FB page, whereby a lady is taking her gun with her to KNP.! For those of us coming from overseas, it doesn't fill one with confidence, especialy lone females! :shock:


:big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

What on earth for?

Helol, it says more about this lady's paranoia than it says about the reality of Kruger.

There are many ladies who travel alone, myself included. I find that Kruger is a place where I feel really very safe. The biggest possible enemies are mozzies and a gun is not going to help with that. A break down on the side of the road is the worst that can happen and learning to deal with taxi drivers :hmz: . A gun won't help with that. :wink: Actually, the Mpumalanga taxi driver are usually more polite than our Gauteng crew.

There are criminals, that is a reality, but most folk are people of goodwill who are more than willing to act in the spirit of 'live and let live'. It is what is called 'Ubuntu' here.

Be cautious, remember to lock your doors. Don't leave things to chance. Foreigners are often targeted because they forget to take things off passenger seats. Lock important items on the boot of the car when/if you go shopping.

Quite honestly, that lady has a problem. I do not believe in guns, I would never carry a gun.
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