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Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

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StellaJ
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Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by StellaJ » Sat Sep 02, 2017 9:30 pm

Dear all,

I hope you can help me, although there is lots of information, I find it difficult to plan a trip to Kruger and the 'best' itinerary. So hopefully some of the experienced Kruger visitors can help!

We are going to SA in the last week of October, arriving at Joburg, picking up the 4x4 with rooftoptent and then we thought to first go to Graskop, visit Bourkes and God's View and then enter Kruger via Phabeni Gate (nearby Graskop).

After 4 or 5 days at Kruger we think of proceding via Swaziland to St. Lucia so I think that Berg en Dal might be the best place to leave Kruger, but where should we stay inbetween and which roads should we take?

We would love to spend time in Kruger at some nice, quiet campsites. We are used to travel through Namibia and Botswana and we get a bit 'scared' of fastfood restaurants within a park. We are not looking for that kind of luxury, we like to do some bushcamping.

Thanks for all your help in advance!
Stella

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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:24 am

A very warm welcome, StellaJ :D

You really have a wonderful sounding itinerary.

As far as Kruger goes, the last week in October is certainly a quite period in the Park. It can get extremely hot though.

On the plus side, there can be great sightings and, hopefully, lots of babies. I have found that the impala start giving birth towards the end of October.

I would suggest that you stay in the south and central Park. It would be a bit far to venture too far north.

The quietest camp sites in this area are Maroela and Balule. Balule does not have electricity, but it is a favorite for many.

Malelane is another smaller camp in the extreme south. I rather enjoy it, but some folk are put off by it's proximity to 'civilization'.

All three camps are extremely well run and have larger camps close by where you could stock up on provisions.
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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:27 am

For sightings, Croc Bridge is possibly my favorite. It can get quite busy though, even though it is a smaller camp. It should be less busy in October though.

The S28 is a very interesting road and offers great eco-diversity.

On second thoughts, I would consider 2 nights in Croc Bridge and 2 nights in Balule. :hmz:
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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by Cape of Storms » Sun Sep 03, 2017 7:05 am

I agree with all of the above. If you are up to a bit of exploring more central you can try Balule near Olifants camp. It is very quiet and off the beaten track. I have heard croc Bridge is great and Maroela gives you access to some of the best roads in Kruger. h7 and s100 plus the Timbavati river road.
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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by StellaJ » Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:18 pm

Thank you for the suggestions, I'll have a look at Balule, wasn't aware of that camp and it certainly sounds interesting!

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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:28 am

Stella, it has become one of my favorites. I love the intimacy of the camp and it straddles some very diverse eco-zones. The camp is very well run and the ablutions are usually spotless.
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StellaJ
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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by StellaJ » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:16 pm

Sounds very good meandering mouse!
Do you have any idea of temperature at Kruger end of October? We were expecting around 30 degrees celsius is out estimate too low?

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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by StellaJ » Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:38 pm

The night before we stay at Graskop. Would it be easier if we enter via Orpen gate instead of Phabeni gate if we would first go to Balule for 2 nights and then go to Crocodile camp?

Sorry for all the questions, I really appreciate your help! I have noted down the S100 and H7 :-)

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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by Albert » Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:10 pm

Hi StellaJ;
As you will have noted, the smaller campsites are in the north and central part of the park. If you have 5 nights available, maybe look at starting at Tsendze rustic camp site (travel from Graskop to enter at Palaborwa and then on to Tsendze), then move to Balule and spend one night at Croc Bridge on the way out. Note that it is quite a long drive from Balule to Croc Bridge (about 180 km, or around 7 - 8 hours depending on the route and sightings)
I also like the idea of a Maroela-Balule-Croc Bridge combination. And yes, you will be best suited entering at Orpen if you are heading to Balule first.
Temperature-wise you can bargain on 30+ degrees. In October 2016 we experienced temperatures upwards of 40 C.
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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:10 am

StellaJ wrote:The night before we stay at Graskop. Would it be easier if we enter via Orpen gate instead of Phabeni gate if we would first go to Balule for 2 nights and then go to Crocodile camp?

Sorry for all the questions, I really appreciate your help! I have noted down the S100 and H7 :-)


Albert is right about the heat. I have experienced extremely hot weather in October. If there are early rains, the weather could cool down. I once experienced a drop from 44 to- 22 in 24 hours. Be prepared for anything.

I rather like your plan to enter at Orpen, as I am aware of your tight itinerary. It is still very dry and most sightings will be had south of Olifants, which is close to Balule.

I was last in Balule in December and there was a very large group of hyenas and pups close to the culvert, about 2 kms from the camp entrance. It was lovely to watch them in the early morning. Hyena seem to like the area. October might be a birthing month for hyena :hmz: , so there could be little black hyena babies.

The S39 is one of my favorite roads. It has great eco-diversity and is very do-able from the camp. The main road between Olifants and Satara possibly has one of the best game concentrations for easy game viewing. It is fairly open Savannah, and in October, it will be very easy for sightings.

I find the S28 between Croc Bridge and Lower Sabie to be very productive. There are, however, many special roads in the area.

It would be worth taking the Salitje road if you have time. I also like to take a drive to the Stevenson Hamilton Memorial, if possible.
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StellaJ
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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by StellaJ » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:35 pm

Thank you for all your support, we are going to enter the park via Orfen indeed, and will stay at Balule and Crocodile, they seem to match best with our 'wild life experience ideas'. I really love all your tour / route suggestions, thanks so much! We have some Tracks4Africa maps and GPS so we should be able to find them. And the hyenas at Balule sound great!!! Hope to see them too!

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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by Elsa » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:42 pm

Have a wonderful trip and time in the park Stella! :thumbs_up: 8)

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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by Barb15584 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:10 pm

Stella,
A word of caution on the temperature, while it is usually warm, we were there in October 2014 and we had some cold (10 C) wet days, so it would be wise to pack a minimal amount of warm clothing.
Barb

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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by StellaJ » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:17 pm

Oefff!!! Definitely not what we are expecting, we try to escape the Dutch winter!. Thanks for the tip!

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Re: Where to go Phabeni - Berg en Dal?

Unread post by Cape of Storms » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:42 am

Enjoy your trip!!
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