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Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

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Layrinha
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Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by Layrinha » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:33 pm

Hi all,

we will be coming back to KNP soon, this time wanting to see the north since we've never been there :-)

After 2 weeks in different parts of South Africa (KTP, Vaterberg) and arriving from Tzaneen, we'll have...

2 nights in Punda Maria
2 nights tbd
1 night Satara

After that, we'll stay at Tintswalo for three nights, have 2 nights tbd (probably Satara and Skukuza, since Lower Sabie and Crocodile bridge are currently fully booked) and then leave with the 16:40 flight from MQP to JNB and back home.

The question ist, where to spend the nights between Punda Maria and Satara. I would feel like 1x Shingwedzi and 1x Mopani/Letaba would be a good option, but since both are quite close together, would it be better to just take 2x Mopani? Having no experience in the north of KNP, it's hard to estimate for me... I'm happy and thankful for any personal advise :-)

Best
Barbara

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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by Cape of Storms » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:54 pm

So many good options up north. We love the bush camps and Shimuwini is a favorite. If you stay at Mopani try a river view unit. olifants camp is also spectacular.


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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by Thunderbird7 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:44 pm

Olifants. But leave space for me please!!!

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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by arks » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:31 pm

Olifants is quite a long drive from Punda, so my first choice would be Shimuwini for two nights. And you can easily visit Olifants on a day drive from Satara :wink:
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Layrinha
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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by Layrinha » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:51 am

Thanks to all of you :-) I do have indeed a lot of respect for a one day tour from Punda Maria to Olifants, that's too long of a trip for me. The Bushverld Camps look nice as well, but since there are just biggest cottages available at the moment, I would try to book the plain main camps to be sure to have a good route save and check upon arrival in the first days if rooms get available to switch.
The point I can't seem to get my mind around is, is it better two stay at a rest camp for 2 nights (e.g. take the longer trips Punda Maria - Mopani - Satara to avoid checkin in and out every day and spend the day between on the road) or take more rest camps on the way (e.g. Shingwedzi and Mopani/Mopani and Olifants or Letaba and not have to go back in circles)?

What I mean is, I could imagine the days like this...

1. Check in Pund Maria + first drives around, night at PM
2. Daytrip to the north, Crooks Corner, night at PM
3a. Short way down to Shingwedzi (71km), explore the S50, head back to Shingwedzi for a night
4a. Short way down to Mopani (63km), explore the area around
5a. Longest drive to Satara (116 km) for a night here, lunch break in Olifants or Letaba
OR
3b. Longer day drive south: drive to Shingwedzi (71km) for lunch break and further down to Mopani on H1-6 (63km), spend the night here
4b. Stay checked in at Mopani and take day trip up the S50 and down south a bit, back for the night
5b. = 5a, down o Satara
OR
3c. =3b, through to Mopani (130km), night here
4c. down to Olifants (86km)
5c. just 54km down to Satara

Probably I just spent to much time planning forth and back and lost the feeling :? :redface:

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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Oct 08, 2017 4:17 am

A warm welcome Layrinha :gflower:

There are so many permutations that you could do. I might throw in another option.

Why not take a tour to the Thulamela ruins while at Punda. You can then see a part of the Park seldom visited and enjoy a tour to the far north.

https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/p ... lamela.php

I would recommend 2 nights at Shingwetzi if at all possible. I prefer Shingwetzi to Mopani for people who are fairly new. Mopani is a lovely camp, but it does not have the same sighting possibilities as Shingwetzi. Shingwetzi has a greater possibility of drives and a much greater eco diversity. I tend to feel that the area around Mopani is an acquired taste.

If you would only like one night at Shingwetzi, I would suggest Letaba rather than Mopani. Again, mainly because of the greater eco diversity.
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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by Dream Weaver » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:18 am

Hi Layrinha and welcome!

Your question made me smile because last year I had a very similar dilemna. We had initially been booked to go directly from Satara to Pafuri. After a few sleepless early mornings thinking and rethinking that plan we decided to break the trip halfway.

We ended up chopping off our last two nights at Satara and spending them at Mopani instead. That turned out to be a great decision. We had two medium length journeys either side of a whole day at Mopani. A day to with as we pleased.

I would certainly advise you to spend both nights at Mopani. That will give you a reasonably leisurely drive down, with enough time to drive along either the S50 a short way (maybe to the hide and back to the main road) or along the S52 (as far as Red Rocks or even Tshanga and back to the main road). You could also do some or all of the S56 - a lovely road along the Mphongolo river.

On the day at Mopani your can venture in any direction, as far as you feel like, as many times during that day as you wish.

On your journey from Mopani to Satara, you can take the river road to Olifants from Letaba or stay on the tar road as you please. After Olifants, you can choose to go directly down the tar or drive down some or all of the S39.

Staying the two nights at Mopani will give you more options, I believe, and break your long journey South at pretty much the halfway point between Punda and Satara.

Enjoy your planning - it is all part of the fun of the trip!

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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by PNF » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:55 am

Hi Layrinha! and welcome :)

I tend to agree with Meandering Mouse - either 2 nights Shingwedzi or 1 night Shingwedzi and 1 night Letaba. It is not so much the distance between the camps that could be a problem for you but the time if there is a good sighting on the way. We have travelled 4 hours between Shingwedzi and Satara but then we have also taken 7 hours to do the same trip! Possibly Shingwedzi/Letaba would be the best as you can then take your time getting to Satara.
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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by konagirl » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:23 am

Layrinha wrote:...
The point I can't seem to get my mind around is, is it better two stay at a rest camp for 2 nights (e.g. take the longer trips Punda Maria - Mopani - Satara to avoid checkin in and out every day and spend the day between on the road) or take more rest camps on the way (e.g. Shingwedzi and Mopani/Mopani and Olifants or Letaba and not have to go back in circles)?


IMO, this depends on how you like to travel and what time of year it will be. I like to get out of the gates as they open and then have a siesta in the middle of the day, before going out again in the afternoon. And I don't mind travelling up and down the same roads, as sightings are all about timing. Particularly in summer when gates open early and it can be extremely hot during the day, staying at camps for 2-3 nights with long driving days (with air-con) in between makes much more sense. Whereas, if you like to spend all day out on the roads anyway, then it doesn't really matter where you lay your head!

Enjoy the planning!

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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by Layrinha » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:29 am

Thank you guys so much! :gflower:

After thinking back and forth, we decided to take one night at Shingwedzi and one at Letaba. We'll make sure to check out Mopani for lunch break and stay there for some more nights on our next trip maybe.

We'll start our trip next week, so see you soon, South Africa :dance:

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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:33 am

Layrinha wrote:We'll start our trip next week, so see you soon, South Africa :dance:


I hope you enjoy your trip -no matter where you stay, I can guarantee you will love it!
Remember to chare your trip report with us when you get back!

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Re: Advise for 2 nights between Punda Maria and Satara

Unread post by Elsa » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:38 am

Layrinha wrote:We'll make sure to check out Mopani for lunch break and stay there for some more nights on our next trip maybe.
You won't regret it!
Enjoy and have a wonderful trip! :thumbs_up:


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