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The Kruger Self Catering Experience

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Self- catering

Unread post by brewersfriend » Tue May 17, 2011 12:08 pm

We would be grateful of any hints and tips on Self-catering and braais in KNP,where to buy supplies, what to look out for etc.We will be flying in from UK so portable fridges,I'm afraid!
We had some pretty poor meals in the camp restaurants last February and have deceided that we couldn't do much worse!
We will be staying at Pretoriuskop,Lower Sabie,Satara, Olifants, Mopani And Orpen rest camps and will be driving up from Swaziland (any good shops on the way?).
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Re: Self- catering

Unread post by RUMURUTI » Tue May 17, 2011 12:19 pm

Welcome to the forum!
In KNP all the camps are self catering and you don't have to worry too much about it. That I know all of them have BBQ's, in front of each unit, and most of them have a small shop where you can buy whatever you need.

Cutlery is provided and so are fridges, better check before hand on each camp you book, and in some you will also find toasters.

For your shopping it is better to buy most of the stuff before entering the park, will definitely cost you less!, and use the camp shops for the daily basics.

Have you already decided on your itinerary???
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Re: Self- catering

Unread post by Elsa » Tue May 17, 2011 12:21 pm

A very warm welcome to the forum, brewersfriend! :clap:

If you are staying in Pretoriuskop camp first then I would advise you to do your shopping for groceries/meat etc in Malelane town and enter at the gate of the same name.
Otherwise there is also a good Spar in Komatipoort, and Phalaborwa has even more, including a Woolworths.
Try and buy one of the portable cooler boxes.

Check that the accommodation you have booked has utensils listed, but I would also advise you to buy a couple of cheapish steak knives if you are meat eaters as the knives supplied are often pretty blunt and don't do a good steak justice.

Don't attempt to bring meat, milk or eggs through Swaziland as currently they are banned.


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Re: Self- catering

Unread post by noel » Tue May 17, 2011 1:04 pm

Welcome to the forum, brewersfriend.

Best advice so far given, my contribution is to remember that most huts/chalets have fridges with freezers, so you will be able to freeze meats/milk etc.
Buy all you think you will need (I usually buy once-off so I don't have to leave the park again), as some of it you can freeze overnight and will keep pretty well in a cooler box for much of the next day.
If it is in the winter months here (May-Sept) the heat will not be as intense as the summer months, and frozen stuff keeps a bit longer.
You can also purchase ready made salads.
Look out for some Braai sauces too.
Good advice too about the knives, worth buying some decent ones.
Some chalets do provide cutlery and crockery-check this.
A good flask is a must, for early morning coffees, and some good old south African rusks is always treat in the early morning.
And seeing that you are into brewing of sorts-some forumites will swear that you must buy some golden brown stuff (beer) and others will go even further and tell you that Kruger will not be the same without Amarula, all of which you can get inside camps.

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Re: Self- catering

Unread post by carolv » Wed May 18, 2011 5:37 pm

Hi Brewersfriend
Like you, we fly in from UK and therefore have to consider luggage weight. However, we always try to pack the following:-

Leatherman (one of those all singing, all dancing ones which have loads of extras including bottle openers and a sharp knife) - has to go in hold luggage but would never travel without it.
Mine has a corkscrew included - long story here but goes back to sitting in a camp in Etosha and we had bought bottles of wine and no-one and no huts had a bottle opener. Disaster!
Camping knife/fork/spoon each - useful if you want to eat at a waterhole or the accommodation in camp does not provide them.
Material cooler box (ie it folds flat) and 2/3 smaller ones to keep drinks cool in your vehicle.
We used to be able to buy cooler boxes cheap when we first do our big food shop after landing but have found recently that these were too expensive especially as they are then given away to someone/anyone as they don't fit into a suitcase.
In the UK you can get them at Lakeland.

A few plastic containers with lids - useful to keep rice/pasta etc when you do not cook the entire contents of a packet.
I have several that stack easily so pack into a small space and they are very light.
We usually shop in Malelane (Spar or Pick n Pay) - not sure which road you will leave Swazi but I think this may be your option if you are first going to P'kop.
Otherwise good shops at Komatipoort, Hazyview, Nelspruit or White River.

We buy as much as we can outside the Park as the shops are becoming more expensive but, unless you go to a butchers for vacuum-packed meat, you will not be able to take enough for your entire KNP trip.
Beers and wines we usually get a good store outside the Park.
The only problem here is for those flying in and arriving on a Sunday when you cannot buy alcohol and you have to get in from the Camp shops.
We usually get a few tinned goods as you can throw a meal together really quickly if you have been out all day and are just too tired to braai.
Oh yes, we also buy charcoal or wood outside the Park for the braai.

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Re: Self- catering

Unread post by DASSIEDELIGHT » Thu May 19, 2011 3:10 pm

Hi brewersfriend,

SO and I have been self-catering for many years in both Namibia and Kruger.
Every time there is something new we think of taking to improve the experience so our luggage is getting to be more self-catering gear than clothes (but that's no problem as it is easy to wash stuff out).
This years new addition was a very light-weight knife sharpener to go with the sharp kitchen knife that we take (SO is fussy about his knives).
Forumites who have already posted replies all have good tips especially Carolv who I know is experienced too. So I'll add just a couple of pointers.

For the foldaway cool bag we usually use small empty drink bottles and freeze them with water in - acting as freezer blocks and also when needed as a very cold drink (a few minutes in the car soon starts them defrosting).
Alternatively last year we tried buying a bag of ice (outside or inside park shops) and using that as a freezer block.
Putting it straight in the freezer when arriving at camp so it can be reused on next camp transfer.

I always take lots of food/freezer plastic bags, some zip top ones are good.
Useful for wrapping food and lots of other things too.

As previously suggested we also take the little sets of camping knife/fork/spoon plus 2 strong plastic plates in case we want to picnic at a picnic site or just in the car en route.
I am afraid we also take a good non-stick frying pan as the ones in the rooms have often been very abused!

We always do a big shop on way to park.
Malalane's Spar is enormous and has some good specialty breads etc.
We eat lots of salad - the tomatoes and lettuce seem to last ages.
As we don't eat meat we don't need to braai so other 'mites would be better equipped to make suggestions. We do buy tinned fish and veg.
We bring from home packets of dried savoury 5 minute cook rice and also instant coucous (no cooking at all).
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Re: Self- catering

Unread post by Crested Val » Thu May 19, 2011 3:17 pm

Ditto all the previous posts. :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

Just be aware that most accommodations (except the big guest cottages) usually don't have an oven, just 2 electric rings, so don't plan any casseroles or roasts etc!!! :) :)

Have a fab trip!! :dance:

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Re: Self- catering

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu May 19, 2011 4:06 pm

It has just about all been said, but there are well stocked shops at ALL the camps you are staying at, just remember though that the Orpen shop is small, but I can guarantee you will always find something to eat!

BTW, the take aways at Croc Bridge are very food!.
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The Kruger Self Catering Experience

Unread post by Grantmissy » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:33 am

In Kruger self catering is an important activity which assists in ensuring that you have a pleasant time. For some it means providing everything from food, cooking utensils, lightning, bedding etc (these are normally the campers who always look so extremely organised and disciplined to me, wow! :thumbs_up: ) to those, like us, who want to check in and expects all the basics in the accommodation unit to ensure a comfortable self catering experience, meaning minimum planning and packing. Even then, without fail, we forget needful things at home as the one thought the other person packed it :think:. These surprises and revelations usually happen en route to Kruger :redface: :rtm: :lol: . It would be :great: to hear where do you fit in and how do you handle the Kruger self catering experience?
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Re: The Kruger Self Catering Experience

Unread post by MATTHYS » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:59 am

Self catering in Kruger is an important and lovely activity for us too, Grantmissy :dance:
We don't camp (I am also envious of how organised the campers are 8) ) but even with all the basics provided, my SO says I pack enough for us to stay in Kruger forever :redface:
So for us it is minimum planning but maximum packing ! :doh:

And yes, we also get those relevations and surprises :wink:
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Re: The Kruger Self Catering Experience

Unread post by Elsa » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:27 am

Over the years and drawn from experience I have accumulated most of the things we need to make our self catering trip that much more comfortable, extra can opener, large ladles, measuring jug, steak knives etc etc and they all stay in a cupboard we call our "Kruger" cupboard, plus for all the other extras I have a list I have stuck to the inside of the door, so its just a matter of going through it and when the cupboard is empty then we are more or less ready, not that there haven't been a few slip ups over the years. :roll:
Plus I have 2 bulging and very well equipped picnic sets that have all the things we need to eat out at the picnic sites, then there's the coffee set, mainly for our winter trip.

This Feb I thought I was so well organised and only realised when we were half way there that I had forgotten the binocs at home! :slap:

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Re: The Kruger Self Catering Experience

Unread post by spargish » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:31 am

I am a camper, I would call myself an organised camper, but we keep an ammo crate with all our dishes and corckery,kettle,pots, non perishables, cleaning stuff,matches,firelighters,braai untensils and even some canned food, with the expiry date all noted, when we pack we just pack the crate...
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Re: The Kruger Self Catering Experience

Unread post by Cody » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:56 am

My parents have been going to the Kruger Park since they were kids and have made it a family holiday for us too, i have been going to the Kruger since i was born, every year we go for about 3 weeks, I Even learnt how to walk in the Kruger.
My parents are very Organized Campers, we take the following with in our Caravan... just to name a few:
Ice maker
waffle machine
Plates and bowls
Knives and Forks
Gas braai - for breakfasts
Cleaning stuff
Camera stuff
etc etc etc
and everything that goes with it, we have a huge list that we tick off, which helps to not forget some things, but theres always something we forget.
We get very Comfortable in our little caravan in the best place on earth.
We leaving for the Kruger in 6 days! SO EXCITED! :D
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Re: The Kruger Self Catering Experience

Unread post by okie » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:03 pm

We don't do camping , and we do not tow a trailer behind us , neither do we use a roof-rack . Anything that cannot fit inside the Landy , remains behind .
Firstly , we use a fridge-freezer , starting off full of frozen meat , and upon arrival at KNP ( or where-ever ) , place frozen stuffs inside the freezer provided , and the the Landy refrigerator temperature can be set somewhat higher , for keeping water and milk , etc cold for during the day on drives .
The Landy also has "cupboard " wherein I can store up to six bottles of wine :dance: , plus some six-packs of other beverages :D
We use a couple of ammo-boxes for general groceries , plus a picnic set for brekkies and lunch .
Braaiwood ( vineyard stompies ) , are cut to consistent lengths , stored inside 4 or 5 strong boxes and plastic crates , enough for the whole trip .
All this stuff goes in at the back of Landy , together with suitcases .
Between back-seat and front seats , the following :
A wooden-box with lockable lid contains books - bird-books etc , plus camera , and another special box just for the new big lens .
Another wooden-box with general spanners and tools , a cool-box , plus gas-braai set -- everything in it's own place - a place for everything :rtm:
And this coming Saturday afternoon it will all again be packed , ready to hit the road on Sunday morning :dance:
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Re: The Kruger Self Catering Experience

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 1:08 pm

I always take my own braai tongs, tin opener and a pot. Usually the other stuff is in the unit.
For camping, we take everything.
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