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Is there enough time

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camken
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Is there enough time

Unread post by camken » Wed May 17, 2017 12:04 pm

***Admins please move to 'Driving best routes' if you need to.
I did post there, but due to no replies after a few days, I'm trying a new post.


Hi everyone

Thanks in advance for your help.

In September we will be driving from OR Tambo to Skukuza and I want to know if we will have enough time to enter at Malelane or must we go straight to Paul Kruger gate?
I estimate that we will be in our rental car and on our way at 10am
Google maps says that it will take 4.5 hrs to get to the gate (but it’s a Monday so will there maybe be a bit more traffic or are we leaving late enough to have missed most of it?) which puts us at 14:30
Add an hr for some shopping at Malelane and a short bathroom break and we will be at 15:30
It appears that the drive from Malelane to Skukuza is 2.5hrs if driving at 25km (we can do 30km), which puts us at 6pm- cutting it very fine??!!

The other option is to go straight to Paul Kruger which Google says will take about 5 hours plus another 30mins or so to get to camp- much more relaxed.
I'm not 100% certain how accurate Google maps is wrt the driving times.
So I have 2 questions please:

1) Are we cutting it too close to go the Malelane route, given that there may be traffic or unforeseen delays

2) If the answer is ‘yes’, we’ve never driven to Paul Kruger before, do we just take the R40 through Hazyview and do our shopping there (very simple shopping, nothing fancy)? Or I there a better route?

The only reasons that we would prefer the Malelane route is to have more time in the park and we have done it before (although that was many many years ago), but maybe it’s not worth the stress.

Can't wait :D :D , planning is half the fun! :dance:

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DinkyBird
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by DinkyBird » Wed May 17, 2017 12:11 pm

Dont rely on google maps for trip time, rather err on being very cautious. You will most likely drive a lot slower than google maps allows for.

I think leave it for the day you arrive - if you arrive and leave on/in good time, then you can consider Malelane but if you are running late by going to Paul Kruger, you have the option of a late escort to Skukuza should you arrive after gate closing. I personally think getting to Malelane is going to be quicker than to Paul Kruger.
- Dalene

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Karin Mitton
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Wed May 17, 2017 1:38 pm

When I came back from my recent trip, it took exactly 4 hours from Malelane gate to my house 50kms on the other side of ORT. And I did not exceed the speed limit. But I did not make any stops either. Travelling to Nelspruit (Mbombela), I prefer the Schoemanskloof road rather than the Waterval Boven road - fewer large trucks, therefore quicker.

As much as I prefer to drive to Malelane, the Kruger gate may make more sense if you are going to be late - My friends left ORT at 11h20 on the day, stopped for lunch, phone Woolies in Nelspruit to do some of their shopping for them to save time, entered at Kruger gate, and stopped at Skukuza reception at 17h55.

Entering at the Kruger gate may be your only option, but I agree with Dinkybird - see what time it is when you finish your shopping and then make a call.

camken
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by camken » Wed May 17, 2017 2:24 pm

Thanks guys
I think we'll take your advice and see what is happening on the day.

So am I correct that we need to make the decision when we are in Nelspruit- either to take the R40 to Hazyview or carry on along the N4 to Malelane?

How long do you think it will take for us to get from Nelspruit to Skukuza via Malelane? That will tell me what my cut off time is.

Thanks again for your help

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DinkyBird
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by DinkyBird » Wed May 17, 2017 2:31 pm

camken wrote:How long do you think it will take for us to get from Nelspruit to Skukuza via Malelane? That will tell me what my cut off time is.

Thanks again for your help

I have done that trip the other way a number of times, and wish I could remember exactly.

I far prefer the route Karin has given, N4 via Schoemanskloof to Malelane - it is a good road, straight and simple and you bypass Nelspruit. You can also stop at the Highveld Mall near Middleburg for shopping. It is just off the N4.
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by Hippotragus » Wed May 17, 2017 2:48 pm

DB - the Schoemanskloof option is at Waterval Boven - just after the toll plaza. Definitely better than the "old" road, but with the roadworks on the "old" road, many heavy trucks are now using Schoemanskloof and you can get stuck on the no passing bits!

The Nelspruit by-pass is great but closer to Nelspruit.

A gate decision will have to be made before starting the Nelspruit by-pass. The turn off to White River (and then Hazyview) is not long after the by-pass starts. I got lost on it the first time I did it - you wind through Nelspruit "motor town" before getting on the R40!

A difficult question Camken! I do Midrand to Malelane, with one brief stop, in four and a half hours. I think it depends on how long your shopping will take. The N4 is 120 km/hr all the way (except a few short stretches of lower speed and speed cameras) and a very easy road. You can push it a bit from Malelane to Skukuza if you ignore sightings and remain under 50 km/hr!

Good luck and have a great trip.
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by johanrebel » Wed May 17, 2017 10:40 pm

I've done ORTIA to Malelane lots of times. On the two most recent occasions we left the airport at about 10 or 11 a.m. and arrived at the gate at about 4.30. However, in the first instance we detoured via Kaapschehoop, where we took a longish break. The second time we drove via Schoemanskloof. In both instances we stopped at Alzu for a break, and spent at least an hour shopping in Nelspruit.

The fastest I've ever done is JNB to Crocodile Bridge in 3h50. My average speed was 127 kph, including a refueling stop, so the driving average was even higher. This was in the days before the toll road as well. Not recommended, but my incoming flight was seriously delayed, so I only left the airport at 2h40 p.m. or so, and had to get to Crocodile Bridge before the gate closed at 6h30 p.m.

The bottom line is that you will be fine if you leave at 10 p.m., unless there are serious traffic problems on the N4, such as a rolled-over semi blocking the road.

Johan.

camken
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by camken » Thu May 18, 2017 2:01 pm

Thanks so much everyone!

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Karin Mitton
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Thu May 18, 2017 2:58 pm

camken wrote:So am I correct that we need to make the decision when we are in Nelspruit- either to take the R40 to Hazyview or carry on along the N4 to Malelane?


Yes.

camken wrote:Thanks guys
How long do you think it will take for us to get from Nelspruit to Skukuza via Malelane? That will tell me what my cut off time is.


I travelled from Skukuza to Malelane gate in April - I left Skuks at 06h00 and drove through the gate at 11h00 - 5 hours. But I was not in a hurry and did not take the shortest route. shortest route should take you 2-3 hours.

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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri May 19, 2017 8:26 am

Hi camken, the most unpredictable part will be from OR Tambo to Benoni, after that it will be plain sailing to Nelspruit. The other unpredictable part is between Nelspruit and Malenane. I would listen to traffic reports.

Unless it is a holiday, or Sunday, I tend to take the Schoemanskloof pass. Although it is a lot busier than before, it is still quieter than Watervalboven.

My own preference would be shopping at Hazyview and to enter at Phabeni Gate. I think Malalane would cut it too fine. The traffic towards Mozambique in the week can be horrendous.

It is only about 15 kms from Hazyveiw to Phabeni. Another option from Hazyview is to enter at Numbi and travel the H1-1 to Skuks. It has Shitlehave dam, Transport dam and Mthekenyane view site on the way. That would allow for some lovely stops along the way.

If you enter at Phabeni, you cut out all the traffic on the way to the Paul Kruger Gate. The S1 is a lovely road with the promise of many sightings.

I always do the Hazyview route if I am staying in Skuks. It has fewer unpredictable roads. There is nothing worse than starting a holiday tense and in a hurry.

Malelane -Skuks.....64kms

Numbi-Skuks...54 kms

Phabeni-Skuks...38 kms.
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by Elsa » Fri May 19, 2017 8:32 am

Meandering Mouse wrote:My own preference would be shopping at Hazyview and to enter at Phabeni Gate
Hazyview now has a lovely new shopping mall with numerous outlets and is really a pleasure to shop at. 8)
Kruger - 22nd May to 9th June 2017 8)

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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri May 19, 2017 8:43 am

Elsa wrote:
Meandering Mouse wrote:My own preference would be shopping at Hazyview and to enter at Phabeni Gate
Hazyview now has a lovely new shopping mall with numerous outlets and is really a pleasure to shop at. 8)


I noticed it on my last visit. I really need to make a stop there and check it out.

It is going to take about 2 hours to get from Malelane to Skuks. That means that you need to be at the gate by 3:30 pm. It can be quite a busy gate, so I would give about half an hour for check in. I am doubtful whether it is feasible to drive on a weekday in heavy traffic and stop for shopping in 5:50 hours.

If you go the Hazyview route, you can decide, once in Hazyview, which road to enter. There are fewer big trucks and it really is a very pleasant and pretty area.
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camken
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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by camken » Mon May 22, 2017 3:08 pm

Thanks MM, Elsa and Karin

So I've decided that Malelane is out.
It will be Kruger gate or Phabeni- I've never entered at either of these.
The last time I came in at Numbi, a good 4 or 5 years ago I think it was, the road was absolutely terrible!!! Very scary in fact.
Are the roads to PK and Phabeni alright? It's the R536 right?

If the road conditions are alright, I think I would prefer to enter at Phabeni. There is more 'inside the park' driving than if we came through Kruger gate, and I'm sure we'll get to Skukuza in time- We've basically got 8 hours to get there including a short shop

Thanks again, I'm can hardly contain my excitement!!!

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Re: Is there enough time

Unread post by isinkwe » Mon May 22, 2017 3:48 pm

camken wrote:Are the roads to PK and Phabeni alright? It's the R536 right?

R536 - correct

Hazyview to Phabeni gate :thumbs_up: no problem with the road at all ( my personal choice - better inside the park than out :D :D )
Hazyview to Paul Kruger , road no problem , lots of speed restrictions and pretty well enforced. Don't speed at all . The road is also fine :thumbs_up:
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