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Phabeni or Malelane Gate

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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


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!


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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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