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Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Re: Internet in Kruger.

Unread post by nighthawk2 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:22 am

When you exit the arrival area at OR Tambo airport, to your right are a Vodacom & MTN kiosks.
You can rent a USB modem for about 19 Rand per day plus useage. They'll set you up, takes about 10 minutes. I was able to get reasonable connection up to Olifants. Letaba - poor signal, could have been the location of the camp.
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Re: Internet in Kruger.

Unread post by Bundi » Thu Jan 06, 2011 4:02 pm

Your current USB modem you are using in the UK will work here too, but you just need to change the Sim. Alternatively you can rent or buy one here. The price has gone down a bit and is around R1000 now.

The download speed varies from camp to camp though. I doubt there will be any HSDPA signal in the Park. The best for now will be 3G in Skukuza and BnD. In Satara you will only be able to get GPRS or Edge, which is the same for the other camps.

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Re: Internet in Kruger.

Unread post by richardharris » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:34 am

It all depends on what you want to do and how much your UK provider will charge for roaming in SA. If you only want to do e-mails, using Outlook, Outlook express, or similar software, and use text based e-mails - and ask your contacts to do the same! - then Internet usage can be quite small and economical.

However, web-based e-mail systems, Facebook, uploading pictures, and including photos in e-mails etc etc use megabytes and megabytes and the costs escalate.

On my last visit (over a year ago - role on Jan 29th!) gprs was available in all the camps. 3G as mentioned only rarely. This makes anything other than basic e-mail a bit slow. In some camps (eg Shingwedzi) the signal is a bit patchy but I have always found a spot with good connection.

In the past I have used my UK SIM and stuck to e-mails for daily reports and keping in touch. I have tried 'International SIMs' but they were no good for internet - but not checked this recently. Are good for cheap phone calls though.

This time I have a day around Jo'burg so will look at a SA SIM - but make sure you get one with data included! And that it will work with your laptop. Buying a new dongle will probably be too expensive overall but the rental system mentioned might be worth looking at.


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Re: Internet in Kruger.

Unread post by arks » Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:15 pm

The Vodacom modem (dongle?) that I bought last September uses a separate SIM card from the one that I have for my phone. The SIM card for the modem needs to be "converted" for data.
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Re: Cell reception in Kruger

Unread post by Crested Val » Thu May 19, 2011 3:41 pm

I get 3G in Skukuza and Edge (GPRS) - both slower than other areas in SA - in all other camps with my Vodacom dongle.
Sorry no info for the others!! :redface: :redface:

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Re: SIM Cards

Unread post by Crested Val » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:07 am

If you get a South African SIM you will not be charged to receive calls (it's not like roaming)

You will of course be charged for phoning Internationally, but that I'm sure will still be cheaper than roaming.

There are also schemes available, where you can make cheap International calls from SA.
You just phone a certain number (which I'm sorry I don't know) and then you can get cheaper International calls.
Maybe a South African forum member can help you here.
I only SMS home when on holiday, and those rates are quite reasonable.

I bought mine SIM before the RICA laws came in, but I enquired in a Vodacom shop, in case I ever need to buy a new one, and was told that I only need to show my passport when purchasing.

Vodacom is only one of several phone companies in SA. There is MTN Cell C, and there may even be othere I don't know about.

Hope this helps, and hope you have a wonderful visit. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Lower Sabie 3G

Unread post by Crested Val » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:24 pm

DinkyBird wrote:Stark, I am not totally 'up' on all the different types of connections, so will tell you what I experienced in Nov.

I used my notebook to connect, but it has a sim card in it which one has to get from the cell phone companies (with a data bundle). So one still needs to connect via a cellphone company connection. And my smart phone obviously has the same.

I managed to connect to internet with my notebook at each camp we stayed in during Nov, but Lower Sabie was one of the slowest connections I experienced. I could not load pics. I do not know if this was due to a problem with the service at the time because I also battled to have a cell phone conversation. Calls were dropped constantly. As was the internet connection.

Croc Bridge - very slow too.
Satara - very slow.
Letaba - ok, could load pics.
Shingwedzi - cannot report, did not try to connect.
Punda Maria - .... has the fastest connection in the entire park!!!

So, Stark, when you go online, I suggest you set up, open a cold one, and accept it is going to take time .... :wink: It gives you plenty of time to enjoy the camp around you while you wait for pages to open. And I turn off pics to try aid the loading time.

Stark......DB is quite right, only Skukuza has 3G which is a fairly quick internet connection, all the other camps only have 2G, which is very slow, but at least you can access internet to email and keep up with the forums etc!!

Most times you can't upload photos to Flickr/Tinypic etc in order to post on the forums, as the signal is too weak.

I have a Vodacom USB modem (R399) which has a SIM. You put credit on the SIM, then buy a data bundle for how many mega/gigabytes you think you will need.
2 Gig costs R400 ish.
(You probably know all that!!)

Anyway.....yes, you can get connected in the park, but with a slow connection most of the time!! :thumbs_up:

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Internet Connection KNP

Unread post by Wildlife4ever-Roy » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:23 pm

hi all,

I'm Roy and I currently studying on an university of applied science in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
I'm almost finished my study (I have to trust Google translate :) ) technical computing. I don't know the correct english word for it, but it's something with computers :).

When I'm graduate, I want to visted the KNP to celebrate it. I'm planning to visit the Kruger for something like 2 months. starting at the beginning or mid august. I have been to the Kruger a couple of times and I love it!

During my stay I want to write a travel tale, but you need a internet connection to post them on the internet. I know that there are some internet cafes, but not every camp has one.
So I tought, mayby I can use the cellphone network. My question is:

Can you use the cellphone network to connect to the internet and can I use it to post my travel tales?


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Re: Internet Connection KNP

Unread post by picnic » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:45 pm

Wildlife4ever-Roy, yes I believe you can. What you will need is a data card from one of the local cellphone providers and a laptop with a modem. :thumbs_up: You can google search them and see what will work best for you. :)
If you have more questions please feel free to post them. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Internet Connection KNP

Unread post by DinkyBird » Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:35 am

Guys, just be prepared for a few frustrations when connecting in the park. Not to put you off at all; I think it is wonderful to write a travel tale as you go along. I try do that too. It is very special to be able to share the moment. But this is the African bush, and things can be very slow at times. But then again, you might have a wonderful speedy connection when you least expect it.
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Re: Internet/3G access in Kruger

Unread post by threedogs » Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:54 am

@iLoveMeerkats!: The Vodacom mobile broadband stick is the same thing as a dongle which is the same thing as a USB wireless modem..... don't worry I got confused with the different terminology too.
We are also going to get a pre-paid and pre-activated USB wireless modem to pick up at the airport to use with a little netbook whilst there in August/Sept. but will still have our cheapie mobile phone with travelsim.

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Re: Internet/3G access in Kruger

Unread post by simonB » Thu May 03, 2012 7:15 pm

Internet in Skukuza currently has the following speeds:

1. Vodacom 3G: Links to speedtest results 3May 2012
2. Telkom ASDL at Conference Area: Links to speedtest results 2 May 2012

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Re: Cell (mobile) phone coverage

Unread post by iLoveMeerkats! » Fri May 04, 2012 1:50 am

Anita, you can get a SIM card at the airport, however, many US based phones will NOT work as they are not able to accept the "foreign" SIM card. You can rent a South African phone at the airport and if you don't use it (saving it only for emergencies) it is really very cheap - all you have to pay for is insurance. I think we paid about a dollar a day on our last trip. We actually picked ours up at the Mpumalanga airport and they were very nice.

Also, just so you know...the reception in Kruger is not really very good. Phones work in the camps, but when you are out in the bush there is a very good chance that you will not have any reception no matter what phone you have. Well, I suppose you could get a satellite phone but that would be even more expensive.

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Re: Cell (mobile) phone coverage

Unread post by simonB » Fri May 04, 2012 3:42 pm

In the USA the cell networks use GSM Band 850/1900 Mhz
In South Africa we use GSM 900 and 1800. A few locations like Jhb are testing with other frequencies, this might be why you got it working at the airport. So your handset might detect the network but will not be able to connect to it, due to the wrong frequency. This is why an "old nokia" works perfectly with a local simcard.

Best bet would be to rent a handset at the airport or even easier, purchase a cheap prepaid mobile device + simcard in south africa. Most mtn, vodacom or pep stores shops will have low cost devices.
You dont need a fancy phone, get the cheapest device you find.

I am currently in the park till 28may. Reception hee is very bad. Only the major camps have signal. Dont expect to find goodsignalin the game viewing area.

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Re: Wireless 3G Internet & Cell phone Access

Unread post by normana53 » Mon May 07, 2012 6:29 pm

Coming from the USA, you need to have a dual band GSM phone that accepts SIM cards. My SO and I have used dual Band phones in South Africa on multiple occasions. SO keeps hers as it is, and pays International roaming rates to keep in contact with her Veterinary Practice by text and phone, while I purchase a SIM card at the Airport when we arrive so that I can place local calls.
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