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Best route - OR Tambo to Kruger

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Best route - OR Tambo to Kruger

Unread post by G@mespotter » Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:29 pm

(1) The journey to Orpen is, (no map here, so I stand to be corrected) approximately 650 to be safe you should allow yourself 7 - 8 hours, as stops at petrol stations and the road from Whiteriver to Klaserie winds through traditional homelands, which will slack your average down quite a bit...

So I would advise to leave EARLY...

(2) The second question sort of depends....If you want to hire the navigator just for finding Orpen gate and in the park, I would say no.
If you are comfortable with a map, just do yourself a favour, buy a decent map of SA.
The road to Orpen is quite easy.
If you are on the N4...its 270 kms straight :wink:
At Nelspruit, just keep the road signs in sight, but check especially the road numbers...take the road to Whiteriver.
From Whiteriver, its straight to Hazyview, and from Hazyview its straight to Klaserie.
At Klaserie, just check for the Orpen gate signs, turn right, and your last 40kms on a dead-quiet road! Really, no need for a Navigator, its very easy if you know how to use a map.

A tip, just stick to the speed limit, especially from Nelspruit and on, as there are a lot of traffic cops trying to share with you income :roll:
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Route from Nelspruit/ Sbie to Jhb Airport

Unread post by Pjw » Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:16 am

This is in response to a query on the thread directions from JBH international
From, Komatipoort, Malelane, Nelspruit follow the N4 west past Machadadorp, Belfast, Middelburg as far as the town of eMalahleni (Witbank).
Just thru the town you need to keep in the 2 left hand lanes of the highway and follow the signs to the N12 west highway.
Note that this split of the two highways is not well signposted and even local S. Africans miss this split!
So watch for it once in the eMalahleni (Witbank) area.
Follow this highway to Benoni and into Boksburg area.
Take the R21north highway to Airport/ Pretoria .
The 2nd offramp on this highway is the Airport turn off.

If you miss the N12 at Witbank, stay on the N4 until you reach Pretoria.
Take the N1 highway south bound and then the R21 south to Kempton Park and the Airport.
It's a slightly longer route, but gets you there on Highways the whole way and time wise it's only about 30min extra.

From Sabie, take the Long Tom Pass (R37) to Lydenburg .
Follow the signs to the R540 to Dullstroom and Belfast.
Go thru Belfast and join the N12 (route is well signposted in the town) and follow the above directions from Belfast above..

From Hazyview you can either take the route via Sabie or go to White River and Nelspruit along the R 569 and then follow the above directions
Hope this helps
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Unread post by Pjw » Fri May 02, 2008 8:45 am

You need to follow the N12 highway which joins the N4 at Witbank.
This route is well described earlier in this thread (the 1st post I think).
From Randburg you need to get onto the N1 and at the N3 split, take the N3 south.
At Gillooleys interchange, take the N12/R24 east split and move into the right hand lanes as soon as you can as the highway splits almost immediately into R24(to the airport) and the N12 to Boksburg, Benoni, Witbank. If you end up on the R24, don't panic.
When you get close the airport follow the signs to the R21 south and then onto the N12 east/ Witbank.
Its only slightly longer.

Time needed to get to KNP: Malelane gate will take about four and a half hours.
We like to stop at Middelburg Utra city or Millys (both are petrol stations with fast food joints)
Middelburg is closer to Jhb.
Choice of stop depends on the kids toilet needs.
We also like to stop at Erics farm stall which is in the lowveld (ie once you are down the passes) about 1/2hr-45 mins from Nelspruit.
They make great pancakes there.

Crocodile Bridge gate is about 40 mins further than Malelane gate)
The drive to Lower Sabie can be done in an Hour but will usually take longer as this is a great road for sightings.
If you go in at Malelane gate the drive is much longer to Lower Sabie (could be as long as 4 hours),
Another option is Kruger gate, also about four and half hours from JHB and about two and half hours drive to lower Sabie, once again remembering that this is another great sighting road.
All in all, my 1st choice gate with younger kids would be Croc Bridge.
Without kids,
I would probably go in at Kruger gate

Have a great trip :D
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Unread post by FishingOwl » Fri May 30, 2008 4:23 pm

Thoughts on directions from Jo'burg to Punda Maria? And suggestions for a place to stop and stock up on food/camping supplies along the way?

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Unread post by Pjw » Sun Jun 01, 2008 4:25 pm

Hi Fishing Owl.
I would take the N1 north.
If you are leaving from the airport take the R21 north to Pretoria and then follow the signs to the N1 north.
You need to go past a number of smaller towns and once in Polokwane you could replenish stocks there.
I don't know the shops there, but it is a fair sized town and will have a Spar and almost certainly a Pick n Pay. Get back on the N1 as far as Makhado formerly Louis Trichardt .
Take the R524 to Thohoyandou . B
Go through the town and onto Punda Maria
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Re: From Johannesburg to KNP. Which route???

Unread post by rayb » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:58 pm

There are a lot of posts on this but assuming you are entering by Malelane or Croc Bridge Gates then as you leave the airport follow the signs for Boksburg (R21) then fork left for Witbank (N12) which meets up with the N4 at Witbank.
Just before Waterval Boven turn left onto the R539 Schoemanskloff loop.
It's a much nicer run.
I think it is signposted Nelspruit.
Just after you hit the N4 again you will find Eric's on the right for a well needed pitstop.
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Re: From Johannesburg to KNP. Which route???

Unread post by Pjw » Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:22 pm

N1 is the quicker route with highway all the way to Plolkwane, then the route down to tzaneen is very scenic. The route to Nelspruit is a long way round. The other possible way is N4 to Belfast, the Dullsrtoom, Lydenburg, Orichstad, Strydom tuinnel/ Abel Erasmus pass. Its alos scenic,but takes longer as from Belfast on it is mostly single lane traffic and not a freeway
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Re: Traveling to/from JBN and within Kruger

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:23 am

Welcome to the forum, and beware of addiction!

There is a bus from the airport itself to Nelspruit (google Citybug) where you can hire a car. Driving from there to Kruger is not a problem for a single female - I do it all the time! The shuttle mentioned is a small mini-bus and as far as I know the only direct one. Others would require you to get into Jhb or Pretoria first - more time and probably less safe.

Another alternative is to fly from Jhb to Nelspruit (or Hoedspruit or Phalaborwa depending on where in Kruger you stay).

You really need to have a vehicle in Kruger as there is no way of getting to the camps without one - unless you join an organised tour group. Doing activities from the camps is a good idea - but going out on your own is safe, and you will enjoy it. Google for carhire in SA - you will have lots of options!
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Re: 1st night from JohBurg Airport - Berg en Dal or Croc Bridge?

Unread post by goafrica » Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:29 pm


We come from Uk too, and usually drive up to Croc Bridge area on first day.

I agree with what every one has said,BUT, this all depends on what time your plane arrives!! If you get in at 7.30 to 8.30 ish then all will be OK. If you are arriving any later then you will not make it up there comfortably before the gates close, and I agree that the first night at Malelane might be a good idea or even Nelspruit area. You can arrange ahead for late entrance at CB & Malelane as it right on the approach road, but I am not sure about BnD. Forumites here will know.

We have arrived twice on the Emirates flights which are usually late, and get in at about 11am. By the time we have picked up the hire car, stop a couple of times for petrol etc, it is 7pm before we get to near Croc Bridge. Also the sun starts going down at 5pm and it is dark at 6 prompt. Driving in the dark is not fun over long distances if you got off a plane from UK that morning, especially if its atwo sector journey. Other forumites may disagree, but if you are on a late arriving plane I promise this is accurate! We once drove to Kruger Gate Hotel off a late plane.............never again! It really does take about 6 hours.

I would rather get to Nelspruit or Hazy view, stay over night in a hotel, have a nice meal etc, and a good sleep, and be nice and fresh at the park gates the following morning than wake up exhausted in the park. ( Dont forget the two hour time difference does make a difference in terms of getting up in the morning even if it doesnt give you jet lag! South Africas 5am is UK's 3am) Then you can drive peacefully and game spot all the way to your camp, check in at 12, have a nice rest, and be fresh for an afternoon drive.

Having said that ,the journey to CB I find easy, its basically N4, left to komatipoort, all the way through komatipoort and left again to CB. Nothing tricky at all. But still 5.5 to 6 hours inc stops. They have a little shop which is quite good and it is a friendly kind of place. We stay at Ngwenya and not CB , but I love the atmosphere there and we have had a good night game drive there.

For the first time ever we are flying up this year, I will miss the drive and the scenery, but not feeling shattered when we get there.

Have a good time


Just noticed , you get in at 7am. so you will be fine. But this info might be helpful to others.
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Re: From JHB to Phallaborwa

Unread post by sanyrob » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:10 pm

Can you give me any advice and tips for the way from JHB airport to Phalaborwa by car? We are planning to rent a car in the airport and arrive in the afternoon the gate. Which is the fastest and easiest way???

Thanks a lot
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Re: From JHB to Phallaborwa

Unread post by Pjw » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:26 pm

From OR Tambo, Take the R21 north to Pretoria Where it joins the N1 at Pretoria, follow the signs to the N1 North,/ Polokwane. Keep on the N1 till you get to Polokwane, then follow the signs to Magoebaskloof/Tzaneen and Phalaborwa. Sorry I don't know thenumber of this road, but I'm sure someone will help (My map is packed ready for my trip)
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Re: Journey from Jo'burg to Punda Maria gate

Unread post by Vann » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:41 pm

N1 to LOUIS TRICHARDT- Hook a right at second stop sign(still on N1) keep straight... for quite some time.. follow the road signs... Nice road, a little dodgy at some sports... Else you can turn right just after the Capricorn Toll gate and go via Soekmekaar ect..
N1 Rd‎

Head north on N1 Rd
Partial toll road
About 1 hour 4 mins.
go 100 km
total 100 km

Turn left to stay on N1 Rd
About 1 hour 42 mins
go 138 km
total 238 km


Continue onto R101, About 2 mins
go 2.7 km
total 241 km

Turn left onto Nelson Mandela Dr/Nelson Mandela Sb St
Continue to follow Nelson Mandela Dr
About 2 mins
go 1.5 km
total 242 km


Turn right onto Rissik St - About 1 min
go 900 m
total 243 km


Turn left onto Mark St
About 1 min

go 550 m
total 244 km


Slight right onto Landdros Mare St - About 7 mins
go 9.1 km
total 253 km

Continue onto R101- About 1 min
go 1.0 km
total 254 km

Continue onto N1 Rd - About 1 hour 19 mins
go 97.9 km
total 352 km


Turn right at Songozwi St - About 2 mins
go 2.1 km
total 354 km


Continue straight onto R524
Destination will be on the right
About 1 hour 53 mins

go 128 km
total 482 km
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Lower Sabie 10-4-2011 till 17-4-2011

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Re: Driving from JHB International to Kruger - Directions

Unread post by Pjw » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:55 pm

As a result of all the new Highways in and around Johannesburg I thought I should update these directions
From O.R.Tambo airport to Southern gates
Follow signage in the airport complex to Boksburg/R21 South
Once on the R21 south take the 2nd off-ramp to Benoni/ eMahlaleni N12 east.
Be careful through the roadworks around Benoni, but these clear about 40km from the airport
The N12 joins the N4 just outside eMalahleni
Continue along the highway through the toll gates at Middelburg and Machadadorp
Once through the 2nd toll gate you have choice of 2 passes down into the Lowveld. My personal preference is the Schoemans Kloof pass, but the other pass is also OK. I prefer Schoemanskloof as it is more scenic and avoids the smelly paper mill at Ngodwana
The 2 routes join again at a T junction once you are down the passes
Just before Nelspruit there are still roadworks, so watch the signage , but keep to the N4 option

Crocodile bridge & Malelane gates
Stay on the N4 through Nelspruit and through the next toll plaza
Go through the town of Malelane (where shopping for groceries can be done at either the Pick 'n pay on your
left or the Spar on your right at the 1st traffic lights)
Malelane Gate is well sign posted just outside the town
Crocodile Bridge gate: Continue on the N4 to Komatipoort and turn left into the town. Go straight through the town and the gate is about 10 minute drive

Kruger & Phabeni Gates
Take the White River/ Nelspruit turn off off the highway and follow the signs very carefully There are some very confusing traffic circles as you come off the highway
I am not familiar enough with the area to give you exact directions here, but follow the signs to White river
Once in White river Take a left turn at the 1st traffic lights and right turn at the next lights
Stay on this road till you see the big shopping centre on your left and turn left
Stay on this road till you reach the T junction just outside Hazyview
Turn left and go into the town of Hazyview
At the Spar & Pick 'n Pay centre turn right... There is also a KFC on this corner
For Phabeni gate you will have to make a right turn about 10 min drive out the town
For Kruger gate. Stay on this road until you reach the gate, Be careful of speed limits, stray farm animals and people on this road. Personally I prefer to go in at Phabeni as it takes almost the same time to get to Skukuza as it would on the road outside the park, with the added benefit of the possibility of a great sighting
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Re: Driving Out of JNB Airport to N4 East

Unread post by Albert » Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:37 pm

Elephantears wrote:How easy is it to navigate out of Car Rentals from the airport towards Malelane? I am sure a few of us overseas travellers have missed the relevant turn off or the slip road in their time!!
Are there any road works or other hold ups currently on the N4 East bound?
Thank you very much.

Like they say, it's really easy if you know the way....As an frequent visitor to OR Tambo, and having had to navigate from the Car Rental Parking garage several times a year, I can tell you that it is really quite easy. Just remember the following:

1. You need to take the exit to the R 21 (S) to Boksburg.
2. This occurs fairly quickly (about 700 m from the exit of the parking garage where the rental cars are).
3. Even if you do rent a GPS from the car rental company, the GPS will not acquire a satellite by the time you need to make your exit (to the left) onto the R 21. Therefor do not stare at the will just miss the exit. I learned this the hard way. Just watch the road signage. It is quite clear.
4. Most of the rental car companies have detailed maps of the exit from OR Tambo, and as such will be able to explain the route in detail to you.
5. The Google directions ( (enter Europcar OR Tambo International Airport as your departure point and Malelane Gate, Kruger National Park as your destination) are quite good.
6. In the unlikely event that you miss the exit to the R21 (S), do not panic. Continue with the R 24 towards Johannesburg and then get onto the N12 (East)/N4 at Gillooly's interchange (and by that time you GPS should start working).

Now some more seasoned travellers will join this conversation and point out all the mistakes of the above...
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Re: OR Tambo to Phalaborwa

Unread post by GRYSBOK » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:43 am

When exiting the parking area at ORT make sure you take the correct lane for the onramp onto the R21 North as this onramp is close to the exit from the parking garages.
The R21 towards the N1 near Pretoria is now a double carriage freeway with 4 lanes in both directions.
As is the N1 north until just north of Pretoria where it becomes a freeway with 2 lanes in both directions up until Polokwane/Pietersburg.
So rush hour traffic will hopefully not be too big a problem.
There is electronic e-tolling on the R21 and the N1 until the crossing of the N4 in Pretoria but since you have a hire car this will probably be taken care of by the car hire firm.
There are 4 manual toll gates between Pretoria and Polokwane with a total cost of appr. R122.50 (appr. $11).
There is a Protea hotel just before Polokwane/Pietersburg at the Shell Ultra City.
I would suggest you stay over here as it is an approximate 3 hour drive from ORT.
The bypass road around Polokwane/Pietersburg is appr. 3 km from this point and from here it is still about 200 km to Phalaborwa.
The R71 between Moria/Boyne towards Tzaneen has now been rebuilt with wider shoulders so the road condition is excellent.
It is possible that the last section near Moria/Boyne is still under construction or being finished off so there can still be some delays.
It is good advice to drive this section during daylight as the scenery is nice especially the section through Magoebaskloof. Hope you enjoy it.

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