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North to South camping trip

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AnnaVR
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North to South camping trip

Unread postby AnnaVR » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:26 am

Hi all

So SO and I are already itching to plan our next Kruger camping trip after our blissful week there in December 2014. We have 15 days (lucky us!) at our disposal, and thought it would be ideal time to do our bucket list top-to-bottom Kruger holiday. Looking at off-peak season in early 2016 - I'd imagine this would be Feb/March, during first school term?

Thinking of doing 5 days each at 3 camps - one in North, Central and Southern Regions respectively. That way we get enough time to enjoy the best each region has to offer. Is it possible to do the length of the park only staying at 3 camps, or should we include a 4th, considering distances between camps?

Then of course there's the dilemma of which camps to choose! Seeing as Kruger has so many great options to offer. Last year we camped at Letaba and Punda and thoroughly enjoyed both.

We'd like to include some of the satellite camps in our list to choose from - which camping-friendly ones do you recommend? I don't know if we're kitted out to go without electricity just yet...unless you can offer some power-less camping advice?

Already getting excited...looking forward to your feedback to help us plan! :dance:

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saraf
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby saraf » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:11 am

I think it sounds like a great plan and I think you can do it in 3 camps as its not as if you will be constantly moving around.

In the north I would suggest you go for Shingwedzi. The camping area there is fairly big and near the fence (although not the river bank). From there you can see a lot of the north - a day trip up to Crooks Corner is perfectly doable, especially with the long days in the summer.

For the centre I'd go for Balule. Again you can do a lot from there, with it being close to good game viewing roads.

The south I would say Skukuza or Lower Sabie. I know it doesn't quite fit in with your satellite camp brief but they are more central which means you can get further up the park, which widens your options.
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby harrys » Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:24 pm

I'm with Saraf on Shingwedzi(best camp in KNP :) ) for the central area I'd say Maroela(this awesome camp is quiet and at night you hear the coolest animal sounds and the sightings is very good :thumbs_up: ) or Satara and for the South Lower Sabie or Berg en Dal :thumbs_up:

Enjoy planning your trip :thumbs_up:
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:26 pm

Hi Anna

Doing north to south was also a dream for us, which we have gotten to live a number of times now. November is also fairly quiet, but we did find February to be quieter. Of course these are both hot months, but it has never put us off.

I agree that too much packing up and moving can spoil a trip. But you also want to cover the entire park. I suggest do not make it more than four camps.

If you feel you have recently stayed at Punda and know that area well, then Sara's suggestion of Shingwedzi is a good one. It is in a lovely area and offers super camping, and the bluest pool I have ever seen.

Balule is also good - great camp and will give you your satellite camp. (Balule is without power, but you can use the freezers there to store items and as long as you can provide your own lighting and gas cooking you should be fine. Will you be tenting? )

And I would then do Lower Sabie.

Otherwise Punda, Letaba, Satara and then LS.

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AnnaVR
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby AnnaVR » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:31 pm

Thanks for the feedback so far!

Yes, we're tent-dwelling campers. Main concern about lack of power at Balule is for food in the camping fridge, the rest we can compromise with a car adapter. But if there are freezers this should be OK. Anyone able to say how these freezers hold up in the very hot weather in which we'll be staying?

Also...

Can anyone comment on activity levels at Lower Sabie and Skukuza outside of silly season? Only been at these camps smack in the middle of July holidays...eish! :wall:

I know the South is generally busier than other parts but we're really keen to spend some time here for the abundance of game. Or are we doing the right thing anyway by going out-of-season?

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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:18 pm

In the quieter months, there is not much demand for freezer space, and we found them to be fine last time we were there. If the camp is very full, they do battle a bit, but do keep food pretty cool. Balule is very central to Letaba area, and Satara area.

We always try to go out of season. If there has been good rain, then Feb/Mar could mean thick bush, and abundant water for game to drink and that does affect game viewing. BUT, if you have never see a green Kruger, it is something to see. The bird life is amazing. I would still say, try the quiet period, and just work hard for your sightings. A quiet (of humans) Kruger is very special.

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AnnaVR
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby AnnaVR » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:47 pm

Thanks DinkyBird.

Agreed, summer Kruger is something to experience - despite a few hot days we were treated to cooler days with lots of rain during our week in December last year. The greenery and landscapes are so different from winter. We specifically went for birds, and what a treat Kruger had in store!

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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:09 am

Hi Anna, I am rather :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: I must say.

I like the idea of Shingwetzi and Balule. Both have lots of fabulous roads to explore and the camping area ids very pleasant.

Have you considered Croc Bridge? It covers many of the same roads as Lower Sabie,but is less crowded. It is one of my favorite camping places and I have always found that the roads close to the camp deliver great sightings.
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AnnaVR
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby AnnaVR » Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:28 am

Hi MM, have considered Croc Bridge - how is day visitor traffic coming through the camp from the gate?

Am beginning to think we may give Lower Sabie a shot - I see they work with pre-allocated camping spots. Is it possible to request a spot in the same way you would request a specific bungalow? (and which spots are nice for those who have been?) Or is it luck of the draw?

Sorry for all the nitty-gritty questions - I'm sure many of you know the feeling of getting totally carried away with planning details of a Kruger trip...just too much excitement! :redface: :lol:

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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby Elsa » Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:39 am

Anna, Croc Bridge is not really affected with day traffic any longer as the gate and reception office is now outside the camp.
Camping at Lower Sabie is on a first come first served basis unless something has changed in the very recent weeks?

You can have a look through Campsites in Kruger

Also lots of great info and advice in the Index to Kruger Topics :thumbs_up:
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby Ralph vV » Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:11 pm

Hi Anna!

You have been given some great tips/ advice so far... And 15 days in Paradise will certainly be pure bliss, no matter where you go. I have done the following North to South camping trip, and LOVED every minute of it! :D

4 Days Shingwedzi: For the sheer beauty up North. A day trip to Pafuri is very doable in summer, and a wonderful outing indeed. The Red Rocks rd and Tshanga Lookout is spectacular all year round, as is the Kanniedood Dam road and loops. On your way down to the Central region, you could spend some quality time at Thiyongonyeni Waterhole for some rare antelopes too...

4 Days Balule: Great game-viewing, fantastic scenery abound. LOVE this little camp! The camp freezer is more than adequate, and the ablutions spotless... Lovely day trips in the area, and close enough to Satara to run the s100 a few times.

4 Days Lower-Sabie: Camping spots demarcated but fairly small. Still a fantastic area with amazing roads and equally great game-viewing. My wife and I had 7 different leopard sightings between L/S and Skukuza in one day, including a kill. Very special camp, as we got engaged on a morning walk from here... We prefer doing the sand roads, as the main tar roads can get too busy at times.

3 Days Pretoriuskop: My most favourite camp in the South. Very under-rated indeed... We love driving the H2-2 Voortrekker rd, especially early morning. The loops around camp can be very productive as well. Have seen Lion, Leopard (numerous times), Wild-dog (every trip), Cheetah and Sable (twice) from Pretoriuskop. BEST swimming pool in Kruger, an absolute MUST in summer... LOVE LOVE LOVE this camp!

Whatever you decide, I know you will love the North to South experience.... Magical! :P
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Wed Apr 29, 2015 7:41 am

Pretorius Kop is lovely and under rated. The only problem is that if your trip falls in a school holiday, the camping area can be bedlam. It tends to be a first/last night stop over, so lots of early morning, or late night packing.

I would give the roads around Lower Sabie a thumbs up. I don't like crowded spaces though. Personally, I find the space allocated in the camping area, far too small. It just encroaches on my personal space. Again, it is what is a priority for you. For me, privacy is essential.

As Elsa said, the Croc Bridge camp is a much quieter place since the gate has been moved. I find it intimate, friendly and the ablutions are well placed and clean. There is never too far to walk. Even though it can be used as a one night stop over, it is not as disruptive, due to its small size.
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby Sparrow » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:52 am

Just my pennies worth as we have done it three years in a row and have been greatly rewarded .

In at Phala gate straight to Shing then to Satara and down to Lower Sabie.

I pull a caravan and even tho the sites at Lower Sabie are small there are a few larger ones that give you extra space and seeing that you will be there in the off season you could get lucky.

Enjoy your planning as its the excitment that grabs you.
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AnnaVR
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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby AnnaVR » Thu Apr 30, 2015 12:02 pm

Thank you so much for all the input so far from everyone.

For now it looks like Shingwedzi is a done deal - very excited for this as I fell in love with the beauty of this area on the way through to Punda last year. Only had a quick pit stop at the camp so looking forward to spending some time there.

Also leaning towards Balule and Lower Sabie for the rest of our stay...

Can't wait - why isn't it 2016 already???!!! :wall: :big_eyes:

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Re: North to South camping trip

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Fri May 01, 2015 6:00 am

Anna, I do wish you a wonderful time. :thumbs_up: You have chosen camps with super roads and great diversity. It will also be interesting to be staying in the most rustic to the more populated and popular. :thumbs_up: You will come away with a great sense of what appeals to you the most.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


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