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General advice needed

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Elsa
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Re: taking a firearm to kruger - advise

Unread post by Elsa » Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:51 pm

Mars, when you declare it at the gate you will be required to take it into the reception office, where if I remember correctly they put it into a sturdy cloth bag which is fastened with a seal that will show if its tampered with.
On leaving the park take the unopened bag back into reception where it will be opened in front of the officials and handed back to you.
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Re: taking a firearm to kruger - advise

Unread post by squirrel_asc » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:20 am

You have to declare your firearm when checking in at the gate. They then usually ask you to take it to the security office where they seal it in a cloth bag, as Elsa said. The fact that you have a firearm in your possession will be printed on the exit permit, so when you exit, you have to produce it again, and let then unseal it. Simple as that.

Some of the newer (upgraded) bungalows even have safes where you can leave it when you go out, if you want to.
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Re: General advice needed

Unread post by Dassie » Sun May 17, 2015 9:27 am

Is it still not advisable to use Numbi gate as an entrance to park or may we enter there ?
Dassie

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Re: General advice needed

Unread post by Elsa » Sun May 17, 2015 6:59 pm

Dassie, altho the problems on this road seem to be somewhat irregular, you will see Here there is a general advisory that has been in place for some time not to use this route.
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Re: General advice needed

Unread post by George_Brits » Sun May 17, 2015 8:34 pm

Dassie wrote:Is it still not advisable to use Numbi gate as an entrance to park or may we enter there ?


Still the safest option would be to enter at Phabeni-gate. From Witrivier, travel on the R40, straight at the traffic circle, and not right on the R358. The road's in excellent condition and you will be in the "best place on earth" in no time.

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Re: Advise Needed - first time in Kruger September 2015

Unread post by ingefl » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:40 pm

AniDani wrote:we are going to Kruger this September. We are a pretty unexperienced, first time in Africa, first time on a Safari and first time driving with a rented car, first time on the left side of the road. We feel like we need to plan very well in order to avoid being stressed during the vacation.

I would appreciate lots if you could let me know what you think about the plan so far (everything is kind of booked already, but it can be changed with some effort)


We had exactly the same experience as just one month ago! I'll give a brief advice as a fellow first-timer below. We spent 10 nights in 3 camps, Shingwedzi 3 nights, Olifants 4 nights and Crocodile Bridge 3 nights.

AniDani wrote: * 7th - 9th of September - 2 Nights in Satara
We do the shopping in Hazyview (what time shops open?) and go to Satara (about 4 hours driving?).
The second day in Satara we do morning and night guided drive.

* 9th - 10th of September - 2 Nights in Szukuza
The second day in Szukuza we do morning walk (I am a bit scared about that :shock: !) and night guided drive.


Booking activities:
Before we went I was eager to plan every detail and I thought I would want to attend at least one drive of each type (morning, sunset and night) for each camp, but decided to wait with booking most of the drives until we arrived based on advice in this forum. We pre-booked the following: 3 morning walks (one in each camp) plus river walk and night drive in Olifants. When we arrived in our first camp, we booked a morning drive for the next morning (to get good ideas on how to drive and look).

Looking back, I am glad I didn't pre-book all the drives I _thought_ I wanted to go on as it would have given us too little time to actually do proper self-drives during the morning and afternoon and little flexibility. Next time, I will only pre-book walks, as drives seemed to be easily booked in the camp just-in-time and we simply enjoyed the self-drives more than the guided drives.

Specifically for your planned drives I would worry about getting enough rest on the 2nd day in Satara. Morning drive means getting up at 4:30 and night drive means going to bed 22:30 or later. You would need to get some serious rest during the day to avoid falling asleep on the night drive, which may prevent the usefulness of this day as a self-drive day. We went on a morning drive the first morning and drove self all day afterwards, in the evening we were so tired we simply had no energy to braai and ate in the restaurant, we all slept as babies around 20:30.

If I were doing the trip you are going to, I personally would swap the morning drive and night drive in Satara for a morning walk. I would also not pre-book two night drives, just see if you like the first night drive and book the second when arriving in Skukuza.

And ... don't be scared about the walks, the guides are very professional, we enjoyed the walks very much and trusted them every step.

Driving to Satara:
Paul Kruger Gate to Satara is more than 104km, we did three such "transportation" drives with the following actual drive times:
Punda Maria - Shingwedzi = 71km in 2h30m (avg 28km/h)
Shingwedzi = Olifants 141km in 9h30m (avg 14km/h)
Olifants - Crocodile Bridge 181km in 8h (avg 22 km/h)

The first and third drives we felt we had to drive faster than we wanted to at some points. Going 50km/h is simply too fast, before actually driving in Kruger I thought that we would actually drive 50 km/h between the camps and enjoy it, but effectively it reduces the day to a transportation day which is a shame. My advice is to view the drive from the Gate to your camp as a normal game drive, drive slow (20km/h), stop when needed, take loops. Calculate time needed based on 15 km/h and when you fear you will be too late at the camp increase the speed.

Also, try to be as early as possible at the Park Gate, if in any way possible do the groceries the evening before. Our first day in the park we had to "rush" because we had spent in total 2 hours or so in the Savannah Mall in Polokwane getting groceries, safari hats, money, etc. Coming from so far away as you do (and we did), you will want to maximize the time in the park.

AniDani wrote: * 12th of September - Flight back to Europe
Our flight is at 4 in the afternoon, so we should have time to do a morning drive before going to the Airport and give back the car.


I would suggest using this day as your own morning self-drive, then you can just drive at your own pace towards the gate, do the loops you want, you can time the exit moment quite properly in this case.

Shopping:
- The Camp Shops aren't that bad with groceries, in my opinion they had enough to choose. In all camps we stayed they had fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, meat (mostly frozen), bread, tea, coffee, cold beverages and snacks. We stopped in Satara and their shop was large and well stocked. Yes, they are more expensive than outside the park, but going to the Mugg and Bean or the like is much more expensive.
- Don't buy an overpriced map of Kruger in Europe, we did (EUR20+) for a Michelin map and never used it. For R60 we bought the "Andy en Lorrain Tinker's Krugerpark map" in the Camp Shop, which was superior and includes drawings of many animals you will see. We used it until it fell apart.
- If you need hats (required for the walks), they are about 50% more expensive for the same type in the Camp Shops compared to outside the park. We bought three hats of the brand Rogue in Trappers (outdoor shop) and on O.R. Tambo they they were equally priced. (we payed R240, in the camp they were R380)
- Buy a South African to Europe power plug adapter in the supermarket in South Africa (Type M, three large pins). I saw them priced anywhere between R30 and R240. I didn't see any suitable adapters on the airports (Netherlands, London) and the generic adapters I have heard won't even properly work while they cost at least EUR 20.
- Bring a European extension cord with multiple sockets. I don't know about the camps you are going to, but in Shingwedzi we had only one power outlet indoors, the extension cord in combination with an adapter with a properly sized fuse (5A) made sure that we were able to recharge batteries, phones and laptop.
- Buy a soft cooler bag and freezer blocks in the super market (Pick & Pay or the like), rather cheap and the freezer blocks can be frozen during the night in the bungalow freezer. The quality was very good and we brought it all home afterwards, will bring it the next time.
- For bungalows: No need to get washing up liquid for the dishes or toilet paper, it was at least present in all bungalows we stayed in along with bars of soap. Shampoo and laundry washing liquid is necessary though.


Information:
- Use these forums, they contain very much valuable information.
- Join Facebook groups. Especially "Kruger Sightings" and "Camps and Roads of Kruger" give valuable information as to how people drive and where there may be interesting things to see in which area.
- Understand the soil and vegetation around your camps and on the roads you plan to drive as it is essential for what kind of animals you will see. We did this too little beforehand and will base our booking and planning on it the next time.

Enjoy!
Inge :D
Last edited by ingefl on Sun Jul 19, 2015 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Advise Needed - first time in Kruger September 2015

Unread post by Elsa » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:37 pm

Wonderful and very useful advice Inge! :clap:
Sure it will help many first time visitors.
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Re: Advise Needed - first time in Kruger September 2015

Unread post by minettest » Thu Jul 16, 2015 10:44 pm

Everyone gave excellent tips. Mine is stop and ask if you are in the park and confused. South Africans are extremely friendly and we like to chat. If I vehicle slows down and person stops next to you its probably to tell you the sightings up ahead. And most important ENJOY
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Re: Kruger National Park's efforts to streamline access for day visitors

Unread post by Chacma » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:42 am

I have never been a day visitor, always stayed in restcamp accommodation, so I am hazy on what facilities day visitors can have access to. I have heard that they are not allowed to swim in the pools, or that there are separate pools avilable to them in some camps. If this is correct, which camps? Are they allowed access to the restaurants, shops, laundrettes, museums, lawned areas, car washes and other facilities? If their access to facilities is restricted, how is this enforced in practical terms? It is all a bit confusing to me, and I feel a certain disquiet that there are two classes of visitor to KNP.

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Re: Kruger National Park's efforts to streamline access for day visitors

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:30 am

Hi Chacma, I have been to and used the day visitors pools at Skukuza and Letaba. They are both very nicely designed for accommodating visitors who wish to make a memorable outing. Both have adequate ablutions, shaded picnic areas and the Skukuza one has a small shop. There is also an area where people can wash dishes and prepare food.

The Skukuza one has areas where it is possible to have a little walk. The Letaba one has those lovely big Letaba trees.

I noticed that there were people to keep a check on visitors obeying the rules, such as 'no alcohol'.

It is not a matter of having two different classes, but trying to cater to the very specific needs of day visitors

Day visitors are welcome to visit any facility open to resident visitors, such as lawns, shops, restaurants, gardens, museums ect. It is just that now they can have everything they need in one area without needing to go to a main camp. This does make it easier for the shops in the main camps to cope with the influx of visitors.

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Re: Kruger National Park's efforts to streamline access for day visitors

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Wed Dec 07, 2016 5:37 am

Not really 2 classes of visitors! Think of it like a hotel.....only resident guests are allowed to use certain facilities. So in KNP only resident guests of the camp can use the pool and laundry for example, and only resident guests are permitted in the bungalow/camping areas. But visitors (day visitors and resident guests at other camps) can use the shops and restaurants and day visitor areas in those camps that have them. Those camps with no 'extra' facilities like shops etc are only open to resident guests of that camp (the satellite camps like Malelane, Tambotie, Maroela, etc and bush lodges like Sirheni, Biyamiti, Boulders, etc).

Pretoriuskop, Skukuza, Lower Sabie, Satara, Letaba, Mopani, Shingwedzi, Punda all have day visitor areas. Some are not within the tourist camp itself.
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Re: Kruger National Park's efforts to streamline access for day visitors

Unread post by Chacma » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:18 am

Thank you Goggo and MM, you have explained it well.

It would be nice if SANParks could build a pool in the visitors centres of Mopani and Shingwedzi, I feel sorry for the children sitting in a car/bus arriving at these camps. I expect that will happen in due course.


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