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Skukuza airport

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Skukuza airport

Unread post by KNP Spokesman » Thu Oct 05, 2006 10:38 am

Skukuza Airport hasn't ever really closed.
Not only are the SANParks aircraft permanently based there and operate there all the time, but there are chartered flights that land there from time to time.
All scheduled airliners now land at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (or KMIA).

That is the status quo of it at the moment.

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Unread post by johanrebel » Thu Nov 09, 2006 8:44 pm

Federal Air operates "scheduled charters" between Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo) and Skukuza. I use them from time to time when staying at Rhino Post or Plains Camp. As often as not, I am the only passenger at a more or less deserted airport. Weird, compared to the days when Comair/SA Express operated two or three daily F27/Dash 8 flights to Skukuza.


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Skukuza Airport

Unread post by Wildtuinman87 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:11 pm

Does the skukuza airport still exist, and to what extent does it function.
I last flew into Kruger in early 2000 via SA Express, and it was an experience worth treasuring.
Any other forumites that have had this rare privilege?

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Re: Skukuza Airport

Unread post by DinkyBird » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:23 pm

It still exists and is very functional.
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Re: Skukuza airport

Unread post by Bennievis » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:25 am

I used to land at Skukuza almost on a weekly basis, en-route from Phalaborwa to Johannesburg.
Sometimes in a Dakota and later on with the "new" Fokkers 8)
At one stage Comair ran a weekly flight between Phalaborwa and Durban (on Thursdays), that flight also landed at Skukuza.
The flight between Phalaborwa and Skukuza took about 15 minutes if memory serves me right.
One of the sightings from the air I will always remember was of a huge baboon strolling down the road when we came in for the landing, he looked up at the plane and just carried on walking, like a seasoned ol' Jo'burg boy.

The Phalaborwa/Skukuza flight to Jhb can be real nasty and usually is.
The intense heat in summer causes terrible turbulence up there, resulting in what feels like a roller coaster ride.
Then, when you think it can't get any worse, you cross over the Drakensberg Mountains and you fly into where the hot air meets the cooler air of the highveld, and usually into a severe thunderstorm.
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Unread post by Mfezi » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:27 pm

Recently, I read in a newspaper that the airport at Skukuza will be upgraded and that flights will once again be undertaken to the Kruger. Will the car rental at Skukuza then also move there? Any news about the progress about the airport upgrade? Just wandering.

Mods, please move this if this under the wrong section... Thanks!

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SANParks announces successful operator for Skukuza Airport

Unread post by Lesego » Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:28 pm

The South African National Parks (SANParks) has today announced the appointment of a preferred operator for the Skukuza Airport in the iconic Kruger National Park.

SANParks, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. David Mabunda said the successful bid was submitted by the Skukuza Airport Management Company (Pty) Ltd jointly owned by Lion Sands, Federal Air and Airlink. The consortium will sign a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement with SANParks for a period of ten years.

The announcement follows a lengthy process of technical evaluation and adjudication of bids submitted in response to a Request for Proposals issued in April 2013.

According to Dr. Mabunda this development will benefit SANParks’ long haul clients and those from major centers who will no longer be subjected to a two hour drive from Nelspruit to the Kruger National Park. “We are reliving a tradition that started in 1959 to enhance visitor convenience and experience and we are looking forward to working with our new partners in taking the business of managing national parks assets to another level.”

In reacting to the announcement, Robert More, Lion Sands Co-founder and CEO said it is an absolute privilege to be involved in this venture. “Our lodges are all in close proximity to Skukuza and our customers will benefit significantly from re-opening the Skukuza airport to scheduled air services”.

Carl Trieloff, Commercial Director of Special Projects at Fed Air added, “We are proud to be part of the consortium behind the winning bid. We are looking forward to providing visitors the opportunity to experience a high quality affordable bushveld experience”.

Rodger Foster, Airlink’s CEO responded by saying his company is delighted to be in the consortium and looking forward to delivering scheduled air services to Skukuza, and access to all lodges within the Skukuza precinct. This is going to make travelling to the Kruger National Park simpler and affordable.

Skukuza Airport Management Company will be given access to the Skukuza airport facility from 1 September 2013, in order to commence with the alterations and improvements essential to bringing the airport to the international standard, which will include rehabilitation of the runway.

It is envisaged that the airport upgrades should be substantially completed by 1 November 2013 to achieve the necessary licensing by the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). It is anticipated that the licensing process will be completed before the first quarter of 2014 with scheduled flights set to commence in March 2014.

In conclusion, Dr. Mabunda said, SANParks was highly impressed with the successful bidder’s operational plan for the airport and its associated air services. “This included a comprehensive environmental management plan to limit the noise impact of operations overarching minimized environmental impact philosophy.”

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications
Tel: 012 426 5065

Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli
SANParks General Manager: PR, Media and Stakeholder Relations
Tel: 012 426 5203 cell: 073 373 4999


Annemi van Jaarsveld
SANParks General Manager: Business Development
Tel:012 426 5027; Cell: 082888145


Rob More
Lion Sands Co-Founder CEO
Tel: 011 880 9992


Karin Murray
Tel: 011 451 7300
Lesego Nko
Web forum and Online Stakeholder Relations
Tel: (012) 426 5202

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Re: SANParks announces successful operator for Skukuza Airpo

Unread post by Stark » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:27 pm

Thanks DB. :)

If done right, this could be a good benefit for SANParks and for far-flung travelers and the private reserve crowd. (The Starks are guilty on both counts)

We'd certainly take advantage of flying into the park as opposed to one of the outlying airports. Buy our supplies at Skukuza, stay the first night in SA in the park, rent our car there, and not have to rush to the airport on our last day. I'm sure it will make SANParks travels to and from the park for business far easier as well.

I do understand the concern for noise pollution, but twice-daily flights on what will most likely be smaller planes (if they're anything like the ones flying into Nelspruit) shouldn't be that bad, IMO. It sounds like it is also using current facilities that are just being fixed up so environmental impact should be small.

I hope the winning bidder utilizes the local communities to build jobs.
Last edited by Stark on Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Skukuza airport

Unread post by saraf » Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:30 pm

There are some details about the Skukuza Airport included in today's media release.
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Re: Skukuza airport

Unread post by jumbuck » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:08 am

We are looking at flying into Skukuza Airport in August next year. Silly question but how do you then get to Skukuza camp? I am assuming there is some sort of shuttle service? My other concern is the timing as we will be arriving on a Saturday at 10.50am and the Avis people finish 12pm. I am tempted just to fly into KMIA and get a car from there.
From an international tourist point of view being able to get off a plane at JB and onto another to fly straight to Kruger is a good thing. I have been to SA a couple of times before and driven all over the place but this time I just wanted to take the more relaxing option.

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Re: Skukuza airport

Unread post by Imberbe » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:47 pm

I suspect that Avis will have your vehicle available at the airport. The airport is but four or so km from the main entrance and the airport will be a good source of business for Avis with self drive guests flying in.
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Re: Skukuza airport

Unread post by WELSH_ASH » Mon Dec 09, 2013 5:15 pm

Hi All,

I would also like to know what the situation is for transferring arriving guests from the airport to Skukuza rest camp. I am arriving into Skukuza airport on 30th October next year and I will be looking to rent a car from Avis to drive to Lower Sabie where I am booked in.

Does any fellow mite know any more info in addition to the links above. The SA airlink site doesn't really give much away either :roll:

Just a question.. How large will these planes be? If coming from CT or JHB they must be a fair size and I was just wondering about the sound polution ??

@ Hugh, the planes operated on this route are Embraer ERJ135's, a 37 seat small regional jet plane.

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Re: Skukuza airport

Unread post by johanrebel » Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:00 pm

"Fedair has resumed its service from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, to Skukuza Airport in the Kruger National Park.

This follows the reopening of the airport, which closed last month for renovations.

Fedair offers two daily return flights, servicing private game lodges that make use of the Skukuza airstrip.

Airlink announced last year that it would launch direct flights to Skukuza from Cape Town and Johannesburg in June.


For those of you who think this is such a bad idea: Comair used to serve Skukuza with two daily commercial flights from JNB for many many years. It wasn't the end of the world, not even of the KNP. In fact, the disturbance was minimal, I doubt many people even noticed.

For those of you flying in and renting a car: Avis used to have offices both at Skukuza and the airport. If the latter does not reopen, I'm sure you will be met by a representive and given your vehicle at the airport. Other rental companies will no doubt drop off and pick up cars too. When I rented from others than Avis, I would upon departure just leave the unlocked car at the airport with the keys inside. That worked well then, but it is probably no longer a good idea. Not even in Kruger!


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Re: Skukuza airport

Unread post by johanrebel » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:22 am

Stark wrote:It also means I get to spend my last day in the park without having to rush out.

I used to take a leisurely morning drive from wherever I was staying down to Skukuza, stop briefly at camp for a bite to eat or so, and then drive to the airport early afternoon to catch my flight to JNB.

I recall leaving Satara as the gates opened one drizzly Saturday. I was first car down the road, and as I passed Tshokwane a guy in a rainsuit jumped out from behind a bush and flagged me down. He wanted to visit the Skukuza post office and needed a ride. Sure, no problem. As soon as I had agreed, half a dozen friends of his popped out from the bushes, they also wanted to "visit the post office". That post office was about to experience its busiest Saturday in years! I was driving a Toyota Venture (yeah, this was years ago), so had no problems squeezing them all in. I did emphasize that I would be driving at game drive speed, not racing to camp. That was fine with them, and it turned out they were absolutely delighted at each and every sighting. We saw lots of lions, cheetahs at Olifantsdrinkgat, etc. These people all worked at Tshokwane, some of them had been there for many years, yet it was like they were on their first game drive ever. We had lots of fun.

That was not the only time I've noticed that hitchhiking Kruger staff enjoy the game viewing. Many of them spend all their time within the confines of the camp where they work, and see people, not animals. The shuttle bus that takes them to and from work drives at breakneck speed and stops for nothing, so their opportunities for game viewing are less than minimal.

Back to Skukuza airport. Another advantage that should not be underestimated is what happens if your incoming flight is delayed. That will hopefully not happen often, but if it does you will still arrive inside the park. If you are late arriving at KMIA or Hoedspruit, you are faced with the problem of racing for the gate. This gate may be closed by the time you arrive, or there may no longer be sufficient time to get to the camp where you have booked your first night’s stay. If you arrive at Skukuza you are automatically in, and your transfer or vehicle will be waiting for you.


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Re: Skukuza airport

Unread post by johanrebel » Tue Feb 25, 2014 5:14 pm

"The runway at Skukuza Airport in the Kruger National Park has reopened while the new terminal building, currently under construction, is on track, Airlink has advised.

Rodger Foster, Airlink’s CEO, told Tourism Update the new terminal would be completed in time for the ceremonial opening on June 2 when Airlink will launch services to Skukuza from Cape Town International Airport and OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg. The Airlink scheduled services will replace current charter services between OR T ambo and Skukuza, Foster added.

According to Foster, the daily number of flights into and from Skukuza will be limited and strictly controlled. “All future charter operations at Skukuza will require prior authorisation by Skukuza Airport Management Company, which will not be granted without indemnification and written undertaking to comply with requisite operational procedures and standards for safety and environmental considerations,” he said.

Once the new terminal was open and Airlink’s services were in place, lodge transfers would primarily be by road to the lodges within proximity of Skukuza airport, while air transfers would be offered by Federal Airlines to lodges further away, said Foster.



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