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General advice needed

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Re: Self drive advice - please?

Unread post by Elsa » Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:40 pm

HI Anita, and a very warm welcome to the forum. :clap:

I am presuming this will be your first first to Kruger and I am sure 2 weeks will be just fine and I can almost guarantee you will not be bored. :D

There are very good and comprehensive map books that you can buy at most of the gates, and all the shops in the camps and I would recommend you get one of those as soon as you arrive.

A self drive option is usually the one we always recommend and is the best option as you can stop at sightings as long as you like and travel the roads or routes you decide on.
Basically you are your own boss.

There is plenty of accommodation in the park to suit the type you require, with en suite bathrooms and kitchettes.
There are also smaller bush camps that are less crowded but do not have restaurants, so you would have to be self sufficient.
The others do have all the facilities.
Please do a search around the Sanparks availability/reservation page.
The South of the park usually has the abundance of Big 5 sightings but is more populated and the North of the park the quieter and more scenic part.

I think whether you fly from JHB or drive is a personal choice and depends on how comfortable you feel driving on strange roads and tired you are liable to be on arrival.
You can get prices from Airlink or Kulula Airlines both of which fly into KMIA the airport nearest Kruger.

I think whether you hire a SUV type vehicle is also dependant on your budget, it can be a advantage but is definitely not a necessity.

Whether to visit one of the luxury lodges like Sabie Sands is also really up to you and dependant on whether you want a bit of pampering but not strictly necessary.

I am sure others will give you lots of good advice as well.
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Unread post by justbarb » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:46 am

Hello everyone,

I am new to the forums and am not sure just where to ask some questions. I am going to SA from Canada the first of March and am looking for advice on packing light for a 2 week vacation in and around Kruger National Park. Also, I am going to purchase a new camera and would like some advice. Something easy to use and suitable for wildlife photos.

Any suggestions would be great.


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Re: Travel

Unread post by Dabchick » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:48 am

Hi justbarb! Welcome to the forums :D

I agree with the other replies.

It's likely to be somewhere between warm, hot and very hot in March. Probably dry, sunny weather most of the time, but the possibility of rain (especially thundershowers) can never be excluded (especially not this year).

Thus - mostly cool clothes: t-shirts, shorts / capri pants, swimwear if you like to swim, sandals etc. One or two long jeans and a warmish (e.g. light fleece) jacket should suffice. A rain jacket may be useful if you don't like being rained upon while dashing between the bungalow / car / toilets at the picnic spot etc :lol:

Regarding a camera, first answer this question:
Do you want to get into serious photography and spend a lot of money for professional equipment?
If YES: then go for a Canon / Pentax / Nikon DSLR camera and be prepared to spent some serious dosh on a telephoto lens (at least 400mm is essential for wildlife photography).

if NO: go for a nice superzoom camera such as Nikon Coolpix P100, Fujitech HS10 or HS11, or Pentax X90 (There may be newer models out - this list comes from about 6 months ago when I was in the market for a superzoom camera). Canon may arguably the best when it comes to DSLR camera's (or at least one of the best), but it doesn't have a superzoom that measures up to the 26x to 30x optical zooms (equal to > 600mm SLR lens) of the cameras listed above. It's much lighter and one can get decent wildlife photographs without spending serious money. The only problem that I have with my Nikon P100 is that it doesn't have manual focus (the other listed all have), which can be a problem with the subject is small (such as a malechite kingfisher), and the background is noisy (e.g. reeds) - the autofocus doesn't always focus on the right thing :roll:

Hope this helps and enjoy your time in SA! 8)

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Re: A few questions about costs and more..

Unread post by saraf » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:39 pm

homer.s wrote:Thanks for every one who helps and answers questions in here!
It makes the preparation much easier...!

A few additional questions about costs:

2. Is there a fee that i have to pay at JNB airport before departing back to my home country?
>No, you should not be asked for any additional fees. However please be careful of people who offer to direct you to your check-in desk and then ask for a fee - they are NOT airport employees. Either ask at one of the police desks or someone in uniform with a name tag.

5. - And most important - who do i have to inform if there is a chance that ill arrive abit late... (if possible specific e mail - will be grate)...
>Depends on when you will be late and where you are going. If you expect to be late to a gate on your first night you can arrange an escort to the nearest camp. From Malelane Gate this would be Maleleane Camp or Berg-an-Dal. You would be expected to pay a fee (currently R150) for this to cover the cost of getting someone to escort you. It's best to arrange it with either the camp or gate in advance. Malelane Gate tel number is +27 (0)13 735 6152. There is no late entry once you are in the park. If you are late back to a camp then you will be fined R1500.

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Re: Which is best and why?

Unread post by Wild about cats » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:39 pm

:hmz: I'd go for option three. The longer you spend at one camp, the longer you get to explore the area unique to that camp. It's less packing and unpacking; and Lower Sabie and Satara are two fantastic camps. Both are great for family, birding, game ad stunning scenery. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Top planning hints for your Kruger visit

Unread post by ace717 » Tue May 10, 2011 7:55 am

Hi I'm from the USA and first time to Africa and want to spend 2 days at the park...either Lower Sabie or Crocodile Bridge....suggestions on which is better?
Also is it possible to get to Lower Sabie without a car, can you get a driver once in the park?
I'm leaning towards lower sabie but need to make sure I can actually get there!

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Re: Top planning hints for your Kruger visit

Unread post by DuQues » Tue May 10, 2011 9:39 am

Hi and welcome to the forums!

And I have bad news for you... You really, really, need a car!
Not a 4x4 or such, any small car will do, as long as it's not one with an open roof.

If you do not have a car you'll have to hire a taxi, which can be iffy in SA. That will drop you off in camp, and then.... You can do as good as nothing. All you can do is the sunsetdrive, and the next morning the morningdrive.

As for the camp, I actually think Skukuza would be better as I saw that you have not booked yet, but want to be there in 3 weeks.
Croc bridge and Lower Sabie ar popular camps, and may be fully booked. Skukuza is way larger and should have space. Check here what is available for you.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

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Re: A few questions about costs and more..

Unread post by kemit » Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:32 pm

I'd like to add a question without starting a new thread so this is a good place to do it. Where is the best place for currency exchange? After we touch down in J'berg, before we get our car, we need to convert funds. It will probably be 6ish or 18:00 your time. I was wondering if there were better rates at different places and I imagine the airport isn't the best place to do this.

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Re: A few questions about costs and more..

Unread post by saraf » Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:42 pm


There are a few ATMs in the airport where you can pick up local currency. You will be charged at the bank's current exchange rate and, depending on your bank account, a foreign exchange transaction fee.

However we always find that we get a better rate by ordering a certain amount of currency here in the UK and picking it up at our departure airport.
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Re: First time in Krugher (and South Africa)

Unread post by noel » Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:41 pm

Anywhere in the Kruger is best.
A good tip is to travel slowly, and not try to fit everything into a a few days.
You will miss much if you travel too fast-recommended speed from most forumites is 25kmh or slower.
Good advice for Shingwedzi.
Do keep to the gravel/dirt roads.
Try to get out of camps as soon as the gates open-very rarely that this is not rewarded with great sightings. Good chance you will get to see roan.
Letaba- Plan a trip to include Capricorn Loop-always well worth a visit, especially of you want to see big Tuskers (which if you read that thread, you will soon discover many are seen on this road).
Also great for seeing some rare antelope, like Eland and Tsessebe.
Tamboti is pretty close to Satara, prime lion country, and do plan a trip on the famous (or infamous-depending on a few forumites) S100 - great for all the big cats, huge herds of buffalo.
Crocodile Bridge- well, any area around there is great-but try the S25 and visit to Gardenia Bird hide always features is most Trip reports.

Remember to wear your yellow Ribbon, so other forumites know you are a member.
And hope we get to have a Trip report of sightings and experiences.

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Re: First time in Krugher (and South Africa)

Unread post by pnm » Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:30 pm

Tamboti is a brilliant camp - you feel close to Africa there.
It is very bushy and wild and can be a bit daunting for a first time visitor (but it is perfectly safe) so here are essentials that I always take on all trips to Kruger:

A good hat for the middle of the day when it is hot
A wooly cap for the chilly early mornings
Sunscreen - the African burns fair skin even in winter
A torch (I use a headlamp)
Spare toilet paper (this can be used for all sorts of things!)
A bottle of water (the Kruger water straight out of the taps is perfectly safe to drink - bottled water is expensive and the water in KNP has been properly made safe by waterworks - I have drunk it for twenty-five years with no ill -effects (only benefits!)
Keep everything locked away - not from people but from baboons, monkeys and squirrels.
They are raiders par excellence.
And squirrel teeth can bore though thick plastic at a rate you wouldn't believe.
Spare batteries for camera.
A sense of humour to cope with any problems you may meet e.g. a traffic jam around a poor leopard that has chosen to take a siesta in a tree right above a road.

Also remember - only climb out of the car at designated spots.
They are clearly marked.
Climb out at the designates spots on bridges - there is ALWAYS something to see there.

The Kruger experience is brilliant.
I visit it regularly as I can and go there to revive my spirit.
I have never been disappointed.
If you want more detail, just ask.
If you want to ask the reason for our way of doing things, just ask.
And often overseas visitors often want to know what rusks are.

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Re: First time in Krugher (and South Africa)

Unread post by balengo » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:24 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:
balengo wrote:Do I need to book walks in advance or I could get to the camp and book for the morning after?
End of july, out of school holidays, should be ok to book when you get to the camp. N.B. Just remember you will be self catering in Tamboti and Croc Bridge, there is no restaurant, but take aways at CB and I believe a 'cafe' at Orpen, 2 km from Tam.

balengo wrote:Another stupid question: how do you organize your day in the park?
I mean: first of all early exit at the moment of the gate opening.. and then? do you raom all day long or you split the tour in 2? morning and evening drive? Do you calculate the returning back to the camp at night for being there at the right moment of closing gates? (I know these are stupid questions....).!!
There is no stupid question. You organize your day as you want. You can cover about 200 km per day. Get a map book at the gate. There are 5 or 6, all good. We leave as the gates open and often change the planned route. We do mainly day drives. Others go on a morning ride of 3-4 hours and return to camp for lunch, then do a 3 hour afternoon drive. Just make sure there are pitstops en route and that you are stocked up with food & drink if you are not going to pass through any rest camp, or SOUTHERN picnic site. I am usually back in camp with a minute or 2 to spare....

balengo wrote:Do walks start from camp or are you going to drive from camp to the walking area?
You meet at reception and the guide drives you in a SANP vehicle to the sart of the walk, and brings you back afterwards.

thank you very much! :wink:
I hope that main camps have well stocked shops for 3-4 days supplies...
african lover

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Re: First time in Krugher (and South Africa)

Unread post by arks » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:13 pm

balengo wrote:My concern is about meat and vegetables... I can't take it with me for 6 days!!!

You can easily take 6 days' worth of meat and veggies with you, all you need is a cooler bag — sold at the Phalaborwa Pick 'n Pay — and some ice.
The butcher at the Pick 'n Pay will vacuum pack your meat for you in meal-sized portions and if you order your meat ahead, it can even be frozen for you.
Then put the frozen, vacuum-packed meat into your insulated cooler bag with some bags of ice.
At each camp, transfer your frozen meat into the freezer in your fridge and when you move camp, put the frozen meat, with more ice, back into the cooler bag.
You can keep your veggies cool in a separate cooler bag with ice and pop them into the fridge once you've arrived at camp.

This works for me over a period of several weeks — at least for the meat, fresh veggies usually only last about a week, but frozen meat lasts easily for a couple of weeks if you plan and keep what you're not ready to use frozen.
You should be fine for six days! :D

Edit: I use both frozen water bottles and frozen juice boxes as "ice" for my cooler bags when traveling between camps.
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Re: Top planning hints for your Kruger visit

Unread post by Cape of Storms » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:38 pm

I have been to the park almost anually for almost 15 years and last year did my first Trail.
In April I did another and now I am addicted.
I am 34 year old female and moderately fit.
The normal trails provide all you need except for drinks (they do have water and coffee)
It is the best way to see Kruger and if like me you like the peace and quiet you will love it!

Plus the rangers and guides are amazing. Every hour you learn something new!!!

All I can say is GO for it!!!

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It will be two years since our last visit, 2017 Trip is booked 8)
24 Jul LowerSabie
25-27 Jul Biyamiti
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Unread post by unclek » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:57 pm

Hi folks,

We are headed to Lower Sabie towards the end of December this year. Lower Sabie, as it came highly recommended from an active Sanparks forumite (who also happens to be my brilliant travel agent)

This is our first "in the wild" experience and are very much looking forward to it.

Your tips and guidance will be greatly appreciated.

1) Our preference is to fly to Kruger from Jo'berg. Would you recommend any airlines/flights?
2) Which is the closest airport to Lower Sabie?
3) Do we have to hire a car? Any other alternatives?
4) I assume accomodation can be booked through this website? How about game drives and experiences?
5) I assume there is food available at the camp? or does this need to be pre-organised?
6) Any safety concerns?

Many thanks in advance,


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