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Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
Terri-Lee
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Re: A few questions about costs and more..

Unread postby Terri-Lee » Sun Jun 19, 2011 2:34 pm

Hi
I am new to the forum soplease correct me if anything done incorrectly - not intended. BTW thank so much for the fascinating and useful info and topics- been besotted about KNP since childhood and getting to know Addo recently too.

Anyway, can anyon please help - what are the toll fees along the N4 between JHB/Pretoria and KNP?
I am planning a trip to Kruger when come up to JHB for a conference in Nov. and am on qute a tight budget.

Thanks so much - I would be grateful for any recent info.

Terri
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Re: A few questions about costs and more..

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:10 pm

Hi Terri Lee :D and a very warm welcome to you.

If you are coming from Johannesburg there are 2 tolls
Middleburg, R40 and Machadodorp, R60.
If you are going onto Komatiepoort and Croc Bridge, it is another R45.

If you are coming via Pretoria there is another R24 toll.

Drive safely :thumbs_up:
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Re: A few questions about costs and more..

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

Kemit,

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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First time in Kruger (and South Africa)

Unread postby balengo » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:33 pm

Hi guys,
we'll be in kruger in a while!!
My bookings: first night in Shingdwezi, second in Letaba, 3-4-5 Tamboti and last in Croc Bridge.
I know that is quite a lot travelling but I like wandering around...
Just few questions: where is the best area and guides for a morning walk?
Which roads are a must around the camps I'm going to visit?
is it cold at the end of July?
Thank you very much, any tips are appreciated!!
Last edited by balengo on Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First time in Krugher (and South Africa)

Unread postby pnm » Wed Jun 29, 2011 8:32 pm

Hi Balengo

Firstly, South Africa is a safe and beautiful place to be.
Enjoy your stay with us. Ask us for help when you need it.
We pride ourselves on helping people from other countries - no place more so than in Kruger.
In fact it is difficult to keep a Kruger enthusiast quiet once you have asked for advice.
Just ask in the camps for help from someone who looks like they are old campaigners.
They will always help and advise.
If you don't have a can opener - go to the next hut/tent and ask to borrow - you will find people are generally only to happy to help.
Just make sure you return said item asap!

I agree with vgstephens - the causeway at Shingwedzi always delivers .
I have seen leopard there (for about 5 seconds) and there are usually elephant and buffalo around.
In winter the causeway is easy to cross and a one minute's drive from the camp .
There are always very interesting birds there as well.
Look out for Goliath heron and Saddle Billed Stork.
There are also usually Pied Kingfisher and Malachite Kingfisher that are very tame and pose most obligingly for photos.

Do the trip to the bird hide at Kanniedood (drive very slowly on the road - elephants can suddenly appear on the narrow road but they are usually very peaceful) and don't forget to do all the little side roads off this road to Kanniedood -
I have have seen Pelican there in twice winter - most strange sighting as well as meeting a very large leopard and lion on numerous occasions.
there are numerous bush buck visible in the little glades off the main Kanniedood road and the views of the river are beautiful).
Also go to the bird hide north of Shingwedzi (Nwyawutsi - on the eastern side of the S50, a few km north if the Grootvlei dam) -
it is always worth a visit even in winter - there is always something happening at every bird hide as long as you are prepared to wait and look. Patience is the key.
Do not always look for the big five - often excitement and happenings at bird hides and waterholes are the results of patience looking and listening.
If ever you see a bird hide stop at it - you never know what you may see and a chance of stretching the legs is always worth it.
My wife and I plan our trips around breaks at bird hides (we take a flask of coffee and rusks).
Ask at reception at camps for the nearest bird hides as they are not widely advertised and not always widely signposted - they are the small print of the Park I find.

A morning walk at any camp is worth the very early rise.
I have walked at Lower Sabie and at Letaba and both times were superb.
Prepare yourself that you must be interested in nature and the ambiance and not just the big five because often these walks reveal more nature than the big hairy animals.
On one walk our highlight was a chameleon that took grave exception to our interest!
The exhilaration of walking in the African bush at dawn is indescribable.
Remember - it is the ambiance and the experience and the memories you are buying - not pictures of lions and leopards.
Memories last much longer.
Take photos of the guides who went with you (make sure you are in the photo too) and get their names because that is what you are going to tell your friends about.

But my best advice regarding Kruger is that everyone has their own unique way of experiencing Kruger and everyone is convinced that their way is the best if no the only acceptable way!
Find your own way of getting the most out of a trip and make it yours.
Do not let anyone convince you otherwise - the experience is your and you enjoy it the way you want to.
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Re: First time in Krugher (and South Africa)

Unread postby 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 postby 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.
Pete

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Re: First time in Krugher (and South Africa)

Unread postby 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...
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Re: First time in Krugher (and South Africa)

Unread postby 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 postby 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!!!

:D :D :D

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NEWBIES AT LOWER SABIE

Unread postby 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,

Unclek

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Re: NEWBIES AT LOWER SABIE

Unread postby wbevents » Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:10 pm

Welcome to the forum unclek !!

Yes Lower Sabie are one of our favourites, but it's allot of peoples favourite thus on of the camps mostly on 95 -100% occupancy whole year around

1) Our preference is to fly to Kruger from Jo'burg. Would you recommend any airlines/flights?
SAA, Kulula all fly to Kruger Mpumalanga airport which will be your nearest airport
2) Which is the closest airport to Lower Sabie?
3) Do we have to hire a car? Any other alternatives?
Yes, do have to hire car for Kruger as itself drive.
4) I assume accommodation can be booked through this website? How about game drives and experiences?
Yes you can book trough this site but I do hope your brilliant travel agent did already book for Lower Sabie for December this year otherwise you are really going to struggle for place..?
5) I assume there is food available at the camp? or does this need to be pre-organised?
All the main camps in Kruger do have restaurants and shops were you can get food, etc
6) Any safety concerns?
Yes, do not get out of your vehicle in the Kruger, only at designated spots !!

You are going to have an expereince of a life time !
July 2016 booked !!!

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Re: NEWBIES AT LOWER SABIE

Unread postby DinkyBird » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:06 pm

1) I believe once you land at the park, you are relatively safe even if you were to hire a car and do the self-drive. I would really just be hiring the car to get to "base camp".
Do you mean safe as in from the animals, or crime in SA? On both the answer is yes, you are safe. Animals will not bother you as long as you are inside your car; and crime wise, we personally have never had a problem driving to and from the park. If you land at KMIA (Nelsrpuit) the road to the nearest Kruger gate is really safe and easy to navigate and well marked. With regard to crime in SA, the same common sense rules apply as in anywhere else in the world.

2) Do people tend to explore on their own or stick to the professionally organised game drives? Quite a bit of difference in the two I assume?
Personal choice. I would self drive during the day and at night take a sunset drive, and an early morning bush walk.
3) Does the camp organise any transport from the airport and back? I am a little nervous on the self drive option as I wouldn't know where to start.
Not that I know of - see my reply to 1) here.

Edit: I see on this useful link there is a shuttle service.

4) What is the link to book game drives / experiences? or is this something we can do once we arrive there?
Rather book beforehand to avoid disappointment. You will need to email your booking through. Have a look at this reservations link.

Please feel free to ask any Q's you have :thumbs_up:

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Re: NEWBIES AT LOWER SABIE

Unread postby rusky » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:42 am

I have been boasting that Kruger is THE destination to visit in S. Africa and you forumites are the tops when it comes to helping out with planning a trip.

Some answers
1. You definitely need a car (hire).
If you are flying to KMIA (Nelspruit) you can rent the vehicle from here – please book in advance though.
In the park organised drives are conducted by the camp (eg Lower Sabie LS).
There are normally morning (3 hrs from dawn), evening 3 hours to dusk) and sunset (3 hrs from dusk) drives.
Bigger camps like LS also have morning bushwalks – a totally different experience to driving.
However the best bit about Kruger is being able to drive around in the park between dawn and dusk on your own.
The place is well planned with picnic areas/toilets/camps with day visitor areas at about 1 hour intervals. Roads are sealed or unsealed but of good quality (especially in the South of the park)
2. Book your accommodation pronto.
Dec is holiday season.
When we checked (almost a month ago now) accommodation was available but you’ve gotta get moving on this.
Use the website to book accommodation, drives , walks.
You don't need a travel agent (can't believe I said that)
3. LS has a restaurant and buffet for all meals.
The restaurant has possibly one of the best views in the park – overlooking the Sabie river with wildlife (elephants, antelope, hippo, crocs) a stones throw away.
The food and service is a bit erratic – just depends on the day.
We loved the chicken pies and boerwoers(sausage) in rolls with sheba (sauce)
Most visitors do their own food.
Ingredients can be purchased from the shop within the camp or you can shop on the way in.
Select accommodation that has cooking facilities and utensils included ( Luxury Tents, Chalets, Bungalows). Just be aware that the shop and the restaurant do not have a huge range of items but what they have is more than sufficient keeping in mind that you are in a wildlife reserve.
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