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Kruger national park and Blyde Canyon

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Sydney, Australia
posts: 8
Kruger national park and Blyde Canyon

I am travelling to South Africa in January 2013 (bit of a last minute decision) with 2 (possibly 3) other friends. We are looking to arrange a tour into Botswana from the 12th Jan but would like to do a bit of a self drive from JoBurg to Kruger National Park and then onto Blyde Canyon.

I have been reading some of the forums and feel that the driving to Kruger and then through Blyde Canyon is achievable for us but was wondering how things are situated within Kruger National Park?

We would like to do some of the self drive tours but are a little concerned about getting lost or not getting the most out of the park. We have heard that you can only do a night game drive if you stay in the park so we were also after some suggestions for budget/tented sites with basic facilities. We’re not really sure of the distances within the park and was thinking about heading in at the southern end maybe Malelelane Gate or even Crocodile Bridge Gate to head into the park staying 1 or 2 nights and leaving via Phabeni Gate. Is this a good area within the park this time of year or based on our limited timeframe would we be best to head in to the Central part of Kruger. We have no real idea about the accommodation in the park and believe that it is a very busy time so we’re a little concerned.

We are looking to then come out of Kruger and stay in Hazyview for an early start through the canyon to then stay o’night somewhere (suggestions?) near the northern end of the canyon and then head back to JoBurg the following morning.

Any suggestions would be most welcome.


Hermanus, South...
posts: 230
reviews: 2
1. Re: Kruger national park and Blyde Canyon

You are correct,it is a busy time in Kruger and for that matter along the escarpment to Blyde. Suggest you check the Krugers situation at www.sanparks.co.za. Their site will give you details of availability in their rest camps as well as cost. Cheapest of course is basic camping but then you would need your own camping gear etc so I think that rules it out in your circumstances unless you hire say a camper van.

Given your limited time the southern part is about what I would recommend. Thus: travel from OR thambo airport to Malelane gate, enter and stay at Berg en Dal camp. Distance 409km say 4,5 hours all on excellent toll road. Next day travel from Berg en Dal to Lower Sabie- 113km(4hours at park speed), have leisurely lunch on the deck overlooking the river and then travel to Skukuza-45km(say2hours) for overnight. Alternatively you could skip staying at Skukuza and leave the park either at Kruger gate(nearest) or Phabena as planned and stay over at Hazyview. This might be cheaper but I have no idea of available accommodation in or near that town. There should be lots.

Then the next day travel up to Blyde . There is a lovely resort at the northern end with spectacular lookouts. This is Forever Blydepoort resort. Just google "Forever resorts". This should take you to their website. Distance from Skukuza to Blyde Poort 146km. Next day you can travel back to Jhb. 400km.

We actually did this route in Sept, except we did it clockwise and camped in Kruger for some 8 days. Jan is within the summer rainfall time and it is due to be hot as it is sub tropical. Please check on Malaria even though it is substantially under control in the park. Nevertheless recommended precaution tablet due to summe rainfall conditions. In fact since you are planning Bots as well the same could apply.

Good luck with your planning.

posts: 335
reviews: 3
2. Re: Kruger national park and Blyde Canyon

January is a busy time (at least the first 10 days) so take a look at sanparks.co.za for availability at the camps suggested by Willem -- Berg-end-Dal, Lower Sabie and Skukuza.

I am not a big fan of moving to a new camp each night but if you have limited time, don't mind packing and unpacking, and want to get some land coverage then go for it. I should point out that covering terrain in Kruger does not equate to seeing more game. You can stay in Berg-end-Dal and still enjoy a lovely lunch at Lower Sabie (a must in my opinion).

If you're having a hard time with accommodations in Kruger, I would suggest you book a place in Hazyview and use that as your base for Kruger and Blyde River Canyon. The Phabeni Gate is very close and you can book night drives out of Phabeni (even if not staying in the Park). You can go back in and out of the Park with one payment as long as you ask for a re-entry permit.

As for getting lost and not getting the most of your time there, the road system in the park is great so make sure you purchase the Honeyguide map of Kruger at the entrance gate. The map is very detailed and you can chart your own course without difficulty. Bear in mind that you cannot exit the vehicle unless you're at another camp or picnic site so plan accordingly.

As you plan going up to Blyde River Canyon, be sure to stop at Harry's Pancakes in Graskop.

I hope this helps in your planning.


York, United Kingdom
posts: 35
3. Re: Kruger national park and Blyde Canyon

Kruger Park is easy to drive around and most of the roads are tarred. you are correct that only kruger park rangers / vehicles can do night drives but it is possible to do the night drive from either the main rest camps or some fo the entrance gates, (as already suggested you do need t chak the parks boaard website: http://www.sanparks.org).

All of the rest camps and bushveld camps are self catering and most offer either camping or simple bungalows, SAN parks are changing there booking system in the new year and that should prevent people holding accommodation and not turning up, so you may be lucky and get late cancellations on rooms. other wise you can enter as a day visitor. Visitor numbers to the park are also limited and you can pre-book as a day visitor as well, you must specify which gate you will enter through.

Jayne *staff* Kruger Tours

4. Re: Kruger national park and Blyde Canyon

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