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More distance questions and itinerary help needed

Wisconsin
posts: 107
reviews: 2
More distance questions and itinerary help needed

I am trying to put together an inexpensive self-drive itinerary for my husband and I for next October. We are very focused on being in great locations for birds and animals. I have done quite a bit of research and picked out a variety of accommodations that seem to fit our budget and the locations that we want to be in. I am hoping to combine a mix of park restcamps and private reserves.

The problem I'm having is calculating the distances and trying to put the itinerary in the best order. I've found some distance tables online but most of them tend to be distances between Sanspark restcamps and distnaces from the airport.

The accommodations I'm looking at are Punda Maria, Lower Sabie, Elephant Plains, Gomo Gomo or Shindzeli or Satara (one of those 3) and Blyde River Canyon Resort. Looking at an average of 2 or 3 nights each for a 2 week trip.

Any ideas of what the best order would be? One of the things that stood out to me was the distance from the airport to Punda Maria is around 6 hours, but the distance from any of the other accommodations I'm looking at in the park to Punda Maria is no less than 10 hours. Would the distance from Elephant Plain or Gomo Gomo to Punda Maria still be over 10 hours? Based on the shorter distance between Punda Maria and airport, I'm thinking we should do Punda Maria first or last. When should we do Blyde River Canyon?

Thanks for your help figuring out these distances and figuring out the best order for the itinerary.

Hazyview, South...
posts: 3,500
reviews: 11
1. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

I think you would do well with having a look at the SANpark maps and then look at an area map google.

You must consider:

There are no direct connections between KNP and any of the private reserves. You always need to leave KNP or the reserve when changing location between KNP and private reserve

The distance to Punda Maria, should that be your first stop, is very much depending on:

which airport you use (Nelspruit being the furthest and Phalaborwa the closest)

which route you would like to take (thru the park or outside the park and then enter at the gate closest to your first camp).

Just google map the area and you'll see what I mean.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Wisconsin
posts: 107
reviews: 2
2. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

We're planning to fly in and out of Johannesburg. Am I correct in thinking that the flights from Johannesburg to the other airports closer to Kruger are around $300 per person roundtrip? I would love to utilize those airports but that is out of our budget.

Hazyview, South...
posts: 3,500
reviews: 11
3. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

Again, you need to differentiate if you are driving inside the park with app. 25km/h or outside the park on highways where you are mostly allowed 120 km/h. Makes a difference.

The rates for flights to Nelspruit in October 2013 are app, R1,600.00 ($190) return, and to Phalaborwa roughly double the cost at the moment (easy to check on www.flysaa.com )

Google calculates the drive from OR Tambo to Punda Maria restcamp as 7h19, which is more or less correct.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Edited: 1:16 pm, December 20, 2012
Naracoorte
posts: 1,780
reviews: 14
4. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

Perhaps your best bet would be to drive from Jo'berg to stay somewhere from which you can see Blyde River Canyon and that area over the next day or so. Then you could drive up to Punda Maria using the roads outside the park. Then do Punda Maria, Satara, Lower Sabie in that order and exit through one of the southern gates to drive back to Johannesburg. As you know the drive from Punda to Satara will be a long day. If you had a day you could swing I would stay a night in a camp somewhere between the two - Mopani would be a good choice to break up the drive. Alternatively, you could go to Gomo Gomo before Punda Maria but then without a park camp between Punda and Lower Sabie you would have to leave the park and drive back down using the highway and re-enter at Paul Kruger gate.

Wisconsin
posts: 107
reviews: 2
5. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

Those itinerary options sound good, but i have to try to fit at least one private reserve in there, most likely Elephant Plains. I'm wondering if I should do those at the beginning or the end or in the middle between Punda Maria and Lower Sabie?

Denver, Colorado
posts: 83
reviews: 36
6. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

What time do you arrive in joburg? That may impact things in my opinion. We flew from Wisconsin (out of ORD) and it was a long trip! We stayed an airport hotel that first night. We spent 5 nights in KNP and two nights at Blyde river. I think one night at Blyde is fine. I would save the fancy lodge for the end, or spend the entire time in KNP at the camps!

Go Packers!

Denver, Colorado
posts: 83
reviews: 36
7. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

Ps

You can get a good KNP map from amazon. You'll want it for driving around anyway.

Go Packers!

Edited: 10:19 pm, December 21, 2012
Wisconsin
posts: 107
reviews: 2
8. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

We don't have our flights booked yet, but I'm hoping to book with KLM or Delta out of ORD. The flight gets in later in the afternoon, so we would stay overnight in Joburg the first night to rest up for the long drive the next day. That would be way too long of a drive to focus on after such a long flight.

I took a look around on Google maps and that was extremely helpful figuring out the timing and distances. I don't know why I didn't realize all of the accommodations would be on Google maps. We'll get a program for our GPS before we come, but I would also like a good paper map too. I looked on Amazon and can't seem to find one. Any particular map recommended?

Thanks!

Denver, Colorado
posts: 83
reviews: 36
9. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

here's the map we got from Amazon. We used this one more to get up to Kruger from Joburg amazon.com/gp/…oh_details_o04_s02_i00

This guide book had the good Kruger map in a pocket in the book. It folded out. The guide book was really helpful.

amazon.com/gp/…oh_details_o04_s00_i00

If you are in the Madison area, you can borrow these from us. Just send me a PM to make arrangements!

10. Re: More distance questions and itinerary help needed

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