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Comments on my itinerary

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New York City, New...
posts: 2,057
reviews: 60
Comments on my itinerary

Hi, I would like to ask for comments on my schedule. Originally set for Sept or October of 2014, I have to move it up to late April/early May .

day 1- arrive in JNB

based on 840 arrival (lufthansa)- out by approx 1030 (reasonable??). Get cash/ SIM/ and car

leave for Hoedspruit/hotel by maybe 1130??

6 hours drive- 6pm arrival (taking it slow; also new to right hand drive cars)

Question- is there still daylight at 6pm? I do not like to drive in the dark? A website says that late april sunset is around 540 pm

a. hoedspruit-buy supplies and w/d cash (should I do it here too?-Any advise on ATM"s?)

b. check in

day 2 a.m. Jessica (10-12 a.m.; 3-5 p.m. ) or Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center- 25 kilometers from Hoedspruit- (hourly tours 9-3 pm)

p.m. Moholoholo center (2 tours-c 930 and 3 pm)

day 3 a.m. ff up-what ever not done

p.m. go to lodge

day 3-4 lodge- activities- 2 nights

day 5/6 a.m. go to Kruger via Orphen gate to Satara for 2 nights

day 7/8 Lower Sabie (most probably) or Skuzuza for 2 nights

I have modified my original day 6-10 based on the advise I got from my previous post


possiblity A-Panorama tour

day 9 leave early for panorama view drive back overnite at jnb- is this feasable?

day 10 fly home

possibility B- no panorama tour

day 9-10 extra day at Kruger Park- skuzuza?

day 11- leave early- drive to JNB for flight home (flight is 840 pm). If I arrive early, is

there anything to do?

Note that I will be going alone so I am flexible with accomodations.

posts: 335
reviews: 7
1. Re: Comments on my itinerary

I would suggest trying to do the Panorama Route on day 2 or 3.

Leaving Skukuza or Lower Sabie to get to Blyde River means going north again and getting back to Joburg. This feels very rushed and you will end up driving at night. I would not advice it.

Hope this helps.


Heeten, Swagat at Kruger Park Lodge, Hazyview & Boston

New York City, New...
posts: 2,057
reviews: 60
2. Re: Comments on my itinerary

SKL, thank you for pointing that out. I'll be redoing my itinerary. I could do everything as a loop going to Hazyview first, then to kruger, private lodge, and then hoedspruit, doing the panorama route as part of the trip back to JNB. But I prefer to do the private lodge first so I can use what I learn here on my self drive in Kruger.

Gold Coast
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
posts: 3,558
reviews: 23
3. Re: Comments on my itinerary

Just another suggestion.

I know where you are coming from with the private lodge but I would consider dong that last.

Would do all of the activities outside the park first up, such as panorama, Jessica etc.

Then do the Sanparks lodges self drive, the finally the private lodge at the end and head back to JHB from there. We always seem to leave the Sabi Sand on a bit of a high because it is so great, and like to work our way up to it so to speak.

Of course this is just personal opinion and I am sure others will disagree lol. There was another recent discussion here about something similar, whether or not to do Kruger or private first. Personally I do not think doing private will help you in Kruger, the experiences are just too different. In private lodges you travel on a custom vehicle that has a tracker sitting high up front spotting, and usually an expert ranger also spotting. Yes they will be a fountain of knowledge, and you will learn from them but whether it will be beneficial in Kruger I think is questionable.

In Kruger you simply have to scan the landscape constantly while driving at very slow speed, there is no particular knowledge that you need, everyone just does it, adults and kids, no special skills are required. Remember you are not looking for anything specific when driving, basically just anything that may be running, standing, laying in the grass, on the road or in a tree!! Plus a lot of sightings will come about when you see a car already parked on the side of the road.

You have been asking all the right questions so I am sure whatever you plan will work, but do try and avoid backtracking where you can.

And also if your flight out of JHB is not until 8.40 pm there could be a possibility of fitting in a final morning game drive at the lodge that last day. Our flight leaves at 6pm and we are borderline with the final drive. It's just a bit special on the final day as you get the enjoy the bush for one last time and hopefully have some memorable sightings to reminisce about on the long return journey.

New York City, New...
posts: 2,057
reviews: 60
4. Re: Comments on my itinerary

Thanks sandman. I have read your reply 2 days ago and have been racking my brains and pouring over maps to plot out a route without backtracking. This is what I have so far. comments?

1. JNB straight to Kruger via Crocodile Bridge. Supermarket near Crocodile Bridge gate. Drop by Hippo Pools and on to Lower Sabie ( is this doable? or am I too optimistic?)

2. Lower Sabie to Skuzuza or Satara.

3. Satara out via Orpen Gate to local accommodation at Hoedspruit.

4 All outside activities near Hoedspruit.

5. Private lodge ( its relatively near Hoedspruit)

6. On the way home, go south via the Panorama route to JNB.

I have another question. Is it doable to go from JNB on arrival to Hoedspruit via the Panorama route- considering the time I arrive?

Many thanks!

Gold Coast
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
posts: 3,558
reviews: 23
5. Re: Comments on my itinerary

Hi bigwawao

We think your new itinerary looks much better and is a good plan.

1 .Would also consider staying at Croc Bridge or Berg en Dal camps, and shopping at Malelane. Still a little concerned about time issues this day. However you will be able to decide about shopping as you get closer to the park. Remember if you do not have time to shop and you are staying at Lower Sabie there is a restaurant there that will tide you over till get supplies, so no need to panic. We find our supplies shop takes at least an hour, it takes some time to find everything in an unfamiliar store. Also would not worry about hippo pools on this first busy day, there is no shortage of hippos in Kruger. As I have said before you will see them at hides, rivers, waterholes, and of course the wonderful Sunset Dam right opposite Lower Sabie camp. Guaranteed. [btw there were no hippos at hippo pools when we went, just a ranger on a bike!]. If you do get to the camp in plenty of time, you can then decide whether or not to do a bit of a drive after you settle in.

2. All three camps are excellent choices. And popular.

3. We did a similar route last year going from Mopani camp all the way into the Timbavati via Hoedspruit. Long drive, very long, but we left very early, went out Phalaborwa gate [breakfast] had a stop in Hoedspruit for shopping and still made it to the camp for lunch. So going via Orpen should be no problem at all, you can take your time leaving the park, [always sad].

The rest looks great.

There is just one other option that you could consider. As you have to travel south to Hazyview anyway you could also maybe do the Panorama route from Hoedspruit to Hazyview. That way you are already travelling southwards and can do the lodge at the end. Not sure which lodge you have decided on though.

No the panorama route is not suitable to do on the day of arrival. There is nothing worse than cutting things too fine and having to rush or miss things, or not making it at all.

Frankfurt, Germany
posts: 452
reviews: 60
6. Re: Comments on my itinerary

Driving from Johannesburg - Hoedspruit I feel is not doable. In Google maps it doesn't look far and also the timing is incorrect as you will be driving via a pass with stunning scenery which will motivate you to stop and and enjoy the views. Especially after your long flight don't under estimate tiredness, etc.

Doable is Johannesburg-Tzaneen and then onto Hoedspruit. You need to plan at least 6 hours and that's without a single break!

I would also not recommend you to visit the canyons on the day of your flight as this will be extremely rushed. You need at least 3 hours just to see the main attractions in relatively fast pace. If you want to take it at a slower pace plan 4 hours and if you want to visit the waterfalls you need to add anothe hour. From Graskop - Johannesburg it's another 5 hour drive.

I think planning another stopover either on your way in or out is advisable.


Michelle - Owner - Cape Town Guide

New York City, New...
posts: 2,057
reviews: 60
7. Re: Comments on my itinerary

Hi the sandmans, thanks for your comments! I appreciate them. the lodge I am contemplating is Africa on Foot because they do not charge a single supplement and they have the walking tour included (educational purposes).

So essentially my problem is that most of what I want to do (jessica, moholoholo, etc) is generally " north " while hippo pools, lower sabie is found south.

I also have two parallel routes north-south routes to consider- one inside kruger is satara to skuzuzua/lower sabie to hippo pool. The other one unfortunately is outside kruger- its the panorama route.

As most comments here and on other threads, its generally not advisable to include the panorama route either coming from JNB or going back to JNB (although it can be done its too much of a rush). So I am trying to put the panorama route as part of going from one place to another- without adding it to the to/from JNB route.

cape town best- thanks for your comments! I see your from frankfurt. Im still debating whether to go to SA via frankfurt or cairo! Anyway, I need some clarification.

when you said, JNB to Hoedspruit is not doable, do you mean with the Panorama route, or just a straight drive to Hoedspruit? I"m still reading up on my trip and getting more comments so I can finalize my itinerary. Thanks!

Frankfurt, Germany
posts: 452
reviews: 60
8. Re: Comments on my itinerary

Yes, I mean the straight route. We've done this tour a number of times with our friends and also we drove straight from Johannesburg - Tzaneen and we arrived in Tzaneen about 3pm and believe after such a long flight we happy to enjoy a shower and relax. The scenery is so stunning that you really will be pushing yourself to the limit. A lot of first timers to SA underestimate travelling time. We only had one short stop on the way. From Tzaneen you need to add at least another 11/2 hours.

If your're flying via Cairo just double check your stopover time. If you have 3-4 hours stopover contemplate paying a bit more as this airport really is not as comfortable as Frankfurt.

I agree with you it is difficult on deciding which route to take as both have their own fascination

Cape Town Central...
posts: 192
reviews: 56
9. Re: Comments on my itinerary

Hi Bigwawao

All looks ok, although it's quite rushed. I do not recommend driving across the country at night! Especially if you're not familiar with Right hand drive cars! You just need one stupid fool to cause confusion and your instinctive reflex will kick in, and that will be to drive directly into oncoming traffic! MUCH safer during the day.

Satara and Lowerr Sabie are lovely rest camps, sounds like you're in for a wonderful trip!

Just one question: Why are you not coming to Cape Town?!?

New York City, New...
posts: 2,057
reviews: 60
10. Re: Comments on my itinerary

Brian, thanks for your comments. I'm, primarily there to see the animals in their natural state. I'm going alone. Family is staying home. If its any consolation, I won't even be going to Jo'burg (the airport excluded). Maybe next time....