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We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

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Level Contributor
228 posts
37 reviews
We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

Hi Everyone,

We will be in KNP on Wednesday and we're both so excited. But panic has also set in.

Do you need to get a GPS or is a paper map sufficient? We will have a mobile phones, do we need something else, eg satellite phone, just in case?

What items do we need to purchase beforehand? (a bean bag/rice bag to set our camera on, food/drinks, basic cutlery, plates, cooler box) Do you purchase coal/wood outside park? We have malaria tablets/bushman repellent, do you use anything in the room? Can you purchase binoculars in Malelane?

Are there any reliable maps with estimated driving times that we can download or should we just purchase the one inside the gate?

Do you take specific routes, or just go suggestions/sightings of other people? Are there any you'd suggest? We are in Lower Sabie, Satara and Skukuza

Lastly, any last minute hints/reminders/things you have learnt from your trips that you'd happily pass on?

Thank you in advance

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
3,422 posts
14 reviews
1. Re: We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

Last minute hint: relax and have a ball!!

It sounds like you've pretty much got the essentials. If you forget something you can buy it somewhere along the way. A bean bag is good for steadying a camera---a bag of rice would work in a pinch.

I've never used a GPS when navigating SA, relying instead on paper maps. Roads are good and well marked.

Regarding KNP, I purchased the Kruger National Park Map by Honeyguide Publications at the first rest camp I stopped at in KNP. The thin, approximately 8" x 11" booklet cost me somewhere between $5-10 a few years back. In addition to the maps of KNP, the book includes open/close times, a distance table, and pictures of the wildlife you'll likely see (which you can use as a check list). A really useful book and nice souvenir that I highly recommend.

Edited: 6:09 pm, September 13, 2013
Level Contributor
2,743 posts
16 reviews
2. Re: We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

Kruger may be a big park but it is well mapped and sign posted. You couldn't get lost in Kruger. You can buy charcoal and wood inside the park as well as any utensils etc you may need but I would recommend buying as much as possible outside the park at a large supermarket as it is quite a bit cheaper. We don't take Malaria tablets in September but that's a personal choice. You will be lucky to see a mosquito! Buy a coolbox in a supermarket in Malelane. Binocs will be available in town or if necessary there are binocs for sale in most of the camp shops. You won't need sat phone. Your normal phone will work near camps but not much in any other parts of the park but that's a good thing really.

Get up EARLY and get out the camp gates as they open. Late afternoon drives can be productive. The hour before sunset can be excellent for predators but make sure you time your drives to be back inside the camp before gate closing. You can check the sighting boards or apps but it is also good to get out on the quiet roads where you can be lucky and have some sightings all to yourself. Plan drives to stop for smoko or lunch at picnic spots where you can hire a skottel ( a gas bbq plate) and get hot water and use the toilets and just enjoy being out of the car and taking in the views and surroundings.

You will have an amazing time and I promise you; you will be back. :)

Avila Beach...
Level Contributor
1,045 posts
9 reviews
3. Re: We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

Last minute hint: remember that Kruger is about the experience of being with the wildlife out in the bush. Keep your mind and eyes open and the drama will unfold before you. It is not about a perfect sighting or ticking animals off a list. You will have an incredible trip!

Pickering, United...
Level Contributor
2,984 posts
27 reviews
4. Re: We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

There really are not that many chances of getting lost in the KNP. it has some of the best sign posting I have come across anywhere. We generally plan our day and work out toilet and picnic stops but we are one of those families who head out from dawn to dusk. We sometimes stop off for a swim at a rest camp or to chill overlooking a river etc. The cool box is a must for sodas and snacks in our car.

The map we use is in a book with pictures of the most common animals and we have another one showing the vegetation zones so we can decide where to go. The times between camps and for major loops are shown and help in planning. They are based on taking it fairly slowly. Both were bought in the Park.

no need to splash out on a satellite phone. Cell phones are the norm in SA and coverage is very good. In the southern end of the park you are unlikely to go for long without seeing another vehicle (tourist, parks board, delivery,etc) so no worries if you break down (not that I would expect you to!).

Binoculars were for sale in all of the camp shops last month with brands like Pentax available. However, the prices were much higher than we would pay for the same make and model in the UK so daughter did not get a nice new shiny pair (perhaps for Christmas!). The main rest camps have good shops so don't worry ifyou forget to buy something before arriving. We were worried when we arrived at Punda Maria this year to find they were out of gin ... luckily the temporary tuck show at Shingwedzi had a bottle tucked away!

Relax - you will find everything you need.

Level Contributor
228 posts
37 reviews
5. Re: We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

Thank you all for putting my mind at ease. I have made a note of your suggestions. Much appreciated.

So for now...

Is it really as simple as rock up, check the sightings board and drive? Or do you have a few favourite roads that you take?

Leigh-on Sea...
Level Contributor
3,053 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

hi safarifiend,

I read on the Kruger website that swimming pools are only for use of the guests , except at Skakuzu.

By guests, do they mean guest of the park (i.e. day trippers) or people booked in at a camp.

we plan to stay at Hazyview and do 2 day drives but it would be nice to cool off somewhere.

can anyone recommend a website ( or map) that suggests circular day drives from Hazyview including where there are restaurants inside the park ?


Pickering, United...
Level Contributor
2,984 posts
27 reviews
7. Re: We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

Letaba also has a separate day visitors pool. I assumed (possibly naughty of me?) that I was not a day visitor as I was spending 10 nights in the park and happily used the residents pool where we were the only people in.

8. Re: We arrive in 5 days - what do we need to bring/do?

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