Mpumalanga Journals

Kruger Park Self Drive

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A June 2006 trip to Mpumalanga by travelswithkids

Crocodile River at Ngwenya Lodge Photo, South Africa, Africa More Photos
Quote: Our family of four explored Kruger park and nearby areas for 5 days on an self-guided tour.

Kruger Park Self Drive

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Overview

Sabie River from the Sabie River camp restaurant Photo, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Quote:
The famous Kruger National Park is a highlight of any visit to South Africa, including ours. We'd heard of it through television specials and by reading up before our trip, but it still held many pleasant surprises for us and did not disappoint us.Kruger Park is huge! It measures 236 miles from north to south and is about 40 miles wide, making it about the size of Massachusetts or Israel. There are good asphalt roads traversing the park and connecting all the main parts, but it still takes a long time to travel through the park. The speed limit is 50 kilometers per hour (strongly enforced) on the tar roads, and you always wind up slowing down and stopping to watch some animals that you ...Read More

Pretoriuskop Rest Camp

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Hotel

Pretoriuskop Rest Camp Photo, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Quote:
Pretoriuskop is the oldest of the Kruger rest camps, but it doesn't show its age badly at all. We stayed in a very roomy cottage with beds for 6. (There were only 4 of us, but the 4 person accomodations were sold out the days we were here.) The cottage was a stand-alone thatch-roofed house. The beds, rooms and appliances were all nicely clean and in good shape. In Pretoriuskop, there are several dozen cottages accomodating between 2-6 people, as well as a camping ground.We found the game viewing around Pretoriuskop quite good, seeing (among other things) several rhino, and one leopard on a night drive. (Another truck on the same night saw some lions, but we somehow kept missing them, altho...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 28, 2006

Pretoriuskop Rest Camp
Kruger National Park
Kruger Park, South Africa

Satara Rest Camp

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Hotel

Satara Rest Camp Photo, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Quote:
We stayed one night in a cottage at Satara, took a evening game drive (started around sundown) and then ate at the camp restaurant's big buffet after returning from the game drive around 8:15pm.Our cottage here was a little more run-down than at Pretoriuskop, but still nice and roomy.The evening game drive was a lot of fun. Satara is supposed to be a good area to see big cats, but we didn't see any lions on the guided drive. We did see several small spotted genets, a serval, several wild cats, and some eagles.We weren't that impressed with the restaurant's buffet here. But it was late and we weren't really that hungry for so much food so late at night. I guess it did have so...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2006

Satara Rest Camp
Kruger National Park
Kruger Park, South Africa

Ngwenya Lodge

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Hotel

Crocodile River at Ngwenya Lodge Photo, South Africa, Africa
Quote:
Ngwenya lodge is a large time share resort just south of Kruger Park, only about 10 minutes from the Crocodile Bridge park entrance. It is a very nice place, and each unit is a like a small brick house, nearly all have a patio overlooking the Crocodile River. Yes, there is a sales office if you're really interested in buying a time share, but we weren't so much as even asked if we wanted to hear about purchasing when we checked in and picked up our key. We stayed only one night here, using it as a layover after a long driving day before we entered Kruger Park the next day. But it was a very pleasant stay and we would have been quite happy to stay longer.The resort's amenities i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 1, 2006

Ngwenya Lodge

Komatipoort, South Africa
27 (11) 327 7620

Afsaal Picnic Spot

Restaurant

Afsaal Picnic Spot Photo, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Quote:
Afsaal is a picnic rest stop on the tar road between Malelane and Skukuza. We arrived there by taking the gravel Voortrekker Road from Pretoriuskop and stopped for a bit of breakfast. Though it is called a "picnic spot", it also has a small restaurant serving nice breakfast dishes (and sandwiches, etc. later) for good prices like all the quick-stop restaurants at Kruger rest Camps.Afsaal was a very pleasant, shady little place to stop for a bit of breakfast. There were lots of hornbills around the picnic tables.While speaking with someone else there, they asked "Did you see the Rhino on your way in?" and said that just 500 meters up the road (the other direction than ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 19, 2006

Afsaal Picnic Spot
Kruger National Park
Kruger Park, South Africa

The Loco and Coachman Grill

Restaurant | "Loco Pub"

Quote:
In the old railway depot, the Loco Pub and Grill is a friendly spot for dinner. It is located about a block off the main street of Graskop, where the main street turns the corner near the Graskop hotel. There is a big banner sign for the Loco hung over the street so it is hard to miss.
Common menu choices were things like steak or ribs or a fish with mushroom sauce that I had. Most entrees were around 50-70 Rand (less than US$10). They had other fare that our kids liked like hamburgers and a large deep-fried chicken nugget with chips.
Good milkshakes, too!

Bring a flashlight/torch if walking there since it is a bit dark walking the 100 yards off the main road to the door.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 19, 2006

The Loco and Coachman Grill
Graskop, South Africa
Mpumalanga province, South Africa
013 767 1961

Kruger National Park

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Attraction | "Tshokwane"

Kruger National Park Photo, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Quote:
Tshokwane is the only stop we made in Kruger that I would not recommend. It is designated as a picnic stop, not a full rest camp. It has very minimal sandwich offerings, and a small shop with some ice cream bars and snacks. The shop and food area are kind of grungy, especially compared with how well maintained most of the rest camps are. We were really happy that we'd decided to eat lunch a little early back in Skukuza rest camp.But the worst part of it was that there are many aggressive vervet monkeys there. We saw more than one picnic-er lose a sandwich or piece of fruit to the monkeys in the short time we were there. The picnic area was also sort of overrun with the iridescent blue...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 19, 2006

Kruger National Park

Kruger Park, South Africa

Skukuza Main Camp Restaurant

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Restaurant | "Skukuza Rest Camp"

Skukuza Main Camp Restaurant Photo, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Quote:
Skukuza rest camp is the biggest one in Kruger park. It's like a small town, with a bank, a library, etc. It also is the location of the park headquarters, with a veterinary clinic and a jail even.Anyway, we stopped in for lunch and had a short look around and used the ATM machine.The restaurant has a shady patio in a scenic spot overlooking the Sabie river. Besides the simple sandwiches and short order items available at most Kruger rest camp restaurants, they also had a hot meal special here (we later found it other places also). This seemed to be the the best deal of all. For about US $5, you got generous helpings of each of a meat dish, a vegetable, and rice. It was quite tasty...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 19, 2006

Skukuza Main Camp Restaurant
Skukuza Camp
Kruger Park, South Africa

Blyde River Canyon

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Attraction | "Blyde River Canyon Crafts Markets"

Blyde River Canyon Photo, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Quote:
Along the roadside as you climb the Blyde River Canyon escarpment, where ever there is a good place to stop and take in the view, there will invariably also be a shop or set of stalls selling African crafts. They typically have a variety of carved animals (mostly wood along here, but some stone also), wooden bowls and other wooden carvings, beadwork, and other typical crafts.The stalls are also set up at the big scenic overlooks: Three Rondavels, God's Window, and Bourke's Luck Potholes.The sellers are officially sanctioned, according to the signs posted there. It's a low key, low pressure market. Nobody pursued us and tried really hard to talk us into something or anything like that....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 19, 2006

Blyde River Canyon
Northern part of Ddrakensberg Escarpment
Mpumalanga province, South Africa

Blyde River Canyon

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Attraction

Blyde River Canyon Photo, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Quote:
The Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world. Located just west of Kruger park, It's a mountainous area of beautiful scenery. The edge of this scenic area is a sharp escarpment where the higher plateau drops off dramatically to the lowveld area of Kruger. The tourism authorities have developed a Panorama Route which takes you to the most scenic overlooks in the area.We traversed the Panorama route in the opposite direction of most people. Coming from the Kruger Park Orpen gate, we began in the north and spent most of a day sightseeing, winding up in Graskop for the night.As we approach from the east, we could see the abrupt cliff of the escarpment...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 19, 2006

Blyde River Canyon
Northern part of Ddrakensberg Escarpment
Mpumalanga province, South Africa

Kruger National Park

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Attraction | "Evening Game Drive"

Kruger National Park Photo, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Quote:
Riding in the darkness through Kruger National park is one of our best memories of South Africa. Wearing several layers of shirts under our jackets to guard against the chilly winter air, we boarded an open-air safari truck with about 15 passengers just before sundown. The ranger/guide/driver explained that he couldn't make any guarantees about what animals we would see and that every night is different. But he was sure we would see something interesting.Our first encounter was a group of three white rhino on a side road, slowing wandering towards us. As we watched them for a few minutes, our guide did a great job of explaining a fair amount about the habits of rhino and their territori...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 19, 2006

Kruger National Park

Kruger Park, South Africa