Kruger National Park – Places To Visit And Tourist Facilities
There are four basic types of restcamp in the Kruger Park: main camps, private camps, bushveld camps and camping only camps. All except Olifants, Orpen and Mopani offer thatched huts and campsites, in approximately equal proportions. Main camps have restaurants which are open for breakfast, lunch and supper (exceptions are Orpen and Crocodile Bridge, which are small camps located at gates). Shop at which basic groceries (including beer and wine), books and curios can be purchased, petrol stations and Laundromats. Most have facilities for day visitors, though Lower Sabie is an exception. Some have public telephones, swimming pools, in-camp nature are Bergen – Dal, Crocodile Bridge, Letabba Mopani, Olifants, Lower Sabie, Pretoriuskop, Punda Maria, Satara, Shingwedzi and Skukuza. Some have luxury houses available to private visitors when not in use by their (mainly corporate) sponsors.
Bushveld camps are a more recent development aimed at diversifying the range of options available to visitors. The idea is to offer a more exclusive atmosphere, while remaining affordable. Bushveld camps are considerably smaller than main camps, ranging from 32 to 50 beds. The roads leading to them are for the exclusive use of residents of the camp, which helps to preserve the atmosphere of peace and quiet. Accommodation is essential the same as that in the main camps, but there are no restaurants and shops. The cost is a little higher than for the main camps, but the reservation procedure is the same. There are five bushveld camps in the Kruger Park: Bateleur, Biyamiti, Shimuweni, Sirheni and Talamati.
Private camps must be reserved in their entity by a single party. They accommodate 12 to 19 people in huts, cottages and houses. The price is based on the camp as a whole. The principle advantage is that the camps are small, quiet and completely occupied by your group. There are no visitor facilities other than the accommodation itself. there are three private camps: Boulders, Malelane and Roodewal. Campsites are for the exclusive use of visitors with their own tents or caravans. They offer lavelled sites, which may be occupied by up to six persons each. Some of the sites are grassed but many are bare earth; most have at least some shade. There are communal bathrooms, kitchens and washing – up areas, which are sufficient in number and immaculately maintained. Most main camps offer campsites as well as standard accommodation. In addition, Maroela campsite has only three six – bedded huts. The Kruger Park now has a few exclusive luxury lodges run by private companies. Some, like Nwanetsi, occupy locations that were previously private camps. The Kruger Park also offers wilderness trails: Boesman, Metsimetsi, Napi, Nyala land, Olifants, Sweni and Wollhuter. Participant are accommodated in trails camps
Southwestern Kruger Park Accommodation – Main camps and Private camps
Skukuza is the headquarters of the Kruger Park administration and is the largest camp, with a bank, library, telephones, doctors and police station. There are beds for 634 visitors and camping facilities for a further 480. pretoriuskop, eight kilometers from Numbi Gate, is a good camp for a summer visit because it is relatively cool and has a large, shallow swimming pool ideal for children. Accommodation consists of 344 beds and campsites for 240 people. Berg-en-Dal is one of the few camps with conference facilities and it also has an attractive swimming pool. This is another good summer choice, and nine kilometers from Malelane Gate. There are 370 beds and campsites for 420 visitors.
Malelane is a private camp which has 19 beds. As a private camp it must be booked en bloc. It is one kilometer from Malelane Gate. The Jock of the Bushveld private camp has been converted into a private run lodge. Biyamiti is a bushveld camp with minimal facilities, built in rustic style. The 22 – kilometer road leading to the camp winds down the delightful Biyamiti River and is for the exclusive use of the 70 residents, all of whom are accommodated in huts and cottages.
The Bushman, Wolhuter and Napi walking trails all operate in the hilly, roadless wilderness of the southwestern park. Each of these trails is highly recommended: the bushman and Wolhuter trails for teir scenery and interesting plant life, and Napi for its game. Afsaal picnic sport is almost halfway between Skukuza and Malelane. It provides hot water for beverages, ablution blocks and a small shop. The Albasini ruins, 40 kilometers due west of Skukuza, mark the homestead of one of the first white inhabitants of the Lowveld. There is a small display of items discovered when the ruins were excavated some years ago. Shirmantanga hill is a wonderful viewpoint 12 kilometers south of Sikukuza, off the Malelane road; there is a plaque commemorating Colonel Stevenson – Hamilton, whose ashes were scattered here. Another lookout is at Granokop, about five kilometers mortheast on the Skukuza – pretoriuskop Road.
TOURISM FACILITIES IN THE WESTERN – CENTRAL KRUGER PARK
Excluding Skukuza, which is on the border of this region and a good base from which to explore it, ther is only one small restcamp, two bushveld camps and one campsite. Orpen Camp is small and pleasant (44 beds). It is located at Orpen Gate Maroela Campsite is close by and was specially designed for caravans close by and touts; it can accommodate up to 120 people. The Talamati Bushveld Camp is small, rustic, and has a minimum of facilities – a good place to experience the peace and quiet of the bushveld. It has ten six-bedded and five four bedded cottages. The bushveld camp at Jakkalsbessie has been converted into a luxury lodge, which is privately run.
Place of interest
On the Orpen-to-Satara road there are two pull-offs where visitors can look on the Timbavati River – a good perspective from which to watch elephants of buffalo. Visitors may get out of their vehicles at the lookout closer to satara. They may also do so at Timbavuti, a picnic site 32 kilometers further north on the Timbavati River. There is another picnic site at Nhlanguleni, situated approximately half way between Skukuza and Orpen Gate, on road S36. A third picnic spot is located at Muzandzeni, halfway between Nhlanguleni and Orpen Gate.
TOURIST FACILITIES ON THE CENTRAL PLAINS
The central plain region, as befits the richest game- viewing area of the Kruger National Park, is well supplied with tourist accommodation: there are three very popular restcamps, two private camps and two wilderness trails camps and numerous places to picnic or stretch your legs. Crocodile Bridge is a small camp (58 beds and campsites for 72 people). The camp is adjacent to the Crocodile Bridge Gate. It offers easy access to, and is a good base from which to explore, the rich diversity of the southern landscapes of the Park. There is no restaurant, since this a relatively small camp.
Lower Sabie Camp is situated 34 kilometers further north and is deservedly popular cam. It combines an excellent variety of options for guests, including birdwatching and tree identification, as well as game- viewing along the Sabie River with the abundance of animals on the baslt plains. Lower Sabie Camp provides roofed accommodation for 229 visitors and campsites for a further 168. Satara Camp is the third largest camp in the Park, with beds for 436 and campsite for 360. it is situated towards the north of the region and is said to be the best sport for predators. Balule Campsite, on the Olifants River in the north of the region, has three six – bedded cottages and campsites for 90 people. Three three-day, guided wilderness trails on foot are operated out of Metsimetsi, in the Lebombo hills east of Tshokwane; Olifants on the banks of the river with the same name; and Sweni in the heart of the basalt plains, southern west of Nwanetsi.
Nwametsi is now the site of an upmarket privately run lodge. Tshokwame Tearoom both offer picnic facilities as well as hot beverages and snacks. The lookout of Orpen Dam is a delightful spot to while away some hours in the shade, overlooking a gorge through the Lebombos. Visitors may also leave their vehicles at Nkumbe a few kilometers further south, at Mlondozi Dam near Lower Sabie and at Hippo pool, six kilometers west of Crocodile Bridge.