Drive to Kruger

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Jun 30th, 2004, 09:06 PM
  #1
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Drive to Kruger

My husband and I are planning our first trip to South Africa, and I have a question about coordinating my drive to Simbambili lodge in Sabi Sand Game Reserve in Kruger. I arrive at 4pm into Johannesburg from the US on Nov 19th, and my reservation at Simbambili starts on the 20th. I know we will be tired, but I would like to start our drive once we arrive. I read a great review about Walkersons Hotel in Dullstrom. I am estimating this is only about a 2 hour drive from J-burg. This is the distance I think we could drive no problem. The next day, I would ideally like to take the longer route through Blyde River Canyon to get to our lodge the next morning. Can this be done in a half a day? I am assuming check in to the lodge on the 20th is at 2ish. Should I drive closer say to Sabie on the 19th?

As I am writing this, I am almost certain that I am too ambitious. It is difficult reading all the reviews and not wanting to do it all. I have until the Nov 24th until I head down to Capetown, I have booked three nights at Sambambili 20-23. Then we were going to spend the 23rd staying somewhere else in the park exploring it ourselves before we leave on the 24th to Capetown.

Any assistance in planning this itinerary would be greatly appreicated!

Thanks,

jrjl
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Jun 30th, 2004, 11:03 PM
  #2
 
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Hi jrjl

Walkersons is gorgeous, the absolutely perfect place to recover from that flight! I have stayed there a few times and can vouch for the excellent service and personal attention. It's family owned (the Walkers) so you feel more like you're staying at the home of personal friends than a hotel. In terms of driving through there, SAA is very reliable in terms of arrival times and you should land on time at 4pm. Fortunately it's not the busiest time for international arrivals but remember that it could take up to an hour for you to clear passport control, collect your luggage, clear customs and then you will still need to pick up the rental car. I reckon you will be lucky to be on the road at 5.30pm. Be prepared for some rush hour traffic until you pass Witbank. From the airport to Walkersons (Dullstroom is the town) is about 2 hours - that's keeping to the speed limit. You will be on the N4 for most of the way which is an excellent tollroad. The last 45 minutes or so is on regional type roads which will are tarred usually with a hard shoulder. I mention this as it will be dark by the time you hit this section. Something else to consider - Nov 19th is a Friday so the traffic may be heavier with people going away for the weekend.
I just thought of something, check now with Walkersons if they are prepared to take a booking for just a Friday night - there may be a two night minimum over a weekend. An alternative property in this area is Critchley Hackle Lodge located in Dullstroom proper and owned by the Walker family too. It's also lovely, but as it's in town the country feel is not quite the same. However, there are many quaint shops and sights in the village literally on your doorstep.
I'm not that familiar with the drive further, but I think you should be fine.
traci
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Jun 30th, 2004, 11:29 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Agree 100% with Traci about Walkersons, I've also stayed there. I also agree with her about the location of Critchley Hackle. It looks good in the pictures so I was surprised when I first went there that it was right on the main street of Dullstroom. OK, so Dullstroom's hardly a bustling metropolis, but after hearing so much about it I expected the hotel to be buried somewhere in a valley. As is Walkersons.

You've probably found Walkersons' website, but if you haven't, it's www.walkersons.co.za. That URL is the entry point to both Walkersons and Critchley Hackle.
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