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Kwazulu-Natal to Sabi Sands: What is the best transportation

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Jan 8th, 2004, 02:32 PM
  #1
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Kwazulu-Natal to Sabi Sands: What is the best transportation

I'm in the beginning stages of planning a trip to South Africa for 2005. We will spend a week in Capetown and a few days driving the Garden Route. Flying from Port Elizabeth to Durban. From there head to a guest house in St Lucia (2 nights)then probably Mpila Camp & Hilltop for a few nights. We will end the trip most likely at Mala Mala. Would it be better to drive to Mala Mala from Hilltop and if so how long will this take, what route? Or would it be better to drive back to Durban or Richards Bay, Fly to Jo'burg and then transfer to Mala Mala by plane?
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Jan 9th, 2004, 04:45 AM
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sandi
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Granted you are planning your trip for 2005, but recently heard that Mala Mala will not be available, at least for 2004, due to major water damage. The entire camp is under renovations. So I would suggest you verify that the camp will be available for 2005.
 
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Jan 9th, 2004, 07:16 AM
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nor
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Suggest you consult a map, taking N2 north, and cross into Swaziland at first opportunity. Drive north again, and come back into SA and go west on a national road, then turn north toward Kruger and MalaMala. Give yourself at least 10-12 hours, because it will take you much longer than you imagine. You also have to figure in two border crossings. Some drive around Swaziland staying in SA the entire trip.
 
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Jan 9th, 2004, 03:26 PM
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Where can I find information on the flooding at Mala Mala? Would it be best to contact them directly?
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Jan 10th, 2004, 05:03 AM
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sandi
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Jammie -
I would contact the camp directly. I received this info from a friend who has been to SA often and thought to stay at Mala Mala his upcoming August trip and was advised by his tour operator of this situation. Since this would be considered second-hand info, go direct to the horses mouth for specifics.
 
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Jan 12th, 2004, 02:25 PM
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If I was you, I really wouldn't miss out on driving through Swaziland. Apart from being another country to tick off your list - it really is quite different. You feel it the minute you cross the border. Swazi people are very relaxed and friendly and some of the best art and craft markets can be found along the roads near Ezulwini.

Accommodation at venues like Reilly's Rock or Phophonyane are recomended. There is a local tour operator Swazi Trails who are useful for advice or bookings. [email protected]
I think they also do transfers between KwaZulu-Natal and places like Mala Mala, so made check the price of hanging onto a rental car vs just getting picked up and chauffered across.

Strawbs
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Jan 13th, 2004, 05:43 AM
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I second Strawbs' recommendation to take the time to travel through Swaziland. We found ourselves in a similar position last year (going from Kruger to Kwazulu Natal) and decided, almost as an afterthought, to stop off in Swaziland on the way.

It's a beautiful country - and it really feels different from SA. We stayed at Phophonyane lodge, which was utterly delightful.
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Jul 25th, 2004, 03:09 AM
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If you haven't arranged accommodation in St Lucia yet I can recommend the Avalone Guest House hosted by Monica. The house is just lovely and the main living area has double height ceilings. The rooms are nicely decorated and very comfortable. There is a luxury suite too which is very nice indeed. We were more than happy with our regular double room. The garden has a nice pool and backs out onto a nature park. The breakfasts are marvellous and Monica really looks after you - she is also happy for guests to make use of the main kitchen should they wish to. Infact we got on with her so well that for our last night I cooked an Indian meal, she had a couple of her friends come round, and we had a lovely informal party evening. It was nice to stay somewhere where one got spoilt on one hand but felt like one could treat the place as one's own home on the other hand.

We loved the contrast of being able to self-drive and spot and identify wildlife ourselves before going on to private camps where we were driven around by an expert guide. There is a different pleasure in spotting something yourself and then working out what it is, reading about it, watching it with no one else in sight...

If you have any extra nights I'd also recommend Ithala - the scenery in this park just blew me away. It's just breathtaking. The self catering accommodation in Ntshondwe is also the best in any park we stayed in.

I preferred both parks to Kruger which was more crowded and felt less "wild" what with the huge rest camps and many tarmac roads. Not that we didn't enjoy Kruger but just preferred Hluwhluwe-Imfolozi and Ithala.

We then drove from Ithala to Berg en Dal in Kruger and it was a LONG LONG day. Border formalities only took half an hour entering Swaziland and less exiting. The drive through Swaziland took a lot longer than we anticipated though we're glad we took that route - but the roads are significantly worse than South African roads (which are excellently maintained) and the driving seems to be a little more crazy too. Great views but very little time to actually stop and admire them or to shop in the craft markets. We did stop in one and also had lunch there.

You're not intending to drive from St Lucia all the way to Kruger in one day are you?
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Jul 28th, 2004, 04:24 PM
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Hi Kavey,

Thanks for answering this post. I think our trip will have some similarities to yours. We will most likely stop overnight somewhere between St Lucia & Kruger. Any suggestions? Thanks for the referral to Avalone Guesthouse. I will look into it. How long did it take you to travel from Hluluhluwe to St Lucia?
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Jul 29th, 2004, 12:09 AM
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Huhluwe to St Lucia didn't take long - maybe a couple of hours. St Lucia is closer to Imfolozi than Hluhluwe but coming from Durban made more sense to start with Imfolozi.


We went from St Lucia to Ndumo, Ndumo to Ithala, Ithala to Berg-en-Dal in Kruger and Berg-en-Dal to Olifants.

The Ithala to Berg-en-Dal was a long day and I wouldn't want to make it any longer.
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Jul 29th, 2004, 10:07 PM
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We drove from the Kruger area to Sodwana Bay via Swaziland last year. I think that this was generally a good decision, but we made two mistakes: first, we took at "shortcut" through a smaller border crossing. Our poor rental car couldn't handle the dirt road, and we got a flat tire about 15 km from the border. Don't do this! This smaller border crossing closed at 4 pm. We made it there at 3:45 pm and were the third and fourth people to cross that day!!! If we had gone to the larger border crossing, we would have had a paved road the whole way, the border crossing closed later, and it would have taken about the same time.

The second problem was Riley's Rock. We had a bad experience there -- we got lost on their property and no one could help us find our way! Fallen trees had blocked the road and it was dark ... but we finally got so frustated we left and stayed elsewhere. We were not impressed by the Riley's Rock staff ...

That said, Swaziland was very interesting and we had a good but short trip through that country.
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