One night stay between Johannesburg and Kruger

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Feb 14th, 2014, 07:40 AM
  #1
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One night stay between Johannesburg and Kruger

We will land in Johannesburg at 9:30am July 19th, get a rental car and head towards Kruger. We will spend one night outside the park before heading to Lower Sabie Rest Camp. We want to pick up groceries and supplies and then check in to a hotel to rest up after two long days/nights of traveling.
Can you suggest someplace to get groceries, a hotel to stay at and restaurants for lunch and dinner? I was thinking Netspruit would be a convenient town. And do you recommend entering Kruger at Malelane or Crocodile Bridge? After 3 nights at Lower Sabie we will head to Satara for 3 nights and then Skukuza.
PHayden is offline  
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Feb 14th, 2014, 10:59 PM
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Nelspruit area should be good, but I've not stayed overnight in that area.
Don't know where you are flying in from, but, after my 32 hours non-stop (from LA Calif) all I want to do is lie down and sleep. Good reasonable hotels around JNB airport. Then next morning get car (JNB Avis) and head for Kruger.

regards - tom
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Feb 15th, 2014, 06:03 AM
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Our favorite place is Graskop, close to a couple of the Panoramic Route sites (God's Window and the Three Rondavels.) The Graskop Hotel is comfortable, affordable and stylish, and is next door to Harrie's Pancakes, delicious and affordable, too.

http://www.graskophotel.co.za/
http://harriespancakes.com/index.htm

Graskop is an artsy little town, very conveniently located for access into that part of KNP as well as the Sabi Sand lodges.
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Feb 15th, 2014, 09:56 AM
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I don't have a map in front of me and too lazy to dig it out - but - would not Nelspruit be closer than Graskop for gate entry into Kruger? But maybe not by much?

regards - tom
ps - PHayden, I'd get a good map of South Africa before you go. I think Amazon sells some nice ones. Got one years ago that is made of very thin plastic, feels like paper but very tear and water resistant.
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Feb 15th, 2014, 03:22 PM
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Graskop is a half hour farther from JNB airport than Nelspruit; however it's a half hour closer to the Skukuza Gate at KNP. We prefer Graskop because it's a walkable small town, whereas Nelspruit is more a city where you're stuck in your car to go anywhere. Besides, the proximity to the Panoramic Route sites is a huge plus; many people visiting Kruger or the private reserves around it seem to overlook this remarkable region on the national park's doorstep.

Three Rondavels - http://gardyloo.us/africa10J%20027as.jpg
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Feb 15th, 2014, 04:15 PM
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A great place to stop for lunch on the drive from JNB to Nelspruit is Old Joe's Kaia (on the R539, about 3 hrs from JNB). It has been around for years - we stopped there in 2005 and enjoyed a fabulous lunch on the deck/patio. It still gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor.

http://www.oldjoes.co.za/

Best shopping is at the Riverside Mall/Centre, which is on the north side of Nelspruit. There is a Woolworths and Pick 'n Pay.

http://riversidecentre.sourcecloud.c...t_us/index.asp

We stayed at Buhala Lodge which, when we stayed there in 2005, was wonderful. Unfortunately, it seems to have expanded considerably since then, and lost the "country house" feel. However, it still seems to be getting good reviews on Trip Advisor.

http://www.buhala.co.za/location

Either gate is good for Crocodile Bridge, but I would be inclined to enter through Malelane and get into the park as quickly as possible - better to drive through the park to the camp rather than outside the park.
CR
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Feb 15th, 2014, 04:39 PM
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Further to what I posted above - this from our 2005 self-drive itinerary:

From Johannesburg, take the N12 east to the N4. Take the N4 east past Belfast and Machadodorp to the R36 north (7km past Machadodorp) towards Lydenburg. Shortly after turning on to the R36, you will turn east onto R539 to Montrose. R539 travels through the Schoemanskloof Valley. It is very scenic and usually quite empty.

Stop for lunch at Old Joe’s Kaia on R539 (3 hours from Johannesburg). It is situated on a steep hill, and has great views of the Schoemanskloof Valley. There is great bird watching – 170 species have been recorded here! Meals are great – soups, salads, sandwiches – cheap and all served with homemade bread.
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Feb 17th, 2014, 05:44 AM
  #8
 
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I agree, either stop for lunch or overnight at Old Joes's Kaia en route from Johannesburg to the Kruger. The contact person is Marian on email: [email protected]/www.oldjoes.co.za. Then all the shopping you need to do can be done in Nelspruit which has a large Shopping Mall with everything you will need.
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Feb 19th, 2014, 12:42 PM
  #9
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I've made a reservation at Old Joe's Kaia for dinner, bed and breakfast! Then we will pick up supplies in Nelspruit on the way to Kruger.
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Mar 17th, 2014, 08:00 AM
  #10
 
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We have done the same but won't be at Old Joes until September 1st so look forward to hearing how you get on.
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