Overnighting between Kruger & St Lucia

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Aug 31st, 2004, 07:25 AM
  #1
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Overnighting between Kruger & St Lucia

Any suggestiions of where to overnight on the long drive between Kruger and St Lucia? How long does it take to drive through Swaziland?
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Aug 31st, 2004, 07:54 AM
  #2
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Kruger to N2 in SA, thru Swaziland - allow at least 8 hours - two border crossings and much construction on roads, plus lots of villages. You could stay near Hwuhlhwue near N2. Then St. Lucia is 1-2 hours south.
 
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Aug 31st, 2004, 08:35 AM
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Hi Jammie,

I've heard that the roads in South Africa are so much better than those in Swaziland that it's quicker to circumvent Swaziland by driving around the west side of it.

That said, the scenery in the western, hilly part of Swaziland is pleasant, so it sort of depends how you view the trip from Kruger to St. Lucia. You may just want to get from Kruger to St. Lucia as quickly and painlessly as possible, or you may want to stop and see something interesting on the way.

Here's a map of Swaziland:

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/africa/swaziland.gif

Of the options that would take you through Swaziland, the most direct (but less scenic) would be from Komatipoort in South Africa down to Tshaneni in Swaziland, then through Mhlume, bypassing Siteki, through Big Bend and Nsoko, out through Lavumisa and then through Mkuze and Hluhluwe in South Africa. I imagine this is the route to which Itraveldou was referring.

The more scenic route would be from Komatipoort through Hectorspruit and Jeppe's Reef in South Africa, through Piggs Peak and Mbabane to the Ezulwini Valley, which would make a good place for an overnight stop.

There is an interesting mohair cottage industry in Piggs Peak that is worth a stop, and Piggs Peak in any case is in a scenic area. The drive from Piggs Peak to Mbabane is pretty. There is a craft market in Mbabane, and then the drive from there to Ezulwini is attractive too.

My knowledge of accommodations in the area is not current. An Internet search reveals that there is a place called Reilly's Rock Hilltop Lodge in Ezulwini, which sounds as if it would be nice. But there are a number of hotels in the Ezulwini Valley.

There are several different ways of getting from Ezulwini to South Africa. You theoretically could head east and then south through Swaziland, emerging into South Africa somewhere in the vicinity of Pongola or Lavumisa. The most scenic route, however, is the one that goes south through Mankayane, and returns you to South Africa in the vicinity of Piet Retief. From Piet Retief you would be able to drive to Pongola, Mkuze, etc.

I'm guessing it would take you about 5 hours to get from Kruger to Ezulwini and then about 6 hours to get from Ezulwini to St. Lucia. Those are conservative guesses, allowing for the reports I've heard that Swaziland's roads are poorer than South Africa's.
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Aug 31st, 2004, 10:26 AM
  #4
Itraveldou
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Suggest you look at a map and estimate time, then double it. There are very slow border crossings, and you must do 2 countries twice each. Lots of road construction. Speaking from experience going from Sabi Sand to Natal in one very long day.
 
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Aug 31st, 2004, 12:26 PM
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We drove from St Lucia to Ithala (a park we adored) and then from Ithala to Kruger.

We did drive through Swaziland and the roads were in apalling condition but the route seemed so much longer to skirt it that I would imagine the time is about the same either way.

We were staying in Berg en Dal camp that first night in Kruger and it was a long day from Ithala just to there.

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Sep 1st, 2004, 08:23 AM
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We drove from Kruger to Mbabane Swaziland in May. We found the roads to be in good condition, and much much better than they were on our last visit several years ago. There is even a 4-lane divided highway part of the way. I can't really say how long it took because we stopped several times on the way to look at scenery or to talk to people. We stayed two nights in Mbabane and then drove on to St. Lucia the next day. We left after breakfast and packing up, and got to St. Lucia early in the afternoon.

You should probably allow all day to get from Kruger to Mbabane, and a long half day to get from there to St. Lucia.
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 11:24 AM
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I think I should have said that SOME of the roads were in good condition, and some were not so good. None was bad enough to deter us, but we did have to slow down a bit!
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Sep 2nd, 2004, 11:55 AM
  #8
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Several other factors that will delay transit thru Swaziland: people out walking on the roads, especially near villages and when school lets out. Thta is how everyone gets from place to place. They walk. Farm animals on the road. Villages, where the roads narrow and speed must be reduced; and major contruction delays at key points in towns. Not to mention very slow border posts. Swaziland simply takes more thime than you can imagine.
 
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Sep 3rd, 2004, 08:34 AM
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Agreed that the border post takes forever! But Swaziland is a wonderful place to visit. If you are thinking of a B&B in Mbabane, I recommend Cathmar Cottages. We stayed there last May and loved it. Our unit had a huge bed-sitting room plus a full kitchen and a hallway and bath. The sitting area had a sofa, loveseat, easy chair, dining table and chairs, a big TV (who cares!) and a fireplace with a fire laid for us every evening. It was beautifully decorated with Swazi tapestries and water colors of local birds. Because it was off-season, the price was ludicrously low -- R275 per day for the 2 of us. They have a web site, and we booked through it.
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Sep 10th, 2004, 09:09 AM
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Border post into Swaziland took us 30 mins altogether including car registration check and forms for both SA exit and Swaz entry.
On exit the formalities took less than half that time.
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