Safety in South Africa

Feb 13th, 2004, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407

I can't really comment on the Cape or Natal section of your trip as I really do not have up to date info for you.

Now for your Kruger Safari:

Forget Hazyview overnight ASAP.

First option is to continue with the N4 through Nelspruit and head for Malelane( +- 60 kilometers from Nelspruit).Continue through Malelane (you are still on the N4)after+- 7 kilometers outside Malelane you will see a turn-off to the left reading Malelane Gate Kruger.

After turning left here proceed for 3 kilometers and just before you enter Kruger you will see a sign on your right MALELANE INTER CONTINENTEL HOTEL.

This is a magnificent Hotel, the price range+-150 dollars a night.It directly overlooks the Kruger's Crocodile River in the southern section of the park.From this Hotel it is exactly 800 meters to enter the park.

See yourself sitting on their observation deck sipping a cocktail and watching ellies as they come down to drink.This hotel also has great Buffet- style meals with venison a regular.If you like golfing, the second best course in RSA is on your your doorstep called Leopards Creek(this is where I am going to retire).

Just across the street from the Hotel there is a great restaurant called Crocofellas where you dine on a wooden platform raised on stilts over croc infested waters.

Another option is to enter the park and stay in Berg-en-dal camp.You can get a hut here ranging from 50 to 120 dollars.Berg en dal camp is only 12 kilometers from the gate.This was one of my favourite camps in Kruger.

You do however have a 2 hour drive from Berg en dal to Skukuza.

Another option is to book at Bongani Mountain Lodge which is also on the N4 and this is only 30 kilometers outside Nelspruit.Whatever they quote you ask for a discount as they are never full.

Well if this new route sounds to complicated consider the following:

Rather stay in White River at the White River country estate,yes this is a golf estate, but here you can get a self containing unit sleeping six people for 1200 rand a night.Here you will also find a fine restaurant called INJABULA with tribal dancing and all.

Do most of your groceries shopping in Nelspruit.DON'T ever stop to buy anything next to the road or for that matter anywhere in Hazyview.

Great choice on Olifants Camp hope you got a river view bungalow.I must have gone there a thousand times and loved every minute of it!

Kavey if this isn't exactly what you want I still have a hundred other places to suggest in this area surrounding Kruger.

Just give me a budget for this night and I will find you the best place.
safarinut is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 01:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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This is marvellous, thank you so much, and yes we went for a river view bungalow at Olifants!

The places you mention look great but are above our budget.

We're really trying to stick to around 250 Rand per person per night including breakfast. We'll go above that for somewhere special but not hugely above it.

Basically I wasn't set on where to stay but, after research, decided we didn't want to do the long long drive from Ithala to Olifants in one day - especially given it's winter and sunset is reasonably early - I felt we'd be pushing it.

So we're open to suggestions about how far to proceed and where to stay for that overnight, provided it's in our price range.

THANK YOU SO MUCH for this input, I really appreciate it.

As this one area is where I have most concern over in terms of our safety, I'm all ears.
Kavey is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 02:10 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 407

Are you goig to drive through Swaziland?
safarinut is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 09:59 PM
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When we spend a weekend in Kruger from Johannesburg, we overnight at the Formule 1 hotel in Nelspruit. The rate is about R200 per room per night and sleeps 3. Its clean and serves its purpose. Breakfast per person is an additional R18.
We then leave early the next morning to arrive to the Park gates when they open, suggest Malelane gate, then you dont go thru Hazyview area.
The riverview from Olifants cam is the best I have ever seen. Enjoy a sundowner, and with a good pair of binoculars see how many animals you can spot down below! I took a panorama pic of the view, if you email me I will send it to you
FunkyMunky is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 04:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 149
Hello everyone! This is from an ignorant American who has been living alone in South AFrica for 9 months and has yet to hae a bad experience. I live in a very nice beach suburb but work at a hospital in a hotbed of Zulu violence. I do go into town when it is light but would avoid large groups of people. For example I wouldn't walk or drive thru the area where the minicabs and buses congregate. I would never be out after sundown. But this is Stanger, birthplace of Shaka!! In Ballito I go out at night and drive by myself into the mall area, like I am doing tonight to meet some new friends. They are always amazed that I would drive home at night. But I don't stop for anything or anyone and am always aware of who is around when I have to stop going off the freeway. I keep my purse out of sight. Remember this is a country when you can be murdered for a cell phone! I also drive a big old lady car which is not popular for hijacking.

All that said, I don't spend all my waking hours worried about crime. I am just careful.

kimwhits is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 06:16 AM
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We were not intending to drive through Swaziland, no.
Kavey is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 06:50 AM
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Ithala seems to be very close to Swaziland.

If this is the case I would drive through Swaziland,very safe route.

Follow this:

From Ithala you connect to the N2 and head to GOLELA.Here you will go through the Swaziland border post.Kavey this only takes a few minutes,not a very busy border crossing.

Anyway driving through Swaziland will only take you 3 hours at most.Depending on which border gate you exit,you will either be on the R570 or the R571 and both of these roads connect to the N4 close to Malelane.

Malelane as you know is only sixty kilo's from Nelspruit.

This is the shortest route from Northern Kwa-Zulu to Mpumalanga
safarinut is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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Would I need to get extra visas in advance or anything?
And do you have a suggestion for where to overnight?
If the border crossing is so easy then it certainly seems to be a good suggestion!
Kavey is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 01:12 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
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British subjects don't need visas to visit Swaziland as tourists. Most other requirements are quite standard. You must have proof of onward travel arrangements, and your passport must be valid for 3 months beyond your arrival in Swaziland.

Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are arriving from an infected area within 5 days. The African countries in which yellow fever is endemic are in a band that runs between 15 deg N and 10 deg S of the equator. As far as I know you won't be travelling within that band during your South African trip, so it shouldn't be an issue.

(I don't know if this is an issue re your other trip to ... where is it again? ... Kenya? Anyway, I imagine you're consulting with a tropical medicine specialist before you travel.)

If you wanted to overnight in Swaziland, a pleasantly hilly and scenic area that would make a good stop would be Piggs Peak. My information on accomoodations and the general situation there, however, is not current. I read a report on a travel forum from someone who had been there recently, and they'd enjoyed it a lot. Actually I think it was here at Fodors.

However, given that you want to buy groceries before going into the Kruger National Park, you may want to cover more distance on your first day out from Ithala, and press on till you reach the White River area. (When it gets to Malelane and White River, I'll refer you back to the travel suggestions that Safarinut, FunkyMunky and others have given you.)

Anyway, regardless of whether or not you overnight in Swaziland, it would make a great deal of sense to drive through it, as it would save you heaps of time compared with driving around it.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 01:46 PM
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You don't need a visa just a passport.

I would then enter the park at malelane gate and stay at Berg en Dal restcamp.

This will fit in your budget as you can find accommodation here for 250 rand pp/night.

A good choice will be to reserve the Rhino Guest House in Berg en Dal which is located on the perimeter of the camp.This costs 1200 rand a night and sleeps four.

Alternatively you could book a normal bugalow ranging from 320-475 rand a night for two people.The drive from Berg en Dal to Olifants is very nice.

So you don't have to drive through Hazyview.Kavey,people drive through Hazyview everyday without incident, but I really don't like this town as there is an unusually high crime rate.

If you want to splurge a bit this night consider Bhulala Lodge right at the entrance of Malelane Gate(opposite the Inter continentel Hotel)+- 850 rand pp/night

Whatever you choose be sure to have a meal at Crocofellas before you enter Malelane Gate.IT IS REALLY NICE HAVING ONE'S MEAL WITH CROCS SWIMMING UNDER THE DECK YOU ARE SITTING ON!.
safarinut is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 02:40 PM
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Thanks for the advice so far - I'd only ruled out Swaziland as a route because I thought it would be too timeconsuming crossing borders... if that's not the case then crossing through makes a lot of sense.

Can anyone estimate how long it would take from Berg en Dal up to Olifants? Would Berg en Dal be a good half way point (in terms of time, not distance)?

If we do opt to stay in Berg en Dal can anyone recommend the best place to stop and do grocery shopping? Or would I still need to divert all the way to Nelspruit?

What would be the advantages/ disadvantages of staying in White River over Berg en Dal and if I did that what route would then be best for me to take onwards to Olifants?

Thanks for all the help, I can't tell you grateful I am.

I'm not a Nervous Nora but I had heard a number of stories regarding hijackings, rapes and murders around the Hazyview region and was a little concerned so advice on how to skirt it without negatively impacting on my itinerary is very valuable.

Kavey is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 04:25 PM
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Kavey, as I said before, I'm going to leave it to Safarinut et al to advise you about accommodation, as my information on that topic is not current enough to be useful.

However, as an aside, I was wondering if you had given any thought to keeping perishable food cool. My husband and I have had a good deal of success travelling with a collapsible cooler. It's a soft-sided bag that can fold down flat. When it's needed for storing food, however, one can insert ice into compartments in the sides of it.

This advice isn't specific to Africa. We've used our collapisble cooler very successfully during summer driving trips in Canada.

Before the era of collapsible coolers, we used to buy a cheap styrofoam cool box at our destination and, when we were ready to fly home, we'd simply abandon it in our hotel room. We hoped a member of the hotel staff would take it home and get some use out of it.

Sorry if you've already thought about this and this point is redundant.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:34 PM
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To answer your questions:

1)Distance from Berg en Dal to Olifants
Berg en Dal to Skukuza 60 kilometers

Skukuza to Satara 70 kilometers

Satara to Olifants 60 kilometers

If you drive at an average speed of 40 kilos per hour inside the park you should make it in 5 hours.

You could also opt to drive to Skukuza on entering Malelane Gate on day one.

I am sure you can drive from Ithala to Skukuza in +- 6 hours,make it seven to be sure.If you leave Ithala at 7 am you could reach Skukuza by 14h00.

Kavey if you overnight in Skukuza you MUST book the Monis Guesthouse.This is by far the most luxurious Guesthouse in Kruger and costs the same as the Rhino house.This house has a beautiful setting on the river.It is also equipped with game lodge-like furniture and has a stunning wooden deck extending to the river's edge.
It has four rooms and can sleep eight,all with en-suite bathrooms.


You can do all your shopping in Malelane,the Spar is located next to the highway, cannot miss it.

If you decide to drive to White River well then you have to enter Kruger at Kruger Gate or the new Pambeni Gate.

I just feel if you drive through Swaziland and then head to Nelspruit and White River you are driving around the Park.

Enter the Park as soon as you can ie. in the Southern part(Malelane Gate)the advantage being spending an extra day on safari and seeing hopefully the Monis Guest house!
safarinut is offline  
Feb 15th, 2004, 01:18 AM
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We do indeed have one of those collapsible cool bags with the plastic blocks that need to be frozen before putting them into the bag. I am hoping a lot of our accommodations will have freezers as well as fridges but I don't know if that is true.
However, because it's quite a nice one I don't know whether to take it or buy one when we arrive. I was hoping to leave the coolbag/ box behind when we finished the first 5 weeks (the SC bit), so I was wondering how easy it would be to buy one in CT when we arrive that is cheap enough that we'd not mind giving it away before leaving?

Safarinut, I think we'll follow your advice and go through Swaziland and through Kruger from the bottom.

I need to decide where we'll stay.

Do you know a website for the Monis Guest house - I couldn't find one...

THANKS again to you both!
Kavey is offline  
Feb 15th, 2004, 07:41 AM
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The Monis Guest House is situated inside Skukuza Camp and they do not have a separate website.

When you phone the National Parks or Skukuza Camp just ask for the Monis Guest House.
safarinut is offline  
Feb 18th, 2004, 04:58 PM
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Safarinut, I've read your postings here with great interest, because my husband and I are planning to be in roughly the same area as Kavey is discussing here. We'll be traveling in early May. We plan to leave Jo'burg, heading north on the N1, to ultimately enter the Kruger Park at Punda Maria. But before that, we want to spend a day or two seeing Venda and the area around the towns of Louis Trichart and/or Tzaneen. Do you have any advice about that area?

In Kruger, we plan to travel south over the course of a week or so, staying at Shingwedzi, Satara, and one of the southern camps. We plan to travel through Swaziland, staying a day or so, and then going on to St. Lucia before entering Umfolozi for 3 days. Do you have safety advice for us here?

Which border crossing point is best if coming from Kruger into Swaziland?

Thanks for any advice -- it's great to talk to someone with current local knowledge.

Celia is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 04:09 AM
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How marvellous, I didn't realise you were returning this year...
Are you all booked?
Do drop further emails so we can chat about it all...

Thanks to all for all your help.
Kavey is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 06:56 AM
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Nope, nothing booked yet, but I hope to get things started in a week or so. Right now is a busy time for me in my (volunteer) work, and my quartet has a big gig coming up, so I haven't started booking yet.
Celia is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 08:04 AM
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Thanks so much Safarinut - I haven't made any bookings yet but I've definitely altered our itinerary to stay overnight at or near the Southern entrance to Kruger instead of anywhere near Hazyview.

That said, I have to wonder about the naive behaviour of Chowles - who, already suspicious about these men, put down the bag containing all his expensive camera gear and wallet etc whilst loading groceries into the car.

Even at home, if I'm in a situation where I'm unloading a shopping trolley into my car boot, but am worried by people hanging around I either lock the car, return to the store and ask for staff to accompany me out again OR at the very least, keep my handbag securely infront of my body, strap diagonally over head and shoulder, whilst unloading.
Kavey is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 09:45 AM
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True, this tourist was naive,but friends of mine were hijacked at gunpoint at the robot in Hazyview without displaying naive behaviour.

Everyone should boycott Hazyview until the incompetent police force pick up their performance.This story had a happy ending but believe me most don't.
safarinut is offline  

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