A visit to Kruger Park in South Africa
-Jacob Koshi M
Flights to South Africa from India are operated by Qatar Airways, Emirates, South African Airways etc. One can book tickets through the travel agent or directly through the internet.
In case of planning to club with visits to another country, request for Multiple Entry visas from the South African Embassy in Mumbai. Booking can be made through the net for stay in the tourist lodges or hotels near the Kruger Park. I stayed in a resort
called Kruger Park Lodge which is close to Kruger Park. Bookings can be made through the internet to this place. Or if one is a member of Mahindra Resorts or RCI, they have affiliations to this place.
For those who intend to visit the Kruger Park, the following description & tips will help in planning the trip.
Johannesburg to Nelspruit 350 kms Nelspruit to Whiteriver 23 kms Whiteriver to Hazyview 45 kms Hazyview to Paul Kruger Gate 41kms. Total = 459kms
City bug (the 14 seater minibuses) operates from Joberg airport to Hazyview for Rand 200/- You can book your tickets online on www.citibug.com & pay using your credit card sitting in India. The driver will have a computerised list of passengers. Show them
your identity & he will take you in. There are other minibus operators also through whom you can book your tickets. Book your tickets both ways mentioning your date of journey & date of departure. For travel from Hazyview to Kruger Park Lodge (which is outside
the Kuger Park), one can email & request for the Lodge’s vehicle for pickup for this small distance. This way, one can save lot of money for transport.
The lodge will arrange pick up from Joberg airport, but the rates will be prohibitively expensive. Once inside the resort, book your trips with tour operators who liaise with the lodge. Give them your preference of next day’s trips (they will explain over
the phone the type of trip, rate etc) & your credit card number as security, they will collect you from your chalet at the preset time & drop you back after the trip.
In my case, I have booked a jeep safari trip starting at 5.45am & ending at 12.30pm. Carry some cloths for the cold weather. The Kruger Park Lodge is an upmarket resort with spotless cleanliness & equipped with all the necessary things required for stay.
If you want to avoid using the restaurant for all the meals, (The restaurant & office building is some distance away from your chalet) buy breakfast items, eggs etc from the supermarket which is close to the lodge, but outside the lodge & store in the fridge.
The restaurant food is purely continental & provide for lunch or dinner. Besides, beer is very cheap & is available at restaurants. International credit cards issued from India are acceptable for payment in South Africa.
Cell phones have full range even in the remotest area since connectivity is through the satellite. So, it is advisable to carry your cell phones from India for calling anywhere in the world. (You should take a SIM card with international roaming facility
to call or receive, the rates of which have come down considerably after my visit) Carry your camera, binoculars & a powerful torch for viewing animals at night like deer, hippos etc at night from your chalet.
Kruger Park visit can be clubbed with a visit to diamond & gold mines on your return to Johannesburg. All purchase made in SA will be charged VAT which can be claimed back at airports of departure in the prescribed counters.
Jacob Koshi M ( Click on the photo)