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Driving from SZK to Arathusa

Boston, MA
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Driving from SZK to Arathusa

Hello all, we contacted the hotel for direction from Skukuza to Arathusa and they told us to head to R40 and follow the same direction as if from Nelspruit. The route from Google map is shorter and will take less than 2 hours but if we detour to R40 it'll be at least 3.5 hours. Should we follow google map or the hotel direction? We'll be staying at the Protea Kruger Hotel for two nights doing self drive in Kruger and then two nights at Arathusa. We haven't book the return flight yet now debating if we should fly out from Nelspruit instead of SZK due to uncertainty about direction. Any advise? Thanks!

17 replies to this topic
Cape Town Central...
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1. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

Follow the hotel's direction. Google maps is not accurate if their own Streetview car did not drive it.

London, United...
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2. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

I would drive through the park. Be ready to go ealry-ish and drive through the park to Orpen gate. Stop at Tshokwane for breakfast :) I did the same route to Elephant Plains (same place using Gowrie gate) and managed to get there in plenty of time.

Perth, Australia
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3. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

I agree with Biertje - drive through the park, but do make sure you leave Skukuza early. A much more enjoyable drive.

You could also book your return from Hoedspruit Airport - slightly more expensive, but worth the convenience of not having to drive back to Nelspruit.

Tempe, Arizona
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4. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

The Arathusa web site has a useful map that shows you most of what you need to know.

If you do come up through the Park - and exit at the Orpen gate - you will need that map to help you know when to turn off the paved road and start down to Hluvukani. This turnoff is sort of funky - you will get on a road that takes you back west briefly, then winds its way south for a mile or so to a more identifiable road.

That unpaved road is wide.. but usually not well-maintained. You can make it fine.. just drive slowly.

At Hluvukani, turn east and watch for signs telling you where to turn off on yet another unpaved road that will take you to Gowrie gate.

I think - if you have not yet booked your flight from that area - that Hoedspruit airport makes the most sense.. but, you will need to leave Arathusa promptly after the morning game drive and a quick breakfast.

IMPORTANT - The speed limit zone outside Orpen Gate extends a lot farther than you would expect. Cops know that tourists will be accelerating when they get out into the open country and speed traps west of Orpen Gate are common.

Edited: 17 March 2017, 15:01
Cape Town Central...
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5. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

Do not use Google to find Orpen gate - they have it completely wrong. They have Orpen Camp in the right place, the gate is very close to it.

Looking at it now, Google Maps in that area is a disaster! The route they show to Arathusa crosses the Sand River, but there is no bridge. In the dry season you can cross with a 4x4. If the gates are unlocked . . . . .

Tempe, Arizona
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6. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

Yep.. Google maps - even your GPS - can get you waaay of course. I don't want to sound like an old f--t, but an actual map, made out of actual paper, is a valuable tool.

Cape Town Central...
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7. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

The OP's short "Google" route has this as the river crossing: tripadvisor.co.za/…46006267

Edited: 17 March 2017, 18:54
Athens, Greece
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8. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

Hi guys! I also need your instructions because I understand that some roads are closed due to recent floods.

We are coming on March 25 and we are going to stay at Imbali safari lodge (near to Manyeleti). We will arrive at Nelspruit airport and we will rent a toyota rav 4 in order to self drive until the lodge. We were thinking to use the route Neslpruit - Hazyview - Paul Kruger gate - Skukuza and then pass the Sand river and go straight up north until the lodge. But now maybe this is not possible...

Any updates on the road situation?

Any alternative routes?

Thank you!

Edited: 17 March 2017, 20:00
Leeds, United...
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9. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

Just a word on that Orpen Road. I drove it last week. It was dreadful, full of very large potholes. The gravel road is also very bad. Not sure when it was last graded but not recently. It also has very large holes and bumps, as well as lots of cows.

I was quite stressed when I arrived at Arathusa, not helped by a group of kids aggressively trying to stop my driving past them just before Gowrie gate.

I also had a group B car. This wasn't good enough for the poor state of the roads. I wish I had hired a larger car.

But the main point of this is that, even if googlemaps is accurate, you can add on plenty of time to that which is stated. Use the directions provided by Arathusa. They warned that many people have got lost when using googlemaps. I used their directions and got there ok just shaken to pieces!

Cape Town Central...
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10. Re: Driving from SZK to Arathusa

Nadia, you should be asking Imbali about the latest routes.

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