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Nelspruit to Skukuza camp self drive safety

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62 posts
2 reviews
Nelspruit to Skukuza camp self drive safety

Hello all and thanks in advance for your advice,

I've read conflicting information online about the safety of Nelspruit in recent years. We (31 year old couple) are planning on flying to Nelspruit, picking up a car at the airport and driving to Kruger, spending the first night at Skukuza, and then driving back to Nelspruit after our safari and flying out again.

We won't be spending anytime in Nelspruit itself, so would people say it's safe to do this drive?

In addition, are there any recommendations for a grocery store easily accessible from the airport where we can pick up some stuff as we're planning on being mostly self catering while in the park.

Many thanks,

Dec

6 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
5 975 posts
29 reviews
51 helpful votes
1. Re: Nelspruit to Skukuza camp self drive safety

Depending on your flight arrival time you could forego shopping in Nelspruit if you are concerned about safety and instead,shop at Malelane and enter KNP from there and drive up to Skukuza.You would need to allow a minimum of 3 hours at least.

If time is precious you can pre-order groceries etc on line at Pick and Pay or Spar supermarkets.Nelspruit is much bigger than Malelane and being a commercial hub a lot busier.If the above option isn’t feasible there are large supermarkets in Nelspruit.On our last trip we found PnP food better quality than Spar.

Level Contributor
15 posts
6 reviews
2 helpful votes
2. Re: Nelspruit to Skukuza camp self drive safety

We are also a 31-year old couple who drove from Mbombela to Skukuza, and back, 3 weeks ago.

The drive to/from Skukuza via White River, Hazyview (R40) and the Paul Kruger Gate is safe when exercising general safety precautions - don't drive at night, don't leave anything on show when parked and be watchful when you are slowing or stopped.

Avoid the R538 (and the Numbi gate!) and drive the R40 between White River and Hazyview; it is pretty rural and there are very few people by the roadside (by South African standards!).

The best place to stop for groceries along the above route is Checkers in Hazyview. The car park is safe and the shops well-stocked. It is unclear when you are travelling, but a Woolworths Food is opening in Hazyview in late 2023 (in the same Mall as Checkers, not in the current Woolworths location!). Either Checkers or Woolworths will be good option (fully agree with the previous contributor - avoid Spar at all costs!).

Happy to answer any other questions you may have about the trip.

White River, South...
Level Contributor
2 928 posts
6 reviews
2 helpful votes
3. Re: Nelspruit to Skukuza camp self drive safety

If you decide to travel via White River & Hazyview to enter at Phabeni or the Kruger Gate, then I would recommend that you do your shopping at White River Crossings. There is a Woolworths foods as well as a Checkers Hyper. Travelling from Nelspruit, as you enter White River, the centre is conveniently located on your left.

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

Level Contributor
62 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Nelspruit to Skukuza camp self drive safety

Thanks for all the advice so far. Our flight is arriving to Nelspruit at 11:40am. I've read some things about people accessing the park at Malelane gate.

Does anybody have any advice on whether this is a good route, and if it would even be realistically possible driving at Kruger speeds to reach Skukuza before dark?

Or do you think I am confusing things and it's just better to take the route mentioned before and enter through the main gate?

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
5 975 posts
29 reviews
51 helpful votes
5. Re: Nelspruit to Skukuza camp self drive safety

Last October there was one instance of theft at the gate as the car owner thought she had locked her car but the n'eer do wells had a car jammer device so were able to open the vehicle easily and steal camera equipment. To drive through is a game drive in itself and if time is on your side it will be way more interesting than the main road to Hazyview etc.

You should be able to do within your time frame and if you pre-order then that may help.

Edited: 1 year ago
Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
6 393 posts
16 reviews
4 helpful votes
6. Re: Nelspruit to Skukuza camp self drive safety

My preference from KMIA would be to go through Malelane Gate, it's an hour from the airport to the gate on good roads, there are good supermarkets in Malelane town if you need, and the drive to Skukuza is tarmac for ~65 km (might take 2-3 hours driving if your looking for wildlife) so you'll be fine as long as you keep an eye on time and progress.

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