The husband and I had been meaning to go for a holiday in the Kruger National Park (KNP) for ages, but never got round to it. A few months ago we decided that come hell or high water, we will have a short holiday over the long weekend at the end of September. This long and photo-heavy post (sorry, not sorry) documents our holiday from the Thursday (24/09) until the Sunday. I hope you enjoy it!
At the time we decided to go away (and this was months ago), all accommodation in the park had already been booked full, bar a few very expensive places. I used my knowledge of the park (my research is concentrated on happenings in the park) and located a few main gates for us to enter into KNP. I then used Booking.com to locate reasonably priced accommodation close to those gates. First up was a two-night stay (Thursday and Friday evenings) at Masorini Bush Lodge in Phalaborwa, near the Phalaborwa gate. My calculations here were pretty good, as we were only 8 km from the gate! More than half of that was dirt road, but I digress. The Saturday evening we slept over at Komati Guest House in Komatipoort, which is 10 km (tar road!) from the Crocodile Bridge gate way down in the south. I'll never make the mistake again of organising a trip where we need to drive from the Phalaborwa gate to Crocodile Bridge gate through the park in one day (there are very strict speed limits in the park), but you live and learn I guess.
Next came the packing and you can read about my updated travel bag here.
Masorini Bush Lodge (Phalaborwa): Thursday and Friday
Masorini shares their border with the KNP and the fences are down, so sometimes the animals decide to wander over to the lodge's side. There is a resident buck, porcupine, and other creatures roaming the grounds, waiting for the owner to feed them.
The chalet is nice and big with a nice big room opening onto the stoep with a sliding glass door. The bed is big and super comfy and there is also a mosquito net that you could lower at night which made me feel like an actress in Arabian Nights. The bathroom is basic, with no toiletries provided, but that didn't bother me as I never use guesthouse toiletries (except for the hand soap). The shower is better than I'm used to at a lodge or guesthouse: a nice big shower head with good water pressure. What more can you ask for?
There is a big open wardrobe where you can hang your clothes, or put away folded clothes. There are also two drawers that you can lock which came in handy for things such as laptops.
The stoep also doubled up as a kitchen: there was a wooden table with two benches, a two-plate gas stove, a kettle, and a bar fridge. We were supposed to have a braai outside on the grass, but when we got there the owner's wife said it had broken but her husband would replace it that night. Keep in mind this was on Braai Day. When we woke from an epic afternoon nap, we saw the tiniest braai known to humankind sitting on the grass. I've never even gone camping with such a small braai, let alone stayed in a chalet. The lady also told us we only had to bring wood, but when we got there, they didn't even supply matches or a lighter. No one felt like driving to town on the dirt road in the dark, so we borrowed our neighbours' cigarette lighter.
Komati Guest House (Komatipoort): Saturday
Saturday evening we arrived at Komati Guest House and were met by Esther who was so friendly and helpful. She could probably see we were tired (we had been driving since 06:30 that morning in the KNP) so she offered to make a reservation for us for dinner at a restaurant around the corner. Tambarina is a Portuguese restaurant and the setting is just fantastic. We sat outside and there was a light breeze blowing. We had to wait quite a while for our food, but it was so worth it! I was so tired that I can't remember what I ordered, except that it was incredible. My husband's food was also incredible and I can highly recommend this little hidden gem!
The guesthouse kind of made you feel like you were sleeping over at a relative's house: each couple had a room (with their own bathroom) in a very big house. You got to our room by walking through the living room! The room is nice and big with a comfy bed (and the puffiest duvet I have ever touched), a kettle, a bar fridge, a TV, and a bathroom. The bathroom's layout was...interesting. The shower was incredibly small (I kept knocking my elbows against the shower door) and the shower head dismal. But after a long day in the park, a shower is still a shower. The white bath was also a bit stained, and frankly not even a Lush bath bomb would have made me want to go in there.
Now, there's a lot that I can say about the KNP. It's big, it's busy, and it will steal your heart. I can't really explain it, you have to experience it for yourself. It was a nice experience staying outside the park, but next time I would definitely want to stay inside the park as it just makes the logistics easier regarding getting in and out of the park each day. If you're going as a day visitor over long weekends or at other busy times, rather do an advanced day booking online. And if you enjoy going to parks, it might be worth it to get a Wild Card (you can purchase it online here). We purchased our second one now (first one was while we were at uni), and it is truly worth it. If you show this at reception you don't pay the conservation fee ("entry fee" at the park), and I think you are eligible for a 5% discount if you book accommodation at various parks. There are different options to choose from, but all Wild Cards are valid for a year from the date of purchase.
Anyway, enough talking, let's look at some photos, shall we? All photos shown here were taken by me, and with zero retouching.
I hope you liked my travel post, should I do more of these?
Until next time!