Nelspruit offers visitors many rewarding experiences, and among its many claims to fame, it is probably best known as the gateway to the Kruger National Park. While some visitors are content with a day trip to the park, the more adventurous and rewarding experience will be to traverse it from the south to the north, always sure that there is a place to rest your head at the end of the day.
Coming from Nelspruit, the closest entry point is the Malelane gate. Driving north on the main road, you will find the largest camp in the park, Skukuza. It offers a variety of accommodation options, from the humble tent to semi-luxury bungalows by the river. It also has a golf course, restaurants and an Internet café, amongst others, to make you feel that you’re still part of civilisation.
Continuing north on the main road, the next main camp is Satara Rest Camp. Due to the fertile grazing land that attracts hundreds of antelope, Satara is one of the best places to view lions, leopards, and cheetahs, which is why Satara is also referred to as the “cat camp”. This camp also offers most signs of civilisation, including a small grocery store.
If you have had enough of the luxury of the main camps and want to feel more immersed in the bush, you can drive west to the Tamboti Bush Camp. The camp has tented accommodation with an excellent view over the Timbavati River.
Going back east and north (you can choose the gravel road this time), there is the Balule Satellite Camp. With no electricity, you will be able to enjoy some peace and quiet, apart from the roaring lions and cackling hyenas…
If you prefer a little more luxury, the Olifants Rest Camp is close by. Located on a hill, this camp offers a wonderful panoramic view over the bushveld and the Olifants River.
Taking the main road or gravel road north, you will encounter the Letaba Rest Camp. It features tent and caravan options, and guest houses. The camp is situated on a bend of the Letaba River and is an excellent spot for bird and elephant watching. Tame bushbuck also wander the gardens.
The Mopani Rest Camp to the north is the newest and most modern camp in the park. It has a great view over the Pioneer Dam and is located near an archaeological dig site. It also has the nearby option of the Shipandane bird hide, which can be reserved for overnight stays.
From the newest camp, you can go to the oldest and smallest bushveld camp in the park, the Bataleur Camp. Named for Bataleur eagles that frequent the area, it is one of the more isolated camps in the park and visitors have exclusive access to the two dams in the area.
Back northeast you’ll find the Shingwedzi Rest Camp, which is in the heart of elephant country and teems with all sorts of wildlife during the dry winter months. Accommodation ranges from camping to rustic huts to air-conditioned guest houses.
The last and most northern camp in the park is the Punda Maria Rest Camp. The sub-tropical climate of this area promises a unique variety of flora, which is why Punda Maria is often referred to as the botanical garden of the Kruger. It is also one of the best places in the park for bird watching.
From Punda Maria you can either go north into Zimbabwe, east into Mozambique, or stay in South Africa by exiting the Punda Maria gate, where you can explore the Limpopo province before returning to Nelspruit, where adventure and beauty always awaits. If you are looking for Nelspruit Accommodation make sure to check out our rooms and rates information.