Routes to National and Private Reserves

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South Africa is fortunate in having numerous world famous game reserves, most of which are within a comfortable drive on superb Toll Roads from Johannesburg - the nearest big city to these great reserves. We deal here with the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, The Kruger National Park, and the private game reserves next to the Kruger National Park.
The road trips to the Kruger National Park and the Private Reserves of the Greater Kruger Area, can take between 4 and 6 hours of comfortable driving, depending on whether you chose the more direct route of the Highlands Meander or the slightly longer, but scenically more impressive, Panorama Route.  Its is highly desirable to spend at least one night in one of these scenic areas on your way to or from this Area - in this way you be able to absorb more of the beauty of the escarpment - the mountainous area separating the highveld (highlands) from the lowveld (lowlands) on which the great Kruger Reserves are to be found. We cover the Highlands Meander and the Panorama Route in greater detail on linked pages below.

Whether you want a fully catered, luxurious safari, or a self catering cost effective holiday, the reserves of the Kruger National Park, Greater Kruger Region, or the Pilanesberg can offer you exactly what you want. Each of the reserves in the different areas has its own atmosphere and options that you can experience, and we know that  you'll want to come back for more - again and again. We give you coverage of these different reserves so as to enable you to plan your trip and "look before you book".

The Pilanesberg Game Reserve
This Reserve, situated in the crater of an ancient volcano, is only 1 1/2 hours drive from Johannesburg. We have put information on the Reserve as well as a map on how to get there on our Pilanesberg Game Reserve page.
The Kruger Park and Private Game Reserves
If you are off to a Camp in the Southern Kruger, then it will take you between 4 hours and 5 hours to get there from Sandton, travelling northwards on the N1 freeway past Pretoria and onto the N4 freeway, or travelling West using the N3 freeway until you reach the N12 freeway which takes you to the N4 at WItbank. On the other hand, a visit to Punda Maria in the North of the Park, will take you about 6 hours to 7 hours, when following the route north of Pretoria on the N1, and then turning off ar R524 to the Punda Maria Gate.
Plan Your Trip
Taking into account that the Park and Camp Gate closing times change throughout the year, this means that your route must be carefully planned before you depart on your holiday. As a general rule of thumb it is worthwhile remembering that it will take you around 3 minutes to travel 1 km inside the Park. This is due to the speed limits of 40 km/h on sand roads and 50 km/h on tarred roads in the Park, and also to the fact that you will, in all likelihood, make several stops to view animals on the way to your Camp. We provide you below a suggestion for possible routes you could use to reach the Park. The map is only intended as a general guide - for full details, use an official map of the area to guide you. Please note that we make no recommendations here as to the conditions of the roads along the routes we may suggest - make your own enquiries as to the state of the roads before embarking on your journey. Once you are in the Park, you need to have a map to guide you to your camp - you can follow our link to a small scale official Kruger Park map.
By Road
Many people travelling to the southern Kruger Area, will do so with their own car or by hiring a car from Hertz, who have deaks at all the major airports. However, if you wish to sit back and relax in air conditioned comfort, then we recommend to you City Bug Bus and Shuttle, which travels from Joburg to Nelspruit twice daily. There are two main routes that you can take to this area. If you are going to the Kruger National Park and entering through one of the southern gates, then the quickest way to go is to take the Highlands Meander Route. However, if you are entering the Kruger Park through one of the western gates or you are travelling to one of the private reserves in the Greater Kruger Area, you may take either the Highlands Meander Route or the breathtaking Panorama Route, which is slightly longer. We thoroughly recommend that you stay overnight in one of these scenic spots - and take the opportunity to explore the area - you won't regret it. 
By Air 
To fly to the southern Greater Kruger Area, we recommend that you fly to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA). Visit their website to obtain all the necessary details regarding airlines flying into and out from this airport. KMIA is very popular and is used by many tourists who want a short trip to Kruger or the surrounding Private Lodges. The Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit has easy access to both the Phalaborwa and Orpen Gates, and is growing in popularity with many tourists wanting to reach the camps in the middle of the Park. The Polokwane International Airport is an option for those travelling to the northern areas of the Kruger Park. However, it is around 200km to 250km away from the Punda Maria Gate and the Pafuri Gate, respectively. Because the road to Polokwane is a multi-lane freeway, though, it hardly seems worthwhile flying the first 250km and driving the next 250km !   

View Routes To Main Game Parks in a larger map