travelling to the Kruger Park

Explore the Kruger National Park

Explore the Kruger National Park

Ngwenya Lodge is perfectly situated along the south-eastern border of the Kruger National Park. Not only does the Resort’s location offer incredible views over the Crocodile River floodplains, where numerous wildlife venture for respite from the African sun, but it is also a stone’s throw away from the Crocodile Bridge Entrance to the Park; offering guests a gateway to explore the Kruger National Park and all the wonderful gems it protects.

Planning a day trip into (or extended journey through) the Kruger often finds families packing some ‘padkos’, deciding on one section of the Park and then aimlessly coasting along the tarmac and occasional dirt road in search for a particular species. This traditional approach certainly is much-loved and nostalgia washes over us when thinking back to how our parents, and grandparents before them, adopted this same technique. Over the years, however, a number of exciting activities, worth-while pit stops and intriguing locations have popped up across the vast collection of nature reserves, inspiring us to forego the traditional in favour of diving deep into the Kruger National Park. Whether you plan on spending a glorious week at Ngwenya Lodge, or pause only for a few days at the Resort before continuing on your road trip through the Kruger, a number of adventures await beyond the Crocodile Bridge gates! Here are a few of our favourite must-try experiences:

Crocodile River Guided Walk

Experience a new perspective of this well-known region of the Kruger. No other wilderness trails exist in this section of the Park, so this guided walk is the only opportunity to experience the Crocodile River up-close-and-personal. Guests are required to meet the guide at the Crocodile Bridge Gate at 05:00 am and are then escorted in through the gates. The guide is a wealth of knowledge on the African bush and teaches hikers an array of interesting flora and fauna facts at a relaxed pace. The excursion lasts a few hours. Interested parties should phone Crocodile Bridge Reception on +27 (0)13 735 6012 to book.

Lebombo 4×4 Trail

Starting at the Crocodile Bridge Gate and wending through rugged terrain towards Parufi Gate on the northern boundary of the Park, this 525 kilometre, 5-day track offers an exciting challenge to avid 4×4 enthusiasts and incredible views of the varying landscape to passengers. The excursion launches on a Sunday morning, travelling through Lower Sabie, Olifants and arriving at Ndzepfuri for a final night of camping, before making the final journey on Thursday to Parufi Gate. As a guided experience, Lodge guests will need to contact SANParks directly on +27 (0)12 426-5111 to book this unique adventure.

Afsaal Picnic Site

Positioned along the Mthlowa River, under the shade of tall trees, is the popular picnic site Afsaal. A collection of neat tables in the cool shade and neat bathroom facilities make this spot a favourite to break up a self-drive through the Kruger and enjoy a hearty breakfast or light lunch. Visitors can pack their own picnic basket of goodies, rent a gas braai or order a bite to eat from the kiosk onsite (we hear the pancakes are delicious!). The area surrounding Afsaal is home to a resident wild dog pack, while a number of bird species have been spotted when relaxing for a meal.

Ntandanyathi Bird & Game Hide

A lovely game-viewing hide along the edge of a large water source, the Ntandanyathi Hide offers a peaceful spot from which to enjoy ample birding and spot a number of game in close range. The name ‘Ntandanyathi’ loosely translates to ‘where the buffalo drink’. Most days, a calm hippo pod can be viewed in the cool waters, while a number of antelope species and the occasional Big 5 member have been spotted at the water’s edge. This bird and game hide is located near the Lower Sabie Rest Camp and is wheelchair-friendly.

Kruger Tablets

Known to be a favourite lounging site of the lion, the Kruger Tablets certainly are a location you should stop by while enjoying your self-guided game drive through the Park. The site was originally dedicated to Paul Kruger, who founded Sabie Nature Reserve (later renamed the Kruger National Park), and the engraved plaques can still be seen on one of the large boulders. Enjoy a leisurely drive around this unique outcrop – chances are you’ll spot the big cat lazing about in the heat of the day and end up with loads of wonderful photos!

Masorini Archaeological Site

Located approximately 10km from the Phalaborwa Gate entrance to the Kruger, the Masorini Archaeological Site offers a peek into the history of the Sotho tribe which lived here. The tribe’s livelihood relied on melting and forging iron and the open air settlement that can be viewed today showcases some of the tools, which date back to the Stone Age, as well as the ruins of foundries. SANParks has since reconstructed the homestead and guests can enjoy a guided excursion of the settlement by booking through SANParks on +27 (0)12 426-5111.

These experiences are only a handful of the options available to Kruger National Park visitors; each one offering a unique biome to explore, history to discover and wildlife sightings to be enjoyed. Venture into a new direction on your next visit to explore the Kruger National Park and all it has to offer; a new adventure each time you stay at your beloved home-away-from-home: Ngwenya Lodge.

Which are some of your favourite pit stops when exploring the Kruger National Park? Leave your suggestions for other travellers in the comments section.

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