Overview of Kruger National Park Rest Camps
Although there are many places outside the Kruger National Park to stay and visit, these places are often expensive or far from the gates to the park. There are 12 rest camps located within the park which provide visitors with the true African bush experience and allow for quick and easy access to explore the park and the wildlife. The rest camps offer basic amenities and are ideal for people wanting affordable, self-catering accommodation. Day visitors as well as overnight guests are welcome at the rest camps.
There is so much to see and experience at the Kruger National Park, and so the rest camps are important as they offer visitors a place where they can to take a break from driving around and get something to eat, or even stay overnight and continue their game drives early the following morning. Below are 5 of the main rest camps in the Kruger National Park that offer the most amenities. All the main rest camps have braai facilities, a shop, electricity, a laundromat, a restaurant, a first-aid kit, a petrol station, and public telephones.
This is the main and largest rest camp where most safaris pass through for lunch and shopping. It can sleep up to 1000 visitors at a time. It is named after James Stevenson-Hamilton who dedicated his life to the Kruger National Park. If visitors wish to stay at Skukuza overnight, there are a variety of accommodation options to choose from including caravans, camping, luxury lodges, or air-conditioned rondavels. If visitors are just stopping by for the day, there are restaurants as well as a lookout point to view animals. Skukuza has a library, swimming pool, conference centre as well as a movie theatre which is shaped like a cylinder with South Africa’s first 360-degree wrap-around screen. The downside to Skukuza is that it can get extremely busy, especially during peak seasons.
This is the camp known for the best lion sightings as there are many prides that live in the area. It is also the best camp to view cheetahs and leopards, making it known as the ‘cat camp’. Satara is the third largest rest camp in the Kruger National Park. It is situated in the centre of the park. Satara is the ideal camp to stay overnight, and it is not as busy as Skukuza. Satara has a rustic feel, and accommodation options include camping, caravans, bungalows, guest cottages, or guest houses. There is a deli as well as a shop to buy souvenirs. This is an ideal camp for families as there is a children’s playground with a swimming pool.
This is one of the newest rest camps in the Kruger National Park as it was opened in 1984. It is a five-star rest camp and is located in the south part of the park. The camp is surrounded by rocky hillsides and is situated on the Matjulu dam banks. Leopards and wild dogs are commonly spotted here. There are also a vast number of bird species found here in the hills. Berg-En-Dal is a great tourist attraction site because San paintings can be viewed in the hill shelters, which are the only remnants of the San tribe who once hunted in this region.
This camp is situated on top of a hill, overlooking the Olifants River. It offers incredible views as well as a tranquil environment. This is one of the more modern camps. This camp is known as the home of the elephants and there are high up lookout points to view the wildlife. Accommodation includes thatched bungalows and guest houses. One of the huts is disabled-friendly, allowing people with mobility difficulties to still be able to enjoy a unique safari experience. Olifants camp is an ideal spot for picnics. There is the Tindlovu restaurant which offers South African inspired cuisine amongst breathtaking views.
Lower Sabie is a rest camp situated on the southern bank of the Sabie River, which flows through the Kruger National Park. The river attracts many animals, making this camp a great viewpoint. Lower Sabie connects to Skukuza via the H4-1 tarred road – the busiest road in the park. There is a Mugg & Bean restaurant that overlooks the river. Accommodation includes a camp/caravan site with a swimming pool, a luxury guest house, thatched bungalows, cottages, and safari tents. Lower Sabie camp has large lawns and many trees providing shade, making it a popular family destination.
Other Rest Camps in the Kruger National Park
The remaining 7 rest camps at the Kruger National Park that have not been mentioned above are Crocodile Bridge, Letaba, Mopani, Orpen, Pretoriuskop, Punda Maria, and Shingwedzi. The camps are all located in different areas of the park, ensuring that there will always be a place not too far from wherever visitors might be to go to the toilet, eat food, hydrate with water, fill up with petrol, or sleep over.