• travel guide
  • Travel Guides
  • Apps & eBooks
  • Community
  • Publish Apps
Hippos fighting, Sabie river crossing  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Africa > South Africa > Kruger National Park > Hotels & Sleeping

Skukuza Rest Camp

  
Click for larger image
Upload Photo     Upload Video

Add a Point to the Map

Skukuza

Kruger's largest camp and the administrative centre of the park, Skukuza feels more like a small town than a rest camp. This is not the place to stay for a wilderness experience, but it does have a wide range of facilities, the best park shop if you need to stock up, and, most importantly, is in one of the very best parts of the park for game viewing. All of the big five are regularly seen within a few kilometres of Kruger, along with wild dogs, cheetah, spotted hyaena, and a full supporting cast of must-see species. The downside is that you are unlikely to have these wonderful sightings to yourself, with predator sightings in particular leading to traffic jams blocking the roads and occasionally resulting in frayed tempers.

As if the camp isn't busy enough already, SANParks recently opened a brand new, large and architecturally unappealing conference centre in the heart of the camp, and has controversial plans to build a large hotel to service conferences. Quite what impact this will have on visitor numbers in the camp and its surrounding areas remains to be seen.

Nonetheless, Skukuza is a good place to get your bearings in the park, it's easily accessible from Johannesburg, and if you need to pick up the odd travel items that you forgot to pack, or book a few nights accommodation at any of Kruger's camps, this is the best place to do so.

Accommodation

Skukuza has a lot of accommodation units, and it shows. Chalets are arranged in orderly rows and don't boast the personal space that more recently built camps allow. There are 80 camp sites for tents or caravans, 20 safari tents, and more than 200 chalets. The bulk of these are the classic rest camp rondavels, round bungalows with two or three beds, ensuite toilet and shower (occasionally bath), airconditioning, barbeque and a fridge. They come in various configurations, with or without a basic kitchenette on the stoep (verandah), some with disabled access, and some with their stoep enclosed with mosquito wire, if you're paranoid about malaria and don’t mind feeling like a caged animal. Some are supplied with crockery and cutlery (check when booking), or you can hire a selection from reception. Not all units have electric kettles, but small communal kitchens with boiling water geysers and electric rings are scattered around the camp

If you're willing to splash out, there are also some luxury bungalows, with better fixtures, fittings, and kitchen facilities, satellite TVs, and views overlooking the Sabie river, as well as some ‘semi-luxury’ bungalows without the view. And for larger groups there are four guest houses, well-equipped for eight to twelve people, with microwaves, TVs, etc.

Facilities

Skukuza has a bank (with foreign exchange and an ATM), post office, medical and dental facilities, and an accommodation booking office. There is a branch of Avis, based at reception, where you can pick up and drop off pre-booked vehicles, a large fuel station, and a vehicle workshop. There is also a car wash (expect to pay around R50 for a one hour hand wash, vacuum and general clean-up).

Skukuza’s shop is the best stocked in the park, with a wide range of curios, clothing, camping accessories, camera gear, books and magazines, and food and drink. You can even get daily newspapers, though English language ones can sell out fast. Behind the shop is the Wooden Banana cafeteria, with the usual range of sandwiches, burgers, salads, snack food and drinks. Following the privatisation of park catering, the café has undergone a series of revamps (for a while you could even get the full range of fancy American-style coffees) and there’s no telling when and what the next incarnation will be. There’s a pleasant sitting out area, with views over the Sabie river or shady spots under cover (look up to see the charming Wahlberg’s epaulleted fruit bats that roost under the thatch, but don’t sit directly below them!). Next to the cafeteria is the main Jackalberry restaurant, serving breakfast, lunches and dinners. It’s a bit institutional, but has nice outside tables overlooking the river. It's open 07:00 to 10:00 for breakfast, 12:00 to 14:30 for lunch and 18:00 to 22:00 for dinner.

Skukuza has a second restaurant, the Selati Grillhouse, which offers a change from the usual all-you-can-eat buffet. Its based in an old restored train (trains used to run into Skukuza, crossing the rail bridge that you can see from in front of the cafeteria), and serves steaks, chops, burgers, and bistro type meals. Booking is advisable (tel: +27 (013) 735 5658). The Selati is located in a rather out-of-the way spot up at the back of the camp beyond the campsite, but easy to find with the help of the camp map you’ll be given when checking in. It’s open 07:30 to 22:30.

There’s an internet café with desktop computers next to the cafeteria, and there is also Wi-fi at reception, and 3G connectivity at various points throughout the camp. South Africa’s connectivity isn’t entirely reliable yet, so getting online can be difficult at time.

If you need to do laundry, there’s a laundromat on the camp site, with coin operated washing machines and tumble dryers, a snip at R5 and R2 respectively.

Activities

The Stevenson-Hamilton memorial library and museum has interesting displays about Kruger's history, culture and wildlife, as well as natural history books and magazines, including scientific journals. It's a little old fashioned, and has the hushed air of a library, but is a good place to while away a few minutes, or several hours if you are an enthusiastic naturalist.  The museum part of the building was refurbished in 2013.

In front of the library is an open-air auditorium where nature documentaries are shown in early evening.

Skukuza boasts no fewer than three swimming pools. They can get pretty hectic during schools holidays, but at other times can be quiet and relaxing places to exercise and cool off, particularly since day visitors were redirected to a picnic site 4km east of the camp, where there is another pool.

You can book guided bush walks and game drives at reception. Game drives take place around sunrise (leaving camp before the gates open to general tourists), and sunset, and usually include some time down management tracks where self-drive tourists can't go. Driving back to camp after dark is a great way to see an otherwise busy part of the park without hordes of other tourists around. Bush walks with a maximum of eight guests (no children) depart in early morning and afternoon, and are accompanied by en experienced and armed guide.

You can also book onto a bush braai, which includes a game drive there and back, some of it after dark.

It's also possible to arrange an all-day drive, where you hire the use of a vehicle and trained guide and visit usually inaccessible parts of the park, but you need to book at least two months in advance.

Skukuza is the jumping off point for the Metsi-Metsi wilderness trail, a three night, two day guided walking trip to an area near Tshokwane picnic site, staying in rustic bush accommodation.

Last , but not least, Skukuza has a nine hole, eighteen tee golf course, which visitors can use on weekday mornings.

Wildlife in the camp

You don't need to leave Skukuza to enjoy Kruger's wildlife. From in front of the cafeteria you can watch hippos and the occasional buffalo grazing among the reeds of the Sabie River, while bushbuck often creep along the fenceline. Warthog forage in the camp, and vervet monkeys are always on the lookout for food to steal – don't leave windows or doors open, or food unattended. We even had a spotted hyaena raid our dustbin one night, although hyaena are removed by the authorities if they do break in. Around dusk is a good time to spot fruit bats flitting among the trees and when darkness falls genets and bush babies venture out.

Skukuza has some beautiful large trees, including sycamore figs, jackalberry and Natal mahogany. Fig trees attract a host of bird life, including African green pigeons in the riverfront trees. Serious twitchers should scan the river below for the rare African finfoot, as this is one of the best places to see them in the park, while in the skies above the river bat-hawks are sometimes seen at dusk.

Directions

Best entry gates for Skukuza

Skukuza is 62km from Kruger's Malelane gate, the most accessible point of entry when driving from Johannesburg. Allow at least 90 minutes drive from the gate. Closer gates are Paul Kruger (12km), Phabeni (38km) and Numbi (56km), which are convenient alternatives if you are coming from the Hazyview oir White River areas.

Type: Resort
Budget level: Mid Range
Costs: Camping from R215, Chalets from R915
Location: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Telephone: +27 13 735 4265


Hotel Deals for Skukuza Rest Camp - best price guarantee
 





 
Users for Skukuza Rest Camp
1 0 0
Make it Happen!

Our service for you - your travel checklist:

  1. Read our online guides
  2. Find a cheap flight
  3. Book a nice hotel
  4. Get travel insurance
    - even during your trip -

...and have fun!