The easiest way to get to the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve (which is adjacent to Kruger) is to fly from Johannesburg (JNB) to Hoedspruit (HDS). There are two daily direct flights and the HDS airport is about an hour away from the actual camp we stayed at (nThambo Tree Camp). Unfortunately for us, we tried to reserve rather late when only one way was available, so we opted to hire a car and drive from JNB instead. Athough long, the 6-hour drive allowed us to enjoy some breathtaking South African scenery and to see a couple of towns along the way. The main motorways from Johannesburg are excellent, but the smaller roads towards Kruger are full of potholes, and signage is decent if you know the name of the next town along the route. Beware though, one must be VERY alert for traffic police who target speeding tourists (since we're the only ones who can afford the hefty 500 Rand speeding tickets). Yes, I was stopped twice for speeding (unfairly I would argue)... I accepted the first ticket (and subsequently paid it in Cape Town), but I argued my way out of the second and succeeded! The attached photo shows the route we took both ways.
I fly about once a fortnight on business :( and as often as I can for pleasure :), but let me confess up front that although its an integral part of my life, I just don't like flying. And I really don't enjoy airports one little bit.
Which is why I find it somewhat strange to be writing about my 'favourite' airport!
We visit Hoedspruit regularly, and the best option that we have found is to fly with Airlink into tiny Phalaborwa airport, a mining town on the fringe of the Kruger Park. Although the costs are higher than for the Nelspruit option, they tend to be considerably lower than the cost of flights to Hoedspruit itself, and there are more flights per week. The drive from Phalaborwa to Hoedspruit thereafter only takes an hour along a good, fast tar road.
Phalaborwa is also ideally placed for those intending to visit the northern and central parts of Kruger (rather than the more touristed southern section) and offers all the usual amenities, including car hire, a tourist office and lots of accommodation in town.
Phalaborwa airport is a charming and friendly place, with a thatched roof and whimsical lifesize wildlife sculptures in unexpected places (the baboon perched up by the entrance always takes me by surprise). Some inspired designer decided to imprint animal footprints into the cement floor of the terminal building and these keep my children entertained for ages as they try to follow the 'trails' of the respective animals and work out the 'story' that the footprints are telling (extremely useful when you're checking in or sorting our the paperwork for car hire).
Quite simply, I always feel as though my holiday has begun when I land in Phalaborwa, and in my experience, it's rare that you can describe any airport in such glowing terms!
Why drive to Kruger National Park when you can fly here? Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport is the aerial gateway to the Southern part of Kruger National Park. Although it’s a small airport, they have all the major car rental companies here. So, you can fly here and then drive to nearby Kruger or go on to Mozambique. It is also possible to fly here from Johannesburg and save a lot of time and driving!
The following airlines fly here:
Fair Aviation (Pty) Limited - Lanseria Airport
SA Airlink (HIGLY RECOMMENDED MY ME!)
Pelican Air Services
Tel: +27 (0) 11 973 3649
We were sent a car to pick us up and transport us to Idube. This is not the type of trip where you would just land there and get a taxi. The airport is really a concrete strip with one bland concrete building.
This airport is lovely. It is a thatched building situated in an open plain. It is a lovely sight to see and one of my favourite smells in the world: that of a thatched roof! When you go inside the airport that’s just what you smell: bliss! It always reminds me of childhood holidays spent in the parks in and around KZN.
The staff were super efficient and we were able to check in long before our flight. There is not much in the way of entertainment – a small coffee shop upstairs that is comfortable and serves good tasting coffee.
We were able to sit outside on the grass too after checking in…there are not many airports where you can do that…
There is only one flight a day from Durban to Mpumalanga airport, and that is around mid-day. I do advise booking well in advance to make sure you get a seat.
There are three airports near Kruger National Park:
Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport
In the past we have driven to Kruger National Park from our home in Durban, and we have also flown into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.
Airlines flying into these airports are SAAirlink and Nationwide Airlines
The closest airport to Kruger is Mpumalanga airport in Nelspruit. Its about a 40 minute drive from the park. From here you can catch a plane to Johannesburg with other domestic and international connections there.
The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) opened for commercial flight operations on Monday 21 October 2002.
One of the alliance partners, South African Airlink will be operating into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport from this date.
So as to ensure a smooth phase out of Skukuza Airport in the Kruger National Park, South African Express Airways will continue to operate out of Skukuza up until and including Tuesday 22 October 2002.
Thereafter, South African Express Airways will also commence operations into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport management.
THEY NOW HAVE AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT RIGHT MPUMALANGA SO NOW IT IS SO EASY TO GET THERE , BEFORE YOU HAD TO FLY TO JOHANNESBURG INTERNATIONAL THEN DRIVE TO THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK NOW ONE CAN FLY STRAIGHT THERE ........................