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logistics/driving to kruger

Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
19 posts
logistics/driving to kruger

I have a question regarding getting to and from Kruger....We have a flight booked the morning 10/29 to JNB. The plan is to rent a car and drive part way to Kruger area (Graskop or Hazyview maybe) then wake up and 10/30 and continue to Arathusa where we will spend 3 nights and check out on 11/2. On 11/2 we have an international flight departing JNB at 11pm. Originally I had planned to drive back to JNB on 11/2 after the morning game drive (aim to leave at 10am) which would give us 13 hours to get back to JNB, return the rental car, and check in for our flight. This seems like plenty of time but now I'm getting nervous what if we run into some kind of problem on the way back to the airport. I know "what ifs" can happen no matter what...but do you think this is a reasonable plan?

An alternative would be to take a flight from Hoedspruit or Nedspruit back to JNB. Which would still require 2-3 hours of driving and add about 400-500 in cost (rental car looks like an extra $100 and flight price around 200 each for 2). I'm willing to pay the cost if it would bring significantly more peace of mind. Are the flights very reliable from these small airports? I have also heard they can be cancelled for bad weather maybe since the planes are smaller?

Would appreciate any advice on this topic. I now wish i had built in an extra day after arathusa too but unfortunately flights cannot be changed at this point. Thanks!

3 replies to this topic
New York
Level Contributor
58 posts
24 reviews
1. Re: logistics/driving to kruger

I think you will be fine driving from Arathusa to JNB for an 11pm flight same day. We were actually scheduled to fly from Hoedspruit to JNB, and then our flight was cancelled with the grounding of SA Express, so we ended up renting a car and driving instead. The drive from Hoedspruit was about 5-6 hours, and we had time to stop for lunch along the way. Looks like the drive from Arathusa is about 6 hours. If you leave by 10/11am after the morning drive and breakfast, you have 9-10 hours to get to the airport (plan to arrive by 8pm for an 11pm international flight). Of course, anything can happen, but that should really leave you with enough time. Also, there's a gas station at the airport, sort of above where you return the rental car, where you can fill up the tank prior to dropping it off.

Have fun!! Safari is AMAZING!

Leeds, United...
Destination Expert
for Western Cape, Cape Town Central
Level Contributor
5,280 posts
625 reviews
2. Re: logistics/driving to kruger

You have lots of time to drive back to JNB, and a cushion of around 4 hours.

Planes can also be cancelled.

I would stick to your original plan and have a leisurely drive back to the airport.

Long Island, New...
Level Contributor
6,607 posts
21 reviews
3. Re: logistics/driving to kruger

You’ll be fine. I like to be in my international city the night before but even with any “issues”, you have plenty of time. Here’s Arathusa’s directions. It conservatively says it’s 7 hours. After the morning game drive and brunch, you should have no problem being on the road by 11am. For flight at 11pm/23:00, best to be at the airport by around 7pm/19:00 to return car, check in, security, have something to eat before the very long flights.


It’s not a very exciting drive. Too bad there’s not a significantly better way. You could fly there, get the Ashton’s shuttle (or other service) back. Are you flying in from Cape Town? There are direct flights to HDS. There’s also the flights to Arathusa’s airstrip - we refer to it as Arathusa International. It’s a tar strip and a wind sock. :) Cessna Caravans fly there - small 20 person planes. Great fun if your budget allows - especially landing at Arathusa.

The planes aren’t smaller, same commercial regional planes as at home and same weather conditions can cause cancellations. Nelspruit is well over 3 hours from Arathusa so won’t help that much. I rent with Avis because they have the most outlets should there be any issues.

All that said, you’ll be ok. And you’ll love S Africa.

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