2024-05 Ngwenya Lodge and SANParks – Kruger National Park

Overview, trip report, images, and reviews from our visit to Ngwenya Lodge and SANParks – Kruger National Park.

Overview

An experience unmatched; Ngwenya Lodge sits perched along two kilometers of prime Crocodile River frontage, which borders the Kruger National Park. Journey to the edge of the divide where comfortable holiday living meets the rugged expanse of South African wilderness.

A location unbeaten; the Resort meets the Southeastern section of the Kruger National Park and with its evergreen riverine habitat, provides an excellent setting from which to enjoy great year-round game-viewing and birding without having to leave the gates.

A journey to be cherished; Ngwenya strives to provide guests with a holiday environment that is designed for making ever-lasting memories; memories of quality time spent with loved ones, of unsurpassed game viewing opportunities and of special in-between moments, which make them feel a part of a Family.

Trip Report
Sunrise

Introduction

Kruger National Park (KNP): “Best Place on Earth“, as it is fondly referred to, and we had the opportunity to spend 7 incredible days whilst making use of Ngwenya Lodge as a launchpad to access the Park.

Knowing we’d be exploring for several days, obtaining a Wildcard made financial sense.

Recent rains and warm weather in the area prompted us to take malaria tablets as a precaution.

Ngwenya Lodge wasn’t new territory for us. Fond memories from a prior KNP trip made it an easy choice for our home base again.

Travel & Check-in

We set off for our destination with moderate traffic along the way. A considerable number of trucks were travelling in the same direction, but they didn’t slow us down much. Road conditions were good overall, with just a couple of minor delays due to construction. We took the Schoemanskloof route as it is more scenic, in our opinion.

Arriving at Ngwenya Lodge, checking in went smoothly and without a hitch and soon we were settled in our spacious unit overlooking a small pond.

Self-drive Routes

Our point of entry to the Park was to be the Crocodile Bridge Gate, roughly 15 km from Ngwenya Lodge. I plotted out 4 self-drive routes making use of a detailed map sourced from krugerpark.com. I captured the waypoints on the map in Google My Maps, which was then exported and imported into Garmin BaseCamp for transferring to our Garmin GPS as “Trips”.

These are the routes I had planned originally:

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Route 1 – Lower Sabie Rest Camp

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Route 2 – Afsaal Picnic Site

Monday, May 6, 2024

Route 3 – Skukuza Rest Camp

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Route 1 – Lower Sabie Rest Camp

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Route 2 – Afsaal Picnic Site

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Route 3 – Skukuza Rest Camp

Friday, May 10, 2024

Route 4 – Berg en Dal, Malelane Gate, Pretoria

Sadly, after driving our routes set out for Saturday and Sunday, the poor road conditions of most of the secondary roads (“S” roads), forced me to adapt our trips, adhering mostly to the tarred roads (“H” roads).

This was our revised routes:

Monday, May 6, 2024

Route 3 – Lake Panic Bird Hide

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Route 4 – Tshokwane Picnic Site

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Route 5 – Renosterkoppies Dam

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Route 6 – Lower Sabie, Skukuza, Afsaal, Malelane Gate

Friday, May 10, 2024

Departure – Pretoria

This still allowed ample time for wildlife viewing and we were fortunate to have excellent sightings and experiences. The majority of the facilities and establishments we visited inside the Park were well maintained and staff were always friendly and helpful. Entry and exit via Croc Bridge and Malelane gates were smooth and hassle-free. It helps to complete all the paperwork required beforehand.

Check out & Travel

Checking out and returning home happened way too soon and we were on our way, subdued but content and rejuvenated by spending time in nature. The return trip was a breeze – lighter traffic allowed us to make good progress, arriving home safely and without incident.

Places visited

En route, we had a quick pitstop at Alzu Petroport but did not stay long as it was extremely busy. Milly’s is our stop of choice whenever we travel to Mpumulanga and we did so again this time.

We drove to Komatipoort on one occasion to stock up on some critical supplies and were overwhelmed by the number of trucks waiting to enter Mozambique at the border post.

On our return trip, we stopped at Joubert and Sons Farmstall to purchase some treats for ourselves and friends and family back home. We also had our compulsory stop at Milly’s.

We can not fault any of the places we visited and would recommend a visit.

Reflect

Leaving Kruger is always bittersweet. The fellowship among park visitors, united by a love for nature, creates a sense of community and belonging. Spending a week in this environment was truly priceless. The experience instilled a sense of mindfulness, making every moment spent photographing wildlife and exploring the park unforgettable.

We’ve already made reservations for October when Sanbonani will be our launchpad for exploring the Central Kruger. We can’t wait to be back!