Drive Yourself Hazy at Kruger National Park
Need the perfect base for a self-drive safari in South Africa’s Kruger National Park? The town of Hazyview ticks all the boxes.
If you’re planning a trip to South Africa, and want the freedom of a self-drive safari but don’t want to be based within the park’s own rest camps, you can face a complex and sometimes overwhelming decision about where to stay. The winning location has to be within a short drive of a Kruger Gate, have plenty of facilities and ideally provide attractions to keep you interested should you decide to take a day off from all that game-viewing action. An easy and enjoyable solution to this conundrum is to base yourself in the town of Hazyview, just 10km from Kruger.
This bustling town, named after the haze that hangs over the bushveld in the summer months, is perfect for exploring the game-rich Southern section of Kruger. You can reach the Phabeni Gate in less than 20 minutes, and if you want to cover more ground (there are strict speed limits inside Kruger limiting your range) or vary your entry point you can drive an extra 30 minutes to reach the Paul Kruger Gate.
Hazyview is also perfectly positioned for a foray into the surrounding area’s amazing natural attractions – the countryside around the Blyde River Canyon and Blydepoort Dam offers a selection of incredible viewpoints, such as The Pinnacle, and there are a series of waterfalls, pools, caves and potholes to see; all are well signposted and easily accessible by car on a pleasant day trip around the Panorama Route.
Originally just a small local market town surrounded by banana plantations, Hazyview has expanded to become a bustling centre for transport, provisions and hotels, mostly stretched along the R40 road to Nelspruit. Using it as a base means you’ll have a good selection of shops and restaurants on your doorstep, to keep you stocked up for the inevitable picnicking you’ll do – whether at a dedicated picnic spot, in the presence of the wildlife inside Kruger or with the backdrop of a jaw-dropping viewpoint.
After a hard few day’s game-driving you might want to try one of the more physical activities on offer around town – you’ll be surprised at just how much there is to entice you away from the park: there’s aerial cable trails through the treetops, horse riding, abseiling, rafting and even quad biking, if you have the desire to get back on 4-wheels.
Hazyview at-a-glance: A straightforward hour’s drive from Kruger Mpumalanga airport, Hazyview is a tourist-friendly town, geared towards Kruger visitors, making it an easy-to-navigate base for the park. The added advantage is the plentiful alternatives to wall-to-wall game viewing vying for tourists’ attention.
See: As well as Kruger itself, the Blyde River Canyon area is stunningly beautiful with scenery that makes you happy to leave the Big 5 behind. Don’t miss the Three Rondawels - three huge spirals of dolomite rock rising out of the canyon, or viewpoints like God’s Window and Wonder View, which live up to their exacting names.
Do: Visit the Elephant Sanctuary next door to the Casa Do Sol Hotel Hotel.
Eat: The town of Graskop is famous for Harrie’s Pancake Shop, which has been dishing out crepes for 18 years and promises ‘you won’t find a better pancake in South Africa’.
Picnic Provisions: Perry’s Bridge Centre is the best place in town to stop off for snacks – there’s a Belgian patisserie with a very tempting selection of picnic fodder and restaurants serving everything from pizza and steak to top-class sushi.
Shop: Most people don’t come to Mpumalanga for the shopping - but if you need supplies there’s a large modern mall in Hazyview with a Pick n Pay supermarket, as well as a selection of other stores. Your best bet for souvenirs are the roadside curio vendors you’ll see along the way - and this is a good way to put money straight into the pockets of locals.
Stay: Casa So Sol Hotel & Resort
Ideal for families and groups seeking a comfortable, spacious villa experience without the hassle of renting a property for a full week or having to self-cater, the hotel has very large homely suites, ranging from villas and casas to standard twins and doubles. Set in vast grounds built to resemble a Mediterranean village, all within a secure gated environment, there’s a large pool for a pre or post-safari dip and the hotel can help organise excursions and activities.
For more information on places to stay in Kruger National Park and amazing deals on flights to South Africa visit our website or call 0208 045 4186 and speak to a consultant.