Johannesburg to The Kruger National Park

By Pierre Cronje, a Marketing Executive based in Cape Town Head Office, writes about the awesome Kruger National Park, in our Local Getaways series. With STA Travel, START THE ADVENTURE. #WeKnowBecauseWeGo

Driving across to Kruger National Park from Johannesburg is a relatively easy journey, taking approximately five hours if you take the highways. That said, here at STA Travel, we’re all about the road less travelled and taking the scenic route! So, without further ado..

Escaping the city

Heading eastwards into Mpumalanga, the ‘land of the rising sun’, the jacaranda trees and gleaming highrises of Johannesburg are replaced by glorious grass plains. Make sure you have a good road trip playlist and settle in for a short stint on the highway. This is also a good time to fill up and grab a few snacks for along the way.

First stop, Dullstroom

Once you get out of the city, continue on the N12 towards Belfast. Just before you reach Belfast, turn onto the R540, a beautiful road that leads to the magical town of Dullstroom. This is where you can make your first pitstop en route to the Kruger! Grab a bite to eat (try anything with trout, as Dullstroom is known for its trout farms) and grab a coffee before hitting the road again.

Next Stop, Graskop via the Long Tom Pass

Make your way towards Lydenburg and turn right onto the R37. Now you are officially on the famous Panoramic Route! It is as beautiful as the name suggests, so get ready for lots of stops and photo opps! The winding pass will lead you to a small forestry town called Sabi, but push on through for another 30km until you reach Graskop. Time for some lunch. Fuel up at the World Famous Harrie’s Pancakes for the best savoury pancakes you’ll ever taste.

Pilgrim’s Rest

Only about 17km from Graskop you’ll find Pilgrim’s Rest, a small and characterful 19th century gold rush town. We suggest you spend the night here and take the rest of the afternoon to soak up all the amazing heritage the town has to offer.

Bourke’s Luck Potholes, Three Rondavels and God’s Window

The following morning, pack your bags and make your way towards the Bourke’s Luck Potholes. No, it’s not potholes in the road, but actually a spectacular natural sight. Millennia of churning water has eroded surreal, cylindrical ‘giant’s kettles’ into a gorge, which can be viewed from above via walkways and bridges.

Continue on the R532 until you reach the Three Rondavels Viewpoint in the Blyde River Canyon. Make sure your camera is charged as this site is truly magical. Blyde River Canyon is best explained through superlatives: at 25 km long, it is the largest green canyon in the world; and with sheer walls averaging 750 metres, it also has the most impressive cliffs, putting the USA’s Grand Canyon and Namibia’s Fish River Canyon to shame.

Make sure you leave some memory card space, as the next stop is God’s Window. As heavenly as the name suggests, on a clear day, it’s said you can look down upon the lowveld and across the Kruger, into Mozambique and beyond.

Kruger National Park

To reach your destination, join onto the R535 until you reach Hazyview and then continue on the R536 until you reach the Kruger Gate. This is the main gate of the Kruger National Park. Now it is time to zone in and sport the Big 5!

For more inspiration, visit our Local Getaways page. Or call for a chat. We’re WFH, but it’s business as usual for trip planning and cyber hugs.