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A 10-day Roadtrip Itinerary for Kruger National Park


If you’re seeking an extraordinary adventure in the heart of Southern Africa, set your sights on the untamed beauty of South Africa’s top Safari destination: Kruger National Park (and it’s surrounding private game reserves). This 10-day itinerary promises a journey through iconic landscapes, from the captivating wildlife encounters in Sabi Sands to the sprawling savannahs of Kruger National Park. As we delve into each day of this expedition, you’ll discover the thrill of sunrise safaris, the magic of Blyde River Canyon, and the unique experience of taking a self-drive tour in Kruger National Park.

Kruger National Park is the biggest national park in South Africa, and stands as an iconic testament to the country’s extraordinary wildlife and natural beauty. Encompassing a vast expanse of approximately 19,000 square kilometres, the park extends into both the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, in the country’s Northeastern part. Renowned as one of the largest game reserves in Africa, Kruger National Park is a sanctuary for an incredible array of wildlife, including the famed Big Five—lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. It is the most exciting place on earth to go in Safari and one of the best places to visit in South Africa.

10-day Roadtrip Itinerary for Kruger National Park

This 10-day itinerary is made up of three main destinations: Blyde River Canyon (& surrounding Graskop region), Sabi Sands private game reserve (which actually is part of Kruger National Park, but is owned privately) and Kruger National Park. This itinerary is just what you need for an epic adventure in South Africa. Each spot brings something special to the table, showcasing the incredible beauty of South Africa.

Whether you’re a safari enthusiast, a nature lover, or an adventurer at heart, this itinerary promises to unravel the best of South Africa’s wild side, from the heart-stopping encounters with the Big Five to the breathtaking landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. 


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So without further ado, let’s jump into the 10-day roadtrip itinerary in South Africa’s North Eastern borders of Kruger National Park.

10-day Roadtrip Itinerary in South Africa’s best Safari Destination: Kruger National Park

DAY 1: Drive from Johannesberg to Blyde River Canyon (5hrs driving)

Arrive at Johannesburg International Airport, head straight to the rental car area, and embark on a long drive to Blyde River Canyon. The journey is straightforward, taking the N4 highway until reaching Belfast and then turning onto the R540.

Safety tip: Ensure you arrive at Blyde before dark, as driving at night is not recommended. Consider booking an overnight flight arriving in the morning.

This first drive is the longest one (circa 5hrs) of the trip so stock up on snacks, water, energy drinks and set off to Forever Blyde Resort. 

Now, if you google this resort on, it might seem a little “family-friendly” and suburban, but it’s strategically located next to the Canyon, providing access to various hikes. Entry fees for these hikes are included in your accommodation booking, whereas others on tours would need to pay this separately (R50 per person per entry). So Forever Blyde resort is one of the best places to stay in Blyde River Canyon.

If you’re after smaller, trendier accommodation, then I’d recommend staying in Hoedspruit as there are more options there as Hoedspruit is a bit of a hub. (But if I’m being honest, most accommodations in this region are basic but comfortable hotels!)After reaching the hotel, drop off your bags and then make your way to the upper lookout so you can catch the sunset at one of the most iconic viewpoints in the region (and it’s a 5min drive from your bed, so you can then get some much-needed rest after a long drive).

10-day Roadtrip Itinerary for Kruger National Park


DAY 2: Hiking in Blyde River Canyon

Blyde River Canyon is a hiking haven as there is so many different landscapes within the Canyon. The hike you choose to take will depend on your level of fitness & what you want to see!

The hikes within Forever Resort are:

  • Leopard Trail (4km): Offers a great view of the Three Rondavels and a hike through the canyon.
  • Kadishi-Tufai Waterfall Trail (2km): A loop passing through the Tufa waterfall.

Other popular hikes in Blyde River Canyon are

  • Bourkes Potholls (1km hike) – this hike is famous for the astonishing pothole formations the river created in the Canyon. Entrance fee is R65 per person.
  • Hippo trail (13.5km, for more experienced hikers) – the Hippo Trail is famous for unparalleled views of the canyon from a lower viewpoint, but also for the abundance of birdlife and wildlife, especially Hippos! Permits cost R20 per person and can be bought at Swadini Nature Reserve.
  • Belvedere hike by Dientjie falls (10km, for moderate to more experienced hikers) – this hike is a continuation of the Bourkes Potholes hike and leads to the stunning Dientjie falls. The costs is also R65 per person and you must start the hike before 11am.

Depending on your level of energy and hiking experience, there’s always the option to do two shorter hikes in one day to make the most of your full day at Blyde. But, you can always save one hike for the next morning if jetlag is still hitting you (or book on for another night and extend your trip a little longer past 10 days).

For the beginner to intermediate jet-lagged hikers, I’d recommend doing the two hikes within Forever Resort as they’re different hikes – one offers views and the other a chance to swim in a waterfall.

Finish the day with a short drive to Rondavels viewpoint for a different sunset angle. There is a small fee of R20 to access the viewpoint, and you must leave before 6 pm.


DAY 3: Blyde River Canyon & Sabi Sands (2.5hrs driving)

If one day of hiking is enough, then here are two options on how to spend your last morning at Blyde River Canyon before driving down to Sabi Sands Game reserve:

Option 1: Take a scenic boat cruise down Blyde River to experience the Canyon from the water. This tour is 1.5hrs long and costs circa R220 per person. This tour is for nature lovers as it offers a unique perspective of the Canyon’s majestic landscapes, giving you the chance to soak in the beauty of the cliffs, lush surroundings, and also allows you to get up close to the wildlife in the region. Tours start from 9 am onwards. After the tour, head back to the hotel, pack your bags, and start the drive to sabi Sands.

Option 2: Pack up the car with your belongings as the places you’ll visit today are on the way to sabi Sands. The route down to sabi Sands takes you through the Graskop region where there are a number of attractions you can stop at as you make your way down to Sabi Sands. One of them being Bourkes Luck Potholes mentioned above, so this could be an added stop on the way. The other two main attractions are: Lisbon Falls & God’s Window View.

Lisbon Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in south Africa. The dramatic landscapes and rocks make it a striking natural wonder. This is only a slight detour from the route to Sabi Sands and is well worth a stop at. There’s a small entrance fee to pay of R20.

Not far from Lisbon falls is God’s Window, a famous viewpoint in the region promising sights for sore eyes.It just feels full of life! The panoramic view at the end is also nothing short of breathtaking, a sweeping canvas of emerald-green treetops, deep valleys, and distant mountain ranges.

Depending on how early or late you set off, there are other places to stop along the way if you really want to tick everything off the list like:

  • Berlin Falls, an 80m waterfall
  • The pinnacle rock viewpoint, a 30m rock standing amidst dense forest

Whichever option you choose, just give yourself enough time be at your accommodation in Sabi Sands for 3pm so there’s enough time to join the evening safari drive!

We stayed at Umkumbe Bush Lodge in Sabi Sands and it was a-mazing! We were in their “honeymoon” suite which was the most luxurious tent I’ve ever stayed in. The suite’s attention to detail and the intimate connection to nature made our stay truly unforgettable. From cozy evenings on the private deck to waking up to the sounds of the African bush, every moment at Umkumbe Bush Lodge felt like a dream.


DAY 4 & 5: Safari game drives in Sabi Sands

Your itinerary for day 4 & 5 will be very similar as the purpose of staying within a private game reserve is to go on safari and see the incredible wildlife in action! But this does news to spread across a couple of days and drives as not everyone is lucky to see the big 5 in just one drive (but it does definitely happen!).

For the next two days, you’ll be waking at the crack of dawn to go a morning game drive from 5am to 8 am in the hopes of spotting the wildlife that are active in the early morning, followed by a delicious breakfast. 

If you haven’t got enough dose of the wildlife, then there’s the option to go on a wildlife walk from 9am-11am where a knowledgeable guide takes you through the reserve on foot, offering insights into the smaller wonders of the ecosystem and sharing fascinating details about the wildlife.


If the 5am start for you was too much, then you can spend the rest of the morning relaxing at the lodge enjoying the pool and relaxing environment. Lunch is served between 12-2pm. Then there’s another 2hrs for you to relax until the evening game drive that sets off at 4pm and returns at 7pm.

The evening game drive is probably the best drive of the day as the African sunset really doesn’t disappoint but also because tracking and getting to see nocturnal animals is super exciting.



Most lodges also offer spa treatments so that’s another great thing to do in your free time!

This itinerary gives you a total of 5 game drives which is a pretty decent amount, but some people say the perfect nights number of nights to stay at a private game reserve is 3 nights to give you more opportunity to see all the animals. If time isn’t of the essence, then maybe booking a 3 night stay could be a good call!

DAY 6: Sabi Sands & Self Drive though Kruger National Park

If you’ve gotten used to the early game drives, there’s definitely an opportunity to sneak a last one in on the morning of day 6 of this road trip as the drive to Kruger National Park isn’t far (about 1hr).

Kruger National Park is a highlight of the trip. This national park spans 19,000 square kilometres and is known for its diverse landscapes and a wide variety of animals, including the famous Big Five. And as it’s so big, there are a number of different gates to access it. The roads are well maintained and there is 50 mile/ph speed limit so take this into consideration when planning routes!

For this itinerary, head to Paul Kruger gate and drive through to Skukuza for a snack and fill up with fuel. Start a little list on your phone listing all the animals you see on your way, this list will get very long very fast!

From Skukuza, head north east to the grasslands of Satara – the most open region of Kruger. Spend 1 night here and enjoy a night drive and sunrise drive, where you’re most likely to witness the big 5, especially the big cats. This is the best spot to view cheetah & leopard.



Warning for those with drones: Photographers, professional or hobbyists, flying drones in Kruger National Park is strictly prohibited and every gate will check your belongings to make sure these aren’t brought in. If you do have one, let the guard at the gate know and they will tie it up with a plastic lock so it can’t fly.

DAY 7: Kruger National Park (Satara & Lower Sabi)

After a night in the park, get up early and drive south along the eastern edge of Kruger through miles upon miles of grasslands, until you reach Nkumbe View Site, with a view across untouched savannah. This is one of my favourite spots. 



After a quick stop to admire the view and spot a few animals in the distance, continue on to Lower Sabi, where you’ll spend the next night in a rest camp that borders the Sabi river.


DAY 8: Kruger National Park (Lower Sabi) & Malelane

Enjoy a sunrise drive in Lower Sabi where there is the highest density of leopard, then continue south towards Crocodile Bridge Gate at the southern tip of the park. A spot famous for lion, cheetah and wild dog sightings.



Exit Crocodile Bridge gate and drive 40mins towards Malelane, where you’ll spend the last night in a hotel right on the river bordering Kruger park. We stayed at River View Inn. The rooms were big and the beds were comfy!

DAY 9: Malelane & back to Johannesburg

From Malelane it is an easy journey back to Johannesburg, but if you have a late flight then you’ve also got time to enter the park one last time and enjoy a route around the southern region of Kruger. But I imagine by this point in the trip, you might just want a lie in before the 4.5hr drive back to Johannesburg. 



As we didn’t fancy a night in Johannesburg, we took a late night flight back to London so simply stayed at the airport once we dropped off the car.

(OPTIONAL) DAY 10: Johannesburg

Spend the day recovering from an awesome trip before your flight back, and pop into Johannesburg for a final meal.


Have you got any recommendations for a Kruger National Park safari?

Anything we’ve missed? Anything you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring…

Sté Marques

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