About Kruger's Rest Camps
Kruger National Park is home to a complex list of accommodation options that can be overwhelming to the first-time visitor. It can even leave those who have been before scratching their heads as to where they should stay on their next trip!
This page outlines the SANParks-managed main rest camps and satellite camps, sharing high-level information on their facilities and the local wildlife experience they offer. There are several smaller bush camps not listed here but SANParks has plenty of info on them.
There are 12 main rest camps within Kruger National Park. They are located throughout the park, although there are more options in the south compared to the north. Many visitors staying in these camps are self-drivers, although some will also be accompanied by guides. Each camp also offers a range of morning, afternoon, sunset and night game drives that you can book onto and pay extra for.
Accommodation ranges from simple campgrounds where you erect your own tent, through a range of 'rondavel' bungalows and then up to larger houses ideal for big groups.
By exploring the below information, you will be better able to plan your self-drive Kruger safari by understanding the distances between camps and whether the camp offers the kind of wildlife you are hoping to see.
The KrugerExplorer App also contains over 70 of our favourite routes from the park - read through these to help decide which areas of the park you are most interested in visiting too.
Kruger rest camps (north to south)
Note there are several small bushcamps and numerous private lodges that are not listed here - see our Private Reserves page for more information on the private lodge options (page coming soon).
Maps & Distance Charts
The following map is a useful overview of the locations of each of the main rest camps within Kruger National Park. The distance chart can be used to estimate times to drive between camps, noting we recommend about a 20kmh average speed in calculations, to allow time to stop for the wildlife you see on the way.
Main Rest Camps
Punda Maria is the northernmost camp in Kruger. It is close to the Punda Maria Gate and is situated on the rocky Dimbo Hill that offers excellent birding and some rare antelope species. Another major attraction here is access to the far north of the park - an area called the Pafuri region. The forests here are stunningly beautiful and are the only area of Kruger that can truly be called tropical. This makes for a very different safari experience; drives will encounter rare antelope and a myriad of bird species, many of which cannot be seen further south. The nearby Klopperfontein Dam is also a local hotspot for game viewing, including a large resident pride of lions.
Punda Maria is one of the smaller rest camps and hosts only a modest number of bungalows, but a large camping ground. The restaurant is small and can get busy / full but the shop is relatively well stocked. A short walking trail around the back of the accommodation is worth taking as resident bushbuck and rare birds can be encounter up-close. A hide overlooks a waterhole where elephants are regular visitors and there is a swimming pool should you need to cool off during the day.
The Shingwedzi rest camp is situated in a remote northern area of Kruger National Park that is excellent for game driving, is in the heart of elephant country and is considerably less busy than the south of the park. Particular game drive highlights include the S50, the Babalala Loop and the Red Rocks Loop, all of which offer varied wildlife viewing across a range of ecozones and habitats. Predators, particularly leopard and spotted hyena, herbivores and an abundance of birds of prey are all found in this wonderful section of Kruger.
The camp itself has a good number of bungalows and a reasonably sized campground, plus a large restaurant overlooking the mighty Shingwedzi River (or riverbed during dry season) that attracts significant amounts of wildlife. A particular highlight is to start and finish every day with a quick run across the Shingwedzi low causeway river crossing.
Mopani & Tsendze
Mopani rest camp is the newest of Kruger's camps and sits high above the Pioneer Dam. As the name suggests, it is found in the large expanse of mopane shrubveld terrain between the Olifants and Shingwedzi rivers; this habitat doesn't always offer the very best viewing for predators but is home to large elephant herds, unusual herbivore species and outstanding birdlife. The nearby Shipandani Overnight Hide is excellent during the day and can be booked for a night's accommodation and a serious adventure! Note that it is usually booked many months in advance given the popularity of this activity.
The camp itself has nice bungalows, a good camping ground and an excellent restaurant with incredible views over the Pioneer Dam. The camp has a large shop, a swimming pool and a nice walking route around the edge of the fencing and quite close to the water's edge.
Tsendze is a small rustic camp ground further south of the main Mopani camp. It has no electricity and overlooks the Tsendze River for a tranquil and different lodging experience. Check-in is via the reception at Mopani.
Letaba rest camp sits in a wonderful, tranquil environment overlooking the Letaba River and in the very central heart of Kruger National Park. The camp is home to many species of trees and birdlife is excellent. Bushbuck also roam the campgrounds while the outstanding Elephant Museum is a must-see. The restaurant facilities are very good and have incredible views from their perch on top of the banks of the Letaba River.
Local wildlife viewing can prove outstanding, although the surrounding mopane shrubveld 'sea' can sometimes be a little monotonous for driving through. The ecosystems supported by the Letaba River itself are stunning and excellent for all manner of sightings opportunities. Another advantage of this camp is its central location, offering access to a wide range of different habitats between Satara away in the south, the nearby Olifants River systems, the less-frequently explored Phalaborwa routes and the outstanding Nshawu Plains area to the north.
Olifants & Balule
Olifants rest camp has arguably the best views of any camp in the park as it perched high on a hill overlooking a huge bend in the mighty Olifants River. The local wildlife options are varied and excellent, with the riverine habitats bordered by mopaneveld to the north and grassy plains to the south, giving a superb variety of game driving options and experiences. The central location also means the areas around Mopani, Letaba, Phalaborwa and Satara are within access of longer game drives.
The camp has a large shop, good restaurant overlooking the stunning river views and well-maintained lodging options.
Balule is a satellite camp located south of Olifants. It is a rustic setup with no electricity or restaurant facilities, giving an 'in-the-wild' experience. The absence of facilities in this camp is rooted in South Africa's apartheid era; Balule was the segregated camp for Black visitors. Today, it is one of Kruger's best-kept secrets and wonderful place to stay. Check-in is via the reception at Olifants.
Satara rest camp is located in the heart of huge open grassy plains and savannah that give the area a classic safari feel. This is also the heart of Big 5 country, with plenty of cat sightings, large herbivores roaming the plains and outstanding game viewing for visitors. Birding is probably a little less consistent here, owing to the expanses without dense tree coverage, but there are still great spots to find winged wildlife in the vicinity. Such attractions bring significant visitor numbers too and Satara is the start of the busier southern end of Kruger National Park, so it perhaps lacks some of the feelings of tranquility and remoteness found around rest camps further north. Don't let that put you off though - there are good reasons that so many visitors choose to stay at Satara!
The camp itself has lots of lodging options and an array of restaurants to choose from. Dining overlooks a lovely garden area, and all of the bungalows surround large open circles of grass and trees that attract all manner of birds. Wild cat residents within the camp can offer a wonderful close-up encounter too.
Orpen, Tamboti & Maroela
Orpen, Tamboti and Maroela are a trio of camps in close proximity to each other, located just inside the Orpen Gate to the west of Satara. The camps have a lovely, quiet feel to them although the facilities are subsequently a little more basic too. The nearest town outside the park is Hoedspruit, although this is a couple of hours drive away.
The location of these camps gives immediate access to some outstanding game viewing areas within the park, with large herds of herbivores congregating in the nearby plains and predators following them. The slightly more limited road network in the immediate area means you have to travel a bit further to see more variety of landscapes but it is not too far to reach the brilliant Satara region, making it ideal for a shorter stay.
Skukuza could be considered the 'capital' of Kruger National Park as it is the administrative centre for SANParks' operations here as well as being the largest camp in the park by some distance. The amenities and facilities include a pool, conference centre, high-end restaurant and a wonderful position overlooking the Sabie River. The downside is that it can get extremely busy with visitors both inside the camp and out on the neighbouring roads, giving a rather different feel to some of the more remote camps in the north of the park.
The wildlife opportunities nearby are excellent, with the local habitats supporting Big 5 and many other big game. Birding is outstanding here and Skukuza gives easy access to the very special Lake Panic Hide. Just expect to share sightings with other visitors, and consider splitting your trip to spend some nights in a quieter corner of Kruger if you are planning on staying in Skukuza as well.
Lower Sabie is a favourite camp of many regular visitors to Kruger and it is easy to see why! The camp has a rustic, old-fashioned feel to it, although this also means some of the facilities are a little dated. The huge restaurant and shop area overlooking the Sabie River has been recently renovated and offers great food and the opportunity to enjoy amazing views over the riverine habitat.
Local wildlife is outstanding, with the terrain in all directions from the camp being varied and interesting. Big 5 make for frequent sightings and the range of other animals here is excellent. This is also one of the best areas in the park for birding, particularly for relative beginners, with the nearby Sunset Dam and Ntandanyathi Hide both being brilliant for spotting a considerable list of species very quickly. Book up early if you want to stay here as it is a smallish camp and very popular with visitors.
Pretoriuskop rest camp is a lovely, tranquil place despite being close to a main gate. It is the original camp in the park, having been built in the 1920s. The local habitat offers quite unique ecozones and some rarer species of antelope and birds, although the woodlands can limit sightings of larger game somewhat. The camp is also host to an incredible variety of birdlife flora. Spending an hour wandering round and inspecting the trees can deliver an incredible number of species.
This is a smaller camp compared to most in the south of Kruger and the facilities are simple but good. Candidly, the restaurant only serves fast-food which can be a disappointment to visitors expecting something a little better, so our recommendation is to braai and barbecue your own food when staying here.
Crocodile Bridge is a small camp with a limited number of bungalows and a small campground at the southern end of the Kruger. It is right next to Crocodile Bridge Gate and overlooks the river of the same name, so is ideal for visitors completing a long journey to the park who need a convenient night's sleep before the game driving starts for real the following morning! There is no restaurant or bar facilities here although the shop has a small selection of food options for preparing yourself.
The local wildlife is very good too, with easy access into the Sabie River habitats to the north and local roads traversing a range of ecozones that offer all manner of animals, large and small.
Berg-en-Dal & Malelane
Berg-en-Dal is situated in the hills that rise up in the southwest of Kruger National Park. The safari experience here - locating Big 5 in hills rather than savannah plains - is consequently very unusual and almost unique within both Kruger and a good many of Africa's national parks. Quick access to a range of other habitats and ecozones means that game viewing when based at this camp can be extremely varied and exciting. Birding in both the local area and within the camp is also outstanding.
The camp is noticeably different to others within Kruger - the brick buildings and bungalows have a different atmosphere to the rondavels typical of most camps and consequently perhaps invoke less of the feeling of adventure that you get in other camps. Nevertheless, the camp walking route is the best in the park and offers close ups of many bird and flora species, with good views over the local dam that often attracts big game.
Malelane rest camp is nearby and offer more limited camping facilities and no restaurant. It is often quiet here but is a suitable back-up if other southern camps are full. Some visitors thoroughly enjoy the tranquility offered though, making it a top choice for some!