OUR TOP CAMPSITE 7 IN THE KRUGER
South Africa’s biggest national park has 13 campsites, each with something different to offer. We pitched tents from souts to north to find the best
Ifirst learnt to swim without armbands in the pool at Bergen-Dal rest camp when I was six. I also used to do ‘game drives’ sitting on my dad’s lap in the car and steering the wheel towards impala, giraffes and more. Dad could ‘smell’ a zebra from kilometres away, with those superpowers only parents seem to have – much to my and my sister’s delight. (Said sister once took a giant swig of gin when my folks failed to pack any juice for us on our afternoon drive, but remembered their own tonics and decanted some gin into a water bottle.) Kruger is also where I learned how to identify birds: my first, the colourful lilac-breasted roller. Kruger National Park was founded 120 years ago and stretches for 350 kilometres, from Mpumalanga in the south, sweeping along the Mozambique border to where South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique meet at the Limpopo River in the north. Today it’s one of the most accessible wildlife experiences in Africa and, at two million hectares big, with an impressive range of wildlife, habitats, birds and views, you can return to a new experience every trip. I camped my way from Malelane right up to Punda Maria, rating and assessing every rest camp on the way. It was hard not to put every campsite on my final list, but this is how I would plan my own affordable camping trip.
‘THERE’ S NOTHING QUITE LIKE BEING ENGULFED BY A BREEDING HERD OF ELEPHANTS ON KRUGER'S ROADS' – MELANIE VAN ZYL
The Berg-en-Dal rest camp is named for all the scenic drives that climb koppies and dip into the valleys of the area.