Malelane Rest Camp – The Closest Stop from Johannesburg

Going from Johannesburg to Kruger Park, Malelane is the closest rest camp, being 416km (258 miles) away. This distance is about 4.5 hours of driving time.

African fish eaglesTo get to the rest camp, enter via the park entrance gate of the same name. If you’re checking into the camp, you’ll need to do this at the park gate.

The rest camp is on the southern border of the park about a third of the way along. It’s a convenient place to stay at, especially if you expect to arrive at the park just before gate closing time.

The camp doesn’t have shops or restaurants though and it’s 5km (3.1 miles) away from the entrance gate. It takes 10 minutes to drive there.

As the rest camp is on the park border, there are some drawbacks, such as seeing and hearing some of the outside world, like traffic noise and sugar cane farms. These sights and sounds can intrude on your peaceful safari, although the wide Crocodile River is the barrier between the rest camp and the farms.

The rest camp is small and you can only camp there or stay in bungalows with communal kitchens.

Matjulu Dam is next to the rest camp. This is a good place to watch wildlife as it comes to drink there. It’s also a nice place for bird watching. Birds often seen in the area are:

  • African fish eagles
  • Croaking cisticolas
  • Grey tit-flycatchers (fan-tailed flycatchers)
  • Pennant-winged nightjars
  • Scarlet-chested sunbirds
  • White-browed (Heuglin’s) robin-chats
  • White-throated robin-chats

The rest camp is a satellite camp to the nearby bigger rest camp, Berg-En-Dal, which is 7km (4.4 miles) further north into Kruger National Park.

Berg-En-Dal has a lot more facilities on offer, such as a restaurant, a general store and a petrol station. You can also try out an exhilarating early morning walk or evening game drive, although you have to be staying at Berg-En-Dal to do either of these activities.