Why Malelane Gate to Kruger Park is So Popular

Malelane Gate to Kruger Park is on the southern border of the game reserve. It’s the closest park entrance gate from Johannesburg – South Africa’s biggest city and home to its largest international airport.

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The gate, with its large thatched roof, is also at the edge of Malelane town, where many guided game drives begin and end. These combined factors make Malelane Gate the most popular.

Malelane Gate to Kruger Park

There may be longer queues than at other gates at peak times, such as weekends, school holidays and public holidays. Find out on TripAdvisor what travellers think about checking in to Kruger at Malelane Gate.

The gate is also a just stone’s throw from Malelane Rest Camp.


There are several holiday accommodation options surrounding Malelane Gate, ranging from budget hotels to bush lodges. If you’re looking for accommodation in the area, the zoomable map below from Booking.com shows nearby places along with their prices.


Jock Safari Lodge

If you’re staying in Kruger National Park, the famous Jock Safari Lodge, named after the pioneering story Jock of the Bushveld, is about an hour’s drive from Malelane Gate.

Jock Safari Lodge
Jock Main Lodge – image courtesy of Jock Safari Lodge, Kruger National Park

Guided game drives

Several well-rated game drives leave from the Malelane area. This activity is a great choice if you’re staying in Malelane and would like a guided safari into Kruger National Park. The following full day safari game drive with pick-up on GetYourGuide has very good traveller ratings:

Entrance fee

If you’re entering Kruger National Park at Malelane Gate in your own vehicle or possibly even as part of a tour, the gate is the place where you pay your entry fee. You can find details of the current entry fees here.

Rest camps

The gate is a good choice for entering the park and is the closest gate to these rest camps:

Shorter routes from Malelane Gate can also take you to:

  • Skukuza, the largest rest camp in Kruger Park
  • Crocodile Bridge, near the border of Mozambique
  • Lower Sabie which is between Skukuza and Crocodile Bridge
  • Pretoriuskop near Numbi Gate

Have a look at our map for the location of the above rest camps.

Picnic sites

If you enter Kruger National Park at Malelane Gate and travel north in the direction of Skukuza Rest Camp, you’ll pass by Afsaal Picnic Site.

This is one place in Kruger where you’re allowed out of the car in a place that is unfenced. Afsaal has benches, BBQ spots and a shop. It also has lots of cheeky monkeys, so guard your food very closely! Read more about picnic spots.

Gate opening times

Kruger National Park Malelane Gate has different operating times depending on the time of year.  It opens between 5:30am and 6:00am and closes between 5:30pm and 6:30pm.

If you want more details, have a look at the Kruger National Park opening times.

Distances and directions

To enter the park via Malelane Gate you will need to pass through the town of Malelane just 3km (1.9 miles) away. The town is only small and Malelane Gate to Kruger National Park is well sign posted.


There is a Pick’n’Pay supermarket in the town, so if you need to stock up, this is the last place to do so before entering the park via Malelane Gate. If you need to top up your groceries while you’re inside the park, many of the rest camps have shops where you can do so. Their range is much smaller than a supermarket’s though.


Malelane Gate is the closest gate to Nelspruit, being only 66km (41 miles) away. Nelspruit is home to the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and is also on the way to the park from Johannesburg.

Nelspruit is 345km (214 miles) from Johannesburg. The whole trip from Johannesburg to Malelane Gate takes about 4.5 hours to travel by car and the total distance is 406kms (252 miles).