What to see on a road trip from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, encompassing almost two million hectares of real African wilderness. Home not only to the famous Big Five – the African elephant, rhino, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard – the park boasts a staggering variety of plant and animal species as well as ancient rock art and fascinating archaeological sites. Kruger National Park truly offers visitors one of the best wildlife experiences on the planet.

Image from Kruger Park website

Kruger is easily accessed from Johannesburg. You can fly directly to an airstrip close to your lodge in the park itself or ask your lodge to organise a transfer to fetch you from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.

The other option, of course, is to hire a car and self-drive to Kruger. Choosing to embark on a road trip from Johannesburg to Kruger is not only likely to be the most cost-effective way to get to the famous park; it also allows you to experience some of the most breathtaking natural scenery in the country en route.

Make the spectacular Panorama Route the highlight of your road trip from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park

The Panorama Route threads through the northern Drakensberg (the highest mountain range in South Africa) in the Mpumalanga province. The area is known for its natural wonders and incredible views. Well worth the journey in its own right, the Panorama Route is conveniently located just outside of Kruger National Park, making it an unmissable feature of your road trip from Johannesburg to Kruger.

Take a peek through God’s own window

The Panorama Route is best mapped out by the natural wonders that the area is so famous for. First on the itinerary is God’s Window. This awesome viewpoint is part of a 250 kilometre stretch of cliffs plunging over 700 metres down to the valley floor. Cast your gaze over the jaw-dropping vista of canyons, valleys, rock formations and waterfalls and you can’t help but feel humbled by the beauty and splendour of the place. It’s no wonder the area is dubbed one of God’s favourite views.

Marvel at the majesty of Blyde River Canyon

God’s Window is one of the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve’s most astonishing views. The rest of the canyon, however, is certainly nothing to be sneezed at. The wonderful thing about self-driving the Panorama Route is that it’s not only the well-known stops that afford you stunning views; every twist and turn along the route reveals a new angle from which to gawk at the incredible beauty of the canyon.

Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the world, and claims top spot as the largest green canyon. In comparison to the seemingly barren browns and beiges of the Fish River Canyon, the Blyde River Canyon teems with verdant vegetation, pristine waterfalls and abundant wildlife.

Explore the weird world of Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Where the Blyde River and the Treur River meet, you’ll find the fascinating natural rock sculptures called Bourke’s Luck Potholes. Carved out of the solid rock over many years by the constant passage of swirling water, the potholes give the impression that someone has gouged out helpings of rock with a giant ice cream scoop. A bizarrely beautiful natural phenomenon, it’s easy to see why so many visitors come to admire the strange shapes and colours of Bourke’s Luck Potholes each year.

Check out the Three Rondavels before heading for Kruger

Rondavels are small, round cabins, and the aptly named Three Rondavels are three mountain peaks resembling round huts with cone-shaped roofs. This is your last stop along this scenic detour before continuing on your road trip from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park by making a beeline for Kruger via Hazyview.

If you need to hire a specific vehicle during your trip to Johannesburg then here are some options below;

  • Car hire Johannesburg
  • Car rental Johannesburg airport
  • Luxury car hire Johannesburg
  • Long term car rental Johannesburg
  • 4×4 rental Johannesburg
  • Car hire OR Tambo
  • Car hire Lanseria