Kruger National Park airport in Skukuza is the prettiest tiny airport I’ve seen. The architecture is very authentic African style but has all the features of a modern airport.
We arrived at Kruger National Park after a layover in Istanbul for dinner, a nice breakfast in the Paris airport lounge and a terribly chaotic transfer in Johannesburg.
I had expected it to be a just a tiny landing airplane strip like in Masai Mara National Park. But it turned out to be a memorably beautiful airport.
We had bought the Kruger National Park tickets on the website, starting the following day, as we had planned to relax at the resort after the extremely long travel. So when we arrived at the Skukuza Airport, we didn’t think of going to the conservation desk.
After getting the baggage and the seemingly long wait for our rental SUV to arrive, as we were finally leaving the airport, we got stopped at the exit. The guard couldn’t let us into the Kruger National Park without a ticket. Since we had landed in Skukuza airport inside the national park, there was no other way out. So, we returned and got the ticket. It probably took an entire 5 minutes to sort it out! Thanks to the tiny and by then completely empty airport.
The Kruger National Park Airport at Skukuza was very thoughtfully, built in 2014 and was a momentous occasion for South African tourism. Read all about the Skukuza airport layout and design.
In the airplane, I got into a conversation with a lady sitting behind me. She was arriving from London to meet her son and his family. Her son is in charge of Kruger’s fire management and her daughter-in-law is in charge of water conservation at Kruger. They live in the staff housing in Skukuza village, with all the amenities and wonders of a top National Park. They’re raising their children in a wonderful village around humans and animals and all the conservation efforts. They even have a little school for the staff in Skukuza.
At the baggage claim, she introduced me to her adorable grandkids, a gorgeous mix of British white and African black genes. I got so into them that I didn’t notice the activity behind me. As I turned around my bags had disappeared. I thought my family took the bags to the rental car but no one was in sight.
Wondering what could have happened to the bags, I walked around the parking lot in search of my family. Just to notice that a tour bus driver was loading my bags along with his tour group’s things! Luckily, I arrived on time to clear the confusion. I got the bags back and waited as the car rental office brought in the car from another location.
In the meantime, I made friends with all the airport staff and the caretakers as I waited.
16 Days in Southern Africa
Kruger Mpumalanga Airport is the other airport serving Kruger National Park area.