Admission Hours -- For the Park -- Entrance gates open from January to February from 5:30am to 6:30pm, March from 5:30am to 6pm, April from 6am to 6pm, May to July 6am to 5:30pm, August to September 6am to 6pm, October from 5:30am to 6pm, and November to December from 5:30am to 6:30pm.
For the Rest Camps -- Camps are fenced off to protect residents from predators. The gates to these follow the same hours, except in the summer months (Nov-Jan), when they open an hour earlier (4:30am). If you're changing rest camps, try not to travel more than 200km (124 miles), to ensure you get to your new camp before gates close. Operating hours for camp receptions are 7am until half an hour after gate closing time; shops are typically from 8am to a half-hour after camp gates close, though they are shorter at some smaller camps; restaurants 7 to 10am, noon to 2:30pm, and 6 to 10pm.
Bank & ATM Networks -- There is a bank and ATM at Skukuza; it's a good idea to get cash here if you haven't already done so outside the park. (While you can pay by card for most anything, cash for a drink at a picnic site shop is useful, and all fuel must be paid for in cash.) There is also a proper ATM at Letaba. Some of the shops in other camps have mini-ATMs, but these don't always have cash, so don't wait until your wallet is empty before trying one of them.
Driving Rules -- Unlike private game reserves, where rangers are free to drive off road, everyone at Kruger drives on roads; the public drives on approved roads only. The speed limit is 50kmph (31 mph) on paved roads, 40kmph (25 mph) on gravel roads, and 20kmph (12 mph) in rest camps. If photographs of fatally maimed animals don't help ensure that these speeds are adhered to, speed traps do. Stay in your vehicle unless you're at a designated picnic site.
Fees -- SANParks charges a daily conservation fee for each person entering the park; 2010 fees are R160 per adult and R80 per child per day. If you plan to spend more than 6 nights in Kruger or visit other national parks in South Africa, look into purchasing a Wild Card (valid for 1 year), which provides free access to all national parks. At press time, a Wild Card cost R940 for an individual, R1,640 for a couple, and R2,210 for a family.
Fuel -- Every main rest camp has a fuel/petrol station. You must pay in cash or with a local petrol card -- no credit or debit cards are accepted. (Note that bush camps don't have petrol.)
Internet & Phone -- The only camps with Internet cafes are Skukuza, Lower Sabie, and Berg-en-Dal, so there is no public Internet access north of Skukuza. Most of the main camps have cellphone reception, but the bushveld camps and roads don't.
Malaria -- While certain areas of Kruger are soon to be removed from the list of malarial areas, the risk of infection remains, and it is a disease you really want to avoid. The highest risk is between October and May, during which time a course of prescription antimalaria drugs is advised.
Medical Emergencies -- There is a doctor in Skukuza (tel. 013/735-5638 or 082/557-9210). If you need help during the night, drive to the camp gate and beep your horn. The closest hospitals are in Nelspruit, Hoedspruit, and Phalaborwa. Of these, I'd head for Nelspruit Medi-Clinic, a 260-bed multidisciplinary private hospital and part of one of the largest, most respected private hospitals groups in Africa (tel. 013/759-0500).
Money/Traveler's Checks/Credit Cards -- South African rands, traveler's checks, Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express are accepted. Foreign currency can be exchanged at all rest camps.
Reservations -- The easiest way to book rest camp accommodations is on the user-friendly website www.sanparks.org. However, preference for choice units is given to written applications (this includes e-mail) received 13 months in advance. Pay your deposit as soon as possible to ensure the booking -- this can be done over the telephone or Internet with a credit card.
Rules -- Park rules are printed on the entrance permit -- read it. Park officials do not have a sense of humor when it comes to breaking the rules.
Safety -- Don't let the tarred road fool you -- once you've left the safety of your fenced-off rest camp, you really are in the wild. Under no circumstances should you leave your vehicle unless you're at a designated site (get a map from a rest camp shop). One ranger who left his game drive to "relieve" himself didn't survive to do up his zipper, so make sure to take care of any bathroom business before leaving camp. When in camp, try not to be frightened by spiders and other small insects you may encounter; unlike mosquitoes, they can do you no harm. Snakes are a rare occurrence in camps; if you do spot one, alert reception.