The largest national park in South Africa needs no introduction. Stretching from Malelane in the south to Pafuri in the far north at the border with Zimbabwe, the Kruger National Park covers nearly 2 million hectares. Few international tourists visit South Africa for a safari without visiting the park or one of the bordering reserves.
The northern section of the park is the wildest and more difficult to get to, and as a result, a lot quieter in terms of traffic. The southern region of the Kruger can get quite busy and magnificent sightings can lead to queuing traffic.
Our flagship park protects a diverse number of species which include 147 different mammals, 336 trees, 114 reptiles and a large diversity of birds. With the park’s massive size, vegetation differs in different regions. The region north of the Olifants River consists mostly of mopane veld with massive Baobab trees the further north you travel, while the south has got a thornveld to feel with typical bushveld vegetation.
Several historic sites of cultural significance have been found throughout the years. Apart from bushman rock paintings, large archaeological sites such as Masorini and Thulamela date back to Iron Age inhabitants. Clay furnaces, used to smelt iron ore, were discovered at the Masorini site. Apart from these sites, many sites and museums in the park will provide you with information on times gone by.
Visiting this wilderness is not just about seeking the Big Five on a self-drive or guided game drive, but many other activities are worth pursuing. Many rest camps offer wilderness trails (which can range from overnight to longer) while those looking for something shorter can embark on a guided morning walk. Kruger is also the only national park with a golf course at Skukuza. Olifants Rest Camp is the only one offering guided mountain bike trails, allowing you to combine your cycling skills with an up-close experience with the bushveld.
The largest town to the south of the park is Nelspruit, with an airport and car rental facilities. There is also an airport situated inside the park near Skukuza for guests that prefer to fly directly into the park.
The park stretches over vast distances. One can easily travel between rest camps in single trips, but plan your expeditions carefully. The speed limit inside the park is 40km/h on tar and slower on dirt roads. Slow travelling and regular stopping at bird hides, water holes and viewpoints deliver much more sightings than covering plenty of ground.
You will see more wildlife early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Animals lie down during the heat of the day, especially during the warmer periods.
No, please do not get out of your vehicle, unless at a viewpoint where it is indicated that you might alight from your vehicle at your own risk. All body parts should be inside your car at all times. It is extremely risky to get out and you can get fined.
It is important to always respect the animals as you are in their space. Elephants can be especially dangerous, so ensure a safe viewing distance.
Major rest camps have shops, restaurants, ATM facilities and more. There is a doctor at Skukuza, car rental, post office and conference facilities. There are numerous picnic sites, filling stations and more.
The park is a Big Five destination so you can find lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and leopards on safari. While leopard is shy, you can find them with a bit of luck. But it is about much more than the Big Five. The park is a premier wildlife destination and other species to look for include hippo, giraffe, cheetah, wild dog, spotted hyena, zebra, and numerous antelope species.
The park falls in a summer rainfall area, also the hottest time of the year. The region gets incredibly hot and balmy in summer, though it is still advised to take a jacket on evening game drives. The average maximum summer temperatures for the park are 32 degrees Celsius. Winter average temperatures between the minimum and maximum are 17.8 degrees.
Game viewing is generally better in winter. Summer rainfall can cause dense vegetation, making viewing more difficult. Large amounts of rain also mean more available water in the veld, so fewer animals visit water holes.
There is a low risk of malaria in the Kruger National Park. If you are concerned about the risk of contracting malaria in summer, consult your doctor before visiting the park.
Search for the Big Five and other wildlife on a self-drive or a guided game drive. Every rest camp in the park offers guided game drives.
Another method of exploring the park is on foot through guided walks. The chances of seeing big game is generally small, but not impossible. However, guided walks offer guests the opportunity to experience nature and appreciate the smaller things while on foot with an armed guide.
The Kruger is also home to wilderness hiking trails that stretch over a few days. These walks take place in the real wilderness of the park and you will not see any other people on the journey. It is an opportunity to explore the remotest areas of the park.
Enjoying the road less travelled? Book a wilderness 4x4 trail such as the Mafunyane 4x4 Eco Trail for an offroad adventure over numerous days.
Fancy a cycle? The Olifants Rest Camp is the only camp offering the opportunity to explore the region by means of a mountain bike. A maximum of six participants are allowed
A golf course near Skukuza Rest Camp offers golfers the opportunity to play amongst the wildlife. Hippo, antelope and other wildlife are often seen on this 18-hole course.
Accommodation in the park offers something for everybody. The main rest camps, of which there are 14, all over a variety of options, but then you also get bushveld camps, bush lodges and luxury lodges. Most of the large camps are well equipped with all the facilities needed for a comfortable stay, including shop and restaurant services. For those seeking a unique experience, both the Sable and Shipandani bird hides can be booked for overnight accommodation.