Kruger National Park, South Africa’s oldest and biggest safari reserve, is home to several kinds of quintessential African animals. Images of prowling lions, stomping elephants and giraffes loping through the savannah instantly come to mind. Every animal sighting is different and rewarding which are reasons why Kruger Park is one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations with yearly visitor numbers into the millions.
The national park, which is in the top right corner of South Africa, has further attractions besides the iconic African wildlife. There is a splendid variety of birds, several archaeological ruins, a museum showcasing the history of the park from its first beginnings in 1898, the fascinating Letaba Elephant Hall chronicling the Magnificent Seven, 4×4 adventure tracks, the Tropic of Capricorn and even a golf course.
When it comes to planning a safari to Kruger Park, we’d like to help you navigate the waters, so to speak, based on our own safari experiences. I’m Elizabeth and along with my husband, Peter, we’ve visited Kruger Park several times.
If you’re organising your own safari, there’s a lot of assumed knowledge that’s not all written down in one place. We’ve set out to help clarify things and have summarised important information and tips from our practical experiences. We hope they will help answer questions you may have about going on a Kruger Park safari.
Travel to and around Kruger National Park
Going on safari to Kruger Park means that you have to drive, either in your own vehicle or by being driven around by a private tour company. The decision on how you travel depends on your budget and your desire to drive and to organise everything yourself.
When you’re planning your safari, it’s important to keep the size of Kruger Park in mind. It covers a big area – it’s bigger than some countries. Combine this with the low speed limit, which is in place to reduce the risk of hitting animals, and it takes time to cover any great distance.
You’re not allowed out of your vehicle when you’re in the park unless it is specifically signposted otherwise. This is for your safety. Driving close to buffalo, lions and especially elephants is a new experience. Drive cautiously!
Rental car companies generally allow their cars into Kruger Park. If you’re flying to South Africa, the big international airport is in Johannesburg, about 4 hours’ drive away, which has plenty of hire car options.
Some domestic flights go to a town called White River (near Nelspruit) which is under an hour’s drive from the closest Kruger National Park entrance gate. If you want to fly right into the park or the luxury private reserves surrounding it, charter flights cater for this.
Kruger Park has an entry fee based on the number of days you’ll be there. We strongly recommend advance booking for day visitors. If you’re planning to stay overnight, pre-booking accommodation is essential. Accommodation costs are in addition to park entry fees.
Accommodation at Rest Camps
Rest camps have a variety of accommodation ranging from camp sites to self-catering lodges. You may bring food supplies into the park to self-cater. Feeding animals in rest camps or anywhere else in the park is prohibited.
If you’re in the park with your own car and want to go on a guided safari tour, you need to be staying overnight at the particular rest camp that runs the tour. Types of tours available include walking tours, game drives, mountain bike rides, multi-day hikes and 4×4 trails.
The only other way to have a guided tour in Kruger National Park is via a private tour company and they almost always start at a location outside the park and travel in for the day(s).
In summer the weather is very hot and humid, often with thunderstorms in the evening (Kruger Park is tropical and sub-tropical). In winter the days are mild and the nights are cool.
Kruger Park is in a malaria area. The disease is a risk at any time of year. Consult your medical professional for malaria advice before going on safari.
South African National Parks
Kruger National Park is run by a government body called South African National Parks.
The park is flanked, particularly on the western side, by private game reserves. The combined park is known as Greater Kruger National Park. The majority of content on this website is about the Kruger Park run by South African National Parks. If you’re staying in the government run park, your accommodation is generally going to be a lot cheaper than staying in the private reserves. They are styled as luxurious and exclusive and have price tags to match.
When looking for accommodation, the way to book at the government Kruger Park is through South African National Parks, either online or by phone.
Travel booking websites may state their accommodation is in Kruger Park, when in fact they are just outside or in Greater Kruger National Park. We just wanted to note this difference to help you understand the lie of the land.
The most popular pages on our website, which you may also find useful are:
This is a brief run down of what you can expect by going to Kruger National Park. Click on any of the links or menu items for in-depth information based on our own safari experiences. Thanks for visiting Kruger-National-Park-Guide.com and happy travels!