Kruger National Park Reptiles – Many Species to Discover

There are lots of Kruger National Park reptiles to find in the game reserve. You’ll see some of them just by luck, but others you’ve got a good chance of coming across if you know where to look.

For instance, you’ll generally only see crocodiles in or near rivers, lakes and dams. The same goes with terrapins. These are the most likely species of reptile you’ll see to tick off your list!

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Here’s an overview of the most common reptile species you’ll find in Kruger National Park. With the exception of crocodiles and terrapins, you’ll come across these reptiles when you don’t expect to. That is to say, it’s very difficult to go looking for these animals – they’re just there!


Nile crocodileThe type of crocodile that lives in Kruger National Park is called the Nile crocodile, the largest reptile species in the world.

When you see a river or lake, be sure to take a closer look at any logs washed up on the bank or floating in the river. There’s a good chance it’s actually a crocodile!

This reptile is also one of the stars in the famous Battle At Kruger video.


Leopard tortoiseYou’ll come across tortoises plodding along or across the road. Unlike terrapins, they don’t swim.

They can be well-camouflaged on the dirt roads, so make sure you don’t accidentally drive over any small rocks before checking what they are!

If you see one up close in a rest camp, you’ll notice they’re often eating blades of grass or little flowers. They’re very sweet to watch!

One of the types of tortoise is the leopard tortoise. This is one of the little five!


TerrapinTerrapins are like tortoises, but love to swim. Like crocodiles, you’ll find these gentle Kruger National Park reptiles in waterways. If you’re crossing a causeway, look down right next to your car into the water. There might be several of them just swimming below the surface.

Terrapins also like to lie on the banks, so watch for them there too. You might need binoculars to identify any on the far banks of rivers or dams.


SnakeThe poisonous reptiles! There are lots of species of snakes in Kruger National Park and some very venomous ones too, like deadly black mambas.

Snakes can be around rest camps, so make sure you have a torch with you when you’re walking around at night so you don’t accidentally stand on one.

To take photos of snakes, you have to be quick! They often slither away before you’ve even had the chance to turn your camera on!


LizardLizards are everywhere, but for the most part, you’ll see them when you’re out of your car at a lookout, picnic spot or rest camp. They might be on the pathway, sitting on top of a rock or clinging to a tree.

There are many kinds of lizard, some of which are very colourful. One of our favourites is the agama lizard which has a different coloured head from the rest of its body. Agama’s like to do what seems like push-ups when they’re staying in one place. It’s very amusing to see!

The following table summarises the number of varieties of reptiles found in Kruger National Park:

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You’d need a special reptile guide book (and good luck!) to be able to identify all the Kruger National Park reptiles. If you’re interested in one, they’re sold at the rest camp shops in the park or at book shops in South Africa. And of course, you can buy them online too