A 7-Day Ultimate Kruger Safari Itinerary | South Africa’s Best Trip

July 25, 2022

The Kruger National Park is a picturesque location that captivates true African beauty. With boundless landscapes and spectacular wildlife sightings, it’s an adventurer’s dream destination. We’ve put together this 7-day ultimate Kruger itinerary for your next trip.

It is the perfect spot for those looking for a safari in South Africa. However, you will need a well-planned program because this world-renowned wildlife sanctuary comprises nearly two million hectares of land.

To help you plan your next adventure, we’ve created the ultimate 7-day African safari that’s perfect for exploring everything the park has to offer. It includes must-see experiences in the Kruger, fit for every budget.

Note: For more pricing information, check out the Kruger National Park safari prices.

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Kruger National Park South Africa: What to Expect

The Kruger Park in South Africa is a top destination for safari-goers and one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It is located in northeastern South Africa across the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.

The Kruger was established in 1926. The combination of Sabi Game Reserve, Shingwedzi Game Reserve, and local farms created the first national park in South Africa. During your Kruger National Park tour, you’ll find remarkable ancient rock paintings with a history dating back far beyond its official opening as a park.

It boasts a spectacular diversity of wildlife with high densities of the admirable Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino). You’ll come across an abundance of animal species during this 7-day safari in South Africa – more than any other African wildlife sanctuary.

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Kruger National Park Animals

The Kruger National Park is home to a breathtaking diversity of wildlife. From easy-to-spot elephant herds to rare black rhino sightings, it supports an abundance of species found in southern Africa. The biodiversity found in the Kruger includes:

  • 148 mammal species – Big Five animals, zebras, cheetah, spotted hyena, common warthog, greater kudu, mongoose, hippopotamus, and crocodiles
  • 35 amphibians – bushveld rain frog, striped stream frog, shovel-footed squeaker, and common platanna
  • 118 reptile species – black lined plated lizard, flap neck chameleon, rainbow skink, and southern tree agama
  • 53 fish species – tigerfish, catfish, African mottled eel, rainbow killifish, and squeaker species
  • 505 species of birds – hawk-eagle, bat hawk, sanderling, grey plover, grey-headed gull, and cape wagtail

One of the biggest attractions is the park’s large Big Five population. It supports the largest concentration of both leopards and critically endangered rhinos. Another endangered Kruger animal that you’ll find is the African-painted dog.

Tip: For the best sighting opportunities, check out our guide on Kruger National Park animals.

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Kruger Park Size

How big is the Kruger National Park? It is the largest game reserve in South Africa, covering an area of 19,623 square kilometers. The National Park offers exceptional wildlife sighting opportunities and interactive experiences with unfenced infrastructure allowing animals to roam freely.

The Kruger’s network of game reserves includes:

  • Sabi Sand Game Reserve – the oldest privately owned reserve in the country
  • Timbavati Private Nature Reserve – you’ll find exceptional photographic opportunities
  • Klaserie Private Nature Reserve
  • Thornybush Private Game Reserve
  • Mala Mala Game Reserve – an internationally renowned location situated in Sabi Sand Game Reserve

antelope-herd-sunset

Kruger National Park Camps

Whether you’re looking for rustic bush accommodation or a 5-star luxury lodge, there is a Kruger camp well-suited for any trip to the Kruger National Park. To help you plan your South African safari, we’ve listed the best accommodation and main camp options below:

  • Bushveld Camps – Bataeleur, Shimuwini, Sirheni, Talamati, and Biyamiti
  • Overnight Hides – Sable and Shipandani
  • Luxury Lodges – Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge, Lion Sands Ivory Lodge, Singita Boulders, and Rattray’s on MalaMala
  • Satellite Camps – Balule, Tsendze, Moroela, and Tamboti
  • Bush Lodges – Pafuri Border, Boulders, and Roodewal
  • Main Rest Camps – Berg-en-Dal, Crocodile Bridge, Satara, Letaba, Lower Sabie, Olifants, Skukuza, Shingwedzi, and Orphen

accommodation-rondavels

7-Day Kruger National Park Itinerary – Safari Experiences & Excursions

Get ready to tick off items on your safari bucket list with an unforgettable adventure in the Kruger. This 7-day South African itinerary includes phenomenal experiences that attract adventurers from all around the world.

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7-Day Kruger Park Itinerary – Daily Game Drives, Excursions & Tours

Get ready for the ultimate South African safari. Here’s the best way to cover the entire park in just seven days.

Day 1: Arrive in Kruger & Night Game Drive

The National Park is home to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. It is a 50-minute drive (42.6 km) from southern Kruger’s Numbi Gate.

Most visitors travel from O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg) or Cape Town International Airport with connecting flights to one of the following locations:

  • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (southern section)
  • Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport (central and northern parts)
  • Phalaborwa (northern area)

combi-on-road-to-kruger

After you’ve arrived at your chosen accommodation, it’s time to unwind and take in the fresh African air. Get comfortable, grab a bite, and relax after a long day of traveling.

Once you’re well-rested, head on either an afternoon game drive or a night game drive and explore the spectacular surroundings and wildlife in the park. An excellent opportunity to view the park’s popular nocturnal animals – keep an eye out for a hunting predator.

Day 2: Kruger Tablets & Wildlife Sightings

On your second day, head to the southern section of Kruger Park, where you’ll find the largest lion population in the entire park. With around 1,600 lions in the Kruger, you’re likely to spot them in several locations. For the best sightings, visit the Kruger Tablets situated in the Nkayeni Region.

The Kruger Tablets commemorate the park’s founder, President Paul Kruger. It is a lion haven, perfect for viewing these big cats as they laze around on rock formations.

Visiting the tablets is a free activity. However, facilities such as restaurants, picnic tables, and restrooms are not available. If you’ve built up a lion’s appetite on the drive back, why not enjoy a delicious bush braai (South Africa’s famous barbeque).

lions-at-play

Day 3-4: Explore the Kruger Park

It’s time to get your boots dirty for the next two days. Get ready for an early morning wake-up and explore the park’s breathtaking beauty on foot. A sunrise wilderness walk or tackling an early morning hiking trail is a splendid way to start your day.

Kruger National Park safari tours include guided walking safaris that are ideal for exploring the fascinating fauna and flora. Don’t worry; you won’t have to spend all day on your feet. Book a few 4×4 game drives on open safari vehicles for an exhilarating adventure with Kruger Park’s experienced guides.

Tip: Book a full-day private safari from Hazyview (if you’re not staying in the park) to get the most out of what the Kruger National Park offers.

Game viewing opportunities may vary with sunrise, sunset, and night drives. So, signing up for several game drives is beneficial. Wildlife sightings that are common on Kruger Park tours and game drives include impala, zebras, giraffes, elephants, buffalo, and lions.

giraffe-in-kruger-beside-tree

Day 5: Visit The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

On day five of this African safari itinerary, make your way to the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Hoedspruit. It is situated at the base of the Drakensberg mountains – an estimated 47-minute drive.

The rehabilitation center cares for injured and abandoned animals in southern Africa. They focus on creating awareness of endangered animal species around the world.

When visiting, you can engage in educational programs and guided tours in a relaxed environment. You’ll find various birdlife and mammals such as wild dogs, leopards, and lions. After an eventful day as part of your South African safari itinerary, spend time stargazing and relaxing before calling it at night.

birds-in-tree

Day 6: Take a Trip To The Hippo Pool

The last full day of your Kruger park vacation calls for a visit to the Hippo Pool. Head over to the Crocodile bridge gate in the park’s Marula region. You’ll find the Hippo Pool just 8 kilometers away.

As its name suggests, you’ll find hundreds of grunting, sloshing hippos with a spectacular view of the Crocodile River on this bush walk. Although there are crocodiles around the river, they’re usually harder to spot.

Keep an eye out for other animals roaming the river, including mighty elephants and buffalo.

After returning to your accommodation or lodge facilities, spend a few hours relaxing and tuck into a mouth-watering meal.

Enjoy a guided river or bush walk to appreciate the striking scenery in your last hours. Don’t forget to grab your camera to capture those memorable moments.

hippopotami-swimming-in-river

Day 7: Departure From The Kruger National Park

As you prepare to leave one of the best South African safari parks, take a minute to enjoy the splendid views of the Kruger Park around you for one last time – until your next safari vacation.

If you have a few hours before departing, book a spa treatment to leave the park feeling revitalized and refreshed.

Then it’s time to pack your bags, put on your shoes, and head to the airport. You’ll then catch your connecting flight and make your way home.

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Final Thoughts on a Kruger Safari – The Ultimate South African Itinerary for 7 Days

Whether you’re a nature lover or thrill-seeker, a Kruger South Africa safari ticks all the boxes. From waking up to the melodies of diverse birdlife to viewing a hunting lioness after dark during a game drive, visiting the Kruger National Park will not disappoint.

Ready for a week of spectacular wilderness and wildlife viewing in Africa? Book the tickets and pack your bags – your African adventure awaits.

If a safari vacation seems to cost you a pretty penny at first glance, why not consider an all-inclusive package? Check out our guide on all-inclusive safari vacations in Africa.

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