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.
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 listed a week-long itinerary 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 park’s safari prices.
Kruger National Park Safari: What to Expect
The Kruger 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. In Kruger, you’ll find remarkable ancient rock paintings with 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 – more than any other African wildlife sanctuary.
Kruger National Park Animals
The Kruger 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. The biodiversity found in the Kruger include:
- 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, Africa 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.
Kruger National 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. It offers exceptional wildlife sighting opportunities and interactive experiences with unfenced infrastructure allowing animals to roam freely.
The Kruger’s network of game reserves include:
- 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
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 your wallet. To help you plan your South African safari, we’ve listed the best accommodation 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
7 Day Kruger Park Safari Experience
Get ready to tick off items on your South African safaris bucket list with an unforgettable adventure in the Kruger. This 7-day itinerary includes phenomenal experiences that attract adventurers from all around the world.
Day 1: Arrive in Kruger & Night Game Drive
The 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) 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)
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 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 where you’ll find the largest lion population in the 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 commemorates 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).
Day 3-4: Explore the Kruger
It’s time to get your boots dirty for the next two days. Get an early start 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’s guided walking safaris 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 4×4 game drive for an exhilarating adventure with Kruger’s experienced guides.
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 game drives include impala, zebras, giraffes, elephants, buffalo, and lions.
Day 5: Visit The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
On day five, 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. They focus on creating awareness on 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, spend time stargazing and relaxing before calling it at night.
Day 6: Take a Trip To The Hippo Pool
The last full day of your safari 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. Although there are crocodiles around the river, they’re usually harder to spot. Keep an eye out for other animals roaming at the river including mighty elephants and buffalo.
After returning to your accommodation, 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.
Day 7: Departure From The Kruger
As you prepare to leave one of the best South African safari parks, take a minute to enjoy the splendid views 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.
Final Thoughts On a Kruger Safari
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, 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.