Best Kruger National Park Safari Itinerary | 3 Days

July 18, 2021

The Kruger National Park, South Africa, is best known for an array of distinct birds, animals, flora, and of course, the Big 5.

An itinerary for Kruger National Park is vital for the traveler on a tight schedule. It provides peace of mind and surety that you’ll have experienced everything the land has to offer.

Many who visit here are mesmerized by how vast it is. If you’ve only got three days to spare, why not make the most of it?

At Kruger National Park, safari packages are a good way to relieve any holiday anxiety. With countless specials on offer, ranging from day trip activities to week-long vacation packages, planning this holiday can amount to work.

Keep reading for a thorough Kruger National Park safari costs, an itinerary that includes adventures, safari tours, and packages.

lion drinking water at a watering hole in the kruger national park

South Africa, Kruger National Park: What to Expect

Since the park was established in 1898 it has become the cornerstone of nature conservation in South Africa.

  • The park boasts about 140 mammals, from the Big Five to leopard tortoises and rhino beetles.
  • Around 500 bird species, which include the fish eagle, hornbill, and various vultures and owls, can be spotted throughout the park.
  • You could even try your luck to spot one of the 110 different reptile species, like snakes and lizards.
  • There are also 330 types of trees in the park.

The Kruger National Park is said to be as large as Wales, covering just under 20 million hectares of land. Although the animals that live here are not it’s the only drawcard. There are private lodges, public campsites, and activities in the surrounding areas that will make any holiday fun and family-friendly.

While bumbling through the bush, you’re also invited to visit some of the archeological sites where African culture and the history of ancient San and Zulu settlements are still preserved.

  • You can visit Thulamela in the north
  • Prospectors Grave close to Skukuza Camp
  • Masorini Archaeological Site, 11km from the Phalaborwa gate

four zebra at the drinking hole in the kruger national park

Kruger National Park: 3 Day Itinerary

Planning a trip can be exhausting. You’ve got accommodation, transport, food, activities and so much more to figure out. To make your life a little easier, we’ve set out a guide to spending three days in this magical park.

Day 1:

Kruger National Park could be an addition to your South African adventure or a holiday on its own. So, in order to squeeze every drop of excitement out of your trip, you might want to consider taking a drive from Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park.

The distance from OR Tambo International Airport to the Kruger National Park is only a 5-hour drive. All-inclusive tours from Kruger National Park to Johannesburg usually have a pick-up option. If you’re driving yourself, you might want to check out some of the reserves around Johannesburg as an introduction to your ultimate safari.

No two game reserves are exactly the same, visiting one or two of them might introduce you to some cool creatures that you might miss going to only one park.

Johannesburg has some beautiful places like:

  • Pilanesberg (Just over three hours drive away from O.R Tambo International Airport)
  • Moreleta Nature Reserve (30 minutes drive away from the airport)
  • Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve (35 minutes from the airport)

After a drive out of Johannesburg and through parts of the Kruger National Park, you deserve a delicious cocktail (or mocktail). Get out some board games and let the competition begin. Or you might want to start a fire and get some marshmallows roasting as a sweet treat to end off a pretty spectacular day.

Day 2:

Today is the day that you wake up to birds chirping, breakfast cooking and hopefully, some lions roaring. You’ll have an entire day to cruise through the park.

Once you’re dressed and ready at (literally) the break of dawn, you’ll have to head out for yet another game drive. Morning drives are quite fruitful as many magnificent beasts are out and about preparing for their day ahead of the critical midday sun. Unlike some humans, animals always look cute when they wake up – go and see for yourself.

Hopefully, your trusty guide will be able to spot some tracks and lead you to the animals you’d like to see. Most of the guides are well clued up on the way things work out in the bush, so do not hesitate to nerd out and ask them as many questions as you can think of.

After your morning drive, you’ll most likely head to the humans’ watering hole to refuel at some of the restaurants and shops. At Skukuza Camp, you’ll pick up some lunch before heading out for the second part of your day.

Midday usually brings some of the animals out to the watering holes for a quick drink. Get your Instagram stories ready for a few pics of the hunters and the hunted sharing the same body of water.

a bee-eater bird sitting amongst the grasses

Day 3:

On your third day, you can sit back and relax. There’s still time to fit in an extra game drive. One day around the block is not always enough and you might see some other animals that you hadn’t seen the day before.

Once you’re back home, you can take out your book and read it. Or, you can head down to the swimming pools at the Berg-en-dal camp, Olifants, Orpen, Lower Sabie, or Skukuza Camps and catch a tan under the African sun.

After your trip to Kruger National Park, you’ll feel relaxed, humbled, and happy that you’ve taken the time to visit.

Kruger National Park Safari Prices

For a self-drive day trip, you’re looking at around $30 USD for entry into the park. This allows you the entire day within the gates and use of basic public facilities. Camps within the park range from around $22 to $550 USD depending on the season, type of accommodation, and the number of guests.

There are also some all-inclusive packages which vary from one-day trips to three-day trips. You can mix and match to perfect your ideal itinerary.

a giraffe walking into the sunset with birds flying around it

How to Get to Kruger National Park

Traveling to Kruger National Park might seem confusing at first if you’re from different places in the world. We promise it’s simple. We’ve got everything you need to know about how to get to the Kruger National Park.

Distance from Cape Town to Kruger National Park

While a Cape Town safari will whet the whistle, the ultimate trip from Cape Town to the Kruger National Park is 1800km worth traveling.

In Cape Town, you’ll find yourself in the southernmost part of South Africa. If you’re driving, it will take you just under 19 hours to arrive at the Kruger National Park. The fastest route along the N1 National road takes you through the Karoo and once you get closer to Johannesburg, you’ll see a lot of farm towns.

It’s worth noting that South Africa will feel a lot slower than what you might be used to. So, this is the time to unplug and enjoy the scenery that this magnificent country has to offer you.

Once you get past Bloemfontein (about 1000km away from Cape Town), you’ve got two choices before reaching your final destination. You could either drive through bustling Johannesburg or take the road less traveled and see some of the lesser-known farm towns like Bethlehem, Standerton, and Barberton.

Once you reach Kruger Park, you’ll most likely enter through the Malelane Gate on the southern side of the park. It’s only about 39 to 48km away from the Skukuza Main Camp (distance varies based on the route taken).

If you prefer to fly, you could set off from Cape Town International Airport to Johannesburg, or to one of the airports in the surrounding area such as Hoedspruit Airport or Nelspruit Airport. This trip takes you 2 and a half hours with plane tickets ranging from $270 to $420 USD.

Silverback jackal spotted on a night time game drive

Kruger National Park Airports

If you’re hoping to spend as little time on the road as possible, a flight from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg will have you reach the park in about an hour. There are three major airports serving Kruger National Park visitors. Each one, except for the Kruger Park Gateway Airport, is about an hour’s drive away from the main entrances to the park.

  • Kruger Park Gateway Airport is situated just outside of the park and is closest to the Phalaborwa gate. Once you’re on Letaba road, you’re only 5 minutes away from the gate.
  • You can also choose to land at the Hoedspruit Airport and drive for about an hour before reaching the Phalaborwa gate. It’s worth noting that there are a few other nature reserves along the way, such as Lekkersmaak Game Reserve, Olifants North, Olifants River, and Tshukudu Game Reserves.
  • The final option is the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (previously known as Nelspruit Airport).

a leopard spotted through the graa during a safari game drive

Kruger National Park Safari Tours

The version of the best safari in the Kruger National Park is unique from person to person. With the help of their website, you have the option to personally curate the ultimate safari at the Kruger National Park.

Although, there’s a multitude of packages and experiences that have been conveniently arranged for your benefit.

For those of you who simply can’t budget in three days, Kruger National Park day tours are quite spectacular in and of itself.

Other 3 Day Kruger National All-Inclusive Package

With this all-inclusive tour operated by Viva Safaris, you’ll only have to plan your way into the country.

This tour sets you back by about $570 USD, although we feel that spending two nights in a treehouse is absolutely priceless. This is a Kruger National Park tour from Johannesburg where you’re picked up from the airport and taken straight to the park.

From here, you’re able to enjoy a sunset safari before heading to your treehouse accommodation. You’ll have something to eat for dinner and then the next three days are all yours.

a lone elephant walking along a dirt road

Tours Outside of the Kruger National Park

Just outside of the Kruger National Park, in the province of Mpumalanga, lies a myriad of activities that have been conveniently wrapped up in this package for you. The Panorama day trip takes 7 hours out of your day to show you around the world’s third-largest canyon, the Blyde Canyon.

This trip starts from Hazyview, which is 18 minutes away from the Phabeni Gate of the Kruger National Park. While you journey to the south of the park, beyond it is the Great Escarpment. It takes you around three beautiful lookout points, namely Three Rondavels, God’s Window, and Wonder View.

Thereafter, you’ll be delighted to find the Lisbon and Berlin waterfalls after stopping off for lunch at one of the Graskop stops (note that food is not included in the package).

This tour only costs you about $125 USD for the day and is suitable for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors or an old mining town that has been preserved since the gold rush days in the 1800s.

a man sitting on a ledge overlooking the blyde river canyon in mpumalanga

Final Say on the Kruger National Park in South Africa

After you’ve conquered the ultimate South African safari, why stop there? The rest of Africa awaits featuring the most enticing Africa trips for couples.

Take your loved ones and journey from one end of South Africa to another. Enjoy three days of pure animal and bird-watching bliss. With so many animals to see, you have no time to waste.

Book your favorite trip and start spamming your friends with the most magnificent photographs.

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