The Kruger National Park is undoubtedly one of the most iconic safari destinations, not just in South Africa, but in the world. Spread over 19,623 square kilometers (7523 square feet), the Kruger Game Reserve will bring you one step closer to spectacular landscapes, diverse wildlife, and the unique history of South Africa.
With nearly 2 million hectares of land waiting for you to discover, it could be a challenge trying to decide where to go and what to do. That’s why we’ve come up with this 10-day itinerary to help you make the most of your South African safari adventure.
Don’t have 10 days to explore the Kruger National Park? No problem, check out our 3 day Kruger Safari from Johannesburg.
A Brief History of the Kruger National Park, South Africa
In 1884, The President of the Transvaal, Paul Kruger realized that the Lowveld animals needed to be protected, and the area between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers was set aside for restricted hunting. In 1898, the Kruger National Park was established, then known as the Sabie Game Reserve.
In 1927 The Sabie Game Reserve was merged with The Shingwedzi Game Reserve and then became the Kruger National Park. Today the Kruger National Park is home to more than 753 species of animals, 1982 plant species, and 254 cultural heritage sites including 130 rock art sites. It is the largest conservation park in South Africa.
Kruger National Park Size
Just how big is the Kruger National Park?
The Kruger National Park is the largest safari park in South Africa. It covers over 19,623 square kilometers (7523 square feet) in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. The park borders Zimbabwe on its northern side and Mozambique on its eastern side.
The Kruger game reserve is made up of a network of game reserves including:
- Sabi Sand Game Reserve – the oldest privately-owned reserve in the country.
- Timbavati Private Nature Reserve – where you’ll find exceptional photographic opportunities.
- Kapama Game Reserve
- Thornybush Game Reserve – 11 500 hectares of land adjacent to the Great Kruger National Park.
Ultimate Kruger 10-Day Safari Experience
Prepare yourself to experience the ultimate wildlife safari in Kruger Park with this epic 10-day itinerary.
Day 1: Arrive at the Kruger National Park
Arrive by your preferred method of transport and check in to your accommodation. Spend the rest of the afternoon resting and exploring your surroundings, by getting to know your lodge or main camp. In the evening, enjoy a traditional barbecue under the stars while you hear the park come to life.
If a barbecue isn’t your thing, head over to one of the restaurants at the nearest lodge or one of the restaurants in the main camp.
Tip: If you’re planning on driving, be sure to leave early as this area gets dark quickly.
Day 2: Guided Walking Tour and Game Drive:
There’s no better way to experience the Kruger than by exploring on foot and getting into an area where even off-road vehicles can’t go. Head over to the Crocodile Bridge Camp on the southern side.
Your guides will drive to the walking area where your 4-hour activity will start. Explore the fascinating Fauna and Flora of this area with 2 experienced guides and stop for snacks and rest in between. After you’ve completed your walking tour, you’ll then end the day off with a 3-hour game drive.
Day 3 – 4: Explore the Punda Maria Rest Camp
The Punda Maria Rest Camp lies in the northern part of the Kruger and is rich in both prehistoric and modern historic archeology. This area has lush green vegetation which attracts a wide variety of rare South African bird and wildlife species such as the Nyala Antelope.
This area is also home to a large concentration of elephants and buffalo, which can easily be spotted along with various species of birds.
Day 5 – 6: Explore the Shingwedzi Rest Camp
It’s now time to go exploring for more of the iconic Big 5. The best place to do this is the Shingwedzi Camp, one of the quietest camps in the Kruger tucked away on the banks of the Shingwedzi River.
This area is about 70km from the Punda Maria rest camp and is an area best known for spotting leopards, so you’re in for a real treat. You can choose to go on a morning, afternoon or evening drive. It’s best to combine an afternoon and game drive to increase your chances of spotting a leopard.
While the leopard may be the star of this area, you’ll also be lucky enough to see big herds of buffalo, waterbuck, impala, and rare antelope such as Eland and Roan.
Day 7: Visit the Letaba Rest Camp
It’s now time to depart the Shingwedzi area and head down to the Letaba Rest Camp which lies on the banks of the Letaba River. This part of the Kruger is well known for its large herds of elephants, buffalos, and hippos. You’ll also easily spot hippos, crocodiles, and antelope roaming around the river banks.
The main camp is also home to the Great Elephant Hall Museum which is dedicated to the largest elephants in the history of the Kruger National Park. You can opt for a guided game drive tour or explore the camp on your own.
Day 8: Explore the Satara Rest Camp
About 90km from the Letaba River, sits the Satara rest camp. This area is home to one of the Big 5, the lion, and the cheetah, one of the fastest cats on the planet. This area also has a waterhole not far from the camp where you can easily spot wildebeest and zebras.
A night drive is highly recommended in this area.
Day 9: Skukuza Rest Camp
End your adventure at the largest rest camp in the Kruger at the Skukuza rest camp, located on the picturesque Sabie River. Spend some time self-exploring or going on a morning, afternoon, or evening game drive. Here you will be sure to spot some elephants and if you’re lucky enough, some white and rare black rhino.
End your day off relaxing by the pool and enjoying a traditional barbecue under the African stars, listening to the sweet sounds of wildlife teeming around you.
Day 10: Departure from The Kruger
As you prepare to leave the most wonderful safari park in South Africa, take time to take in the splendid views and hear the sound of the African bush one last time. If you’re not in a hurry, book one last game drive, have some breakfast at one of the luxurious lodges, or revisit your favorite camp.
Then head on back to the airport or start your scenic drive back to Johannesburg or a neighboring town.
Kruger National Park Wildlife
The Kruger National Park is the largest South African Safari park and is home to a wide variety of wildlife including the famous Big 5. It is also home to:
- 147 mammal species such as the Big 5, Zebras, cheetahs, hippos, and warthog.
- 114 reptile species such as the black-lined plated lizard.
- 51 snake species such as black mambas and puff adders.
- 49 fish species including tigerfish and catfish.
- The largest number of birds species in South Africa, 508 species of birds including Martial Eagles, Kori Bustards, and Southern ground Hornbills
Tip: For the best sighting opportunities, be sure to check out our guide on Kruger National Park Animals.
Kruger National Park Camps
There are plenty of places to stay in the Kruger National Park, ranging from budget-friendly self-catering accommodation such as chalets and bungalows, guest houses as well as award-winning 5-star luxury lodges such as the Tintswalo Safari Lodge.
The main rest camps in the Kruger have a number of facilities including a first aid center, a shop, a restaurant, barbecue, and communal kitchen facilities, and a petrol station.
Certain rest camps such as Skukuza and Lower Sabie also have pools, so they’re quite popular with families. All rest camps have day visitor areas and picnic spots for anyone just passing through.
Tip: Check out our guide on the 9 Best Places to Stay in Kruger National Park.
How to Get to Kruger National Park
The Kruger lies in between the South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga and borders Zimbabwe and Mozambique. There are several ways to get to the Kruger, but here are the most common.
Getting to the Kruger National Park from Johannesburg
The quickest way to get to the Kruger from Johannesburg is by plane. Flights depart daily from O.R Tambo International Airport or Lanseria International Airport, which will take approximately 45 minutes.
After landing at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, you’ll need to drive a short distance of 45km (27miles) to reach one of the southern gates of the park.
If you prefer to take in the beautiful scenery along the way, a road trip from Johannesburg is always a good idea, and it will take you around 4 hours to get to the Kruger.
Other Ways to Get to the Kruger
Private Chartered Flights
If you prefer a more private experience, you can take a private chartered flight to the Skukuza Airport inside the main Skukuza camp.
Entering from Other Towns
You can enter the Kruger from a number of towns including Nelspruit, Hoedspruit, Phalaborwa. Entrance is available through one of the southern, northern, and central gates.
Kruger Safari Tours
There are a number of ways to get the most of your South African safari experience in the Kruger including:
- A full-day safari tour
- A half-day safari tour
- Morning or afternoon game drives
- A wildlife photography safari tour
- Guided bushwalking tours
Final Thoughts on Kruger National Park Safari Itinerary
There is no better place to experience an authentic South African safari than in the gorgeous Kruger National Park. Whether you’re looking to escape from the city, spend some quality time with your family, the Kruger has something for everyone and it guarantees to make you fall in love with mother nature all over again.
Ready for 10 days of ultimate fun? Then book your tickets, pack your bags, and head on up to the Kruger National Park!