In today’s day and age when a number of animal species are endangered, it is vital to provide a safe haven for them. Among all, the SANParks Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and does exactly that.
It is one of the most popular destinations for safaris in South Africa. Those with an enthusiasm for the animal world love exploring the wildlife in their element. Exploring the way other mammals live is a great way to bond, on a family trip to Africa, with friends, or your special someone.
The Kruger National Park size means spending time in the wild and is the perfect way to get away from city life and be in the midst of nature.
The size of the Kruger National Park has an area of almost 19485 square kilometers, with nine entrances. It is located in the North-Eastern part of South Africa and is bordered by Phalaborwa in Limpopo.
Two other boundaries for the national park on the north and south are the naturally flowing rivers of Limpopo and Crocodile. The park has several rivers running through it, such as the Sabie, Letaba, Luvuvhu, and Olifants.
The Kruger National Park is home to a variety of flora and fauna such as the red bushwillow, Acacia, knob-thorn and mopane trees just to name a few.
While the park is a natural environment for the animals, it is increasingly falling prey to poaching, a real problem for most South African parks currently. It is also under threat from urban development at the borders, mining projects, and climate change influences such as droughts.
The ivory from elephant tusks and rhino horns are traded illegally in huge numbers, and these animals are endangered. The administration of the park and SANParks is taking strict measures to put an end to poaching and to punish those that are responsible.
Where is Kruger National Park Located – How To Get There
Sitting in the North-East of South Africa is the Kruger. There are several ways you can get to Kruger National Park. You can reach it by air or by road, from either Johannesburg, Cape Town, or Durban
Flights from Johannesburg – Mpumalanga
The most popular route is to fly into Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo International Airport. From there, you can take a flight to Mpumalanga International Airport. This airport is about 45 km from the southern gate of the park.
Private Chartered Planes
If you do not wish to fly with one of the commercial airlines, that is fine. The park has an airport inside, at Skukuza, and a lot of tour companies offer chartered flights which you can take. Check out this 3-day tour from Skukuza Airport for a more private experience.
Flights are also available from Johannesburg to the Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa airports that serve Kruger. If you are flying from Cape Town or Durban, you can fly into Johannesburg and then onward, or you can take direct flights to Mpumalanga.
Road Trip from Johannesburg
Sometimes, the cost of air travel is too high and can disrupt the budget for the trip. The park is about four hours from Johannesburg by road and you can drive down.
Animals in Kruger National Park – What to See
The wildlife in Kruger Park is abundant. You can see animals such as white rhinos, buffaloes, elephants, Giraffe, Hippo, Zebra and Wildebeest. The lions are usually found in the Southern part of the park.
You can see leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs, although they are rare to spot. Make sure that you know the difference between Cheetahs and Leopards though. You can also see antelopes such as the grey rhebok, steenbok, bushbuck, waterbuck, impala, roan and many more. Some of the park’s other predators are the black-beaked jackal, side-striped jackal, hyena, caracal and the African wildcat.
You can spot smaller mammals such as the mongoose, tree squirrel, scrub hare, porcupine, rock dassie and the cutely named honey badger.
Apart from animals, you can see a variety of birds here such as a lappet-faced vulture, saddle-billed stork, martial eagle, kori bustard and graceful ground hornbill.
People come to Kruger National Park to see the wildlife in its natural surroundings. They like to witness the predators in their natural habitat. They get to witness herds of animals playing, moving together, alerting each other, running to save themselves from the larger animals on a day safari in South Africa’s national parks.
The park offers various safari options in which an open vehicle takes you around the park through a dedicated trail. These safari vehicles can be shared with other people or you can book an entire vehicle just for you.
The duration of the safaris also varies depending on your budget and the number of days you are staying at the park. The operators are well-trained people and share their knowledge with you during the safari. You can book a safari online or along with your accommodation.
For a more relaxed experience, a 4-day escorted safari while sleeping under canvas tents is a beautiful way to immerse yourself into the wildlife. But, not everyone has the luxury of spending days on end relaxing in their accommodation inside Kruger National Park. This is where a full-day safari tour comes in and will be the best way to spend a day out in the Kruger with your family or loved one.
For those who want to spend a night away from the city, you could take an afternoon sunset safari tour. You can spend the afternoon exploring the bush and return to your luxurious camping in the evening.
Accommodation in Kruger National Park
Sometimes, visitors do not witness a lot in one day and it might take a few days before you can see most of the animals you had set out to see. So it is suggested that you stay over for a few nights and take a multi-day tour.
Kruger Park accommodation is available in various different options based on your budget and comfort desires.
You can stay at one of the lodges in the Kruger National park, built within the park’s boundaries, called Concession areas. They provide a luxury stay experience along with safaris through the park like Kapama River lodge with their 4-day safari experience.
There are a number of private reserves just outside the park where you can find cheaper bed and breakfasts, hotels, lodges, and villas that also provide the safari experience.
Kruger National Park Camps
There are provisions in the park for self-catering accommodation. The park provides various camps in the form of bungalows, cottages, and communal campsites. These sites are equipped with basic amenities and electric power.
These camps are located within the boundary of the park. There are different types of camping options available. You can choose from:
- Rest camps where access to the area is shared by multiple families,
- Private camps that give you exclusive access to the place,
- And bush camps that are ideal for large families.
There are 12 rest camps available:
- Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp
- Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp
- Letaba Rest camp
- Lower Sabie rest Camp
- Mopani Rest Camp
- Olifants camp Kruger Park
- Orpen rest Camp
- Pretoriuskop rest Camp
- Punda Maria Rest Camp
- Satara Rest Camp
- Shingwedzi Rest Camp
- Skukuza Rest Camp
There are four private camps available:
- Balule Private Camp
- Malelane Private Camp
- Maroela Private Camp
- Tamboti Satellite Camp
There are seven Bush camps available:
- Bateleur Bushveld Camp
- Biyamiti Bushveld Camp
- Boulders Bush Lodge
- Roodewal Bush Lodge
- Shimuwini Bushveld Camp
- Sirheni Bushveld Camp
- Talamati Bushveld Camp
If you are wanting to choose the perfect route of where to stay in the Kruger National park, this map of Kruger park camps will let you plan your journey.
Kruger National Park – Will you go?
Kruger National Park is a popular tourist destination with abundant vegetation and wildlife available here. With so many different options for accommodation, visitors generally prefer to spend at least three to four days in the park. This 4-day private safari would be the perfect safari to take so why not book it for this winter or look at other Kruger National Park accommodation? This allows them to spot a large number of animal species in their natural habitat.
However, human encroachment in the park with their vehicles is contributing to an increase in pollution. And poaching is a matter of serious concern. The development of new properties to cater to the tourists on the outskirts of the park is also adding to problems.
While the experience of visiting the park is fun for us, we must remember that it is the home of the animals. We must respect that and not engage in any activity that is harmful to their well-being.