A short guide to visiting Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in all of South Africa, taking up over almost 20,000 square kilometres. The park today exists as more than just a home for the exciting wildlife of Africa. There’s many things to do in Kruger National Park such as hiking, camping and tours.

There are many options for travellers – you can choose to see the park during a day trip, you can Park & Ride, where you get to tour the area in search of the “big five” or you can stay in lodges or camps.

How to get there

The best option for getting to the national park is to fly into Johannesburg and then catch a connecting flight to either the Phalaborwa airport, the Hoedespruit airport or Kruger/Mpumalanga airport. From these airports you can then get direct shuttle to the park.

Another option is a bus shuttle that takes up to just over an hour, running between Kruger International Airport and the Park. It should be pre-booked, however, and spots are often limited. For more information please email heather@pctours.co.za

You can also choose to hire a car, and should you do so please be aware of the nine entrance gates you can choose from.

Things to do in Kruger National Park

Africa is fairly well-known for it’s fantastic wildlife and the Kruger National Park literally has it all for you to see – and it’s not dangerous, so don’t worry about lodging overnight.

Keep an eye out for the “big five” – the buffalo, elephant, lion, rhino and leopard. These are the ones we all want to see most. There are also an astounding number of birds and smaller animals – including antelope, elephant shrew, the rhino beetle, the ground hornbill and martial eagle.

In the park there’s also a number of cultural and natural features for tourists to visit. These include museums, a library, the Albasini Ruins, the Masorini Ruins and Thulamela – a stone wall dating back 500 years which once marked the divide between lands.

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Where to stay

The Kruger National Park offers a few different options when it comes to overnight stay. You can choose between basic camping grounds, huts or bungalows – or you can go all out and stay in luxury.

Siyabona Africa offers packages for safari accommodation in the park.

The “Premier” Kruger safari option includes three days accommodation with included breakfasts, dinners and park safari tours. There’s also the option to make it a romantic getaway, and they offer great honeymoon packages.

For more information on the packages offered by Siyabona, please visit http://www.krugerpark.co.za.

If you are after something a bit more authentic, you can choose to book directly through the Kruger National Park website. The facilities are not as luxurious, but you get the same safari experiences for a cheaper price.

Bedding is supplied for all accommodation when booking through the Kruger National Park scheme, and there are cheaper options available for children under the age of 12. You can opt for a family cottage if the space is needed – it has multiple bedrooms, a bathroom and it’s own kitchen.

For more information and prices, please visit http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/tourism/accommodation.php

Important information

The Kruger National Park is a highly regarded and regulated park. There’s a pretty extensive list of rules that you must follow, put in place for both the safety of you and the safety of the wildlife around you. To make the most out of your stay, whether it is overnight or as a daytripper, it’s important that you follow the rules.

In certain areas – they will be signed – you must stay in your vehicle. This is for your own safety!

There are strict speed limits in place and most vehicles must stick to the tar roads to avoid accidents. There are people who patrol the roads as well and it’s important that you adhere to the signs as they are in place for the safety of you and others.

The national park is a malaria zone – there are chances of malaria being spread, as there are high level bugs (especially mosquitos) please make sure that you check what needles and medication you may need before travelling to Africa and the Kruger National Park.

The park is a definite no poaching area – it’s never a good thing to harm animals and if you see somebody attempting to do so, please alarm the authorities. Poaching is taken very seriously in the Kruger National Park as there are a number of protected species – particularly the rhino. When shopping in parts of Africa always avoid buying animal products and definitely steer clear of anything ivory – not only will it not get through customs and you will be supporting a crime.

Always research travel routes and be careful when driving alone. Don’t keep large amounts of cash on you. Check payment options for your accommodation and only bring what money you need. Try to travel during the day to avoid long journeys at night in a foreign place.

When is the best time to visit?

There isn’t really a bad time to visit Africa; however there are notable wet and dry seasons and in the months after the wet season, increased foliage does make it more difficult to spot wildlife.

The months of April to September are chilly at night but they have warmer days which are dry, making animal spotting a lot easier. Vegetation becomes scarce and animals flock to rivers and watering holes for their water supply.

* It’s important that when you’re travelling through the drier parts of Africa that you stay well hydrated.