Kruger National Park is two million hectares, it’s about the same size as the whole of Israel, a little smaller than Belgium and about a third of the size of Ireland.
Kruger Park is approximately 360 kilometers and its widest point, are 90 kilometers from east to west.
The reserve has 21 rest camps, 2 private lodge concessions, and 15 private Safari lodges. The Park was proclaimed in 1898 initially as the Sabie Game Reserve by Paul Kruger.
The National Park Act was proclaimed on 31 May 1926 and with it combining of the Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves the Kruger National Park was born.
There are some known cultural heritage sites in the Kruger National Park including about 125 recorded rock art sites.
There are numerous examples of San Rock Art in the park and important archaeological ruins at Thulamela and Masorini. The entrance to the Kruger Park is a 40-minute drive from the Kruger Park accommodations.
The Kruger National Park receives more than one million visitors each year. The park offers a wildlife experience that ranks among the best in the world.
Most visitors want to view wildlife especially the Big Five and do this in self-drive safari. The park contains a diversity of living organisms including 1982 species of plants, 517 species of birds, 147 mammal species (including the Big Five) and 114 species of reptiles.
Well established and regarded as one of the finest examples of wildlife management in the world. Currently, Kruger National Park provides a range of conservation- and wilderness-based experiences through its abundance
of wildlife sighting opportunities while taking part in different activities such as self-drive safaris, 4 × 4 eco-trails, backpacking trails, day walks, commercial game drives, bush braais, mountain biking, etc.
Kruger National Park continues to be the flagship national park of the country and many people both locally and internationally visit these Kruger National Park.
Visitors to the Kruger National Park have called this park the focal point of South African National Parks. It is the largest national park in South Africa. Visitors can expect an abundance of wildlife sightings, various accommodation options, and pure African bushveld.
What To Wear and Pack on Safari in South Africa?
When going to a safari in South Africa you need to pack your long-sleeved shirts and trousers because the evenings can be chilly. Long sleeve clothing can help you not be easily bitten by mosquitoes.
Avoid wearing dark colors. Pack your good pair of trainers or hiking shoes. The sun in Africa is very hot even in the late afternoons so getting a wide-brimmed hat can be useful and not forgetting your sunscreen with high SPF or sun protection factor, getting sunglasses is not a bad idea at all because the glare from the sun during the middle of the day can hurt your eyes and give you a headache especially if you are not used to it.
Pack a small bag of your medical kit that you may need because most lodges have a basic medical kit.
Accommodation at Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park has different types of accommodation where people can stay depending on what they want.
- Camping sites for caravans or tents
- Hut- single room unit with a communal kitchen and communal ablution facilities
- Safari Tent for permanent canvas tent bedrooms on permanent communal kitchens
- Cottage single bedroom units with living room
- Family cottage with multiple bedrooms unit with living room
- Guest Cottage multiple bedrooms units with at least 2 bathrooms
- Guesthouse multiple bedrooms and bathroom units
- Luxury Lodges exclusive private lodges with a unique style and atmosphere
The Best Season To Visit Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park has two distinct seasons and choosing exactly when to go depends on what you want to experience.
Visitors usually come for wildlife and the best time for that is dry winter seasons from May to October.
Vegetation is low and sparse at this time of the year making animals easier to spot and follow.
Mid-winter- June to August is a very comfortable time of the year to visit the Kruger National Park as there are few mosquitoes, little if any rain and temperatures are pleasantly warm.
Activities You Can Find at Kruger National Park
There are plenty of activities that can be done at Kruger National Park.
The wilderness trails and Walking Safari
If you a hiker and physically fit with good health conditions then you can try doing the wilderness trails offered at Kruger National Park.
People who are in good health condition can do the Kruger walking safari which is two to four hours.
The safari is conducted in the Greater Kruger National Park in Timbavati Nature Reserve. All wildlife walking safari is led by a professional, experienced safari guide who is armed.
Walking safari usually starts in the early hours of the morning.
Thulamela Ruins is the ancient African Kingdom that gives you an insight into early African Culture and life and is one of the most noteworthy archeological sites in South Africa.
A recent discovery was the burial place of an African King and his Queen buried with fascinating gold relics.
The Olifants River Backpack Trails
When you feeling energetic and enthusiastic and up for the challenge you may join the Olifants River Backpack Trails which the distance is 42 kilometers long and will last roughly four days and three nights.
Starting every Sunday and Wednesday between April and October. The trail is not to be missed and it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Manyeleti Game Reserve
Manyeleti means a “place of the stars” is 23 000-hectare reserve between the Timbavati and Sabi Sands Game Reserve, bordering on the Kruger National Park.
It is regarded as one of the few secret places left in and around the Kruger National Park.
Manyeleti offers wilderness trails starting at Manyeleti Game Reserve with a duration of three nights.
The walking safari enables you to experience nature in a unique way. Each day is an average walk of a 12-kilometer distance.
Metsi- Metsi wilderness trail
Metsi- Metsi wilderness trail start at Skukuza main camp Kruger National Park 6 kilometers from the Mozambique border.
The duration of the trail is two days and three nights. The trail is suitable for fit people who can manage walks. One night is spent in a wilderness camp.
On this trail, you learn about lizard eggs, the fungus garden of the termite mound and magic gwarri tree.
The 4×4 adventure trails
The 4×4 adventure trails allow visitors to get off the beaten track and explore territories of the park that are rarely seen.
These 4×4 trails are essential to minimize environmental damage. The trails are self-driven and taken undertaken at your own risks.
Participants should take GPS along. Adventurous people would like to try this out and explore the great Kruger National Park.
The Mananga 4×4 trail
The Mananga 4×4 trail starts just 11 kilometers north of Satara Rest Camp in Kruger, which is acclaimed as one of the best game viewing spots in the park.
The Mananga 4×4 trail is 48 kilometers long and is a circular route which is a self-drive that takes between four to six hours to complete the trail.
The Lebombo 4×4 trail
Another 4×4 trail that one may do is the Lebombo 4×4 trail which is also 11 kilometers long. It is an Eco trail that showcases some of the variety, abundance, and wonders of South Africa. The Lebombo trail is designed for real outdoor enthusiasts.
The trail takes drivers through the Kruger National Park and boasts some of the prettiest game driving in the world.
At the end of the trail, drivers will stand at the borders of South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, enjoying the views.
Quad biking is offered at Marloth Park for those who are fans of biking. The park is only 30 minutes from the nearest gate of the Kruger National Park and about five hours from Johannesburg and OR Tambo International Airport.
Marloth Park is particularly easy to navigate and safe to explore on a quad bike. Guided quad bike tours include all of the necessary briefing and safety equipment. Even children and teenagers can quad bike.
Hot Air Balloon flights
Hot Air Balloon flights take place in the very early morning before the earth heats up. The launch is in Sabie River Valley.
Depending on the wind direction the balloon may float over fruit orchards and bush or even forests and hills. The flight can approximately last one hour.
You can join the daily excursions of the park.
Take a helicopter flight from the Lion Sands Private Game Reserve to the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga this is the best way of viewing the northern Drakensberg.
The helicopter flies west towards the Drakensberg where one can get a close view of the Three Rondawels and Blydepoort Dam.
The helicopter also passes at God’s Window, Wonder View, Panorama Falls and over the town of Graskop before heading back to Lion Sands Reserve.
Discover Over 37 Species
There are over 37 species of to be caught in the Sand River so why not go fish at the Sand River?
Apart from fishing, you can walk around the bush listening to the chirping of various bird species or the sounds of Hippos in the distance.
Visitors’ safety is paramount and they are always accompanied by a highly-skilled ranger or tracker for their safety.
Game drives are available for visitors who want to get closer to the wildlife side of nature.
Morning drives duration is three and a half and you will be able to watch the sunrise over the unspoiled bush.
On this drive, you will be transported on an open vehicle. An experienced guide will interpret the natural bush as well as offer further insights into the ways of Kruger National Park.
Sunset drives last around three hours. Learn about Fauna and flora from the expert guides.
Night drives depart at half-past seven or eight o’clock depending on the time of the year.
Bush braais experience is not to be missed. A game drive leads you to an open area filled with burning lanterns and fires.
Guided Walks at Skukuza Golf Course
Guides explain natural wonders through guided walks. They focus on the things that you cannot usually see from a vehicle. The walks are relaxed and don’t take long.
While you at the park you can play your golf at Skukuza Golf Course that was built in 1972 as a recreational facility for the Skukuza personnel but now it is available to visitors of the Kruger National Park.
The golf course is situated on the outskirts of Skukuza Rest Camp. Since the golf course is not fenced-in uninvited spectators are spotted such as hippo, impala, warthog, and baboons. The Skukuza golf course is designed for all levels of golfers.
Variety of places To Eat
The park has a variety of places that you may eat in. Cafeteria casual dining available at Skukuza, Satara, Lower Sabie, Pretoriuskop, Berg en Dal, Letaba, and Olifants.
Restaurants are available in all Rest Camps.
- Boma Braai available at all Rest Camps.
- Bush Braais are also available at all Rest Camps.
- Mangwe Restaurant at Punda Maria situated halfway against the Dimbo hills at Punda Maria. The restaurant is the oldest complex in the Kruger National Park dating from the 1930s.
- Nyathi restaurant at Shingwedzi where gourmet meals are tastefully prepared by a top-flight chef while you enjoy some of South Africa’s finest wines.
- Imvubu restaurant at Mopani offers a menu selection and has a variety of delicious freshly prepared dishes from the chef. Breakfast and dinners are served in the restaurant which overlooks the pioneer dam where there is abundant waterbird viewing.
- Nambu restaurant at Letaba overlooks the Letaba River. The restaurant seats 80 people. You can relax while waiters serve you at the table no queuing for the delicious, traditional home cuisine.
- Ndlovu restaurant at Olifants the 80-seater restaurant is situated to the right of the viewpoint and the chefs prepare traditional cuisine in black cast iron pots from the buffet.
- Nhuthwa restaurant at Satara, self-service buffet ensures you have the selection and ability to eat at your leisure and most certainly the last say when it comes time for sweets.
- Ingwe restaurant at Lower Sabi derives its name from the majestic leopard which is respectfully given the name of Ingwe by local Shangaan people.
Kruger National Park is definitely the must-visit attraction in South Africa.