Photo by Chloe Durr
28 June 2021 | Tourism
When planning a trip to South Africa the Kruger National Park is likely to be on the top of your bucket-list. No matter your age, stage, interests or pocket-size, this almost two-million-hectare game reserve promises a quintessential wildlife experience that is sure to ignite a love affair with the African Bushveld!
The overriding sense of adventure and a resounding spirit of camaraderie is what makes the Kruger Park one of South Africa’s most popular year-round family-holiday destinations. It is praised by locals for its ease of access, well-developed tourism infrastructure and self-drive routes, a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and an abundance of wildlife and birdlife.
The Kruger National Park is an ecologically important savanna made up of several distinct biomes that attract varied species of wildlife, including the Big Five and the Magnificent Seven. The Park is also one of the few remaining safe havens for endangered species such as the Black Rhino and the African Wild Dog. The riverine forests that line the western rim of the park are the ideal place to spot leopard, while the savannah and mopane woodlands attract rhino and elephants.
Tailor your Experience
Understanding the different seasons, regions and eco zones, and considering the various species that they uniquely attract, is the best way to tailor your trip to get the most out of your bushveld experience. With a network of nearly 2300 kilometers of tar- and gravel roads to explore, a plethora of water holes, picnic spots, bird hides and campsites to visit, planning a trip to the Kruger can be overwhelming, especially if you are pressed for time.
The dry winter season (May - September) is without a doubt the best time to see game in the park, as the scant vegetation and the limited water resources attract large numbers of wildlife to the water holes and to the rivers.
The wet summer months (October-April) is the best time for birding in the Kruger, as the landscape transforms into a lush, subtropical paradise. The rainstorms and dense vegetation make wildlife difficult to spot, but never be complacent as predators are on the prowl for newly-born prey in the spring time.
Given its prime location, bordering Mozambique to the east and Zimbabwe to the north, the Kruger is a fantastic launchpad to venture beyond borders into the surrounding 35000 km² of conservation area that makes up The Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Park.
The Kruger Park cannot truly be summarized in a short article - it needs to be experienced! Here are some tips for first-time visitors:
·Book well in advance to avoid disappointment. There is a daily limit on the number of vehicles that can enter the park. Only visitors who have pre-booked overnight accommodation will be allowed entrance once capacity is reached. Booking online is advised, with the bonus of a 5% discount on the SanParks website.
·The larger rest camps with swimming pools, shops and restaurants generally attract family groups. The more remote camps, satellite bush camps and overnight hides attract birders and wildlife enthusiasts.
·Base yourself in one area if your stay is short. The camps are scattered, attracting different wildlife. Plan according to your interests.
·As a rule of thumb, distances between camps take around an hour to drive when traveling at the speed limit of 50 km/h on the tar roads. Allow 2.5 hours between camps to allow time for stops and game-viewing.
·Driving slowly is the best way to spot wildlife and early morning and late afternoons are usually the best time to see wildlife.
·Download the Kruger Explorer App - a fantastic resource for routes to take through the Park.