Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and extends approximately 360 km from north to south and 65 km from east to west. There are nine main entrance gates from which you can drive to different camp sites. Kruger National Park has a subtropical climate with humid and hot days during summer (30- 35 °C). Best time to visit the park is in the dry winter season as there is the malaria risk is lower and viewing wildlife is more rewarding as animals are drawn to waterholes to drink.21
WHERE TO STAY AT KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
As part of our South Africa trip (read this post), we went to Kruger National Park with two of my friends from university. Hence a romantic safari lodge wouldn’t have made that much sense for us all together haha. Instead we opted for a more ‘simple’ camp with San Parks. Our camp had lots of new yet simple bungalows where we could hang out together at night and have our own barbecue. The only drawback of our camp was the shared bathrooms and showers which were very clean and new though. But I must admit that walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night with your torch while hearing the sounds of the animals around us brought me much closer to nature than having my bathroom next to my bed :)
Things to Do at Kruger National Park
There are lots of activities in Kruger National Park including river rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, trekking, and most importantly game watching. You can either venture out (in your vehicle!) yourself or join one of the many guided safari tours.
The sunset safari is a guided game drive of around three hours. I really enjoyed this tour as you get to see a beautiful sunset and lots of animals that become active only after dark. It also gets a bit ‘scary’ once you realise that the only thing in between you and the nocturnal cats is the open air safari bus you are sitting in. Loved it!
And a little hint before you join the sunset safari: Don’t drink too much before and use the bathroom before you leave. I, on the other hand, apparently drank too much water before we left. So once we were like 20 mins into our tour, I asked our guide whether we would pass by a toilet on our way. He gave me that ‘seriously?!’-look and pointed to the nature around us. With a big smile on his face he answered: “This is your toilet”. Oh perfect, I thought and remembered the first thing that we were told when we entered Kruger National Park: NEVER leave your vehicle…. So there we were in the middle of Kruger National Park. Stopping the vehicle. During sunset (wake up time for all kitty cats). Our safari guide left the vehicle first and had a look around the area with his rifle in his hand. When he indicated that I should come out of the bus, I was about to head straight to the bush next to the car but no, no. The guide pointed to a spot behind the vehicle saying “Too dangerous to go behind the bush. Go here”. Awesome experience.. Everyone had a big smile on the face when I hopped back into the safari bus.
On another day we had booked a safari tour for sunrise. This safari tour was not by jeep though. Instead we drove to a spot, parked the jeep and got out of the car. One guide went with a rifle in the front and all the guests walked behind him – like a duck family. Guide number two then walked with another rifle at the end of the group. During the first days at Kruger National Park I was a bit sad that we hadn’t seen any cats yet but at that point during our walking tour I was rather happy that the park is not overpopulated by lions :) We did see relatively fresh lion footprints though and also rhino footprints.. we also saw huge spiders, bisons and lots of ‘friendly’ animals including zebras, giraffes and impalas. The tour takes around thee hours and was lots of fun. Totally recommend it!
Create your own Safari
What I liked about Kruger National Park is that you can just take your vehicle and explore the national park on your own. There are surprisingly many animals by the road so you will definitely see lots of zebras, giraffes, impalas, monkeys and probably also elephants. Don’t drive fast and never leave your vehicle! And if there is an elephant in front of you slowly drive a bit back and wait. Give the elephant some space. Chances are he or she is part of a whole elephant family that was just waiting to cross the road :) I’d recommend taking some binoculars that use rangefinders too, they’ll come in handy for long distance.
Have you been on Safari? Where did you go? Let me know in the comments :)