The Kruger National Park is a world renowned destination for viewing the “Big 5” animals – elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinoceros. It is also home to hundreds of other species, and the main thing to remember when visiting is that it’s the animals’ home, not yours!
Also known as simply the Kruger Park, it is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. The park covers a total area approximately the size of Wales, being around 350km (220 miles) from north to south and 65km (40 miles) from east to west. The Kruger is in the north-eastern corner of South Africa, with the eastern side bordering Mozambique and the northern tip bordering Zimbabwe. It is approximately 400km (250 miles) from Johannesburg.
There are nine main gates through which to enter the park, which can be divided into three separate regions. The Southern region is the most popular and is generally considered as the best game viewing area. It mostly has tall grass and deciduous trees, and is particularly favoured by the rhinoceros.
The central area is open savannah, mainly populated by grazing animals such as zebra and antelope. The northern area of the park is scrub, which mainly attracts elephants and buffalo.
The Kruger Park has a subtropical climate, with wet summers and dry winters. You should note that there is a malaria risk in the Kruger, and as such you should take advice regarding anti-malaria medication before travelling. If you would like to visit a malaria-free game reserve, then a great option is Addo Elephant Park, where you can also see the Big 5. An additional advantage of Addo is that it is a lot closer to Cape Town and the Garden Route, meaning a safari fits comfortably into our suggested 3 week itinerary.
Accommodation in the Kruger National Park consists of around 20 “rest camps” and 15 “private lodges” – the latter of which are generally more upmarket and more expensive. Most of these camps and lodges offer game drives and trails, often including the option of night drives.