If you have ever wanted to experience a truly African wildlife safari, then the Kruger National Park is the ultimate spot.
Why the Kruger National Park you might ask? Well, the untamed and unfenced landscape is home to the largest concentration of free roaming mammals, and when compared to any other game reserve in Africa, it offers the best and most thrilling game viewing experience. With more than 2000 lions, 120 cheetahs, 11000 elephants, 900 leopards, buffalo, 350 black rhino and 7000 white rhino, your chances of spotting any of Africa’s Big Five is outstanding.
Not only is the region a sanctuary to land mammals, but it is a tree-hugger and bird watcher’s paradise. The park is made up of Africa’s nine major ecosystems, from baobab sandveld, knobthorn and marula bushveld, to acacia thickets, wetlands, woodlands, and riverine forests; these regions attract more than 500 species of birds, including lilac-breasted roller, vultures and the horn bill. The many artificial waterholes scattered throughout the park offer an even better chance of spotting game whenever they congregate.
The legendary Kruger National Park is South Africa’s biggest, and as the biggest and most well-known; it gives visitors a sense of the ancient environment of untouched Africa.
The Kruger National Park is easily accessed by road or air. The area has three airports, situated in Nelspruit, Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa. Nelspruit is the main gateway, with daily flights from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, as well as connections to Vilanculos in Mozambique. Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa have daily flights from Johannesburg.
The region is a 5 to 6 hour drive from Johannesburg on national roads.
Suggested Stay Details
We suggest a minimum 3 night stay during the months of April to September to fully appreciate the Kruger National Park experience. If staying longer, split your time between two different regions and lodges.
Type of Experience
Kruger is a Big Five experience on a par with some of Africa’s well known wildlife regions such as Okavango or the Masai Mara. However, Kruger provides the most easy access of any major wildlife region in Africa and has a plethora of private lodges and camps to suit any type of traveler.
However, the regions of the greater Kruger National Park have an ancient history that dates back to the indigenous San people. Though these ancient ancestors may not hunt in the vast plains of the protected park anymore, their spirit dwell across the flowing rivers, throughout the shrub lands and within the nooks and crannies of the rocked walls. These ancient inhabitants left behind reminders of their presents.
Rock art is prolific in the Kruger National Park, most of which found in the south-western foothills, can be found across more than 150 sites. Depicting life during the Iron Age, these rock paintings reflect hunting activities and deeply spiritual ancient San rituals. Experience the prehistoric art and gain a deeper affinity of ancient Africa.
Kruger National Park is equipped with an excellent infrastructure. Man-made water holes allow animals to congregate and allow better chances for visitors to view game. The park has many picnic sites, hides and rest camps. The unfenced private game reserves found on the south-western flank within the borders of the national park is all about luxury and your personal comfort, enhancing the African experience.
The park is made up of Africa’s nine major ecosystems, from baobab sandveld, lava flats, granite hills and marula bushveld, to acacia thickets, wetlands, woodlands, grass plains and riverine forests .
Sabi Game Reserve was proclaimed in 1898 by the president of what was then, the Transvaal Republic, making it one of the oldest national parks within the South African borders. In 1926, initially established to control hunting and offer protection to hunted animals, the reserve was dramatically expanded and named the Kruger National Park. In 1902, James Hamilton became the first warden of the proclaimed land for 44 years which was then only one third of the current size.
Since its proclamation, the park attracted an increasing amount of tourists in search of an African experience. In 1959, fences were erected to border the national park, aimed to prevent foot and mouth disease from spreading and to reduce poaching. Unfortunately the fences did more harm than good, reducing the population of many wildlife species. As a result, the park has no fences within its borders.
Confiscating land from the Makuleke people and forcing their relocation in 1969, the previously inhabited areas were integrated as part of northern Kruger National Park. A land claim was submitted in 1996 by the Makuleke tribe people to reclaim their land which was successful. The Makuleke tribe was granted more than 19000 hectares of northern park land but instead of resettling on the land, it was incorporated and used for tourism development.
Expanding yet again in 2002, the Kruger National Park crosses borders into Zimbabwe, Limpopo and Mozambique, making it one of Africa’s largest national parks.