A first-time visitors’ guide to Kruger National Park

If you’ve never been to South Africa’s most famous game park, it’s well-worth making the trip. Here’s a brief look at what you need to know when planning for your Big Five experience.

 

Need To Know

When to go

Kruger is a year-round destination but the dry winter months, from April to end October, are best for game viewing. Mid-summer can be very hot.

Plan your route

Check the sightings boards in camp and at the entrance gates; on a detailed map (available at all rest camps and gates) plan each drive around what you would like to see and where to stop for breakfast or lunch. Calculate the distance, then divide by 25km/h to get a rough idea of how long your route will take. The main H roads are tarred, secondary S roads are gravel, and can be dusty and corrugated.

Health Kruger is a low-risk malaria area – consider prophylaxis; insect repellent is essential. There is a doctor at Skukuza, 013-735-5638.
Gate times You must be in camp before the gates close. Times vary seasonally, from 5.30pm in winter to 6.30pm in mid-summer.
Good companions Game-ranger in your Backpack by Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick, R340 at Makro; the essential Kruger Self-Drive by Heinrich van den Berg plans all your routes for you.

Stay Here

There are 12 main rest camps with a shop, petrol station and restaurant/cafe and day-visitor facilities; most have swimming pools.

Camps differ in price and offer a variety of accommodation: camping (not at Olifants and Mopani) from R359 a site for first two, R89 per additional person; (maximum six); huts (communal bathroom and kitchen) from R465 (for two), bungalows from R1,100 (for two), safari tents, from R692 (for two), guest cottages from R2,492 (sleeps four), to guest houses from R6,991 (sleeps eight). Kruger also has six bush camps, from R1,493 (for two) and five satellite camps. 012-428-9111, sanparks.org.

The daily conservation fee is R93 per person for adults; R47 for children. A Wild Card which covers these fees for all 21 SANParks for a year costs R610 per person or R1,995 for a family (of up to seven people with only two adults).

There are also several private lodges and concessions.

Do This

The following activities are available from most of the main camps; book at reception: Take a morning walk. No under 12s, R570 per person. Go on a game drive. Sunrise and sunset options are three hours long (R328, no under sixes); two-hour night drives are from R258). Braai in the bush. It’s on request only and costs from R808 per person. Watch a free movie in the open air under the stars.

Getting There

Malelane Gate is 405km (easy five-hours) from Joburg via Nelspruit on the N4. Airlink flies direct from Joburg and Cape Town (and Durban via Joburg) to Skukuza. flyairlink.com

 

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