At almost 19,500 km2, Kruger National Park is one of the largest reserves in Africa. Situated in western South Africa, near the borders with Zimbabwe and Mozambique, the park is famed for its conservation work and wide variety of native species.
All holidays to South Africa should include a visit to this iconic wildlife reserve. Whether you’re planning a short stay or a longer break in one of the park’s luxurious game lodges, Kruger Park will not disappoint.
The main attraction of Kruger National Park is the wildlife, and you’re likely to see a fantastic variety of animals on your trip. All the ‘Big Five’ (lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, rhino and leopard) are present in the park, and they will be one of the most popular sights.
The park is also home to large populations of elephants (about 11,000), zebras (about 17,000), buffalo (27,000) and white rhinos (between 7,000 and 12,000). There are also substantial populations of wildebeest, giraffes, hyenas, crocodiles and hippos.
Kruger National Park is one of the few places in South Africa that houses packs of endangered African Wild Dogs.
As well as having more species of large mammal than any other African reserve (147), there are 517 species of bird, 144 species of reptile, 33 species of amphibian and even 50 species of fish. Whatever wildlife you’re most interested in, you’re likely sure to see something unforgettable.
Given that Kruger National Park is the size of a small country, what animals you want to see during your visit may affect your decision on where to stay; for example, the northern parts of the park have a large elephant population, whole the south has a wider variety of species and is also easier to access.
The park also has a wide variety of plant life, which is split into four main areas:
- Thorn trees and red bush-willow veld
- Knob-thorn and marula veld
- Red bush-willow and mopane veld
- Shrub mopane veld
The area of knob-thorn and marula veld in the eastern half of the park provides the most important grazing land, and subsequently the best opportunities for spotting wildlife.
There are many ways in which to enjoy the park, including by four-wheel drive – along one of the many tracks – cycling and even walking trails.
There are plenty of options for staying in the park, to suit your budget and plans for seeing the wildlife.
Inside the park there are 21 rest camps and 15 private lodges, as well as two private lodge concessions.
If you stay at a game lodge you will have the chance to go on excursions with a park ranger, such as game drives and bush walks. Rangers are friendly, knowledgeable guides who will help you track wildlife and explain about history and wildlife of the areas you visit.
The climate of the Kruger National Park is subtropical, with temperatures sometimes reaching 38 degrees C and above. The most popular time to visit the park is the dry winter season – between June and August – as the rest of the year can be quite wet, and the weather is slightly milder over the winter.