​User Reviews – Kruger NP

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levi schouten   –  
Netherlands NL
Visited: February 2009 Reviewed: Feb 20, 2011

Email levi schouten  |  35-50 years of age

Overall rating

7 day trip, good guide, good accomodations, good travel partner. Saw 4 of the big 5.
We did a 2day trip through a special gamereserve. There where the most beautifull encounters with wildlife.

kwasiak   –  
United States US
Visited: April 2006 Reviewed: May 19, 2011

20-35 years of age

Beautiful Scenery and Relaxing Safari Experience
Overall rating

I spent about three days driving through Kruger National Park on a tour bus as part of a University class trip. I loved that each night we stayed at another one of the campgrounds and we stayed in various types of camping cabin conditions from a nice cabin with a loft to permanent tents to little round huts with just beds.

The wildlife was not always abundant, but I liked the experience of looking for the wildlife and the excitement of seeing it. From the tour bus we saw a several of the Big Five during our trip including elephants, wild buffalo, and lions. I was among the few that decided to take an early morning safari on our last morning and we got to see our only rhino. Best of all we got to see a leopard in a tree right off the road, so we ended up seeing all of the Big Five during our trip. While it can be hard to see all of the Big Five in Kruger, the trip was great even before we lucked out and saw all of the Big Five on our last morning.

The scenery is beautiful and somewhat varied as you drive through the different parts of Kruger National Park.

I enjoyed that we took it slow getting to the campgrounds by mid afternoon and having the evening to relax. There was often still wildlife spotting opportunities at the campground including one that overlooked a large clearing. I enjoy identifying different bird species every morning while most were still sleeping using the little wildlife guidebook I picked up at the first gift shop we stopped at in Kruger. Most of the campgrounds had nice pools to swim in and cool off.

Mbabane Mike   –  
Swaziland SZ
Visited: January 2017 Reviewed: Oct 2, 2017

Email Mbabane Mike  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Our first trip in January 2017 was so great we returned in June and are going back a third time.
Overall rating

When we moved to Swaziland we knew we'd be close to Kruger and we figured we'd make one or two trips before our time in this part of the world came to an end. What we didn't plan on was how much we enjoyed our first trip there (in January 2017). Because of this trip there was a second one in June, and another upcoming trip confirmed for December.

For the January trip, a three night stay, we opted to stay inside the park at Skukuza and we didn't regret this decision. The self-catering accommodation was comfortable, well built, located next to a river allowing for additional sightings of wild game, and secure. The weather was great for two of the days and a bit misty and rainy on the other, but that didn't slow us down. In fact, due to the recent history with the drought we enjoyed a bit of rain.

One distinct advantage of being inside the park is the ability to begin your touring earlier than those looking to come in from the outside. Despite having the option to join a guided tour we self-drove all weekend as it gave us flexibility and our own vehicle was better suited for my elderly father who accompanied us. One benefit of taking a guided tour is they know where the animals tend to hang out and they use radios to communicate.

Despite the fact we blindly drove around for two full days and half of a third we saw a large variety of animals and birds. People asked us, "Did you see the big five?", as if that was the goal. Our goal was to experience the park, see what we could see, and enjoy the memories that came along as a result. We saw four of the big five (missed a cheetah) but my lasting memory will be the two male kudus fighting for territory or a female on the other side of the river as we relaxed at the end of the day. A large herd of elephants crossing the same river the day before is also a lasting memory. On day two we had a young, solitary, bull elephant diplomatically tell us to back up was a bit of a wake up call that perhaps we shouldn't have lingered as long as we did taking his picture. I guess he didn't like paparazzi. These are the memories we went looking for and we found them.

I'm not much of a birder, but after you've photographed the big game, you start looking for something different. If you're a birder there's plenty there. The hornbill sifting through elephant feces remains my favorite from the first trip.

It's difficult for me to be enamored with the scenery at Kruger because I've been to places that are much more scenic. You don't really go to Kruger for the scenery, you go to see wildlife. The topography is unremarkable when compared to other parts of Mpumalanga Province.

Lastly, we had the opportunity to engage with other tourists and we found several who had a similar mindset and outlook about the pace as we did. In fact, everyone we spoke to was pleasant, relaxed, and willing to engage. You will meet people from all over the world there, and there's a reason for that, it's simply worth going to see.

Tjeerd de Wit   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: March 2015 Reviewed: Jan 18, 2016

Email Tjeerd de Wit

Kruger National Park - The best place on earth
Overall rating

Kruger National Park, South Africa.
We have visited Kruger many times and can only report positive about the park and the facilities. But you have to comply with a few traits to enjoy this park, (and any other nature reserve). You have to love: nature, a peaceful environment, absence of city life, no traffic lights, tranquillity and spotting and observing animals (including birds).
The park is large, about 400km long by 60km wide and is dotted with many so called rest camps for the lower budget travellers and lodges for the more upmarket visitors. All camps are fenced, so one can freely walk around. Most camps have a shop where one can buy groceries and other goodies as well as a restaurant. The restaurants used to be mediocre, but this has greatly improved lately now that Kruger no longer operates most of them, but rather commercial restaurant chains. Also most camps have a swimming pool. At various locations in the Park you will find picnic spots (also at every camp) where you can even hire a gas bottle and pan to prepare your own breakfast.
Accommodation in the camps varies from camping to chalets completely fitted with all requirements with various options in between like permanent tents, basic huts (with communal ablution) and more advanced huts. We only encountered neat and clean accommodation.
The occurrence of games varies, but Kruger is well stocked and there are also various waterholes where one can leave the vehicle and wait for the animals to come. The big five are there of course.
In case you go with a tour operator everything is organized for you. But if you want to do it on your own, here some tips:
Book in advance via this website http://www.sanparks.org/tourism/reservations/
One can drive by car (about 400km from Johannesburg airport, excellent road) or fly directly into Kruger to Skukuza airport with daily Airlink flights (from Johannesburg and CapeTown) and rent a car on arrival. (Avis) http://flyairlink.com/
There is a daily entry fee for Kruger of R280 for foreigners, which at the current exchange rate is about USD18, which you pay when entering the Park. If you go many nights you can buy a Wildcard making it cheaper. At the gate staff can advise you.
Don’t forget to buy a Kruger map at the gate where you enter, makes travelling so much easier.
Don’t forget your binocular and that long lens in case you like photography.
Every camp has one or more communal kitchens where you can cook a meal in case you want to skip the restaurants and stay in a tent or hut without kitchen.
Search for the Facebook page “Kruger National park – Best Place on Earth” if you want to see and read how others experience Kruger.
And once in Kruger you can follow other people’s sightings on your tablet at https://www.facebook.com/latestsightingskruger/
Kruger is large and the max speed 50km/hour, so don’t book one night in the South and the next in the far North, you won’t make it.
The southern part of Kruger is busiest as far as cars and people are concerned. The camps in the far North, like Punda Maria, Mopanie and Shingwedzi for example are much quieter.
In every camp you can book a game drive with an experienced game ranger, during the day or the evening. They mostly know where the animals are by talking to their colleges via radio.
All in all, Kruger is a fantastic place, it’s a place that missed most that we call progress !
And finally, having been in Kenya as well with its hectic traffic, corrupt policemen and parks costing USD70-UDS90 a day just to get in we can only conclude that Kruger is a visitors paradise.
Tjeerd en Diny de WIt

Gary Stephenson   –  
Australia AU
Visited: May 2017 Reviewed: Mar 28, 2018

Email Gary Stephenson

Professional wildlife safari with a good dose of adventure
Overall rating

My wife and I arrived mid-morning at Skakusa Airport unaware that our travel consultant had made an error in not having us fly to Hoedspruit given our destination was Arathusa Safari Lodge, part of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve annexed to Kruger National Park.

This error made little difference to our activities for the day. We were met at Skakusa by our pre-booked driver who alerted us to the apparent error but decided that he'd turn the situation to our advantage and take us for a drive through the southern end of Kruger National Park.

We quickly encountered elephant, giraffe, impala and zebra.

Our departure from the park was through Paul Kruger Gate where we were met by a small band of vervet monkeys who kept an eye on what we were doing but perhaps looking for an opportunity for a 'grab and run' easy feed, not that we were eating anything at the time.

Leaving Paul Kruger Gate, we crossed the fast flowing Sabi River observing a couple of jousting hippopotamus then stumbling upon a cunning 2.5 metre Nile crocodile waiting patiently below the bridge for unwitting (or perhaps already drowned) prey to be swept past.

We traveled west to Hazyview in Mpumalanga province then turned north towards Acornhoek where along the way we saw the impressive rise of the Drakensberg Range. We took in the sights of busy townships and even busier local markets. Leaving Acornhoek, we traveled east along a sealed road that we thought was in worse condition than some of the dirt roads we'd be travelling and then south to Gowrie Gate and onto Arathusa Safari Lodge.

We'd just made lunch and there was a commotion on the other side of the waterhole ... a pack of a dozen or so African wild dogs had pulled down an impala so it was quickly into the 4WDs armed with cameras to witness this hectic episode. The wild dogs didn't waste any time and ripped the impala apart within minutes. It all came and went very quickly with our guides telling us that hunts of this size happen a couple of times a day as there is simply not enough in an impala to sustain a pack of this size.

And so started 3 days of evening and morning safaris. We were allocated the same driver and spotter for our time at Arathusa so it was possible to build a rapport with these guys and have a bit of fun along the way. Be warned, the early morning starts and evening safaris are quite cold this time of year so take plenty of warm clothing. The 4WDs also have woollen blankets available.

This was our first trip to South Africa and it became clear early on that certain wildlife was easier to find than others. Considerable effort was put into locating leopards and after talking with other guests and continuing our travels through Botswana and Zimbabwe, our total of 5 at Arathusa was special. Even better, two of these allowed us to get some very special pictures early one morning - a female and her well-advanced cub. Our driver was also acutely aware of where to stop the vehicle so as to get the best possible photographs.

The accommodation, food and beverages were first class and the staff were polite and made our stay very comfortable. We wanted for nothing other than perhaps better light for taking photos.

On to Hoedspruit (not Skakusa) Airport to continue our journey.

scarlettvixxen007   –  
Australia AU
Visited: September 2017 Reviewed: Nov 19, 2017

Email scarlettvixxen007  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Beat the crowds and go in winter or early spring and layer, layer, layer!
Overall rating

Kruger was never actually on my Wishlist. Over the last 15 years I've travelled to several different areas in Africa - Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa. 'Kruger' is the place that everyone asks about - 'have you been there'? I'm not a big fan of the tourist pathways and have gone along the volunteering route to experience a different side. A side that I love.

Having said that, I was actually volunteering at The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, which is in the general vicinity of Kruger National Park. We were given an opportunity to visit Kruger on a day trip. Seeing that I was so close, I decided to see it for myself.

We left before sunrise in an open safari vehicle. The sides were up so the breeze was quite chilly. Our driver stopped so we could get pictures of the beautiful sunrise. Entering at Orpen Gate, we stopped for breakfast. Shortly after we found a leopard at the side of the road, relaxing. Eventually he got up and left. Two rhinos were spotted in the distance but we couldn't see them well without binoculars. A leopard tortoise also reposed in the middle of the road. He was a big specimen!

Elephants, lions and lionesses, zebras, kudu, wildebeests, impalas, nyala, waterbuck, giraffes, the usual parade were on view. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a lioness walking near to the road (our guide had missed her). We were the only vehicle around so had a good chance to follow and observe her without other cars. The best sighting was a group of spotted dogs, reclining in the shade. At the most there were 6-7 vehicles at a sighting at any one time.

Lunch at Satara Camp and time for souvenir shopping before the afternoon drive. By this time it was quite warm. Our group enjoyed the day and were happy to sit and watch the animals, rather than race around to see how many we could find. The safari guide was very compliant with our requests. Another stop at the Orpen Gate souvenir shop for anything we missed and a 'comfort stop' before heading back home.

If you want to see Kruger I'd recommend going in a low season to avoid crowds (unless that's your "thing"). More space for all to see and breathe!

Tony   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: September 2017 Reviewed: Nov 11, 2017

Email Tony  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Wildlife galore
Overall rating

We flew from London to Hoedspruit via Johannesburg and picked up a hire car (a 2*4 SUV) at Hoedspruit. We drove to Satara via the Orpen gate and stayed in Satara for 4 nights.

The standard chalet that we had was simple, but clean and had everything we needed. The fridge, kettle, toaster and microwave enabled us to have a good breakfast before driving out on safari each day.
We took a packed lunch with us each day, because the long drives meant that it was too far to return to Satara in the middle of the day. In the evening we ate in the restaurant which had good, filling food at a reasonable price.
The weather started quite cool and I began to wonder if it had been a mistake not to bring a coat, but luckily it warmed up as the days passed. There was one cloudy day, the rest were sunny with some lovely sunrises and sunsets.

On the way in we drove on the H7 to Satara and on the way out we took the Rabelais loop back to Orpen.

On our three full days, we drove the s100 - s41 - h6 loop twice and the s40 - s60 - s39 - s36 - s126 - h1-3 route once.

Driving ourselves meant that we could spend as long as we wanted when we saw something interesting and we stopped frequently. We didn't feel that the park was too crowded, even though Satara is quite a big camp. At most animal sightings there were only 1 or 2 other vehicles present, while at bird sightings we were normally the only vehicle present.

We enjoyed the Sweni bird hide because there was always something happening. We spent a couple of hours there, on each of our s100 days, watching the crocodiles, hippos and all the bird life.
At the Sweni waterhole on the s126 we saw large numbers of elephants (100+) coming to drink in the evening.

One evening we joined a guided tour run from Satara. It turned into a long drive along the S100 to a reported leopard sighting, but was worth it as we had superb views of a leopard resting in a tree as the sun went down.

We saw all the animals that we hoped to see, plus lots more, with the exception of rhinoceros. The commonest sightings were impala, elephant, giraffe, zebra, kudu and wildebeest, plus lots of birds.

The highlights were the leopard sighting mentioned previously, the elephant and giraffe that walked right past us while we were sat in our car having lunch, the kingfisher slapping a fish on a branch to kill it, the lilac breasted rollers, the martial eagle and many others.

We thoroughly enjoyed our four days self driving in the Kruger, but it was a pleasant change to be driven on guided safaris for the remaining 6 days of our trip in the Sabie Sands and Klasserie reserves.

Andre Langenus   –  
Belgium BE
Visited: October 2016 Reviewed: Feb 17, 2017

Email Andre Langenus  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

Fortunate to have visited this region in time. Future of wildlife is in danger because climatchange
Overall rating

If you want to get the feeling of the wildlife and the region you must stay at least 3 to 4 days. Great to visit by own car, but certainly use the local organized sunset, sundown and night drive. We were lucky to spot the big five and the dangerous eight. Also many birds and small animals.
We stayed at Olifant rest camp. Great place to be with a spectacular view from the top of the hill. Good food, friendly people.
We visited SA self organized because as photographers it is very difficult to be part of a group. Be sure to get your bookings online long time before.

Ellen   –  
United States US
Visited: September 2016 Reviewed: Jan 13, 2017

Email Ellen  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Unmatchable experience!
Overall rating

This was my first trip to Africa, and seeing so much wildlife, so close to our guide's truck, was breathtaking. Others have told me that they prefer other parks and game reserves because of the lack of greenery, but my group was very satisfied with our experience.

We were lucky enough to stay inside the park's borders, at Skukuza camp. We were glad to be able to do so, since having to leave the camp each evening and drive back in the morning would have minimized our morning/evening wildlife drive windows; most animals are more active during those hours.

It's impossible to predict what animals you will see on any given drive, and some of ours were disappointing. Others were stunning! After being told leopards are only rarely spotted in the park, we saw two on the same drive, one ambling across the road. On another occasion we hadn't seen anything particularly for the first hour or so, then stumbled across our first, huge herd of zebras.

There were plenty of other people around, both at Skukuza and driving around the park. It was impossible to forget the real world when you spotted other cars every five or ten minutes. Still, for someone who's previously only seen this kind of wildlife in zoos, it was a life-changing experience.

Michael Potts   –  
Netherlands NL
Visited: October 2015 Reviewed: Dec 29, 2015

Email Michael Potts  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Overall rating

Great, but often has too many people, and there can be too many cars at good sightings.

Average User Rating

  • 4.7/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star 239
  • 4 star 65
  • 3 star 10
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 1
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