Overview – Kruger NP
Kruger National Park is justifiably one of the most famous parks in Africa. The park is the size of a small country and supports a huge variety of wildlife. All of the Big Five are present in large numbers, but wildlife viewing in the Wet season is more challenging due to thick vegetation. A comprehensive road network that is fine for 2WD cars means Kruger is one of the best parks for self-drive safaris. Few visitors leave this park disappointed.
Pros & Cons
- Teeming with a breathtaking diversity of wildlife
- Birdlife is phenomenal, from stately secretary birds to colorful bee-eaters
- Good facilities and roads
- Excellent choice of lodges and rest camps for all budgets
- The south of the park gets very busy in high season
- Tar road network creates a lack of wilderness appeal
Kruger National Park offers magnificent wildlife viewing. All the major safari animals are present including the Big Five. The big cats are present in healthy numbers, and lions, in particular, are frequently seen in the south of the park. Elephant and buffalo are common throughout, while white rhino are increasingly under threat from poaching. Kruger NP has a wide variety of antelope including greater kudu and the very common impala.
Kruger’s main habitat is woodland savannah, and the vegetation is relatively thick throughout, especially during the Wet season. The gently undulating landscape has its highest peak at Khandzalive (839m), in the southwest. Olifants Camp sitting high on a bluff overlooking the Olifants River is a scenic highlight with jaw-dropping views. Trees to look out for in the park include the baobab in the tropical north, yellow fever tree, the knob thorn and the mopane tree.
Weather & Climate
Kruger experiences a hot and tropical summer, from October to April, and this is when the park receives most of its annual rainfall. Storm activity is common during the afternoons. Winter months, from May to September, are more comfortable for visitors with milder temperatures, although it can get chilly overnight.
Best Time to Visit
The Dry season (May to September) is usually regarded as the best time to visit Kruger NP. Skies are normally clear, wildlife viewing is at a premium and it is low season – a big drawcard for a park that can get very busy (especially in the south). However, if birding is your interest, consider scheduling your trip during the Wet season (October to April) to see the park’s migrant bird population.
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Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.
Killing time in Kruger
The mothership of South Africa’s parks, Kruger is more organised and has more variety of accommodation than any other park. It also has a HUGE number of animals with the Big 5 and every other kind of 5 you can think of rustling around in...