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Kruger Safari Tours - Compare 367 Packages

South Africa’s premier safari destination, Kruger National Park throws up some staggering statistics. Established in 1898, it extends over some 19,000km²/7,335mi² and supports a total of 147 mammal species (the most of any African national park). This includes an estimated 13,000 elephants, 40,000 buffalo, 2,000 lions and more rhinos than any other protected area. Kruger is an ideal safari destination at both ends of the price and experiential spectrum. No other major African park is so well geared to budget-conscious self-drivers. Equally, some of the all-inclusive private and concession lodges associated with Kruger and its immediate surroundings (including MalaMala, Sabi Sabi and Londolozi) rank among the most exclusive, prestigious and costly in Africa.

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1-20 of 367 trips, packages and vacations to Kruger National Park
 

8 Questions About Kruger National Park Safaris

Answered by Philip Briggs

When is the best time to go on safari in Kruger?

“The best time for Kruger safaris is during the southern hemisphere winter months of May to September, with wildlife-viewing conditions improving throughout this period. Climatically, it is most pleasant during these dry winter months (warm by day, cool by night) and there are fewer mosquitoes, which reduces the risk of contracting malaria. Winter offers the most productive wildlife viewing. This is because the vegetation tends to be lower and thinner, allowing for better visibility, and the lack of rain causes wildlife to gather around permanent water sources. Bird-watchers may arrange their Kruger tours for summer, when large numbers of migrant birds arrive from Europe and many resident species display a colorful breeding plumage. If you don’t like crowds, avoid visiting Kruger during South African school holidays.”

1

What are the most popular areas in the park?

“Most Kruger safari packages focus on the park’s southern third. Partly this is because it’s the closest section to Johannesburg, and pretty much everywhere else in South Africa, which means it fits most comfortably into a countrywide itinerary. In addition, the south has denser wildlife populations than the north and wildlife tends to be more habituated to cars (and therefore easy to view). There is also a greater choice of rest camps and concession lodges. Probably the most productive and popular game drives in the south comprise a triangle of roads connecting Skukuza, Lower Sabie and Satara, and the two roads running south from Skukuza to Malelane and Lower Sabie to Crocodile Bridge Gate. The popularity of these roads means they can become congested during busy periods such as school holidays, which is when locals tend to visit Kruger.”

2

Is Kruger good for a self-drive trip?

“Yes, Kruger is arguably the best self-drive safari destination anywhere in Africa. This is due to its easy accessibility, combined with a network of good surfaced roads and well-equipped rest camps, and the ready availability of interpretative material such as maps and dedicated field guides. Self-drivers can either rent a car in Johannesburg or Pretoria and drive to Kruger, or they can fly to an airport within the park or just outside it and pick up a rental car there (by advance arrangement). Self-drivers should bear in mind that cars drive on the left side of the road (like the UK and many former British colonies, but unlike the USA and most of Europe and Asia). You should allow for average driving speeds of around 30km per hour within the park. The speed limit in Kruger is 50km per hour on surfaced roads and 40km per hour on dirt, but you also need to allow time for stops to look at wildlife. Another attraction for independent travelers is that prices for Kruger safaris tend to be very low compared to other major African parks.”

3

What animals can I expect to see on a Kruger safari?

“All the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) are present in significant numbers. However, wildlife viewing in Kruger can be hit-and-miss, so those seeking a Big Five quick fix would be better heading to one of the private reserves that offer expertly guided all-inclusive safari packages. That said, those who allocate a couple of days to their Kruger safari can be confident of encountering large herds of buffalo and elephant, and also stand a good chance of seeing lion, white rhino and, to a lesser extent, leopard and black rhino. Other wildlife commonly seen on Kruger safari trips includes spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, southern giraffe, plains zebra, hippo, warthog, wildebeest, impala, greater kudu, common waterbuck, vervet monkey and chacma baboon. Sightings of cheetah and African wild dog are possible but rare. Birdlife is prolific, with more than 500 species recorded. The park is particularly good for colorful savannah dwellers such as the lilac-breasted roller, yellow-billed hornbill and white-fronted bee-eater. There is also a wide variety of eagles, vultures and other raptors, as well as hefty ground dwellers such as the southern ground hornbill, kori bustard and ostrich.”

4

How long is the drive to the park?

“Coming from Johannesburg or elsewhere in Gauteng, most of the southern gates lie between 400km/249mi and 500km/311mi to the east, a drive of up to five hours on good surfaced roads. Coming from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport outside Mbombela (Nelspruit), most of the southern gates lie between 40km/25mi and 100km/62mi away, so allow up to 90 minutes. The most remote gate from Johannesburg is Pafuri, which lies about 620km/385mi to the northeast, a seven- to eight-hour drive on roads that deteriorate as you approach the park. When planning your Kruger holidays in the context of a full South Africa tour, be aware that the park is an astonishing 1,800km/1,118mi from Cape Town using the most direct route, and almost 750km/466mi from Durban.”

5

What condition are the roads in within Kruger?

“An excellent network of surfaced roads suitable for 2WD cars connects all gates and rest camps in Kruger. This is supplemented by a secondary network of unsurfaced roads, most of which are also suitable for any 2WD car, though some might become problematic after heavy rain. A good map showing the full internal road network can be bought cheaply at any entrance or rest camp gate, and all junctions within the park are signposted for easy navigation. From a wildlife-viewing perspective, surfaced roads often follow busier routes, so taking quieter unsurfaced routes will probably enhance your Kruger vacation.”

6

Is the park fenced?

“Until a few years back, the entire park was fenced. Today, however, it shares open borders with a number of private reserves that run along the western border, though in most (if not all) cases, these private reserves are fenced along their outward boundary. Fences along the international boundaries with the other two components of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (namely Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe) are no longer maintained. This allows wildlife some freedom of movement into these neighboring reserves.”

7

What lodges or camps do you recommend for a Kruger safari?

“For a short Kruger holiday (up to 3 nights), I would concentrate on the far south. My favorite camp there is Lower Sabie, which has a beautiful location on the Sabie River at the heart of several top-notch wildlife-viewing roads. Skukuza, the park’s largest rest camp, is a bit too busy for some, but it’s very well equipped (with everything from ATMs and car-rental outlets to a well-stocked supermarket and restaurant) and has a useful location for exploring some good wildlife-viewing roads. Those able to dedicate more time to a Kruger tour (4 or more nights) could head to the central plains. Satara Rest Camp lies in an area of open savannah where lion and cheetah are often seen. Olifants Camp has a stunning location on a wooded ridge overlooking the eponymous river, and tiny Balule Satellite Camp is ideal for those seeking a remote and super-affordable bush experience. An extended Kruger tour (ideally 7 to 10 days) might also take in the far north, where my favorite rest camps are riverside Shingwedzi and remote Punda Maria. For those seeking more exclusive safari packages, try one of the dozen or so upscale concession lodges scattered throughout the park. These lodges offer a luxurious all-inclusive guided experience similar to the legendary Sabi Sands block of private reserves along the park’s western border.”

8

Kruger Safari Reviews

4.5/5 375 Reviews
Expert
Alan Murphy  –  
Australia AU

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
5/5

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 Five and every other kind of five you can think of rustling...

Full Review

Expert
Mike Unwin  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mike is an award-winning wildlife writer, former editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

Africa’s Best DIY Safari
5/5

South Africa’s premier wildlife reserve divides opinion. Some who’ve visited supposedly ‘wilder’ parks argue that the Kruger’s developed infrastructure, complete with paved roads and large public camps, undermines the wilderness...

Full Review

Zandi  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Jan 12, 2024
5/5

Brilliant glamping experience. The safari tour guide was knowledgeable and we managed to spot the animals. The glamping staff were friendly and they kept the facilities clean. This was a girls trip and we felt safe throughout our stay....

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Yvonne Schmidt  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: Jan 6, 2024
Once in a life time unforgetable experiance . All staff members were very helpful +HIGHLY capiable.
5/5

Viva Safaris kept to their programme, Bushwalk, Great Kruger Safaris with very well trained, friendly guides, Sunrise and Sundown safaris (Bush Braai was unbelievable crowned with an Amarula Liquer Toast). The safari jeeps accomodated very...

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Rizzolo Serena  –  
France FR
Reviewed: Dec 19, 2023
5/5

Kruger Park is such a beauty! We did 3 safari there and all the time we experienced a set of emotions that was unimaginable. See elephants, tibia, lions, buffalos and even a leopard so near to us was magnificent! And lights and colors there...

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Aminoni  –  
South Africa ZA
Reviewed: Dec 2, 2023
Raw African Savanna, the beauty of the big five is stunning, the singing of birds itself a reminder
5/5

If one wishes to enjoy the unspoilt African Savanna, one must consider Kruger National Park. It's a buzz of activity especially during holidays. The experince is unforgettable: the wild bushes, singing of birds, the big five and many...

Full Review