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Kruger Budget Safari Tours

4.5/5  –  341 Kruger Reviews

South Africa’s Kruger National Park is undoubtedly one of the continent’s finest safari destinations. Unlike many other iconic African parks, it also ranks highly on the affordability front. This is because the park authorities regard Kruger as a national asset that should be accessible not only to a high-spending international clientele, but also to budget-conscious South Africans. As a result, the park is easily and inexpensively explored on a network of all-weather roads and unpretentious rest camps. And whether you self-drive or join a group safari, this 19,485km²/7,523mi² park offers the opportunity to see a wide variety of African wildlife, including the legendary Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.

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1-20 of 49 cheap tours, packages and holidays to Kruger National Park

6 Questions About Kruger Budget Safaris


6 Questions About Kruger Budget Safaris

Answered by Philip Briggs

Are there affordable budget safaris available to Kruger National Park?

“Yes, depending to some extent on your definition of ‘affordable’. Kruger is very cheap by comparison to most other major safari destinations in Africa, and this relative affordability is reflected in the price of cheaper packages to the park. Kruger is also unusually well suited to self-drive safaris, an option that may appeal to more independently minded travelers, and that will generally cost less than the cheapest safari package.”


What is included in a Kruger budget safari?

“The price of a Kruger budget safari will usually include accommodation or camping, some or all meals, transport, the services of a registered driver-guide, national park entrance fees, game drives, and any fees associated with non-optional activities. Rates quoted in South Africa are invariably inclusive of VAT and other taxes. The price should also include transport from/to the designated start/end point, which is usually but not always Johannesburg. Some packages include a day exploring the scenic Panorama Route on the escarpment outside the park. Most safari rates are exclusive of the following: international flights, visas, travel insurance, drinks, souvenirs and other personal purchases, optional activities (such as the night drives and guided walks offered out of some rest camps) and tips. These are general guidelines only. It is important to check the fine print of your safari itinerary, to see what’s included and excluded, before you make a booking. ”


What type of accommodation can I expect on cheap Kruger packages?

“Most cheap Kruger packages will camp or stay in hutted accommodation at one (or more) of several affordable state-run rest camps scattered around the national park. These rest camps offer accommodation in comfortable self-catering huts and bungalows, most of which have en suite bathrooms and toilets (though cheaper units may use communal ablution blocks). Most rest camps also have well-organized campsites with communal kitchens and ablution blocks. On an organized budget safari, rates will usually include meals. If you are self-driving, most of the larger rest camps have restaurants. A popular alternative is to braai (barbecue) outside your tent or bungalow; most rest camps also have adequate supermarkets selling frozen meat and other provisions. Some budget Kruger safaris stay outside the park. There’s no shortage of campsites close to the main entrance gates, or in nearby towns such as Mbombela and Hazyview. There are also a few backpacker lodges in the vicinity. If you have the choice, it is generally nicer to stay in the park, so you can soak up the bush atmosphere at night. Rest camp gates also generally open earlier and close later than entrance gates, which makes it easier to be out and about during prime wildlife-viewing hours.”


Which animals am I likely to see on a budget holiday to Kruger?

“You can expect to see a wide variety of African wildlife on any trip to Kruger, irrespective of the cost. Indeed, the price of a Kruger safari is less of a factor in determining how much wildlife you’ll see than its duration, the extent to which game drives are tailored to the most productive hours (early morning and late afternoon), and plain old luck. Animals you’re almost certain to see on any given game drive in southern Kruger include hippo, giraffe, zebra, crocodile, vervet monkey, chacma baboon, wildebeest, waterbuck, greater kudu and impala. Over the course of a 2- or 3-day safari, you are also very likely to encounter elephant, buffalo, white rhino, lion, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal and various mongooses. Sightings of black rhino, leopard, cheetah and African wild dog are more unusual, but the odds improve as you spend longer in the park. If a guided night drive is included in your itinerary, you might well also see nocturnal creatures such as bush baby, genet, civet and various small cats. You’ll get the most from Kruger by paying attention to smaller creatures. Kruger is a fabulous bird-watching destination, with more than 500 species recorded, and you don’t need to have a specific interest to be dazzled by the likes of African fish eagle, lilac-breasted roller and ostrich. Insects range from colorful butterflies to oddball mantises and armored dung beetles, while conspicuous reptiles include lizards, tortoises and terrapins.”


How many days is recommended for a budget safari to Kruger?

“That depends greatly on your level of interest in seeing and photographing wildlife, but for most visitors, a 3- to 5-day trip would be about right. This is sufficient to give you a good chance of seeing most or all of the Big Five, but not so long that game drives might start to feel repetitive. Having said that, if you only have time or money to spend a half day or full day in Kruger, we would still recommend that over not visiting at all. If luck is on your side, you can see plenty of wildlife in a single game drive! At the other extreme, if you are a serious wildlife enthusiast, bird-watcher or photographer, you might well want to extend your Kruger safari to a week or even longer. This is a vast national park, and at least two weeks is required to explore it thoroughly from south to north. This is a highly recommended option for cost-conscious self-drivers whose main interest in visiting South Africa is wildlife photography or bird watching. ”


How much does a Kruger budget safari cost?

“The price of a Kruger budget tour package is typically in the ballpark of US$150 to US$300 per person per day. This will depend to some extent on the group size, whether you camp or stay in a room, and if the latter, the quality of the accommodation. The alternative to a budget package is a self-drive safari. This might sound like a daunting option to first-time visitors to Africa, but Kruger is actually quite a straightforward self-drive destination. The internal road network is excellent and navigable in almost any saloon car, detailed map books are available cheaply locally, and accommodation at the well-equipped rest camps can easily be booked online. Several variables will be involved in costing a self-drive safari, but two people sharing should be able to work on a budget of US$100 per person per day camping or US$150 per person per day staying in the cheapest rest camp bungalows. ”


Kruger Reviews

4.5/5 341 Reviews
Lizzie Williams  –  
South Africa ZA

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

South Africa’s flagship park with excellent facilities and unrivalled game-viewing

South Africa’s largest park most certainly fulfils most visitors’ expectations of seeing magnificent herds of game roaming across acacia-studded savannah. After countless visits at different times of the year, I have found it can get a...

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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

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...

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Lidiya Prymachenko  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: Jan 8, 2023

The park is huge and you have a chance to see the wildlife from different perspectives. We saw the big five and many other animals. It was difficult to find a rhino and "cats", but we did it in the end. The rangers are professional and...

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Tyler W.  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Dec 1, 2022

On the particular day that we went, we didn't see much wildlife, however on other days, some Safari members mentioned they saw a lot of animals. The landscape was fairly uniform without much variation.

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Emily Ward  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Mar 2, 2020

Kruger is enormous, and the size of the park and its openness to all kinds of vehicles makes for more potential animal sightings. It also makes for more potential traffic jams. Sightings rely on animals being close to the roads, but there...

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James Arnold  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Feb 27, 2020

Had to stay on paved, rather wide roads. other than a lion that was laying next to the road, there was no way to really get close to nature. however, there were many animals sighted and i still had a nice time

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