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Kruger Luxury Safari Tours

4.5/5  –  340 Kruger Reviews

Greater Kruger more than delivers when it comes to top-of-the-range luxury safaris. There are a dozen upmarket lodges in exclusive concessions within the national park. And a cluster of world-class private reserves, notably Sabi Sands, Timbavati and Manyeleti, abut the unfenced western border. Rivaling Cape Town as South Africa’s most iconic tourist destination, Kruger National Park is one of the world’s oldest and largest wildlife sanctuaries. It was founded in 1898 and extends over 19,000km2 / 7,300mi2 of classic African bush.

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1-20 of 52 luxury tours, packages and holidays to Kruger National Park

6 Questions About Greater Kruger Luxury Safari Tours

Answered by Philip Briggs

Why should I choose Greater Kruger for a luxury safari?

“It is quite simply one of the world’s finest destinations for a safari holiday, with all the Big Five present in good numbers. Greater Kruger incorporates several private reserves that share unfenced borders with the national park proper. Wildlife viewing can be a bit hit-and-miss on a self-drive trip in the national park proper. However, guided game drives from Kruger’s luxury concession lodges and in the bordering private reserves, such as Sabi Sands and Timbavati, are superb. All game drives from concession lodges and private reserves are undertaken in open 4x4s with experienced guides and trackers. Night drives are permitted and a certain amount of off-road driving is allowed. All of this enhances the likelihood of intimate encounters with lions, leopards and other predators for which the region is famed. How to choose between a concession lodge and a private reserve? The concessions are typically much larger and carry far lower volumes of traffic, meaning they possess a more genuine wilderness feel. That said, generally, wildlife viewing is more erratic as animals in the concessions tend to be less habituated to vehicles. ”


What does a luxury safari in Greater Kruger include?

“Lodges in the Kruger concessions and private reserves, such as Sabi Sands and Timbavati, usually operate on an all-inclusive basis. Rates include four- or five-star accommodation and all meals, as well as expertly guided game drives in open 4x4s. Many top-end lodges now include laundry and most drinks, such as tea, coffee, soft drinks, local beer and house wine. This isn’t always the case so do check in advance. Tips are not included and can add up. Check with your operator about expectations for tips and bring enough cash to cover it. As a rule, rack rates for private reserves and concession lodges will not include transportation to the lodge, but package prices quoted by a tour operator will.”


How long do I need for a luxury safari in Greater Kruger?

“A three-night stay in a Kruger concession lodge or adjacent private reserve will allow six game drives or walks. In most cases, this is enough time to be reasonably confident of seeing most of the Big Five. It’s not so long that people with low boredom thresholds will start to tire of the regime of early starts, late evenings and twice-daily game drives. Then again, the bush can be very addictive. Dedicated photographers and wildlife enthusiasts might easily spend a full week in Greater Kruger, perhaps dividing their time between two or three lodges, and still not feel satisfied. ”


How does a typical day unfold on a luxury safari in Greater Kruger?

“The typical day starts with a pre-dawn wake-up call and a bracing pot of tea or coffee. You then head out on an early morning game drive, usually returning to the lodge mid-morning for a late breakfast. The lunch break is long and relaxed, especially during the southern hemisphere summer (November to March), when days are longer and temperatures are hotter. It’s the perfect opportunity for an after-lunch nap. Following a light afternoon tea, you head out on an evening game drive. This usually incorporates a sundowner drink, before turning into a night drive. A spotlight is used to pick out wildlife that are more active at night. Then it’s back to the lodge for a three-course bush dinner around the campfire. Most concession lodges and private reserves associated with Kruger are exempt from the national park’s restrictions on driving between sunset and sunrise. This means the daily schedule can make the most of the finest wildlife-viewing hours. Either side of sunrise and sunset is when big cats and other predators tend to be most active. A guided wildlife walk, ideally in the morning cool rather than the heat of the afternoon, provides a recommended change of pace. This is especially the case if you’re spending more than two days in Kruger, and particularly if you have a strong interest in birds or smaller wildlife.”


What type of accommodation can I expect on a luxury safari in Greater Kruger?

“Accommodation for an all-inclusive luxury package at Kruger is in one of the dozens of small bush lodges set in exclusive concessions within the park or in bordering private reserves, such as Sabi Sands and Timbavati. These private lodges vary in standard from quite luxurious to six-star bush chic. Some have an organic stone, wood and thatch style, in keeping with the bush surrounds. Others, usually the pricier options, are more ambitious in terms of architecture and decor. At the very minimum, you can expect large and very comfortable chalets or bungalows with en suite showers, and private verandahs looking out over the bush. The cuisine and wine list are world-class, and the service is usually faultless. Many lodges have swimming pools, spas or gift shops.”


What are the typical costs of a luxury safari in Greater Kruger?

“The cheapest Kruger luxury safari clocks in at around US$500 per person per night sharing, but some ultra-luxurious lodges charge more like US$1,000 per person. The price of a Greater Kruger luxury safari depends strongly on how far up the luxury scale you want to go. Prices also depend on the season. Plenty of lodges offer discounted low-season rates and special one-off packages during the southern hemisphere winter (May to September). This is the best time of year for wildlife viewing in Greater Kruger. The concession lodges are less well-known than those in the private reserves, which means they tend to be more competitively priced. ”


Kruger Reviews

4.5/5 340 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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Anthony Ham  –  
Australia AU

Anthony is a photographer and writer for travel magazines and Lonely Planet, including the guides to Kenya and Botswana & Namibia.

Kruger: South Africa’s Most Prolific Park

Kruger belongs in the elite of African wildlife parks and experiences. At once a byword for abundance and hugely accessible, Kruger is a brilliant place for first-time safari-goers. The infrastructure of paved roads is classic South Africa,...

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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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