Kruger National Park Travel Guide
Kruger National Park is not only a paradise for nature and animal lovers but also for those who enjoy archaeology and history. It's nearly 5 million-acre and is located 260 miles northeast of Johannesburg. The famous Big Five – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo – are all present here, as well as marula trees tower above the park's savanna, giant baobab, fever, thornveld, and woodland landscape. What's more, to get a feel for the ancient of this place, visit the Albasini and Masorini ruin.
To get as close as possible to nature, consider going on a bushwalk or a game drive. While many visitors stop animal-viewing areas such as the Red Rocks, the Kruger Tablets, and Hippo Pool, where regularly can find birds, hippos swimming and lions lounging, others take a few days to camp and explore Wolhuter and Olifants popular trails. If you want to spot elephants, giraffes, Nile crocodiles, and rhinos, take game drives and bush walks. Likewise, golfing and guided mountain bike excursions are also available here.
Things you don’t want to miss
River and Bush Walks
For those who are on a tighter schedule but want to explore the area by walk, consider a morning or afternoon bushwalk or a river walk trip. These 2-4 hour bushwalks or guided river walks will give you a remarkable experience. While taking bush walks, bring your camera to catch birds and insects' rare moments.
Remember, Children younger than 12 cannot take part in both, while adults older than 65 must be physically fit to join.
Kruger Tablets (Nkayeni Region)
Although Kruger National Park is known for places to see lions, located along the southern edge of the Nkayeni Region, Kruger Tablets have more big cats than anywhere else in Kruger.
Kruger Tablets are a popular lion haven. It's hardly surprising to see lions lounging on rock formations or Kruger's rock pilings. Because lions are dangerous animals, so don't leave your car or safari vehicle at all times. You can pull over next to the attraction to have a better view of lions from your car. Another attention, you can't find facilities and amenities such as restrooms, restaurants, and picnic tables here.
Sign up for game drives like Sunset drives, Night drives, and Morning drives to discover Kruger National Park wildlife. You can take your trip on a comfortable safari vehicle, see wild animals from a safe place and enjoy commentary from experienced guides. The game drives depart from all rest camps at sunrise, sunset, and night and offer different game-viewing experiences, so consider booking multiple drives to not miss any rare views of lions, giraffes, elephants, and impala.
Sunset drives: These drives leave before dawn and get back before sunset.
Night drives: The drives’ duration is at least 3 hours, explore secretive creatures' nocturnal activities.
Morning drives: The morning drive lasts 3-4 hours. Because drives leave before the gates open officially, make sure you book for the previous night at the camp.
Experienced guides will take responsibility for all of these drives.
Additionally, drive’ duration is two to three-and-a-half hours and during game drives, restrooms and water are not available, so get well prepared. For visitors' most comfortable, bring sunscreen, and water, long-sleeved clothes, and a jacket.
Hippo Pool (Marula Region)
Hippo Pool is about 5 miles away from Crocodile Bridge gate, near Kruger's southern border. It's known as one of the park's places for spotting hippos. There are hundreds of these giant, grunting creatures in this part of the Crocodile River, they often soak in the water to stay cool. Crocodiles are also present but are harder to spot.
You can drive to the place in your cars or take game drives, which have rest camp often stop at Hippo Pool. These creatures usually climb ashore to eat the grass around dusk so it's a great idea to get out of the vehicles to get better views, but be careful, always stay in designated viewing areas because hippos are very dangerous.
The site is free to visit, but take a look at driving curfews and gate closures before you come and be well-prepared, facilities at Hippo Pool do not include restrooms, picnic tables,...
Red Rocks (Nxanatseni Region)
The Red Rocks are surely one of the most wonderful places to visit in the park. It has been worn for years by the adjacent river and exposed as a picture contrast to Kruger's trees and savanna grasslands now. Located near the Shingwedzi River, which belongs to the park's Nxanatseni Region, the Red Rocks are also a great place to access nature. Animals like elephants, giraffes, and lions regularly visit sandstone slabs there.
It doesn't take too long to check out this place. I suggest staying at Shingwedzi rest camp, which is less than 15 miles away, and access by car or safari vehicle. It's free to visit the Red Rocks throughout the day, but like other areas of the park, check the limited gate hours and driving restrictions. Likewise, on-site amenities are not available, so use campsite facilities before coming.
Wolhuter Trail (Marula Region)
Wolhuter Trail is not only home to wild animals, but also home to historic relics that exist from the Stone and Iron ages. Wolhuter Trail is situated in Kruger's Marula Region, its deep valleys and granite outcrops are regularly visited by animals like black and white rhinos, zebras, elephants, and giraffes. What's more, many kinds of birds are also seen here. If it's history that you are after, take a look at the trail's rock formations.
Keep in mind that Wolhuter Trail welcomes visitors ages 12 to 65 every Sunday afternoon to Wednesday morning or Wednesday afternoon to Saturday morning, which means a three-night stay. You will be required to stay in the trail's rustic huts with communal restrooms, all meals are provided by the in-house chef, and no electricity for three nights, so plan accordingly.
Albasini Ruins (Marula Region)
The Albasini Ruinsnen is less than 100 metres from Phabeni Gate. After a long trip to Kruger Park, it’s a good idea to stop here to have a bite to eat and drink or learn something, about the park's rich history before coming back to your accommodation in Kruger Park. It's the second site inside Kruger's gates where you can find ruins.
This place was once a 19th-century trading post, where the indigenous Ba-Phalaborwa and Portuguese colonists traded goods like clothes, beads, and metal products. History lovers can take some photos of a few crumbled walls, some artifacts, and the attraction's display cases. Consider accessing the small display room next to the ruins, where has more information about uncovered relics.
1. There are a few rules in the park that you must follow at all times. It is strictly forbidden to feed animals and you must dispose of garbage in the right place. Travelers have to stay in their vehicles at all times unless they are permitted to exit by a ranger. But don't too worry, if a dangerous situation arises, Kruger guides and rangers with their loaded rifles are trained to protect you. Visitors driving their cars must drive on the left side of the road, must not drive off designated paths or down roads with "no entry" signs, and follow the speed limits on posted signs throughout the park. They also need to have a valid international driver's permit.
2. The best time to visit Kruger National Park is between April and September, it's the beginning or end of the region's dry season. The reason is this time offers better opportunities to spot wild animals because the vegetation is sparse and water levels are low thanks to the lack of rain. Otherwise, temperatures are also almost pleasant. However, July, August, and September are the season's driest months, when animal deaths are high, so it's best to avoid visiting in these times. From October to March the are rainy seasons, abundant foliage and rainstorms make it difficult to see animals.
3. People easily get malaria (a mosquito-borne disease) in Africa's safari parks, especially in rainy seasons. To protect yourself, remember to wear long-sleeved clothing at night and bring insect repellent with you.
4. Keep in mind that ATM fraud is a common problem in South African so withdraw money before landing in the country and bring the bulk of your currency because you can't use U.S. dollars are anywhere inside Kruger. Travelers entering Kruger will be charged a conservation fee of around 152 or 304 South African rands per person (about $11 or $23), and additional tariffs will apply if you take game drives, trail access, or bush walks. Travelers who don't take are also required to pay a nightly fee for their accommodations. And one more, tipping in Kruger is the norm.
5. There are also several luxury lodges in Kruger offering indoor and outdoor dining areas. Especially, Rhino Post Safari Lodge and Singita Sweni have house wine cellars with various South African wines.
6. Many languages are spoken in Kruger National Park but don't worry, most employees and rangers know English.