Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa and is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. One of the largest national parks in the world. In stature it has even superseded the status of “national park” and can justifiably stake its claim as an “international park”.
Bantu tribes had arrived after an extended conquest and genocidal migration, and covered the area where the Kruger National Park lies today. Decimating diseases which affected both man and livestock prevented the establishment of extensive or high-density communities. The first Europeans moved into the area around 1840. It was not until the 1890s with the construction of the Selati railway line, that the area became fully accessible to all and sundry.
Developments during the latter half of the previous century led to the insurgency of fortune hunters, traders, farmers, construction workers and an assortment of characters who found in these remote Lowveld regions a convenient refuge from the prying eyes of the law. By the end of the century the general features of the Lowveld were retained unaffected and intact, though much of the larger animal population had been severely decimated.
After tireless rallying, persuading and negotiating which spanned several years a large tract of land between the Crocodile and Sabie rivers was eventually in 1898 proclaimed as Sabie Game Reserve. Soon after the first World War (1914-1918) the first serious consideration was given to changing the status of the game reserve to that of National Park. Initially, the concept was difficult to grasp of accept. However, as with the very concept of nature conversation, the determination of a few far-sighted protagonists eventually succeeded, and in May 1926 the Sabi and Shingwedzi game reserve were united as the Kruger National Park.
Tourism in the Kruger National Park commenced in 1923 with the institution of “round-in-nine” railway excursions to the Lowveld, and the inclusion of Sabi Game Reserves in these excursions. It was not until the proclamation of the Kruger National Parks in 1926 that serious consideration was given to tourism. In 1927 the first motor vehicles were allowed in the Pretoriuskop area but 1930 rest camps and road were available to as far North as Letaba.
Today the Kruger National Park must certainly be considered one of the top national parks in the world. This may primarily be ascribed to its natural attributes, but also to an efficient administration. In the main Kruger National Park is demarcated into 3 zones, namely southern region, central region and northern region
1. Kruger is gigantic
It’s humbling yet comforting to stand on a lookout point and know that no matter in which direction you look, it’s wild, untamed, unpredictable African bush.
2. Incredible Sightings
Kruger is as good a safari destination for first timers or seasoned safari goers – it never ceases to deliver some of the most incredible sightings.
3. Year-round destination
Kruger is a year-round destination with a sighting for all seasons.
4. Self-drive & open safari vehicle game drive
Going in a guided open safari vehicle, your chances of better and more varied game viewing on a guided safari is undeniably much, much better. Top guides have an uncanny knack of knowing where you’re likely to find the various game and they are in contact with others to share good sightings and if suited for your you may undertake a self-drive at your leisure.
Self-catering rest camps offer chalets bungalows and cottages with basic amenities.
Bush & Satellite Camps
These wild bases with removed extravagances for a more intimate affair with nature
These establishments vary from elaborate lodges to overly elaborate safari palaces.
Private Game Reserves
These private reserves share an unpartitioned boundary with the park and reduced traffic.
The southern Sabi Sand (Shaw’s Gate and Newington Gate) is easily accessible from both Nelspruit as well as Skukuza airports. The drive from Nelspruit is about an hour and fifteen minutes. From Skukuza, it is about 25 minutes. Hoedspruit Airport is the gateway to the northern Sabi Sand. It is a drive of just over an hour from Hoedspruit Airport to Gowrie Gate.
The best route to take from Johannesburg would be via Nelspruit and then on to first White River, then Hazyview. From Hazyview, take the Paul Kruger Gate Road until reaching the turnoff to the Sabi Sand on the left. Only Shaw’s and Newington gates can be reached via this route.
October the opening time is 05:30. From April to September, camp gates open at 06:00.
Entrance Gates open at 05:30 from October to March and at 06:00 from April to September.
Camp Gates Open at 04:30 during December, January and February.
In February, March and all Gates close at 18:30 from November to February, at 18:00 during March, April, August and September. In May, June and July the closing time is 17:30.
Weather & Best Time To Visit
Traveling to the Kruger National Park is an African adventure that can be enjoyed really, at any time of the year. It all depends on what you would like to see when at the Kruger Park, as each season has in tow a range of highlights.
In November – December, is generally very hot and humid conditions accompanied by perpetual rain. It is during this time that many game give birth to the next generation of wildlife, making these months the time of rebirth.
In January – April, this is the optimal time for avid bird watchers. Although still hot, conditions begin to wind down, thus as summer makes its way out the door, so do the migratory birds begin their journey, chasing summer. As April gets into full swing, so does the vegetation surrounds begin to reflect the autumn of things. The bush begins to turn from a lush green oasis into a slightly sparser landscape. The temperatures begin to cool, and accordingly, the rain starts to dwindle too.
In May – June, the landscape at the Kruger National Park is at this stage devoid of any green, the brown, leafless surrounds epitomise the cold of the winter season.
In June – August, conditions are extremely cold and dry at this time. Game viewing is at its optimum now, as visibility is fantastic, and the wildlife tend to congregate around the various watering holes located throughout the park.
In September – October, as spring rears its head, it brings with the height of the dry season: hot dry winds and colourless, sparse vegetation. With the rivers and dams being at its lowest at this stage, the concentrations of game that can be viewed at the watering holes are high, which in turn makes for spectacular game viewing in general. As the first rains begin to shower down towards the end of October, the cycle of life and the wild continues regardless, ushering the next generation into play.
It is advisable that all who visit the park consult their physicians about anti-malarial prophylactics. The malaria risk is high in Kruger National Park, particularly in the far south and the far north of the park.
Health & Safety
Over the last 7 years, we have hosted hundreds of clients who have enjoyed tens of hundreds of game drives and several hundred guided bush walks. These walks and game drives were performed throughout Southern Africa, in prime safari areas, involving hundreds of different safari guides at different destinations. Not once have we had any incident involving a wild animal that was even remotely life threatening or caused injury to our guests. Though wildlife can be intimidating, especially the Big Five, all safaris are led by experienced rangers with in-depth knowledge of animal behaviour.
When staying in a private game reserve or at a lodge situated on a private concession in the Kruger National Park, morning and afternoon game drives are performed on open 4×4 vehicles by experienced local rangers and trackers. These vehicles are specially designed to make your game drive relaxing and to offer maximum photographic possibilities.
When staying at a rest camp in the park itself, game drives are performed in air-conditioned vehicles by tourAfrika guides. These game drives have the advantage of not being limited to the morning or afternoon and can often last most of the day – subject on your fondness. On these prolonged game drives that cover a lot of ground, an air-conditioned vehicle offers a much greater degree of comfort.
Can I be harmed by wild animals?
Incidents are rare, and if you follow the guidelines and use common sense you will be fine. In Kruger, you don’t drive as fast. Tar road speed limit is 50 km per hour & 40 km per hour on gravel road, but in reality, going slower makes the chance to see animals even better.
Am I allowed to get out of the vehicle?
In the Kruger Park, you are not permitted to hang out of your vehicle window, out of the sunroof or anywhere else. You can only get out of your vehicle inside a camp, at a designated picnic facility, or at a designated spot which has signage stating ‘you may alight from your vehicle at your own risk’ or a bridge similarly signposted.
Do I need to take Malaria Medication?
Kruger Park is malaria prone region and precautionary measures must be taken. Prophylactic medication for visitors should be strongly considered, in consultation with healthcare practitioners.
What about poachers?
Poaching activities remain a challenge. Poachers by nature avoid the public eye and therefore you are very unlikely to come across one or it’s syndicate in action.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes, water is safe to drink, however bottled water is provided in all rooms courtesy of the lodge.
Can I view animals at night?
When staying at a national park camp, night drives can be booked accompanied by local rangers. If you are staying at a lodge, the late afternoon game drives stretch on into the first hours of darkness.
Will I have mobile reception and access to the internet?
There is little to decent mobile coverage and generally the signal oscillates with all mobile network operators. The main camps have internet access, but not free WiFi. If you are staying at a private lodge, free WiFi is available.
Are my valuables safe at the lodges and camps?
If you are making use national park camp, it recommended that your room should left locked. Most lodges are equipped with a safe in each room.
What currencies are accepted in the Kruger National Park?
South African Rand. The private lodges will accept major currencies, but the rate of conversion is normally appalling. You advised that you change some foreign currency to rand when arriving in South Africa and preferably this should not be performed at a South African airport.
Can I use my credit card in the Kruger?
Visa, Master and Amex cards are broadly accepted at all lodges as well as at shops and restaurants in the park.
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