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The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks amongst the best in Africa. It was first established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld and today covers nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled diversity of flora and fauna. The Kruger spreads across two of South Africa’s provinces and borders with both Mozambique and Zimbabwe, making extended travel itineraries into East Africa easy.
The Kruger National Park is accessed by a number of gates. These are:
- Crocodile Bridge Gate
- \Malelane Gate
- Numbi Gate
- Orpen Gate
- Pafuri Gate
- Paul Kruger Gate
- Phalaborwa Gate
- Phabeni Gate
- Punda Maria Gate
The greater Kruger National Park incorporates a large number of private concessions and game reserves that are unfenced and allow for the free flow of wildlife through the different regions. It is in these private concessions that the majority of luxury accommodation options are to be found with many of these establishments including a number of activities and meals in their rates. It is also within the private concessions that guided night drives and nature walks are permitted.
The top attractions within the Kruger are:
The Big Five – buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino
The Little Five – buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle
Birding Big Six– ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet- faced vulture, martial eagle, Pel’s fishing owl and saddle-bill stork
Best time to go
The best time to visit the Kruger National Park is during the South African winter, from June to September. During this time the grass is low, making wildlife easier to spot, and animals are dependent on waterholes. It is also cooler. Summer temperatures average around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), however this is also the best time to see wildlife that has just been born.
- Elephant interaction sessions to walk with, touch, feed and meet orphaned elephants. (Hayzview)
- Shangana Cultural Centre for traditional African dinners and dance shows. (Southern greater Kruger region)
- Hot air balloon flights that take you over the Lowveld and stunning Blyde River Canyon, the third largest in the world. (Depart from Hoedspruit and last 1 hour)
- Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre focusing primarily on the breeding and maintenance of cheetahs in captivity and offering guided tours.
- Aerial sight-seeing that take visitors on panoramic flying tours over game rich landscapes and/or the splendid beauty of the Panarama Route including highlights such as the Blyde River Canyon, Mac Mac Falls and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. (Depart from Hoedspruit)
- Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre on the Moholoholo Private Game Reserve near the Kruger National Park. The centres sees to the rehabilitation and care of abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife and allows visitors close and personal interaction.
- Self-exploration of the Panorama Route including; the Blyde River Canyon; Bourke’s Luck Potholes and its impressive rock formation; the sparking Mac Mac Falls; exquisite God’s Window; and the historical village of Pilgrim’s Rest, the first place where gold was discovered in South Africa.
- Day trip across the border to Mozambique . Its capital, Maputo, oozes rich architectural and cultural heritage, with a strong Portuguese colonial influence. Try the beachfront for lunch and shopping at Maputo’s Central Market. (Passports necessary and there is a charge for visas at the border when crossing over to Mozambique)
Activities in the Kruger National Park
- Self- drive safaris
- Morning and afternoon guided game drives
- Guided night drives with a spotlight (no self-drives after sunset)
- Bird watching
- Photographic hides
- Guided bush walks
- Guided rhino tracking
- Overnight hiking trails
Quick packing guide
Light-weight, breathable cotton clothing – while you don’t have to ‘all out safari’ yourself this type of clothing works best as it keeps you cool and helps to keep the bugs at bay. Sun protection – the African sun gets hot so sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide brimmed hat are a must. Don’t forget about your ears and neck.
Comfy shoes – these should be closed. Bush walking in sandals is not fun. Malaria tablets and anti-mosquito spray – the Kruger falls within a malaria area, and where large wildlife is found, small wildlife follows.
Swimming costume – it gets hot, especially in summer.