Kruger National Park, South Africa - Travel Report!

Old Mar 19th, 2018, 03:15 AM
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Kruger National Park, South Africa - Travel Report!

While everyone´s first impression of gaming would be the great migration in Serengeti in East Africa, gaming in South Africa is also an abundance of joy. Kruger National Park is South Africa´s most exciting African safari destination.

When I started planning my trip to South Africa, the information was overwhelming to me. There are so many safari tours, hotels, and lodges, operators, and we had a lot of discussions about whether we should be self-driving or not. So here, I would like to share a little about my thought process behind the entire trip planning.

If you would like to know more about the national park, photos, and videos, you are welcome to visit my blog @ for more!

How to get there?

It takes about 5 hours driving to Kruger from the Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, and about an hour flight (to any airports near Kruger). Although it would be fun to take on yet another road trip. I decided to reach Kruger flying. There are few airports around Kruger, depending on where you would want to go:

  • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, Nelspruit

  • Hendrik Van Eck Airport, Phalaborwa

  • Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport

  • Skukuza Airport

Where to Stay?

The first question that I had was whether staying in Kruger or outside.

There are amazing rest camps in Kruger, which offer different kinds of safari experience depending on your budget and preferences. Luxurious camps offer safari packages with full board, guided safari tours, and lodges. Visitors could even sleep in tree lodges underneath the stars, listening to the sound of nature in the open air under a tent!

Economical options are lodges in safari that doesn’t include meals. However, visitors could bring in their own food and enjoy a delicious barbecue after a day in the safari.

There is an advantage of staying inside Kruger. Visitors could have a full experience in the African bush, save time traveling in and out of the park and also save money by paying multiple entrance fees driving day in and day out. However, there aren’t any shops or restaurants in the park (a.k.a. no nightlife), it lacks flexibility as the entrance gates close at 6pm in the evening and it’s not possible to leave and the park until it reopens in the morning. For visitors who are not planning to cook or barbecue, they would have to stay in a lodge with catering.

Which way to go?

If you are planning a trip to beautiful South Africa, I would implore you to put both Cape Town and the Kruger National Park in your itinerary no matter what; and if you have more time, it’s great to explore so many more places from the Sun City and the Lost City, the Garden Route, the Wind Land, Pretoria, Gold Reef City, to even Lesotho and Swaziland....

Let’s get back to Kruger. The Kruger National Park (and I promise I will just use “Kruger” from here on out) is located on the northeast border of South Africa, connecting with its neighboring state, Mozambique. Stretching over 20,000 Kruger is home to an impressive population of game species, including Africa’s Big Five.

Guess what I was trying to say is, Kruger is so big and that it’s rather impossible to cover every inch of the park for a visit. Lucky for us, animals are roaming freely in Kruger and so no one would expect visitors to drive through the entire park for the game. Where to start depends on what kind of accommodation and experience you are looking for.

There are a few large communities located around Kruger as a pitstop, like Bosbokrand, Acornhoek, Hazyview, Hoedspruit, Komatipoort, Malelane, Marloth Park, Nelspruit, and Phalaborwa. There are restaurants, supermarket, and even shopping malls in some of these communities for visitors to re-fill and re-stock (as some tourists may stay in Kruger, which I will talk a little bit about it later.)

There are gates located in the south, central and the north of the park. Visit the Kruger website and they have an informative help guide to different regions, game viewing route, and locations of the entrance gates to the park. Here is where I started to locate which areas and viewing routes are the best for my trip.

For some amazing viewing routes, nearest gates, and highlights, you are welcome to visit my blog @ for more!

Self-drive or guided tour?

Again, it is all possible depending on your own preference. Guided night safari tours allow visitors staying outside the park enter the park in the evening after the gates close. While self-driving offers freedom and flexibility, I would recommend to at least participate a guided tour even visitors decide to drive around the park by themselves. The tour guides know their way around the park, and they would communicate with each other to make sure visitor won’t missing out had there been rare animals were seen somewhere near. Furthermore, many of those guides always give interesting commentaries and share their knowledge of those amazing creatures.

It could be a problem for drivers to look for directions in Kruger (as I said it’s huge), and mobile phone coverage only covers certain parts of Kruger (generally around the rest camps) but not the entire park. For those staying outside of Kruger, they should be aware of the time or they might be locked in if they can’t make it back to the gates before they close.

What to do?

Wow, to name a few. There are help guides for visitors to look for activities and tours. There are also tour packages that fit different groups of travelers. Classic safari, family holiday, honeymoon, or specialized game viewing… Explore and you will find yourself overwhelmed!

Don’t forget to participate in an evening safari tour because this is the chance that visitors get to enter the park in the evening after the gates closed, and there’s a higher chance that visitors can spot nocturnal animals, including leopard, which is usually more active when the sun goes down ~ 😊

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Old Mar 19th, 2018, 06:32 AM
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