The Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park boasts an abundant elephant population

The Kruger National Park is renowned not only for its diversity of wildlife, but also for its conservation record. You can see the famed Big Five, but you'll also be dazzled by hundreds of birds, ancient trees, mighty rivers and much, much more.

The Kruger National Park should be on everybody's bucket list.

Unless you've been up at dawn, driving out of camp as the morning sun illuminates thousands of glittering spider webs among the bushes, cruising slowly along the roads hoping for that overnight lion kill, or a leopard draped casually over the branch of a big tree, you've missed one of the world's greatest wildlife experiences.

It's not only about the famed Big Five, but thousands of other animals such as the giraffe – surely the most elegant of all the bush animals. You'll encounter elephants galore – watch out for that tiny baby crossing the road – and herds of buffalo. There are so many different kinds of antelope your head will spin, fat crocodiles sunning themselves on sandbanks, hyenas mooching along, and, if you're very lucky, a pack of wild dogs on the prowl.

Sharing the park with you are over 100 000 impala, 10 000 blue wildebeest, 9 000 kudu, 5 000 warthog (everybody's favourite ugly duckling), 25 000 zebra, 180 cheetah, over 1 000 leopard and 1 500 lions – and that's just the start. You can now begin to understand the natural super-abundance of one of the world's best-loved game parks.

The Kruger National Park enjoys a great year-round sunny climate and offers all kinds of activities, from guided game drives and bush walks with an armed ranger to three-night walking trails in deep wilderness areas.

The Kruger National Park gets over 1.4-million visitors a year, but because it's so big – 352km from north to south, and covering over 1.9-million hectares – you will be amazed at how often you are alone watching game on a 2 500km network of tar and dirt roads.

Travel tips & Planning info

How to get here

By road from Johannesburg it's approximately a five-hour drive (depending where you enter the park). You can also travel by plane to Kruger Park International Airport in Mbombela (Nelspruit ) and drive from there.

Best time to visit

Winter is the best time for game-spotting. The grass is low and animals are dependent on waterholes. Summer is hot, but scenically very beautiful, and there are lots of baby animals to see.

Tours to do

A guided sunset tour. You get a glorious view of a spectacular African sunset, see game coming to drink, and then have the excitement of a spotlit night drive.

Get around

It’s best to hire your own vehicle – preferably a mini-van because you’ll sit high up and have a better chance to spot game.

Length of stay

At least three nights, much more if possible as there is plenty to see and do. Some regular visitors spend up to a month in the park at a time.

What to pack

Comfortable lightweight clothes, plus a warm jacket for winter evenings. Plenty of sunscreen and a hat, no matter what the season.

Where to stay

There’s accommodation to suit all budgets, from basic campsites and cottages to spacious family lodges. Book well in advance.

What to eat

The camp shops supply plenty of foodstuffs and drinks. Their braai meat is particularly good. If you’re not self-catering, all the bigger camps have restaurants.

Best buys

The camp shops offer a great selection of wildlife books, DVDs, bush clothing and African curios.

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