Experience South Africa’s Wildlife at Kruger National Park

kruger national park

If you are planning a trip to South Africa and looking for worthwhile places to visit, Kruger National Park is one destination you will absolutely not want to miss. 

Kruger is South Africa’s first National Park. It was founded in 1927 and is located close to Mozambique. It is undoubtedly South Africa’s finest place to experience the Big 5 first hand

What’s more, in this particular park, unlike others in South africa, you can tailor your safari to your taste, and even drive around there in your own car.

Visiting Mozambique and planning to cross the border over to South Africa by land to visit Kruger National Park? The South African government is working on offering travelers from eligible countries the possibility of applying online for a South Africa eVisa. Applying will only takes a few minutes, and the eVisa for South Africa should usually be approved within 72 hours

The South Africa eVisa will undoubtedly make it easier than ever to enjoy the wonderful Kruger National Park without requiring a visit to a South African embassy or consulate to obtain the necessary paperwork done.

How to Visit Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is probably one of the world’s largest game parks. It is famous for its professional wildlife protection, as well as its nature conservation, and safeguarding of the region’s cultural heritage. 

Kruger is so vast that it borders Zimbabwe in the north and runs right along the western border of Mozambique. It takes multiple days to experience so much as a fraction of everything Kruger National Park has to offer. 

If you are staying in Johannesburg, it will take you a good 4 & ½ hours to get from there to Kruger National Park by road. This is one of the most popular road trips you can take in South Africa, since you will be passing through the beautiful Panorama Route as well as Blyde River Canyon.

Fortunately, the trip is absolutely worthwhile, since you will be not only experience beautiful scenery on the way but then be able to experience one of the world’s best wildlife destinations once you get to Kruger. 

How to Get to Kruger National Park

Aside from driving from Johannesburg, there are other ways to get to Kruger. If you don’t fancy driving there, you can fly into the nearby town of Nelspruit, which is a 50 minute ride away from the southern part of the park.

Another option would be to fly directly into Kruger National Park. Yes, Kruger is so big that it has its own little airport which is located in Skukuza. Once you land in Skukuza, you can rent a car there and drive around the park to explore it.

Which Parts of Kruger National Park Should I Visit?

Due to its extension, Kruger National Park takes time to visit and enjoy. It has been unofficially divided into 3 sections, as detailed below. Unless you are spending multiple days in each section, you are most likely not going to get to see it in its entirety. 

Our advice would be to check out our roundup of what you can experience in each part to help you decide which one you would like to visit as thoroughly as possible:

  • Kruger National Park’s northern section: The northern part of Kruger is ideal for travelers looking to go off the beaten path. It is well known for bird watching and seeing rare animals that you wouldn’t encounter in the southern part.
  • Kruger National Park’s central section: Kruger’s central portion is mainly comprised of endless grassy plains. It is a great place to spot lions as well as zebra, buffalo and antelope.
  • Kruger National Park’s southern section: Kruger’s southern portion is easily accessible from Johannesburg as well as Swaziland. It offers the best game viewing of the Big 5 and is home to most of the luxury private game reserves in the park.

Depending on your interest in wildlife, you may want to book a guided tour to slowly savour everything Kruger National Park has to offer.

Best Time to Visit Kruger National Park

Foreign travelers planning a trip to South Africa often wonder when the best time to visit South Africa is as well as when to visit Kruger National Park. 

The dry winter season begins in May and ends in August. The climate is milder at this time of year, making it more comfortable for foreign tourists. It is the best time to visit Kruger since the bush is sparse and animals gather around water holes. Hence, visiting water holes gives you a better chance of spotting animals.

Visiting in the summer, between November and December grants travelers the opportunity to see lusher vegetation due to the heavy rains. It is also an ideal time to spot younger animals as well as birds.

Maximum temperatures in Kruger National Park are around 40º Celsius, or 104º Fahrenheit and minimum temperatures are around 10º Celsius or 50º Fahrenheit.

What Animals Can You See in Kruger National Park?

Kruger National Park visitors easily spot the Big 5 —lions, leopards, buffalos, elephants, and rhinoceros— since wildlife is so abundant there.

The reserve also offers visitors the opportunity to spot the following animals in the wild:

  • Aardwolf
  • African wildcat
  • Banded mongoose
  • Black rhinoceros
  • Black-packed jackal
  • Blue wildebeest
  • Bushbuck
  • Caracal
  • Chacma baboon
  • Cheetah
  • Civet
  • Common duiker
  • Common reedbuck
  • Dwarf mongoose
  • Eland
  • Giraffe
  • Grey rhebok
  • Hippopotamus
  • Honey badger
  • Impala
  • Klipspringer
  • Kudu
  • Large-spotted genet
  • Mountain reedbuck
  • Nyala
  • Oribi
  • Porcupine
  • Roan
  • Rock dassie
  • Sable
  • Scrub hare
  • Serval
  • Sharpe’s grysbok
  • Side-striped jackal
  • Slender mongoose
  • Spotted hyena
  • Spring hare
  • Steenbok
  • Striped polecat
  • Tree squirrel
  • Tsessebe
  • Vervet monkey
  • Water mongoose
  • Waterbuck
  • White rhinoceros
  • White-tailed mongoose
  • Wild dog

What You Need to Visit Kruger National Park

  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses & sunscreen
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Camera 
  • Groceries if you are planning to stay in a rest camp
  • Insect repellant with DEET
  • Ask your healthcare practitioner for their recommendations regarding vaccinations for South Africa
  • Water bottle

Additional Travel Tips Before you Visit Kruger National Park

Apply for the right type of South Africa visa according to your nationality, travel purposes and the duration of your visit.