Those who are first time visitors to the Kruger National Park are truly in for one of the most life changing experiences. This park is the stuff of legends and it is often featured on the must-see places lists as well as being a bucket list adventure of note.
Planning your trip to the Kruger National Park will present you with a myriad of options. You can choose to book a safari with a touring company like Royal Safaris, or you can drive yourself. Both have their pros and cons, and both will have an effect on your budget. When you begin your planning, you should do so with a clear but flexible budget in mind and it is important that you make sure you have researched all of your available options, and come up with an idea of how you’d like to see this world famous park.
In our quick guide, we cover the basics about what you need to know while planning your trip to the Kruger Park for the very first time. Our tips are helpful for both self-drive safaris and guided ones.
Plan your time of year
Summer or winter? There are benefits to visiting at either time and it’s really a matter of preference. Many park guests find that autumn, winter and spring, which runs from April to October, are the best times to visit as the intense heat that characterises summer has not yet arrived. Summers in the park can be quite overwhelming as it can be rather uncomfortable for most. During the summer months the vegetation in the park can be quite over grown, which makes it incredibly difficult to spot animals.
What would you like to see?
Planning your route can, in a way, help you plan what you see. Keeping in mind that the animals go where they please making it impossible to know exactly what you’ll see, there are some places in the park that are home to more of one kind of species.
At entrance gates and rest camps, you’ll find sightings boards marking what has been seen and where. You can then drive these roads in search of those animals, and if you are lucky, they will still be hanging around.
Planning your route is also important for other reasons. Certain areas of the park are known to be more prone to malaria infected mosquitoes while other regions are almost malaria free. The routes you choose can also take you to watering holes and rivers (where animals are known to frequent) and you have the opportunity to take a trip to historical landmarks and memorials.
Where will you stay?
If you are going on a Kruger Park safari with a company, your accommodation arrangements should be included as a part of the package, if you are spending more than a day in the park. Many safari companies choose Hazyview as the place to accommodate guests. If you are driving yourself and intend to stay in the park, there are over 12 rest camps to choose from while there is also private accommodation and luxury accommodation in the park.
Whether you’re driving or flying, the park is only 3 hours away from Johannesburg, and depending on the entrance you’d like to use, the park is an hour’s drive from Nelspruit and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. The park is easily accessible and there are countless transfer companies offering a ride.