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The Kruger National Park is the flagship of the South African national parks and has been rated as one of the best wildlife parks in Africa renowned for its incredible game viewing and big five safaris. The best way to experience this untamed African bush is to get your feet on the ground and explore this magnificent region. Booking a Kruger Park safari is one of the most memorable holidays to be experienced.
Apart from big five game drives, guests can also enjoy bush walks, night drives, sleep-outs under the stars, bird-watching and off road game dives in private areas. The Kruger National Park offers an abundance of wildlife including approximately 507 bird species, 147 mammals as well as bushman rock paintings and archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela.
Guests can choose from our extensive range of exclusive safari camps, lodges and our Kruger Park safaris. The best areas for game viewing are the Private Reserves of the greater Kruger Park as they allow off road game driving for close encounters with wildlife.
After visiting the Kruger on numerous occasions, as well as having arranged hundreds of safaris for guests from all over the world, we believe we are well qualified to advise guests where to go on safari. So in a nutshell, below are the best safari options in the Kruger.
We really like Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp as well as Umkumbe Safari Lodge for offering excellent and affordable safaris. Arathusa Safari Lodge and Simbavati River Lodge are slightly more expensive and also offer guests wonderful wildlife experiences. Chapungu Tented Camp is another superb option.
Two of the best in our opinion are Simbambili Game Lodge and Lion Sands River Lodge. Both safari lodges offer the classic luxury safari experience in the Sabi Sand. Londolozi Varty Camp is one of the oldest and best lodges in the Kruger.
The game viewing in the Kruger National Park is phenomenal. The park is regarded as one of the best wildlife destinations in Africa; home to the Big Five, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino as well as an abundance of general game and incredible bird life.
One of the highlights includes leopard viewing as well as off road game drives in the private concessions. Impala are the most abundant antelope, with common waterbuck and grey duiker seen on a regular basis. Greater kudu, bushbuck and nyala prefer thickets and riverine forest, whilst buffalo herds graze in tall grasslands. Waterholes attract elephant, white rhino, giraffe and warthog and many other wildlife species during the dry season. The park offers a unique and unspoilt region promising a traditional African safari experience.
Trying to plan a safari to the Kruger can be a mind boggling experience for guests! Thankfully we have visited the Kruger on many occasions and sent hundreds of guests on safari before. Below are some of our Suggested Kruger Safari Tours
Walking & Adventure Safaris
Luxury & Premier Safaris
Sun Safaris can arrange scheduled flights for guests into the Kruger National Park. There are daily flights that operate from OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg International Airport) to either Hoedspruit Airport (also called Eastgate) as well as Kruger Mpumalanga Airport (KMIA) airport. There is also a direct flight available between Cape Town and KMIA and Cape Town and Hoedspruit. Once guests arrive at the various airports they have a choice between, a car hire option (self-drive), a road transfer or a short air transfer (flight hop) to the various lodges. Sun Safaris can arrange these services for guests. Guests could also opt to fly from OR Tambo International Airport directly to the various lodge airstrips which will take approximately 1.5-2 hours.
The Kruger National Park is accessible via self drive with a sedan rental car from anywhere in South Africa. The roads are tarred and in good condition. The roads from the entry gates of the Kruger National Park are gravel roads, however, well maintained. The drive time will obviously depend on where guests are driving from. From Johannesburg it will take approximately 6 hours to the Kruger National Park. Sun Safaris can arrange a rental car for you.
The climate in the Kruger National Park is subtropical. Summers are hot and humid with afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Midsummer maximum temperatures average 30 degrees Celsius with evening temperatures of 19 degrees Celsius. The summer rains transform the arid park into a lush flowering paradise, but the increased foliage does make animals harder to find. The rainy season is from September until May.
The dry winter season is the ideal time to visit the Kruger National Park. The days are pleasant and warm, however the early mornings and evenings are cold. Game viewing is rewarding during the winter months as the vegetation is sparse and animals congregate around the waterholes, hence they are easier to find. Maximum temperatures in midwinter average 23 degrees Celsius and the minimum average is 6 degrees Celsius.
Kapama Private Game Reserve is located close to Hoedspruit Airport. The reserves offers luxurious accommodation in a small Big Five Game Reserve. Visit the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, which focuses on the conservation endangered animals.
The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve shares unfenced borders with the Timbavati Game Reserve and Kruger National Park. Safaris within the Klaserie Reserve offers guests to get involved in the tracking of Africa's big game.
The Balule Game Reserve is located to the north west of the Klaserie. The reserve offers some affordable safari lodges, although is also home to numerous private camps. Balule shares an unfenced border with the renowned Kruger National Park.
The Kruger National Park has various private concessions within its borders. Within these private concessions you can visit various safari lodges that offer the traditional Big Five safari in open landrovers and guided by expert rangers and trackers.
The Timbavati Game Reserve consists of a group of private game farms and reserves situated north of Sabi Sand on the western edge of Kruger National Park. It is considered to be one of South Africa’s premier game viewing areas. There are no fences between this reserve and the Kruger National Park therefore, allowing animals to move freely. The game lodges in the Timbavati are privately owned and managed, and offer guests an all-inclusive safari experience.
The Thornybush Game Reserve consists of over 10,000 hectares of pristine African Bushveld. The reserve, predominantly savannahs and riverine tributaries, is home to Africa's big game, including "the Big 5" and an abundance of bird and other general animal species. Thornybush offers prime game-viewing territory, including opportunities to get up close to the big cats.
The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve forms part of the exclusive selection of private game reserves that border the unfenced western edge of the Kruger National Park. Since there are no fences between Kruger and Sabi Sand, the animals can roam freely. Some of the best private game lodges in South Africa are in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. This 55,000 hectare reserve offers guests an opportunity to view the untamed African bush and all its indigenous wildlife.
The Manyeleti Game Reserve is a private game reserve bordering the Kruger National Park. It is situated between the Timbavati Private Reserve, the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and is home to the Big Five and many other species of wildlife. There are no fences which allow animals to wander freely. Manyeleti is situated away from the major tourist areas and guests can experience the peace and tranquility of the African Bush in absolute privacy.