5 Best Kruger Camps For Activities
Kruger National Park is one of the best places in Africa to see wildlife in abundance. The park, with a diversity of biomes, is home to a variety of animal species. The most sought after sightings being the Big Five. Kruger is a very popular destination for family vacations.
Since it is South Africa’s largest national park, tourists can count on seeing plenty of animals, having their pick of lodgings to suit their style and pocket, and enjoying the sights against a backdrop of authentic African bushveld.
Each of the 21 camps in the Kruger National Park is unique, and while some camps are more suited to those who enjoy a flurry of activity, others are more tranquil and would suit those who prefer to relax in solitude.
If you’re planning a visit to the park, you won’t have to worry about how to spend your time. Kruger offers a wide range of activities designed to bring you closer to nature and make you feel at ease.
Whether on a safari drive, an Eco trail, a backpacking trip, a day hike or morning walk, guests can be certain that trained, licensed, and armed guides will lead the way and provide insightful commentary at strategic intervals about the breath-taking scenery. In this way, people can encounter the natural world up close and personal.
Brief overview of Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the largest wildlife reserves in Africa. Comprising a total area of 19,623 km2, it can be found in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in the north-eastern corner of South Africa. It is 360 km in length from north to south and 65 km in width from east to west.
To the west and south of the park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, respectively. To the north is Zimbabwe, while to the east is Mozambique. Together with Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, Kruger is now a part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
When Paul Kruger was president of the Transvaal Republic in 1892, he established Kruger National Park. Back then, locals referred to it as the Sabie Game Reserve. At first, hunting was strictly regulated in the territory between the Sabie and Crocodile rivers.
What is presently known as Kruger National Park was established when the Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves were merged in May 1926.
The large protected wilderness area has a lot to offer everyone, whether they like animals, birds, nature. There are nine main gates that lead to the camps in the park. The main rest camps, satellite camps, bushveld camps, and bush lodges, as well as a rustic tented camp and overnight hides, are basic and affordable places to stay in the park.
While you have the option to go on a self-drive or join one of the safari tours offered in Kruger National Park, some visitors may like to take a break from the typical game drives or bush walks in order to participate in one of the many additional activities available in the park.
To ensure that visitors to Kruger National Park have enough to do in their downtime, the park provides an incredible array of options, all of which are aimed at bringing visitors closer to nature and making them feel more at ease in their new environment.
There are no fences between the Private Game Reserves and Kruger National Park, so visitors visiting the open veld may always expect to have fascinating encounters with the animals.
During your holiday, the more active you are, the more time you will have to take in the natural wonders around you.
Most of the camps in Kruger offer the following activities:
- Morning, sunset or evening game drives
- Guided walks in the morning or at sunset
- Bird hides
- Camp walks
- Bush breakfasts and braais
Best 5 Kruger camps for activities
#1 Olifants Rest Camp
It’s safe to say that Olifants Rest Camp has the best views of any camp in Kruger National Park. It can be found in the park’s northern regions. Located on a cliff with a view of the Olifants River and the distant Lebombo Mountain. Large, open savannah plains with Mopanie bush are all around.
Activities offered at Olifants are morning, sunset or evening open vehicle drives. These drives usually last up to three hours and you will either see a sunrise or a sunset. The evening drives usually depart around 20:00 and will give you an experience of the nightlife in the park which is not available for self-drive vehicles.
Guided bush-walks can also be booked for the morning or late afternoon and there is nothing that comes close to experiencing the bush and animal life on foot.
Olifants is the only camp the offers mountain bike trails. There are multiple trails to choose from, depending on your degree of expertise as well as physical fitness, and they provide you with all the necessary equipment.
If you don’t like the idea of peddling a mountain bike, then try the Olifants River Backpack Trail. This trail is 42 kilometres long and will keep you in the bush for four days and three nights. You will be in the middle of nowhere, pitching you own tent, and get real close and personal with the wildlife.
#2 Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp
Berg-en-Dal lies in the southern part of Kruger National Park. It is situated in a rugged mountainous environment, tucked away in a grove of riverine trees on the banks of the Majulu River.
The usual activities are also offered at Berg-en-Dal such as guided bush walks in the morning and late afternoon, game drives with expert field guides, bush breakfasts and braais, and walks along the rhino perimeter trail inside the camp with braille facilities.
In addition, Berg-en-Dal also offers the Bushman and Wolhuter Wilderness Trails. The three days and two nights’ excursion include two hikes per day with highlight being the San rock art found in the rocky areas of the park’s south-western corner.
The nights will be spent in a rustic wilderness camp in an A-frame hut with two beds. There are pole-enclosed toilets and hot showers, but no cell phone reception. Early morning walks are followed by lunch and an afternoon siesta, followed by another late afternoon walk.
Berg-en-dal also caters specifically for children with their seasons kid’s educational program.
#3 Skukuza Rest Camp
Skukuza Rest Camp is the main hub of Kruger National Park and it is only natural that you will be able to participate in numerous activities.
Besides the usual game drive, walks and bush braais, Skukuza was part of the original Sabie Game Reserve and established in 1898 which gives it a rich historical background. Historical sites that can be visited in the camp are the dog cemetery, bell tower, old pontoon bridge, train bridge, Selati Rail Museum, Campbell Hut Museum and the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library.
The AM Spa Kruger at Skukuza is a great option if you’re in the want to indulge in some self-care. There are four spacious, high-end treatment rooms available for singles and couples alike. The spa features a pool, manicure and pedicure bar, and two outdoor treatment rooms. This facility is ideal for groups or individuals seeking a restful and revitalizing experience in the middle of the African wilderness.
Skukuza is the only camp in the park that has its own 9-hole golf course situated in the Skukuza staff village that is only a short distance outside of the camp. Visitors are all most welcome to make use of this facility.
Lake Panic is a bird hide close to Skukuza which is ideal for enthusiastic birders. Not only will you be able to identify many bird species but if you lucky you might spot the local leopard visiting the lake for a drink of water.
#4 Letaba Rest Camp
Letaba Rest Camp is situated midway between the southern and northern boundaries of the Kruger National Park on a bend of the Letaba River. Letaba means “river of sand” and the sandy riverbed is an excellent location for game viewing, particularly elephant which thrive in the area. Letaba is a green oasis in the surrounding mopane veld and it remains a favourite of many visitors.
Guided morning, sunset, and night game drives, as well as morning and afternoon game walks, are just a few of the popular activities at Letaba rest camp. Other popular options include a two-day hike along the Olifants river, a visit to the reconstructed iron-age village at Masorini, and bush braais and bush breakfasts.
A must see is the Elephant Hall where the visitor can enrich their knowledge on the elephant’s social structure distribution and ecology, morphology and physiology, origin and evolution as well as their relationship with humans.
Exciting visual context about elephants is presented in 3-D shows. The tusks of the world renown ‘Magnificent Seven’ are among the exhibit’s stunning ivory collection. In addition to its primary function, the hall is an environmental education hub.
If you want to learn more about water birds, the Matambeni hide on the Engelhardt dam’s northern bank is the place to go.
Pretoriuskop Camp is situated in the south-western part of Kruger National Park and is the oldest rest camp in the park. It also holds a large population of White Rhino. Pretoriuskop Camp gets its name from the nearby hill where Voortrekker Willem Pretorius, a member of Carl Trichardt’s 1848 expedition to Delagoa Bay, is buried.
Activities offered at Pretoriuskop are a morning or afternoon bush walk, and game drives at dawn, late afternoon or in the evening. Night game drives are occasionally followed by a traditional bush braai.
Within easy driving distance of Pretoriuskop Camp are several historical sites and attractions, including the Voortrekker Road, the birthplace of Jock of the Bushveld, and the Albasini Ruins.
There are also several wilderness routes in the area, including as the Napi Trail, which explores the beautiful forest bushveld.
Which month is best for Kruger National Park?
For game watching and walking safaris, visit Kruger National Park in May–October during the dry season. This time of year, animals are easy to identify and track due to reduced vegetation, and Kruger’s permanent water sources make safaris worthwhile.
What activities are offered at the Kruger National Park?
The following activities are on offer: guided walks, game drives, wilderness trails, 4×4 routes, Eco-trails, mountain biking, backpacking, birding and golf.