3 - 5 Day Safari Packages
A place that encapsulates the essence of African beauty and diverse wildlife, The Kruger National Park is an area for the adventurer. Kruger Park Safaris offers a unique range of safaris, activities and tours to make your wildlife experience nothing short of incredible. View all our Kruger National Park Packages and Prices.
Specialised Tours Available
Choose from specialized tours including couple, family safaris, and fly-in safaris.
Tailor your experience to your preferences, whether you desire a romantic escape, an adventure with loved ones, or a luxurious fly-in safari.
Couples Safari Packages
Tailor made for couples and honeymoon safaris.
Family Safari Packages
Unforgettable family safari adventure awaits.
Fly-In Safari Packages
Luxurious fly-in safaris for an exclusive wilderness experience.
Our Best Offers
Our top discounted offers, giving you the best possible price on your Kruger Safari Adventure
4 Day Classic Chalet Safari
3 Nights in an En-suite chalet the heart of the Kruger National park. Book and pay in-advance special.
Book and pay 2023 rates for traveling in 2024.
From ZAR 18018
5 Day Kapama River Lodge
Stay in luxury family-friendly accommodation at the largest safari resort in the reserve.
Get 10% off 2024 rates if you book in 2023.
From ZAR 45860
3 Day Umkumbe Lodge Safari
On the banks of the Sand River in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, lies Umkumbe Safari Lodge.
Book for 2024 and get a free collection in Johannesburg.
From ZAR 16700
Kruger National Park
Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Thornybush Game Reserve
Timbavati Game Reserve
Klaserie Game Reserve
Balule Game Reserve
Manyeleti Game Reserve
Luxury Game Reserves
Diverse National Park
The Kruger National Park is one of the biggest National Parks in Africa. It is situated at the North-Eastern tip of South Africa and spans over the Mpumalanga and Limpopo province. The parks surface area spans 19633 km² as many of the surrounding private reserves have removed their fences, allowing wildlife to roam freely between reserves. This has created a wildlife area like no other, as its beauty soaks itself into anyone who visits this diverse place. The area plays home to a number of species including:
Brief History of the park
The Sabie Game Reserve (as it was then known) was proclaimed in 1892 by the president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. The area between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers were initially set aside for restricted hunting and in 1902 James Stevenson-Hamilton was appointed the first warden.
In May 1926 the Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves were combined to create the Kruger National Park. There are nearly 254 cultural heritage sites in the Kruger including rock art sites.
Homo erectus (early humans) roamed the area between 500 000 and 100 000 years ago and cultural artefacts have been found from 100 000 to 30 000 years ago.
There is lots of evidence of the San and Iron Age people who lived on these lands 1500 years ago and there are historical tales of the Nguni and European explorers and settlers in the Kruger area.
Introduction to Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is the flagship of wildlife tourism in South Africa and one of the world’s favourite safari destinations. Located in the heart of the safari hub in the north-eastern corner of the country, the iconic national park offers visitors 2-million hectares of unrivaled beauty and outstanding fauna and flora diversity.
There’s something for everyone in the vast protected wilderness region, whether you’re a wildlife enthusiasts, avid birder, nature lover or just yearning to swop busy city life for the peace and tranquility in beautiful bushveld surrounds.
Kruger Park and its exclusive neighbour, Greater Kruger, spans the boundaries of the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces and shares a border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It’s one of the largest protected wilderness areas on the continent and certainly one of the most diverse.
What’s not to love about Kruger Park?
We share some interesting facts and recommendations for places to stay and things to do in Kruger Park for the safari holiday of your dreams.
10 Fascinating facts about Kruger National Park
- Kruger Park is the largest and oldest national park in South Africa. There are 21 state-supported national parks in the country which are managed by the South African National Parks (SANParks). Kruger Park is South Africa’s flagship national park and an iconic safari destination.
- Kruger Park is massive. It covers an area of 20 000 square kilometres (2 million hectares) which makes it the same size as Israel and slightly smaller than Belgium. The Park is 360 kilometres long and 65 kilometres wide.
- South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique meet at the most-northerly point of Kruger Park where the Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers converge at Crookes Corner in the Pafuri triangle. If you stand at Crookes Corner looking north; Mozambique is on your right, Zimbabwe is straight ahead and South Africa is behind you.
- Kruger Park is almost 100 years old. It was proclaimed a ‘no hunting zone’ in 1898 and eventually proclaimed a national park in 1926. It came about through the merge of Sabie and Shingwedzi game reserves. The first tourist who entered Kruger Park in 1927 was charged an entry fee of £
- There is evidence that humans occupied the wilderness region over one-and-a-half million years ago. Archaeologists have unearthed tools and artefacts that date back to the Stone Age, including significant rock painting sites. Thulamela in the far north is a stone-walled site built over 500 years ago and dates back to the Iron Age.
- The national park was named in honour of Paul Kruger, the president of the former Transvaal Republic. Kruger fought hard to have the wilderness area proclaimed a national park and for its precious natural resources to be protected from unchecked hunting and rampant poaching. It took 12 years from when Paul Kruger first tabled the notion in parliament to the region finally being proclaimed.
- Colonel James Stevenson-Hamilton was the first game warden appointed to oversee the running of what would become Kruger Park. At the time it was Sabie Game Reserve. The former Scottish cavalry officer fought in the Anglo Boer Ware before taking up his role of warden in 1902. Stevenson-Hamilton worked tirelessly for 44 years on establishing Kruger Park as a world-class tourism and conservation entity. His journals are housed in the Stevenson-Hamilton memorial museum at Skukuza Rest Camp.
- Each year, almost 1 million people visit Kruger Park and at least 80% are South African holidaymakers. Visitors are spoilt for choice for places to stay in Kruger Park. There are 21 SANParks-run establishments and 15 luxury safari lodges that form part of a collection of private concessions in Kruger Park.
- Kruger Park is home to the famous Big 5 which includes elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard. But that’s not all! The national park is world-renowned for its outstanding biodiversity, prolific birdlife and vast array of wildlife. Combined, Kruger National Park and Greater Kruger represent one of the finest and most diverse biospheres in Africa. The vast protected wilderness region is the core of the Kruger2Canyons (K2C) and Vhembe UNESCO Man and Biospheres, and the heart of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTP Treaty, 2002).
- Kruger Park is the only national park in Africa that has its own international airport and golf course. Skukuza Airport serves scheduled and charter flights from African safari destinations like Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Skukuza Golf Club has a 9-hole golf course that lies on the banks of the Sabie River. It’s unfenced so it’s not uncommon for golfers to tee off with buck, giraffe and zebra on the fairways.
Did you know?
Kruger National Park is the core of the Kruger2Canyons and Vhembe UNESCO Man and Biospheres, and the core of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTP Treaty, 2002).
The Kruger2Canyons (K2C) Biosphere Reserve was registered in September 2001 in Paris by UNESCO. It became the 411th Biosphere Reserve site to be registered in 94 countries worldwide and acknowledged for its global significance.
Vhembe Biosphere Reserve is located in the north-east of South Africa near the border with Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The reserve includes the northern part of Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage site, several Provincial Nature Reserves, two recognised centres of biodiversity and endemism (Soutpansberg and Blouberg), and the Makgabeng Plateau, which contains more than 1 000 rock art sites.
Where to go in Kruger Park
Kruger Park is massive and where you stay depends on what interests you and what you want to see. Basically, you can use this guideline:
- If birds are more important than big herds of animals and you’ve got time to travel, stay in the far north in one of the most spectacular corners in Kruger around Punda Maria and Pafuri.
- If you want elephants, no crowds and can tolerate very hot, humid and arid conditions; stay in the northern section around Olifants and Letaba.
- If you want to see great sightings of lion and the other Big Cats and enjoy great game viewing without the safari crowds, stay in the central section around Orpen and Satara.
- If you want to see the Big 5 and as many animals as possible in the shortest space of time and without travelling long distances, stay in the southern section between Pretoriuskop, Lower Sabie and Skukuza.
Southern Kruger Park
Southern Kruger is bound by the Crocodile River in the south and Sabie River in the north. The bushveld is lush and there are many permanent water sources, which means the southern area has one of the highest concentrations of animals in the Park.
You’ll see excellent sightings of the Big 5 in the southern zone with guaranteed sightings of lion, rhino and large herds of elephant and buffalo in the triangle of Pretoriuskop, Lower Sabie and Pretoriuskop. There are fewer lions in the southern region as they tend to follow the large herds of antelope that favour the central region.
Southern Kruger is also rich in history as it served as the gateway to the port of Lourenço Marques (now Mozambique) for ancient traders. It’s also the birthplace of Kruger’s famous dog, Jock of the Bushveld, who travelled with the intrepid Percy Fitzpatrick.
Pros of staying in southern Kruger
- most accessible section; easy to get to from Johannesburg and Nelspruit
- highest concentration of game
- incredible scenery and lush vegetation
- rich in history
- wide choice of accommodation
- home to the largest rest camp and administration centre in Kruger
Cons of staying in southern Kruger
- busiest part of the park
- ‘queue to view’ at animal sightings
Central Kruger Park
Central Kruger Park is the largest area of the national park and makes up 30 percent of the surface area. It lies between Sabie River and Olifants River. This stretch of bushveld gets higher rainfall which means sweeter grass for grazing and a plenty of browsing trees. This in turn attracts an abundance of antelope as well as giraffe, zebra and wildebeest.
With a plenty to eat, central Kruger is also known as the ‘Big Cat Capital of Kruger’. This eco-zone supports nearly half of the Park’s lion population as well as strong numbers of leopard, hyena and cheetah. It’s estimated that there are at least 60 individual prides of lion in central Kruger.
The vegetation is not as lush as southern Kruger but it’s still a beautiful stretch of wilderness area. Central Kruger is characterised by mixed thornveld and woodlands with sweet-grazing savanna grasslands. Perfect for easy and plentiful game viewing.
Pros of staying in central Kruger
- good general game with strong populations of antelope
- highest concentration of lions and strong numbers of leopard, hyena and cheetah
- thinned out safari crowds
Cons of staying in central Kruger
- further to drive from Johannesburg and Nelspruit
- longer drives between rest camps
- hotter and more humid than southern Kruger
Northern Kruger Park
Northern Kruger is vastly different from southern and central Kruger Park and attracts a different set of wildlife and nature lovers. It’s receives very little annual rainfall and is semi-arid and stark. It has its own appeal though, with vast barren landscapes dotted with shrub mopane.
A redeeming feature of northern Kruger is five major rivers forge a path across the valley, the two notable rivers being Olifants and Letaba. These permanent water sources create a tapestry of lush riverine forests and attract animals to their fertile river banks. Game viewing along the river banks is fantastic and you’ll likely to see leopard in the massive sycamore fig, tamboti and apple leaf trees that line the banks.
Northern Kruger is also home to the ‘big fellows’. It’s home to almost 60 percent of the total hippo population of Kruger and at last count, there are over 9 000 elephants in the northern belt. You’re also edging into birder’s paradise in the Far North so if you’re an avid birder, you won’t be disappointed as bird life is prolific in northern Kruger.
The area around Olifants Rest Camp is famously known for its Big Tuskers, the incredible elephants who are part of the Magnificent 7 for their record-breaking, astoundingly-long tusks.
Northern Kruger stretches more or less from Olifants Rest Camp to Shingwedzi Rest Camp. Accommodation options are somewhat limited but because this eco-zone is far off the beaten track, tourist numbers are low anyway.
Pros of staying in northern Kruger
- low tourist numbers and ‘almost private’ animal sightings
- great game viewing on the banks of the five major rivers
- excellent birding
- strong populations of elephant and hippo
- unobstructed game viewing in stunted mopane veld
Cons of staying in northern Kruger
- further to drive from Johannesburg and Nelspruit
- fewer rest camps
- hot, humid temperatures in summer
- stark, semi-arid terrain
Far North Kruger Park
Far North Kruger is remote and far to reach so it’s one of the quietest sections of the Park and popular among avid nature lovers for its pristine, untouched wilderness. It’s also the “Birding Capital of South Africa”, if not the whole of southern Africa.
This outstanding eco-zone centres around Punda Maria Rest Camp and Pafuri Camp, and extends to the far reaches of Kruger Park to its neighbours Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The concentration of animals is lower than anywhere else in Kruger Park but it’s reputation for outstanding birding makes up for it in spades.
Far North Kruger is home to many rare and endangered bird species, many of which are endemic to the area. You’ll also find extraordinary species such as the rare knocking sand frog, a collection of endemic bats, samango monkeys, the nocturnal bushpig and the rare Sharpe’s grysbok.
Walking safaris are very popular in Far North Kruger because it’s the best way to discover this hidden gem. Flanked by the lush Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers, Far North Kruger boasts an incredible variety of tropical, riverine forests. This includes the huge wild fig, spectral fever tree, ebony, mahogany, ironwood, wild syringa and baobab.
Pros of staying in Far North Kruger
- one of the most incredibly diverse and scenic parts of Kruger
- remote, isolated and almost devoid of safari tourists
- outstanding birding
- beautiful walking trails
Cons of staying at Far North Kruger
- far off the beaten track
- limited choice of accommodation
Did you know?
Kruger Park is made up of 6 different eco-systems. In total, these eco-systems have over 2 000 plant species.
Places to stay in Kruger National Park
The choice of places to stay in Kruger Park is endless and if you’ve got Dollars and Pounds in your pocket, on the South African exchange rate, they’re incredibly affordable. The bulk of accommodation in Kruger Park is budget-friendly, self-catering camps that are managed by SANParks.
For an exclusive safari experience comparable with what you’d get in Greater Kruger and world-renowned safari destinations in the rest of Africa, you have the option of booking a luxury suite at a 5-star safari lodge on one of the private concessions in Kruger Park.
There are 21 camps in Kruger Park which are managed by South African National Parks (SANParks), the governing body that maintains and runs Kruger Park’s primary accommodation. SANParks offers basic, affordable accommodation which includes the main rest camps, satellite camps, bushveld camps and bush lodges as well as a rustic tented camp and overnight hides.
Kruger Rest Camps:
Kruger Park Satellite and Bushveld Camps:
- Bateleur Bushveld Camp
- Balule Satellite Camp
- Biyamiti Bushveld Camp
- Boulders Bush Lodge
- Crocodile Bridge Bush Camp
- Maroela Private Camp
- Malelane Satellite Camp
- Roodewal Bush Lodge
- Talamati Bushveld Camp
- Tamboti Satellite Camp
- Shimuwini Bushveld Camp
- Sirheni Bushveld Camp
- Sable Hide
- Shipandani Hide
Satara Rest Camp is located in the central section in the heart of the “Big Cat Capital of Kruger”. The bushveld has sweet grazing and plenty of browsing trees which attracts large numbers of antelope and plains game. In their wake, follow lions and cheetah as well as hyenas and wild dogs.
Satara is the second biggest camp in Kruger and the most popular in central Kruger. It’s often booked for up to a year in advance. It has a rustic charm and retains much of its Kruger heritage. The bulk of the accommodation is set out in a series of circles and comprises self-catering bungalows and traditional Kruger rondavels.
The camping section has 100 sites and is electrified. Satara also has a popular section for day visitors where they can stretch their legs and have a picnic or mid-day barbeque. Facilities at Satara include a large swimming pool, decent restaurant, well-stocked shop and fuel station.
Skukuza Rest Camp is the largest and busiest rest camp in Kruger which does put some people off but it’s the central hub of the Park and located in an area teeming with animals and birds. Daily sightings of the Big 5 and an abundance of antelope and plains game are common.
Skukuza is easily accessible for day tours and short 3-day Kruger safaris. It’s also the best Kruger rest camp for families with children because there’s so much to do in the camp in between game drives. Skukuza accommodates up to 1 000 visitors in self-catering bungalows, family cottages and guest houses and has two excellent eateries for those who don’t want to cook and clean up.
Facilities at Skukuza Rest Camp include a huge fully-stocked shop, a library, photographic studio, outdoor cinema, kid’s playground, swimming pools and a lovely river walkway. Close by is a wonderful 9-hole golf course situated in the Skukuza staff village, which also has a massive Olympic-size pool for paying guests. Skukuza Airport is a short 10-minute drive from the rest camp.
Olifants Rest Camp is located in the ‘Big Tuskers Capital of Kruger’ and is as popular for its incredible location and panoramic views as it is for its great game viewing. It sits perched on an escarpment overlooking the Olifants River and Lebombo Mountain in the distance. On a clear day, you can look out across the savanna plains to the hills of Mozambique.
When the river is full, the sound of the crashing water carries up to the rest camp and you can spend hours on the terrace gazing out and looking for animals with your binoculars. The game drives from Olifants are spectacular as you have the choice of a number of rivers to explore. It’s paradise for photographers and birders.
Olifants is a big camp and even so, it’s still booked out well in advance. The accommodation is geared for family-friendly, self-catering holidays in Kruger with a choice of bungalows, family cottages and semi-luxury guesthouses. There is no camping site in Olifants but there is a popular day visitor spot for picnics and barbeques.
The large camp offers everything you need for a safari holiday in a more remote section of Kruger, including a lovely restaurant, large shop, fuel station and medical clinic. To learn more about the Big Tuskers (elephants) in the Olifants area, visit the Elephant Hall at Letaba Rest Camp which is a scenic 15-minute drive away.
Located in northern Kruger, Shingwedzi Rest Camp is a quieter camp but still hugely popular. The rustic rest camp retains much of its original charm and is relatively unspoilt by modern technology. Staying at Shingwedzi is all about immersing yourself in the peace and tranquility of beautiful bushveld surrounds.
Lying nestled on the banks of the lush Shingwedzi River, the accommodation is laid out in two adjacent rings. Visitors have a choice of bungalows, traditional Kruger rondavels, family cottages and a semi-luxury guesthouse.
The rest camp caters for families and friends on budget-friendly, self-catering holidays but it does have a good restaurant for those who don’t want to cook and clean up. Northern Kruger gets very hot and humid so most visitors congregate at the camp’s massive pool to cool down in between daily game drives.
The game in the dry, semi-arid plains is a bit sparse but you should see large herds of elephant and buffalo congregating closer to the river. Walking safaris are very popular in northern Kruger as well as guided night drives with SANParks rangers. Shingwedzi is positioned on the border of Far North Kruger so birdlife is prolific.
Luxury accommodation in the Park
For an exclusive safari experience similar to what you’d get in Greater Kruger, there are 15 luxury safari lodges on a collection of 5 private concessions in Kruger Park. The private concessions are operated by private entities on land on loan from the government. They are unashameably marketed to the high-end wildlife traveller and offer luxurious accommodation and world-class facilities.
The private concessions offer guests a more authentic with low tourist numbers. The safari lodges have exclusive access to their private land as well as access to Kruger’s public roads. Daily game drives are in an open safari vehicle with a dedicated guide and tracker. The private concessions were authorised by government to generate much-needed income for the Park from international tourism.
The 5 Private concessions in the Kruger are:
- Singita Private Concession
15 000 hectares located in the remote and mountainous eastern region close to the Mozambique boundary and at the confluence of two mighty rivers; home to the ultra-luxury Singita Lebombo and Singita Sweni safari lodges.
- Imbali Private Concession
10 000 hectares located in the heart of central Kruger Park and home to 3 outstanding luxury lodges which includes Hamilton’s Tented Camp.
- Jock of the Bushveld Private Concession
6 000 hectare concession located in the southern Kruger’s Big 5 country where the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers meet and home to 2 luxurious safari lodges.
- Lukimbi Private Concession
15 000 hectares located in southern Kruger and bordered by three rivers; it’s the largest private concession in the Kruger Park although there is only one luxury safari lodge in the area, Lukimbi Safari Lodge.
- Tinga Private Concession
5 000 hectare located in southern Kruger with the Sand and Sabie rivers passing through the concession; renowned for its high population density of Big Cats which include leopard, lion and cheetah as well as large numbers of spotted hyena and wild dog.
The 15 Luxury Safari Lodge in the Kruger Park
With authentic buffalo dung walls and rustic finishes, Camp Shawu promises guests a real ‘Out of Africa’ experience. Private decks overlook the Mpanamana Dam and beautiful bushveld surrounds. Camp Shawu is the sister camp of Camp Shonga on a 15 000-hectare private concession.
Camp Shonga is a small intimate bush retreat built in the foothills of the Lebombo Mountains, offering views over the African bushveld as far as the eye can see. Camp Shonga shares the same ethos as Camp Shawu but with the added emphasis of guests’ participation in select environmental awareness programmes.
Hamiltons Tented Camp offers an authentic safari experience coupled with pure luxury and indulgence. There are 6 superb canvas tents at Hamiltons Tented Camp which lie nested in a grove of ancient Jackalberry trees on the banks of a seasonal river.
Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge is an exclusive safari lodge that lies nestled in a lush riverine forest on the banks of the Mluwati River. It offers guests the choice of 6 beautifully decorated air-conditioned suites with luxurious features. The tented units at Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge look onto a waterhole and beautiful bushveld surrounds.
Imbali Safari Lodge has 12 spacious private suites. Each suite has a private wooden deck and plunge pool and overlooks the N’waswitsontso riverbed. Activities include daily morning and evening game drives, guided bush walks and spa treatments in the comfort of your private suite.
Jock Safari Lodge offers luxury safari accommodation on what was the first private concession in the Kruger Park. The luxurious safari lodge exudes old-world charm combined with the distinctive character of the Zulu and Shangaan cultures.
Lukimbi Safari Lodge is a 5-star luxury safari lodge located in southern Kruger on the largest concession in the national park. With only one deluxe safari lodge operating in a private area that spans 15 000 hectares, guests staying at Lukimbi Safari Lodge are guaranteed the ultimate exclusive safari experience.
The Outpost is located in the extreme north of the Kruger Park in the Makuleke region which is bordered to the north by the Limpopo River and Zimbabwe and Mozambique to the east. It offers luxurious accommodation in a spectacular setting which is renowned for its incredible biodiversity and prolific birdlife.
Shishangeni Private Lodge is built on what was the last private concession allocated to private operators in the Kruger National Park. It’s located in the south-eastern region with the Crocodile River on its southern boundary and Mozambique boundary to the east.
There are over 517 recorded bird species in the Kruger Park, of which 250 are year-round residents. Many bird species are endemic which means they are not found anywhere else.
Kruger Park is home to many globally-threatened species. In the Pafuri area, quite a few birds listed on the red data species are found in healthy numbers. This includes the bateleur eagle and southern ground-hornbill as well as the lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, kori bustard and grey-headed parrot.
Birdlife is prolific throughout the Park but the best place to go for birding is Far North Kruger. Stay at Pafuri Camp and enjoy incredible bird sightings.
Skukuza Golf Club
Who says you have to miss out on golf while on holiday in Kruger Park? The Skukuza Golf Course in southern Kruger is legendary. It was established in 1972 as a recreational facility for Skukuza staff members and later opened to the public. It’s situated close to Skukuza Rest Camp.
The 9-hole golf course isn’t fenced so don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing the fairway with antelope, giraffe and zebra. Watch out for hippo and crocodiles in the water holes. It’s not the most pristine golf course in South Africa but everyone loves playing it. The 19th holes is the best hole.
Did you know?
The Big 6 in the bird world are the ground hornbill, martial eagle, saddle-billed stork, lappet-faced vulture, Pel’s fishing owl and the kori bustard.
Stevenson-Hamilton Knowledge Resource Centre & Museum
This fascinating facility is located at the entrance into Skukuza Rest Camp. It’s an opportunity to learn about the history of Kruger Park and the game wardens who pioneered its development and conservation.
The Stevenson-Hamilton Museum holds many fascinating artefacts, books and valuable documents depicting much of the life of the first game warden in Kruger Park. One of the most renowned items on display is the knife which belonged to another famous ranger, Harry Wolhuter. He used the small knife to kill the lion that had him in the grip of his jaws.
Kruger Park as over 300 archaeological sites and is rich in cultural history. There’s evidence that the region was inhabited over two-and-a-half million years ago and artefacts found in the Park date back to the Stone Age and Iron Age.
The three most significant archaeological sites in Kruger Park that are open to the public are:
Albasini Ruins are the remains of the 19th century trading post that was established by a legendary Portuguese trader, Joao Albasini. Located close to Phabeni Gate, Albasini’s settlement at Magashula’s Kraal is believed to be the first European settlement in the disease-ridden Lowveld.
This late Iron Age site is located on a prominent hillside about 12 kilometres from the Phalaborwa Gate on the tar road to Letaba Rest Camp. The site was inhabited by a Sotho-speaking Ba-Phalaborwa tribe during the 1800’s who developed an advanced and sophisticated industry of mining, smelting iron ore and trading in these iron products.
Thulamela is a stone-walled site located in the far north region of the Kruger Park. It dates back some 450 to 500 years to the late Iron Age. When the Great Zimbabwe region was abandoned due to political turmoil, several groups of Shona-speaking inhabitants moved south across the Limpopo River into the north-eastern region of South Africa and northern Kruger Park. They established new smaller chiefdoms such as Thulamela.
The important archaeological site has uncovered the skeleton of a female that dates back to AD 1600. A second skeleton of a man found at Thulamela dates back to AD 1450.
FAQs about Kruger National Park
Is it safe to visit Kruger Park?
Kruger Park receives over a million visitors every year and you can rest assured, safety is a priority for SANParks, the tour operators and guides.
The national park is home to many fierce creatures with big teeth and claws but as long as you follow the Kruger Park rules and regulations and your guide’s instructions on game drives and guided walks, you should be safe.
Here are the Top 10 tips to stay safe in Kruger Park when wild animals are close by:
- Stay in the vehicle at all times while driving around Kruger Park
- Keep arms and legs inside the car; don’t allow kids to stick their bodies out the sun roof
- Keep to the designated public roads; don’t drive off the road into the bush
- Stay alert when close to a herd of elephants or buffalo; keep a safe distance and move out of harm’s way if any display aggressive behaviour
- Give animals right of way; never come between a mother and her baby
- Do not speed on the roads; even if late for gate closing time
- On an open safari vehicle, keep quiet and listen to your guide’s instructions when dangerous animals are close by
- On a guided game drive or bush walk, stay with the group; don’t wander off into the bush for a toilet break or to look at something
- Watch your children in the rest camps; don’t allow them to feed or pet animals no matter how cute
- Keep your mobile phone with you on a self-drive game drive and fully charged; if you break down, you can call for help
Is there malaria in Kruger Park?
Yes, Kruger Park is located in a malaria region of South Africa.
You may read that Kruger Park is a low-to-medium risk malaria area but don’t let that dissuade you from taking the necessary precautions to prevent being bitten and falling ill with the disease. If not diagnosed and treated early, malaria can be fatal.
It’s highly recommended you take anti-malaria tablets for a safari holiday to Kruger Park. Speak to your doctor or a travel clinic before arriving in the Park because if you are going to take anti-malaria tablets, you need to take them a few days or a week before arriving (depending on the prescription).
If you experience flu-like symptoms within 10 to 12 days of arriving in Kruger Park, seek immediate medical attention. The symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, sweating, headaches, body aches and extreme fatigue.
Mosquitoes are most active between sunset and sunrise and in the summer rainfall months when the weather is hot and there is more stagnant water lying on the ground.
Precautions you can take to prevent being bitten by a possible malaria-carrying mosquito include:
- use an insect repellent throughout the day but especially after the sun goes down
- change into a long-sleeved shirt and long pants and wear closed shoes to cover up bare skin
- sleep under a mosquito net
What is the best time of year to visit Kruger National Park?
Kruger Park enjoys a sub-tropical climate with warm, sunny weather for most of the year. It’s a year-round destination but the best time to visit Kruger Park really depends on what interests you.
- Is it safe to take children on a Kruger safari tour?
A safari holiday in Kruger Park is one of the best holidays you can take with your children. Devoted Kruger Park fans start taking their children to the Park from a fairly young age and the love of the bushveld and wildlife is passed on from generation to generation.
On the whole, Kruger Park is safe for children if they’re watched carefully and the whole family follows Kruger Park’s rules and regulations to keep safe and out of harm’s way.
That being said, Kruger Park is a malaria area and it’s highly recommended visitors take anti-malaria tablets. The minimum recommended age for malaria tablets is 5 years. Children younger than this do go to Kruger Park with their parents but it’s risky. What makes it more risky is a young child will battle with the toxicity of the treatment for malaria.
Likewise, we don’t recommend you visit Kruger Park if you’re pregnant. It’s a risk to you and your baby if you contract the disease because you won’t be able to tolerate the malaria treatment.
If you have a child under 5 years of age or are pregnant, you should rather book a safari tour of Pilanesberg Game Reserve or one of the Cape safari destinations which are located in malaria-free areas in South Africa.
- Best time for game viewing in Kruger Park
The best time to see animals in Kruger is in the dry winter months from May to September. The grass is sparse and thinned out which makes it easier to spot game and the animals tend to congregate closer to permanent water sources.
Kruger Park experiences summer rainfall, from end October to end March. The bushveld is lush and thick in summer which makes game viewing harder and, because there is so many water pools scattered around the grass plains, the animals tend to drift deeper into the bush.
Towards the end of November and early December, Kruger Park is filled with newborn animals. It’s the hottest time to visit the Kruger Park but also a wonderful time because the bushveld is brimming with new life.
- Best time for birdwatching in Kruger Park
The summer months are also the best time for birdwatching in Kruger Park because this is when the Eurasian and intra-African migrant birds have arrived in southern Africa. Between November and April is when you’ll see the greatest variety of birds in Kruger.
What is the weather like in Kruger Park?
Kruger Park gets hot… very hot!
The region has a sub-tropical climate and for most of the year, the weather in Kruger is warm and pleasant. Temperatures peak to a high in the upper 30s and early 40s in mid-summer between November and January. It can also get very humid.
If you find very hot and humid summer temperatures uncomfortable, the best time to visit Kruger is between end-March to early-September when the temperatures are more bearable.
The northern region of South Africa experiences summer rainfall, with the rainy season starting towards the end of September and drying up towards the end of March. The good thing about the rainy season in Kruger Park is its usually a refreshing downpour and then the sun comes out. Only on rare occasions does a cold front come through and the whole Park is cool and overcast for a couple of days.
Winter in Kruger Park is mild and pleasant. Apart from being the best time for game viewing in Kruger, most international tourists find it the most pleasant time with temperate weather conditions.
Winter in Kruger starts towards end of April, peaks in June/July and starts warming up by mid-August. The days are usually mild and pleasant but the evenings get chilly once the sun goes down. Remember to pack warm winter jackets, gloves and beanies for the early morning and late-afternoon game drives.