Kruger National Park Acommodation
The Kruger Park is famous for its Big 5 game viewings and nearly 2 million hectares of pristine bushveld. Luxurious lodges are scrattered throughout this vast area, each offering a unique experience in South Africa’s favourite park.
The best handpicked Kruger national park accommodation and Lodges inside Kruger Park.
Only six permanent tented suites create an exclusive experience for the visitors of Hamilton’s Tented Camp. Accommodation reminiscent of the early 20th century paired with modern day amenities create a luxurious oasis in the African wilderness.
Kruger Shalati Train on the Bridge. This unique concept perfectly combines Africa’s most breath-taking natural splendour with exquisite luxury aboard a newly refurbished train. Permanently stationed on the historical Selati Bridge high above the Sabie River
Guests stay in unique thatched suites that are beautifully decorated to mimic the rich cultural heritage of the Tsonga people. Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge seamlessly blends traditional tribal design and earthy tones with luxurious features.
Guests stay in unique thatched suites that are beautifully decorated to mimic the rich cultural heritage of the Tsonga people. Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge seamlessly blends traditional tribal design and earthy tones with luxurious features.
Immerse yourself into this 12 000 hectare private concession in the Kruger National Park. Sleep outs under the stars and exclusive rights to some roads in the park make Rhino Post Safari Lodge the ultimate wilderness experience.
Modern design meets untamed wilderness in the remote north-eastern area of the Kruger National Park. The living spaces are filled with sophisticated luxury and open up to views of the Luvuvhu River Valley. Game drives are an exclusive experience.
Shishangeni Private Lodge is a luxury safari lodge in a 15 000-hectare private concession in the south-eastern section of Kruger National Park. The private lodge is operated by BON Hotels and sleeps up to 44 guests in 22 individual chalets.
Camp Shonga is an intimate bush retreat on 15 000-hectare private concession built in the foothills of the Lebombo Mountain. The bush camp sleeps up to 10 guests in 5 individual canvas safari tents that are fully-equipped for comfort and convenience.
Camp Shawu is one of three camps on a 15 000-hectare private concession in the south-eastern section of Kruger National Park. Guests sleep in thatched luxury chalets that overlook Mpanamana Dam. Each chalet is stylishly decorated, cooled by ceiling fans.
Kruger National Park Accommodation Guide
The Greater Kruger National Park consists of over twenty private game reserves including the Kruger National Park (KNP) situated in the eastern part of South Africa. The private reserves and the KNP are next to each other and there are no fences between them, so the animals and birds roam freely.
This is a vast area of land so the fauna and flora changes in different areas and the wildlife reside in parts which best suits their needs. In the Greater Kruger area, one can experience wildlife in isolated areas on open vehicle safaris. There are tours arranged which almost guarantee that you will see the “Big 5”in these areas and afterwards you can stay in some of the world’s top luxurious hotels and lodges.
The accommodation provided in the private reserves which are part of the Greater Kruger offer some of the best African experiences for international tourists.
Alternatively, you can make reservations to stay in one of the chalets in the KNP and then make bookings to fly from Cape Town or drive from Johannesburg to visit a game reserve run by Sanparks. This tourism brings much needed conservation fees for the parks to help safeguard and protect the wildlife.
All tour operators can organize an all-inclusive family vacation with children at cheap rates depending on what specials are running at the KNP camps. They also cater for singles and there are even camps that are wheelchair friendly for disabled visitors. The Kruger National Park has constant discounted prices that will best suit you for your trip.
If you decide not to take tour packages with flights included, one can always take a journey which is just as enjoyable as the destination. This will allow you to tour outside the parks and see some of the other wonders the Lowveld has to offer. You can also stop at a cozy bed and breakfast along the way.
In some of the lodges, the rates include full board which consists of breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus game drives. Others offer half board which consists of breakfast and dinner, so they try and accommodate all by making it affordable for everyone. These lodges have their own game drives or walking safaris. Most lodges also come with swimming pools as an added luxury to soak in on hot summer days.
Your chances of seeing a lion or leopard kill is far higher in the central Kruger National Park than almost anywhere else. The eastern half of the central grassland is made up of mostly of wide-open basalt areas that support nourishing grazing and less tree growth.
This means plenty of grazers; antelope and zebra, and therefore plenty of predators such as lions and leopards. And when there is a kill, you will find vultures.
The western grasslands have denser bush and has lots of trees which consists of bushwillow, knob-thorn and marula woodland. There are no main rivers running through the central grasslands, but there are lots of smaller rivers some are the N’wanetsi, Sweni and Timbavati.
When to visit the Kruger National Park
The KNP is an all year-round destination, and with every season there are unique things to see. Whatever time you decide to safari in the Kruger National Park, you will never be disappointed. Game viewing is the best during the dry winter months. When the Summer brings the rains, the lush bushveld also offers sightings of newborn wildlife and the summer migrant birds arrive.
Summer is the rainy season in Kruger National Park. The rains fill the rivers and waterholes, making sure the bushveld become lush.
The thick dense bushveld in the summer season does make it more difficult to view animals. But towards the end of November and early December, the park is overflowing with newborns and spotting wildlife with their young is a memorable experience. Birding is amazing during this time as the summer migrant birds arrive.
The best time for seeing African wildlife in the Kruger National Park is the dry winter season.
The bushveld is more empty allowing for better visibility of the animals. The grass is low, the bushes and trees are sparse as there is no rain, the animals migrate to the waterholes and rivers. Water holes, dams and rivers become busy and you are more likely to spot wildlife in the morning and evening as they come for a drink of water.
The day temperatures in winter are more pleasant but it can get quite cold during the night-time so make sure you pack something warm when going on early morning and nighttime game drives.
The night sky in the Kruger National Park
At night in the Kruger National Park the sky is magical as you can study the stars without the interference of city lights. It is an overwhelming emotional experience to consider one’s irrelevance in the face of the vastness of the universe.
We are part of the Milky Way galaxy as the sun is part of it, so that consists of about 100 000 million stars and in the park, it feels one can see them all.
There is an old San hunting myth relating to the stars. There was a proud hunter (Aldebaran) who had seven sisters (the Pleiades). Aldebaran was a self-assured hunter who just needed one arrow to shoot his target.
His wives begged him to go out hunting and not to come back without anything. Aldebaran came across three zebras (Orion’s belt) and shot at them.
But he missed all three animals and on top of that he was unable to get his single arrow back because it had landed near a huge lion (Betelgeuse) who had been stalking the zebra. So when you look up at the sky to this day Aldebaran is still out in the cold night sky, too scared to go home without food and too fearful to try and get his arrow from the feet of the lion.
And when you look up at the Milky Way remember the San story that it was created when a young girl threw ashes from a fire into the sky to make a path and at the same time she threw bits of edible roots of which white stars and red stars were made.
How it all began
The vast areas where the Kruger National Park stands today were always thought of as a hunter’s paradise. The ravages of malaria and other tropical diseases that affected them did not deter them.
The land was laid nearly bare by the slaughter of wildlife by hunters during the mid-1800s. The loss of animals was even more decimated by an epidemic of Rinderpest in 1896. President of the Transvaal Boer Republic, Paul Kruger in 1898 declared the area between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers a reserve. The second reserve was situated between the Luvuvhu and Shingwedzi Rivers. These two reserves formed to become what we know as the Kruger National Park on a map today.
In 1902, James Stevenson-Hamilton became the head ranger for the two reserves. With a small group of rangers, he eagerly imposed his command that the area became only for animal habitation thereby moving the people that had resided in these areas for hundreds of years. This is how he got the nickname of “Skukuza” (“He who sweeps clean”).
Stevenson-Hamilton was joined by new assistant warden Harry Wolhuter, who notably survived an attack from two lions in 1904, armed with nothing more than a pocketknife. He killed the first lion with the knife and his dog kept the second lion at bay until he got help. The knife and the lion skin can be seen in the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Museum at Skukuza.
Stevenson-Hamilton’s idea of creating a wildlife park for tourism came to completion in 1926. This was when the two reserves were merged with privately owned farms in between them were bought by the government to shape a combined area known today as the Kruger National Park.
In 1928 was when the first tourist facilities were built in the park. Skukuza (then known as Sabi Bridge), Satara and Pretoriouskop became the first places for overnight stays in the park.
A tented camp was also erected on the banks of the Luvhuvhu River in the far north, but it was ravaged by floods and bombarded by mosquitos. They closed it as it was found not to be ideal for visitors.
During this time in the Kruger National Park, there were no real rules for visitors except to leave your guns at home and to pay a fee of one Pound at the entrance gate. A visitor was not even expected to return to their cabins at night if they wanted to, they could camp out under the stars. There must have been some hair-raising adventures had by the first guests to the park.
Even the picnic spots were not fenced. Warden Stevenson-Hamilton kept warning the board about these dangers and finally they conceded and put up warning signs. By the 1930s things had become out of control and more rules had to be enforced. There was a list drawn up of rules, but nothing was enforced due to lack of funds.
When the park opened to tourists, there were also no proper roads. There were only poorly kept service roads which was only able to handle a little bit of traffic from Acornhoek to the border of what is today Mozambique.
In 1922, South African Railways presented tours via trains, and for a quick moment in time, air service was introduced, and then it was suddenly stopped.
There were seven planes that were used but only six of them were legal. Although there was an operational airstrip near Satara, there was still the problem of getting the guests from the airfield to the rest huts.
Finally, in the 1940s the first official roads were built. There were several prominent challenges to this construction, as well as the thick undergrowth that renders vast areas inaccessible. Added to these problems was the lack of monetary funding and the lack of manpower. The board of the Kruger National Park made the already overworked and poorly funded rangers clear the thick bush and make the roads.
Finally, roads we see them today appeared and during the 1960s some of the roads became tarred. Stevenson-Hamilton would have not been happy. All his life he had warned that if the roads became tarred people would speed and animals would be killed. Today his words are prophetically accurate to what has happened, but his legend and dream for conserving the animals through tourism has come true.
Historical Landmarks to visit in the Kruger National Park
History buffs are spoilt for options as there are several monuments, memorials, gravesites, and objects of importance on display throughout the park that dates to the 19th century.
You can discover the secrets of Kruger National Park by diving into its past and viewing one-of-a-kind, distinctive landmarks that made the renowned park what it is today.
Some of these landmarks are situated close to the rest camps, so anyone can visit them without disturbing your game viewing plans.
The Paul Kruger Memorial is situated at the Kruger Gate. There is a bust of Paul Kruger and the Kruger memorial tablet. The latter was to honor the foundation of the Kruger National Park and reads: ‘This tablet was erected by the National Park Board of Trustees to commemorate the institution of National Parks into the Union. Sabie Game Reserve proclaimed by President Kruger in 1898. National Parks Act introduced by Mr. PGW Grobler, Minister of Lands, in 1926.’ Another plaque situated in Skukuza, memorializes those who are seen as the Founding Fathers of the park: James Stevenson-Hamilton, Paul Kruger, and Piet Grobler.
The historical Struben Family Cottage can also be found at Skukuza. The cottage is named after the Struben brothers, Fred, and Harry. The brothers arrived in South Africa from Germany in about 1840, with the idea of becoming gold prospectors. Harry Struben was the first president of the Chamber of Mines in the country. Their cottage has been renovated and now serves as accommodation for visitors to the Kruger National Park.
Sir Percy Fitzpatrick arrived in 1884, in the area at the Eastern Transvaal goldfields where he worked as store man, prospector’s hand and journalist, and as transport-rider form Lourenço Marques by ox-wagon to Lydenburg and Barberton. In Barberton, he became editor of the Gold Fields News.
Fitzpatrick worked on a supply route through the Lowveld, along the Old Delagoa Road, which was used between May and September by transport riders from the Lydenburg Goldfields to Lourenço Marques. This route served as the setting for many of his famous dog Jock of the Bushveld’s adventures.
Fitzpatrick’s adventures during this time of his life, when he was traipsing in the Bushveld, are brilliantly described in his book Jock of the Bushveld, which is normally established as a South African classic.
He recounted the adventures of his dog Jock (a Staffordshire Bullterrier cross), in the form of bedtime stories to his four children to whom the book was dedicated. Rudyard Kipling, who was close friend, used to take part in these story-telling evenings and he it was he who persuaded Fitzpatrick to put the stories together in a book form.
Jock’s birthplace (he was born in 1885) is noticeable along the Voortrekker Road, which runs southeast of Pretoriuskop. Found at Jock Safari Lodge, there is a bronze statue that commemorates the bravery and loyalty of Jock who became a legend of the bushveld.
The Big Five
The term Big Five was first used by the bygone big game hunters and it refers to the five most difficult animals they tried to hunt on foot. The term is now also widely used by everyone today and to see the Big Five on safari is just as amazing as it was then. The Big Five game animals are the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and the Cape buffalo.
The lion is the main type of big cat on the African continent and the most social of the cat species. Prides can range in size anywhere from three to 30 big cats. Inside such a pride, the lioness normally does the majority of the hunting. She is a prolific hunter. The male lion is much larger with a magnificent mane which is normally black, red, and brown. They usually form alliances outside of prides.
The leopard is the most mysterious member of the Big Five. These spotted cats are normally solitary, unless they are mating or when a mother is caring for her cub. Their impressive ability to conceal makes them difficult to ‘spot’. These cats are also famous for pulling their kills up trees to eat in peace without nagging scavengers around.
The Cape Buffalo
Although it is not the biggest or most vicious of the big five, the Cape buffalo is the most dangerous member. Do not be fooled by its bovine appearance – buffaloes are extremely volatile infamously bad-tempered and frightening with their horned weapons. They are mostly seen travelling in herds looking for the best grazing areas.
The African elephant is the world’s largest land mammal and one of the most amazing animals to see on safari. A typically sociable animal, elephants will most often be seen in herds or as solitary bulls walking down a quiet road in the KNP. Cows average between 2800kg – 3500kg, while males weigh in at a hefty 5000kg – 6300kg. The Kruger National Park has an abundance of elephant and you are bound to see them on your trip.
The black or hook-lipped rhino is the original member of the Big Five. Their hooked lips are ideally suited for grazing. Although it is smaller than its white cousin, it is more violent of the two breeds. The black rhino’s numbers are critically low, and the animal is now endangered due to rampant poaching. Every day in the Kruger National Park, rangers are fighting poachers to protect this amazing species from becoming extinct.
Anti-poaching measures in the Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is under threat of poaching that many other African countries have also faced. The poachers are in search of ivory from elephant tusks or rhino horns. The park’s anti-poaching unit consists of SANParks game rangers, assisted by the SAPS and the SANDF. They have also introduced a specialist dog unit to combat poaching.
Kruger’s big game poachers maneuver with night vision instruments and large caliber rifles, fitted with suppressors and sophisticated telescopic sights.
Most of the poachers on the ground are from Mozambique. They carefully plan invasions from the border region. It is estimated that the Kruger National Park is home to some 7 000 to 8 000 rhinos, and unluckily they are the largest poaching targets in southern Africa. The park has intensive protected zones, which houses around 5 000 rhinos. According to data from the South African National Parks, during the first half of 2019, 316 were rhinos poached in the area.
There were about 253 arrests nationally related to rhino horn trafficking or poaching. Nevertheless, many cases from previous years remained unsettled and the market for horn trafficking is still ongoing.
Trees that are found in the Kruger National Park
The Baobab Tree
The Baobab tree is one of the most unusual looking trees and can be found growing in the Kruger National Park. All Baobabs are deciduous trees ranging in height from five to 20 meters. The Baobab tree grows in low-lying areas in Africa and Australia. It can grow to enormous sizes and carbon dating indicates that they may live to be 3,000 years old. There is one Baobab tree situated in Zimbabwe is so huge that forty people can fit inside its trunk. The trunk is smooth and shiny, not rough like bark from other trees, and it the colour pinkish grey or sometimes copper.
When the tree is bare of leaves, the spreading branches of the Baobab look like roots sticking up into the air, giving the impression that the tree has been planted upside-down.
The Umbrella Thorn Tree
This tree is scattered all around the Kruger National Park and is clearly visible. The bark has a rough feel and is grey to black in colour. The tree has a mixture of one straight thorn with a small, hooked thorn alongside.
The leaves are small which gives the umbrella appearance. Most of the grazing animals eat the leaves together with the thorns when the thorns are young and soft. The older, toughened thorns can be a restraint to over-eating.
The Umbrella Thorn tree sprouts flowers in December and they are white. The tree reaches heights of between 5-20 meters in nature. Many bird species take benefit of this protection and build their nests in the shelter. The tree grows fairly slowly and reaches its final height between three to five meters and spreads out about eight to thirteen meters.
The Marula Tree
This tree grows on different areas of woodlands. They can be found all over Africa from Ethiopia to Kwazulu-Natal. They produce flowers from September to November and bear fruit from January to March. The fruits are edible and extremely high in vitamin C. Warthog, elephant, Waterbuck, giraffe, and kudu all consume the fruit and leaves of the tree. Archaeological sites have proven that the Marula fruit was used as a food source since ancient times by Africa’s tribes. The bark can also be used to make a light brown dye.
The Mopane Tree
The Mopane Tree is home for the Mopane Moth which is extremely important in the dietary needs of many people around Africa. The caterpillar of the moth, known as the Mopane Worm, is harvested, and eaten as is or dried as a future food source.
The Mopane Tree wood is also been more extensively used in furniture for its colour and toughness and as it is so hard it is termite resistant, making it perfect for fencing. Some Mopane trees can grow to heights of up to 25 meters, particularly on alluvial soils. When situations are not good for the tree, small Mopane shrubs known as ‘Mopane scrub’ and locally referred to as ‘gumane’, are more apparent.
Comprehensive list on what to remember if you intend doing a road trip to the Kruger National Park
- Avoid driving yourself unless you are familiar with local conditions of the roads in South Africa
- Avoid travelling by road at night because there is the risk of robbery when you stop at robots at night
- In the event of an accident wait for the police or if you do not feel safe, drive immediately to the nearest police station
- Screen your fuel levels to ensure that your fuel tank is never lower than half full
- Drivers often drive at excessive speeds, and they can be aggressive or reckless
- Avoid travelling alone
- Keep windows rolled up and doors locked
- Remain on tourist routes and avoid remote areas
- When travelling between cities, you should do so in a convoy, whenever possible
- Avoid camping or travelling alone and hire a reputable tour guide. Make sure you use a reputable tour company to do your bookings
- Follow the advice and warnings of local tour guides and camp employees
- Do not walk around at night
- Never leave children unattended
- Buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- Make sure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- Make sure a family member or friend knows your schedule
- An International Driver’s Permit carried in conjunction with your national driving license is recommended and must be printed or authenticated in English
- If your license does not have a photograph in it, then you must also carry your passport with you so that you can be identified as the legal holder of the driving license
- Please note that the car hire companies might have different rules regarding the length of time that you need to have held a driving license, so it is advisable to check with your hire car company about their requirements
- Always make sure documentation is always carried with you when driving
- Traffic officers will expect to see documentation if they stop you for any reason
- In South Africa people drive on the left-hand side of the road, and vehicles – rental cars included – are right-hand drive vehicles
- Keep to the left and pass right
- All distances, speed limits (and speedometers) are in kilometers
- There are strict drinking and driving laws – with a maximum allowable alcohol blood content of 0.05%. Translated that means about one glass of wine for the average woman and perhaps 1.5 or two for the average or large man
- Four-way-stops are commonly found at the quieter intersections – the first vehicle to arrive has priority. On roundabouts, give way to the right, although this is often ignored, and it is wise to proceed with caution
- Wearing of seat belts is compulsory. All the occupants of a vehicle are required to wear seatbelts whilst they are travelling, if you are caught without you will be subject to a hefty fine
- Using a cellphone while you are driving is against the law – use a vehicle phone attachment or hands-free kit, if you want to speak on your mobile phone
- The general speed limit on national highways, urban freeways and other major routes is 120 kilometers (75mph)
- On secondary (rural) roads it is 100 kilometers (60mph)
- In built-up areas it is usually 60 kilometers (35mph) unless otherwise indicated
- Always check the road signs and you must always obey the speed limit
- Speed limits are maximum speeds. If it is raining, misty or the road is congested, reduce speed
- Reduce speed near areas where there is pedestrian activity.
The Berg en Dal Rest Camp is known as one of the ‘newer’ camps as it was built in 1984. The animals around the camp that can be found are : Kudu, Impala, Giraffe, White Rhino, Elephant, Reedbuck, Klipspringer, warthog, and Grey Rhebok. Other animals which are regularly seen are leopards and sometimes even the elusive wild dog.
The camp comprises of modern six-bedroom family cottages, two- and three-bedroom bungalows and two guest houses with a multitude of bedrooms. There is also a camping and caravan area. Game drives and bush walks are also available. There is also a picnic area which can be used for day visitors and those staying at the camp.
There is also a restaurant and cafeteria with a view over the Matjulu dam. They also have a fully stocked grocery store, a laundromat, and a filling station. The camp also has cell-phone reception, a film auditorium, with swimming pool which is only for use by the overnight residents, conference area, basic first aid, emergency road assistance, post box , public phones, communal kitchen, and ablutions.
Crocodile Bridge Camp is a small camp which consists of bungalows, safari tents and caravan and camping sites. It is located on the northern banks of the Crocodile River of which it is named after. Crocodile Bridge Camp also offers disabled-friendly accommodation. The game that can be viewed around the camp area is famous for its large population of rhino and various prides of lion.
At the camp there is a shop, a Laundromat, a filling station, post box, public telephones, a coffee shop. For the campers there are communal kitchens and ablution facilities. For day visitors there is a picnic area. The camp also picks up cellphone reception and there is first aid assistance in the event of an emergency.
Letaba Camp is close to three major dams which makes it an ideal spot to view the wildlife. It is located near the Letaba River. The camp has a guest house, cottages, bungalows, huts, or furnished safari tents.
Letaba Camp is an ideal spot for bird watching enthusiasts as it allows you the opportunity to see the Pearlspotted, Barred and Scops owls plus the Giant Eagle Owl is normally seen along the river.
The camp also has banking facilities, a filling station and the Goldfields Environmental Education Centre is situated there plus a conference facility. It also has a swimming pool, a post box, public telephones, restaurant, cafeteria, and a curio shop. They have a Laundromat, for the campers, communal kitchens, and ablution facilities. They have emergency roadside assistance. There is cellphone reception and a picnic area for day visitors.
Lower Sabie Rest Camp is situated near the Sabie River, which attracts a wide assortment of animals annually. This camp is ideal for families as it offers a wide range of activities as well.
A choice of accommodation options is available from a deluxe guesthouse to family cottages, huts, bungalows, safari tents and campsites. Lower Sabie also has wheelchair-friendly accommodation.
The wildlife is drawn to the river and green foliage around Lower Sabie. This makes it an ideal area to see elephant, lions, cheetah, rhinos plus herds of buffalo and warthogs and hippos.
The camp has a restaurant, filling station, cafeteria, grocery and curio shop, picnic area, emergency road service, basic first aid assistance, a swimming pool. Plus, they offer film shows on conservation and wildlife on particular evenings. They also offer public telephones, Laundromat, communal kitchens, and ablutions for campers plus a picnic area for day visitors.
This is one of the newest camps that were built in the Kruger National park. Mopani Rest Camp also has an impressive view of the Pioneer Dam. You do not even have to leave the camp to enjoy some game viewing.
The camp offers accommodation plus a unique ‘sleep-over’ game viewing hide. This acts as a bird hide during the day but can be reserved at a small fee from half an hour before gates close until after the gates open. The hide has six put away beds, an eco-toilet and a small boma with a braai area. Once you have paid your deposit, you will get bedding and a picnic basket with cutlery and crockery. You do have to provide your own water and wood.
The camp also has a restaurant and a bar, cafeteria, a filling station, Laundromat, shop, and a braai area. There is also a conference centre. It has public telephones, post box, basic First Aid assistance as well .
Olifants Rest Camp provides accommodation in bungalows, and two comfortable guesthouses. There is also a picnic site and a shop. There are two, three and four single roomed thatched bungalows fitted with en-suite facilities and kitchenettes which have magnificent views of the river and surrounding bushveld.
One of the two-bedded huts is specially fitted with aids for those with disabilities. The camp offers amazing sightings of zebra, impala, kudu, and elephant.
The camp also has a restaurant , conference facility, public telephones, shop, Laundromat, filling station, communal kitchens for campers, basic first aid assistance, there is a day visitor picnic area with gas braais for rent. There is cellphone reception and emergency roadside assistance is from Letaba.
Orpen Rest Camp is situated at the Orpen Gate entrance to the Kruger National Park. The camp offers lodging in 15 thatched cottages with two beds each and two with three beds. For the camping area, it provides one communal kitchen and ablution block. In addition, there are three larger more lavish guest cottages, providing lodging to a maximum of six people.
The area around the camp is littered with strewn trees and wide-open plains covered by lots of grass which attracts many grazers and this in turn draws predators like Cheetah, Lion and Leopard.
The camp has a restaurant and a cafeteria, a shop plus a swimming pool, post box, public telephones, Laundromat, a filling station, basic first aid assistance in the case of an emergency, there is a picnic area for day visitors, cellphone reception, plus for campers there are communal kitchens and ablutions. For emergency road services that must be done from Satara.
Pretoriuskop Camp is one of the oldest rest camps situated in the park. This is the ideal area to spot a white rhino. Accommodation in the camp varies from fully equipped guesthouses to basic bungalows with just two beds and a basin.
The more exclusive accommodation in the camp is the Pierre Joubert and the Doherty Bryant guesthouses. The camp area also has a shop, cafeteria, and a restaurant. There are public telephones, post box, basic first aid assistance, filling station, Laundromat, for campers there are communal kitchens.
For day visitors there is picnic facilities. Regarding emergency road services, that must be done from Skukuza.
There is an interesting story how the camp got its name. It was named by the first ranger who was posted there in 1919. His name was Capt JJ Coetser. He called it Punda Maria. This was a mistake as he thought that the Swahili name for Zebra was Punda Maria, but it was in actual fact ‘Punda Milia’ which directly translates to ‘striped donkey’. When he found out he had made a mistake, he opted to keep the name as Maria was the name of his wife. Later the camps name was changed to ‘Punda Milia’ but in 1981, it was changed back to Punda Maria.
Punda Maria offers seven luxury safari tents and a swimming pool. The camp also has bungalows divided into 18 two-bedded units and four three-bedded units. Each unit is air-conditioned and comes with a toilet, washbasin, built-in cupboards, and a fridge. The three-bedded units have showers and fully equipped kitchens.
A family bungalow is also available. There is shared kitchen and ablution facilities and a braai area. There are also 50 camp or caravan sites available. The area surrounding the camp attracts many rare species of birds so is a dream for bird watchers. Rare Sable have also been spotted at the camp.
The camp also has a restaurant and a filling station and a Laundromat plus a shop. It also has public telephone, post box, a swimming pool, communal kitchens, and ablutions. There is a visitor’s picnic area, but it is eight kilometers outside the camp next to Punda Maria Gate.
Skukuza Camp is the main camp of the whole of the Kruger National Park. It is the biggest camp and includes facilities such as a shop, ATM, internet cafe, restaurant, library, fuel station and more. There is also a golf course, plus luxury that ranges from luxurious to basic.
Skukuza is the best place to start on the pursuit of the Big Five. Lions are commonly seen around the area. At night, look for the Fruit Bat that hangs under the roof space of the shop, and the Thick-tailed Bush Baby climbing the trees in search of gum.
Skukuza offers safari tents , four guest houses, luxury riverside bungalows, family cottages and guest cottages. There are sites for camping and caravans.
There are two restaurants and even an airport although it is a basic one. There are public telephones, post box, bank , Car Hire, Car Wash, Auditorium and conference facilities, an internet café, delicatessen, two swimming pools in camp (for overnight residents only). A cafeteria, Laundromat, filling station, communal kitchens, and ablutions for campers. Basic first aid assistance, emergency roadside assistance. A day visitors picnic area which is situated about four kilometers outside the camp with its own swimming pool. Cellphone reception, and an indigenous Nursery.
Shingwedzi Rest Camp is located in the primary elephant and buffalo area where large herds can be found. The camp is associated with the elephant. Herds of elephants amounting from 50 to 60 are widespread in this region. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s some of the parks biggest tuskers roamed this section. The elephants were named the Magnificent Seven, and one of them named Shingwedzi died near the rest camp in 1981. He carried tusks which weighed in at 47 and 58 Kg. His tusks and the others can be seen at Letaba Rest Camp.
The camp has bungalows and a luxury guesthouse. There is a restaurant, Laundromat, swimming pool and a filling station. There is also a cafeteria and a shop and an ATM inside it. There are public telephones. There is also picnic facilities for day visitors. Regarding emergency roadside assistance, the service is provided from Satara.
Satellite camps are smaller camps than the main ones in the Kruger National Park. They provide self-catering and communal ablution facilities. There are no ATM’s, shops, or restaurants in these camps.
Balule Camp consists of six budget huts that have no electricity, ceiling fans or windows. The only light is from paraffin lamps. There are also 15 Camp sites without power point
Balule Camp’s rural ambiance draws the die-hard camper and adventurer who enjoys the close-to-nature experience. The camp is situated between Satara and about 11km away from Olifants Camp to the north.
There are also cooking and braai (barbecue) facilities, as a satellite camp, Balule Camp is not open to day visitors. Satra manages Balule Camp and guests should check-in at Satara or Olifants camp.
Large cats and large prides of lion are frequently spotted in the area. The camp consists of one communal ablution block and a communal kitchen. There is no reception area at the camp, so guests must check in at Satara or Olifants.
Shimuwini is situated in elephant and buffalo country and along the banks of the Letaba River. All the units have electrical power which is provided by solar panels.
There are 15 cottages stretched out in a long line along the Shimuwini Dam . You will find all the times needed for a kitchen they are equipped for. There are no plugs as solar panels only keep the lights and refrigerators going.
The units also have braai areas.
The nearest shops to Shimuwini Camp are in the Letaba and Mopani rest camps. There is one small shop that provides the basic like ice and firewood.
Malelane Camp is also a small camp that can only accommodate a maximum of 19 people. No day visitors are allowed, as a result guests can enjoy the privacy provided by this camp. There are braai areas as well as open parking. Nearest shops are at Berg-en-Dal about nine kilometers away. The camp is situated only three kilometers away from the Malelane Gate.
At Tamboti Tented Camp visitors sleep in safari tents mounted on stilts. They are self-catering units but are serviced daily. Two of the tents can be used for persons with disabilities. The nearest shop, restaurant and filling station is about five kilometers at Orpen Rest Camp.
You will be able to spot kudu, black rhino, and porcupines in this area. The camp also provides two communal kitchens and two ablution blocks.
Maroela Camp is a satellite camp of Orpen. The camp has 24 campsites with a communal kitchen and ablution facilities. 20 Campsites of that are equipped with power points
A single campsite is only able to accommodate a maximum six people per caravan plus a side-tent and vehicle, one tent and vehicle, or one motorized caravan with a side tent.
In the case of camping with a small tent, more than one tent will be allowed on a site but no more than six people will be allowed.
Bushveld camps in the Kruger National Park are smaller than the main camps and they do not have restaurants. They do have reception areas with a mini shop that will stock basic items.
This is one of the oldest camps and is situated near two waterholes, so the game viewing is excellent. There seven chalets which are fully equipped with all the necessities and are serviced daily. There is a conference area that can accommodate up to 30 people.
There are braai areas at each unit and at the recreation centre. Wood can be purchased at the camp. Each unit also has its own electricity points. Open parking is available. There is a reception area plus public telephone. The shop does not stock foodstuffs like meat.
Biyamiti is situated about 25 kilometers from Skukuza Airport. This is a secluded bush camp where you have a good chance of spotting cheetah, giraffe, kudu, duiker, impala, steenbok, elephant, black and white Rhino, buffalo, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, wild dog, and hyena. There are 15 cottages located along the Biyamiti River. The cottages have bedding towels and soap plus are serviced daily.
The cottages are also all self-catering. Biyamiti Camp can accommodate a maximum of 70 people.
Sirheni is a small bush camp situated along the banks of Sirheni Dam. They provide self-catering cottages that all look over the river. Guests can view game from their own verandah. Sirheni Camp got its name from the local Shangaan word meaning ‘the grave’. This camp is named thus in memory of an Elephant that died of anthrax and was buried nearby in 1959.
The cottages are fully equipped with modern facilities and are self-catering. All lodging units are serviced daily and supplied with bedding, towels, and soap.
There is only solar electricity in the camp and there are no plugs in the units.
The hide on the perimeter fence, overlooking the Sirheni Dam, is a good place for doing some bird watching. There is a shop that sells the basics like ice and firewood.
Talamati Camp gives you superb views of the large and diverse herds of grazers. The camp consists of cottages that can house up to 80 people. This is an ideal camp for group functions and catering for functions is available on request. You can view wildlife from a raised game hide that overlooks a waterhole.
Talamati Camp has 15 cottages spread out in along the N’waswitsontso River. The units have towels, bedding, soap and are serviced daily. Solar panels provide electricity for the lights and fans only. There are refrigerators without freezing compartments, but there is a communal freezer available in the camp. There is also a shop that sells the basics like firewood.
Sable Sleepover Hide
This camp is situated approximately 10 kilometers from the Phalaborwa Gate. It is an exclusive accommodation facility where you can feel part of nature.
By day it is a bird hide by day and it transforms at night into a basic place to sleep at night. This hide overlooks the Sable dam where there is an abundance of animals to view. Here, you can experience first-hand a lion roaring up close and hippos grunting just meters away from you. This is a true African adventure.
Shipandani Sleepover Hide
This camp is situated south of Mopani on the Tsendze River. It is an only one of its kind accommodation facility where guests can feel part of the nature.
It is a bird hide by day and made at night into a place to sleep at night. You can experience seeing buffalo herds and elephants closeup from where you are sleeping
Boulders Bush Lodge
This camp does not have a perimeter fence and the wildlife can be seen from the safety of five raised cottages. The nearest camp is Mopani which is 25 kilometers away. This lodge must be reserved by a single party. The place is serviced daily. There are solar panels which provide electricity. You can view game from the comfort of your own veranda. Facilities at Boulders include a braai area, basic first aid assistance. There are no plugs for appliances. There is no shop or restaurant. No cellphone reception.
Roodewal Bush Lodge
Roodewal Bush Lodge is situated 44 kilometers north of Satara, along the banks of the Timbavati River. The lodge can house up to 18 people. This is ideal for a family holiday.
The whole camp can be taken by a group making the booking, and the units are spaced to offer privacy to each guest. It has a single-family unit with two bedrooms, one of which has an en-suite bathroom. There are also three bedded bungalows, fitted with lofts that can sleep two people.
There is a fully equipped communal kitchen as a bathroom complete with a shower, toilet, and washbasin. Solar panels provide power for lights and fans. There is no shop or restaurants here or a filling station.
The Pafuri Border Camp
Pafuri Border camp is situated in the most northern part of the Kruger National Park. The closest camp is Punda Maria, near the convergence of the Luvubu and Limpopo rivers. This is one of the most prolific birding territories in South Africa. Try and spot the Pel’s Fishing Owl, the African Wood Owl, and the Lemon Dove. Look out for Sable and Elephant here as well.
Tsendze Rustic Campsite has 30 camp sites but has no electricity or generators. The camp is situated about seven kilometers from Mopani Rest Camp. The camp has two ablution blocks with also have open air showers.
The camp also has two kitchens. It only has the bare basics like warm water from gas geysers and lighting in the kitchens and ablutions which are provided by solar.
This safari lodge has 12 stylish suites which are located along a scenic stretch of river in a private concession of the Kruger National Park. Each suite has its own private deck and plunge pool or Jacuzzi. The accommodation is elegant and luxurious. The lounge-dining room opens out onto a spacious deck which overlooks the river. The plunge pool is an ideal spot to cool off and watch to see what wildlife wanders by.
Singita Sweni Lodge
Singita Sweni Lodge in Kruger National Park is situated on the edge of the Sweni River in a private concession. The Sweni River draws wildlife and birds. The lodge is solely powered by solar energy adding to its commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation.
Children of all ages are allowed. There are baby- sitting services available and tailor-made activities to go with each family.
Jock Safari Lodge provides you the experience of an old-world safari in the southern area of Kruger National Park. Each of their luxury suites has its own private deck with a plunge pool. The lodge also offers spa treatments a steam room and a sauna.
This lodge was the first private lodge to be built in the heart of Kruger National Park. The décor combines an old colonial style with Zulu and Shangaan culture. The lodges facilities include, complimentary Wi-Fi, a large deck with a swimming pool, a gift boutique, indoor and outdoor eateries.
Jock Safari Lodge is child friendly. Although, children 0 – 5 years old are taken on game drives in a closed vehicle, and children from 6 to 11 can join the adults on the normal game drives conducted in open vehicles.
Lukimbi Safari Lodge, a family-friendly safari lodge offers breath taking views from all their suites. The lodge also has a conference centre for up to 40 people.
Children of all ages are welcome with special children’s activities on offer. They even have children’s meals which can become a special event. To make your stay even more perfect, they offer a spa treatment which includes aromatherapy and reflexology for complete stress-free relaxation.
Lukimbi Safari Lodge is one only a few lodges which welcomes children from age 2, with a children’s program including kiddies walks, crafts, treasure hunts, special kiddies’ dinners, and picnics.
Singita Lebombo Lodge
Singita Lebombo Lodge allows you to stay in the most beautiful luxurious suites that are elevated on stilts along a cliff side. Look out from the timber and glass suite and enjoy the magnificent views over the African bush. The suites all have floor to ceiling glass fronts, ideal for game viewing.
You can sit and dine indoors while still watching wildlife over the open grassland. Wine connoisseurs will love the wine cellar, which has an array of award-winning fine wines. There is also a dedicated Bush Spa which offers a comprehensive activity and a personal treatment program.
The lodge does not accommodate children under the age of 10. Children over the age of 10 can partake in the Mini Rangers Course, filled with fun activities.
This is a camp located in the northern section of Kruger National Park. It is also some of the best bird watching area in the KNP. The camp offers cozy tented accommodation for guests.
Only 52 guests can be accommodated at this tented safari camp that comprises of 19 luxury tents. Larger groups can find accommodation in the comfortable family tents.
Pafuri Camp receives children of all ages and will be accommodated with their parents or caregivers in the comfortable Family Tents. Children under the age of six are not permitted on game activities, and children under the age of 12 are not eligible for walking safaris.
Shishangeni Private Lodge
This lodge is made up of 22 twin chalets and is ideal for families with children. This is also an excellent game viewing area in the south of the Kruger National Park. The lodge also has conference facilities, a library, gym, wellness centre and a swimming pool.
Rhino Walking Safaris
Rhino Walking Safaris is the famous take-to-the-bush on foot accompanied by armed safari guides. There are very few places that offer these types of experiences in the African bush. This is by the Seolo Plains Camp which has en-suite tents.
The Outpost Lodge
The lodge is set in the remote northern part of Kruger National Park. The lodge is situated high on a hill which provides you with magnificent views of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers.
The lodge was designed by an Italian architect Enrico Daffonchio. He used elements of steel and canvas to create a magnificent contemporary design which blends into the African bush.
Lion Sands Kruger
The outstanding service and plush accommodation at this luxury lodge in Kruger National Park, provides an exclusive safari experience. Lion Sands overlooks the Sabie River where many animals come to drink. There are nine exclusive suites along the river.
Guests are pampered with romantic dinners by candlelight and exciting bush breakfasts with staff that just know how to make you feel like royalty. You can even choose a treehouse experience and sleep under the stars without giving up on any comforts.
You must follow the rules and guidelines of the Kruger National Park to ensure your safety. The camps are fenced to prevent wildlife entering the areas. Baboons and monkeys cannot be kept out in most camps, so best is to keep a safe distance and they will present no threat to you at all. Camps allow you free movement around at night, so it is a relaxing and safe experience.
Is the water safe?
The tap water is safe to drink, but most camps provide bottled water and you can buy bottled water at all shops in the Kruger National Park.
What about malaria?
The Kruger National Park is a malaria risk zone. The wet season is from October to May and this is when the malaria risk is high. February to May is when the risk is peaking. Consult your doctor for the right medication to prevent malaria. You will be required to start a course of anti-malaria medication a week prior to your trip.
What is malaria?
Malaria is widespread in Africa. Malaria is a life-threatening disease. It is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite. When this mosquito bites you, the parasite is released into your bloodstream.
Symptoms can be flu-like or cause shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe. Also, a high fever, profuse sweating, headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, muscle pain and bloody stools.
Make sure you start taking anti-malaria medication before your journey and during. Ensure you have adequate medication for the duration of your stay. Take insect repellent with you.
Does mosquito nets help?
Most of the private lodges in the Kruger National Park will provide guests with the mosquito nets for their rooms as well as all the other items that help prevent bites like sprays, creams, coils, and plug-in dispensers.
If you plan on camping or doing any mobile travel, nets can be purchased from outdoor stores and sports shops, while insect sprays and repellents can be purchased from any chemist or grocery store.
How to stop from being bitten?
You must cover up at night and wear clothes that does not expose too much skin, particularly around your ankles. Keep applying repellent every four to six hours as it does stop working after a while. Make sure you burn repellent oils and if possible, plug in and use heated insecticide at night.
Can I go on a safari while pregnant?
It is not recommended to travel to the Kruger National Park during your pregnancy. There are other parks and reserves better suited for you during this time in and around South Africa. otherwise you can opt for a malaria-free safari.
Is heatstroke something to worry about?
Heat exhaustion is a common problem, especially among tourists that have come from cooler climates. Symptoms include a bad headache, dizziness, vomiting and extreme tiredness. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking lots of bottled water or beverages. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply sunscreen lotion to prevent yourself from getting sunburn.
Chronic dehydration makes you feel weak, tired, and lightheaded and increases your risk of developing kidney stones.
Move into a cool area or room and elevate your feet and legs. Drink lots of fluids until your body temperature drops. Seek medical treatment if the symptoms persist.
Why do you pay conservation fees?
Everyone who visits the Kruger National Park needs to pay conservations fees which is planned according to each day you will be spending in the park. Conservation fees raises funds that helps in conserving the Kruger National Park’s cultural and historical plus natural heritage. This also helps maintain the viewing hides. This money is also direly needed for the preservation of the animals in the park.
Will I have cell-phone reception in Kruger National Park?
Yes, there is some mobile phone coverage in most of the camps. the signal strength varies so you need to stop in an area where there is signal to make a call. You are not allowed to use cell phones on game drives and in public areas. This is time to relax in the bush and get back to nature.
Will I be safe from wild animals at night?
Yes, there are safety precautions in place so you will be safe if you follow all the Park rules. Make sure that you are at your booked camp before the gates close. The camps are closed and fenced off to protect against wildlife. You will find an occasional monkey or baboon roaming around in the camp, but they present no threat to you. You are able to walk freely and safely within the boundaries of the camp at night.
Can you take a dog or pets into the Kruger National Park?
No animals can be brought into the Kruger National Park. This is to avoid transferring diseases and for general safety of your pet. There are exceptions to the rule such as guide dogs for those who are visually impaired. Although in this instance you would have to inform your travel agent in advance so that a license can be obtained.
There are hotels and self-catering lodgings near the Kruger Park that are pet friendly. You can enter the park during the day as a day visitor. The hotels and some of the outside lodges do offer a dog sitting service in the form of a kennel during the day which allows you to enter the Kruger National Park as a day visitor to do some game viewing.
What to do when driving in the Kruger National Park?
If you are planning to do a self-drive in the Kruger National Park you must be aware there are speed limits.
There is a maximum speed limit of 50 km/h (31 m/h) on tarred roads, 40 km/h (24.8 m/h) on gravel roads and 20 km/h (12.4 m/h) in Rest Camps.
The standard speed of 20 -30 km/h (18.6 m/h) is suggested for you to really enjoy the full game viewing experience. Remember never drive with your windows open in the Kruger National Park. NEVER get out your vehicle unless you are in one of the rest camp areas.
How to behave around the animals?
The animals you will see in the Kruger National Park are wild animals. They are not in cages like you will find at a zoo. These animals run freely in the Kruger National Park. Some animals especially the lions can fool you to think they are docile but that not the case. Also, you will see lots of hippos relaxing in dams and in rivers. They will also look cute and harmless, but they are extremely dangerous and have killed many people that have ventured too near them.
Do not leave your car or an open safari vehicle. Your guide on a safari vehicle will stop you from getting out the vehicle.
If you are driving on your own, then there is nobody to stop you. But remember this, getting out of your car, even if it is to lean an arm out of the window to take a photo of a beautiful lion, the one apparently relaxing under the bushes that looks harmless is extremely dangerous. No part of your body should ever leave the vehicle, and if you see someone doing this, you should report them immediately for the sake of their own safety.
Do not get too close to any animal. The safari rangers will not allow you to get too close, but if you should be on your own you might be tempted to get your vehicle close to the animal. This could scare the animal or even harm it.
Bigger animals, especially elephants should be kept a suitable distance away from your vehicle. You do not know what temperament they might have. Many a vehicle in the Kruger National Park has been damaged by elephants.
When on a walking safari, it is one of the most amazing ways to spend your time in Africa. You must be accompanied by an experienced armed guide. This is also one of the most dangerous kinds of Kruger National Park safaris to go on board. So, you must always follow orders to ensure your safety. While a guide will have a weapon to keep you safe from potential harm, there is always the risk of danger. For a bush walk make sure to have proper hiking shoes, insect repellent and some sunscreen.
Do not carry food around even when you are in the rest camp. You will be safe from big animals in the rest camp, but there are sneaky and cheeky monkeys and baboons around. They are known to grab food out of visitor’s hands and do it like experts. So be aware of them sitting around in trees.
Can you feed the animals in Kruger National Park?
Definitely not! You are not allowed to feed any animals in Kruger National Park, especially the monkeys and baboons that might run around in the camps. This is a serious offence and you can be fined heavily.
If animals are fed, they will lose their natural fear of humans and can become aggressive and dangerous.