Tips for Kruger National Park
I recently took a trip to visit our Once in Joburg family before heading to the Kruger National Park for 3 days. Before departing I did a fair amount of reading and research on blogs about the park and there is no short supply of information. The internet seems to be saturated with love stories about Kruger, how amazing it is, how beautiful the animals are, how they loved every second and how they cant wait to go back. I can confirm all of the above statements as being 100% true, but there are some things that you may need to know before you depart on your safari adventure. Here are some tips for Kruger National Park before you go;
Kruger is pretty far from Joburg.
Lots of enthusiastic travellers fly into Joburg hoping to do a day trip to Kruger, this isn’t really possible as the park is around 6 hours drive from Johannesburg so you need to add a day on either side of your travel plans. 1night/2day trips are possible if you leave early on day one and around lunchtime on day 2 but these can feel very rushed and don’t really offer an opportunity to relax. If you don’t have time or extra days to waste, you can fly directly to Skukuza Airport inside Kruger National Park. (If you are landing in Jozi and would still like to see the big 5 in 1 day, check out our Pilanesberg day trip here.)
Size of Kruger.
Kruger National Park is HUGE, expanding over an area of 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi). The park is approximately 360 kilometres (220 mi) long, and has an average width of 65 kilometres (40 mi). The park is split into 4 areas, Central, North, Far North and South.
Seeing the Big 5 is never guaranteed.
Because Kruger is one of the last places on earth to home free-roaming wild animals, you are never guaranteed to see all of the animals on your bucket list. Besides the animals being extremely well camouflaged, the size of the area and the time of year are also huge factors to contend with.
Make sure to exchange all foreign currency into Rand (ZAR), the lodges and parks all use local currency and there is nowhere to exchange nearby.
Best time to visit.
Kruger is an all year round destination but viewing game during the Summer months can be more difficult due to the dense vegetation from the Summer rainfall. The dry winter season is more favorable as you can see a lot further into the bushveld leaving the animals more exposed. Toward the end of November and early December the park is filled with newborns which is always something special to see. Birding is excellent during this time as the summer migrant birds begin to arrive in the park for the upcoming summer months.
Weather and what to pack.
May, June, July and August are the cooler months in the park with an average minimum of 9 and a maximum of 26 degrees celsius. Now I know what you are thinking, you are thinking ‘that’s not cold!’, but in comparison to the summer months the temperature sits at around a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 38 degrees celsius! Now that’s cooking hot. Make sure to take a sun hat, sunscreen and lots of mosquito repellant.
Make sure not to miss the must-see stops along the Panorama Route, Potholes, Three Rondavels and God’s Window offer breathtaking views that you would be sad to miss out on. Make sure whichever tour you book includes this or if you are driving yourself make the detour, it’s totally worth it!
Remember to be vigilant when travelling anywhere in the world. Many people let their guards down when on vacation and that can make a great holiday turn into a not-so-good time. Remember to never leave any valuables visible in your vehicle when travelling to and from your destination, make sure that your vehicle is locked and when you are in the park to listen carefully to the park rangers safety instructions.
Guided tours are more informative and cost around the same.
Guided tours in general cost a lot less than making your own way to Kruger. Renting your own vehicle, driving to and from the park, paying park entry fees, accommodation and meals all add up quickly. Packages are generally more affordable. The bush guides are specifically qualified and can offer in-depth information about the surrounding flora and fauna, along with the wildlife. When travelling independently, you can miss a lot of information regarding 'stories' of the bush and interesting medicinal plants. Ask our team about the variety of tours we offer!
Kruger National Park is an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever. If you need any advice or if your questions weren’t answered here in this blog, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to connect with you.
Until next time,
Happy travels :)