Vast, open grasslands dotted with dense vegetation, rolling hills and diverse scenery – South Africa’s pride and joy has much to offer the erstwhile wildlife enthusiast! Part of UNESCO’s International Man and Biosphere Reserve, Kruger National Park is a very popular destination for South African safaris thanks to the hundreds of species of animals and birds that have made it their home.
How Kruger National Park Came To Be
Located in the northeastern part of South Africa, Kruger National Park came into existence in 1926, with the sole aim of wildlife preservation – to allow the animals some respite from trigger-happy hunters and irascible poachers and protect the rapidly diminishing number of animals.
Today, the Park is expected to become a part of Africa’s great Peace Parks – the Limpopo Transfrontier Park straddles the borders of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, to allow for wildlife migration across political borders. For history buffs the Park offers over 254 known historical sights dating back to a time between the early Stone Age and the Iron Age!
Watch Wildlife At Kruger National Park
For all those new to wildlife viewing, Kruger National Park is one of the best places to start at, with more than 147 different species of mammals!
One of the most accessible wildlife reserves in the world, the Park is home to Africa’s famed Big Five. Kruger is home to large buffalo herds , majestic lions, leopards on the prowl, ambling elephants and lazy rhinos! And if that doesn’t satisfy your curiosity, the park houses more than 500 species of birds and 114 species of reptiles including the infamous Black Mamba, one of the largest and most poisonous snakes in the world!
Friendly giraffes, curious warthogs, antelopes and water bucks are dotted across the landscape. Beware the lazy crocodile, patiently skulking in the water for unsuspecting prey!
What To Expect At Kruger National Park
There are in essence two ways to experience Kruger, either through a self-drive through the famous national park itself or by being pampered with guided safaris in one of Kruger’s fantastic private reserves. For those seeking a self-drive in the wilderness, the best Kruger safari is in the northern part of the Park – you’ll see far fewer tourists here but many herds of buffaloes and elephants. This endless wilderness and the possibility of experiencing this on your own terms and at your own pace, is what fills travelers with a sense of adventure and excitement!
The central part of the Park, between Satara and Oliphants, is particularly good for big cats – don’t be surprised if you run into a lion relaxing with a hearty meal here. The southern part of the park, although a great starting point for a self-drive through Kruger, can get rather busy with large hordes of people who stream into the park almost every weekend, hoping to enjoy a safari and catch a relaxing break.
Private Reserves: Where You Want To Be!
While the vast expanse of the national park is a popular tourist destination, it’s really the nine Private Reserves of the Greater Kruger area that are the stars of the show. Whether it’s excellently guided game drives by day or night, bush walks or pampering in one of Kruger’s luxury camps, these reserves will fit the bill effortlessly.
Exclusive and relaxing, private reserves offer some of the best game viewing experiences and certainly know how to keep their guests in the lap of luxury!
Sabi Sands Game Reserve – Spread across 65,000 hectares, Sabi Sands offers one of the best Kruger safari experiences in a private reserve, with regular game drives, both in the day and at night, and guided bush walks with professional walking guides who know the area through and through. The entire area is divided into various private concessions, each boasting of luxurious lodges and tented camps, replete with swimming pools, air conditioning and the works. A major reason to visit this reserve is the lack of fencing between the lodges, and animals are allowed to roam free throughout the reserve. You will easily spot most of the Big Five at Sabi Sands, with leopard sightings being particularly common.
Timbavati Game Reserve – With 53,400 hectares of space, Timbavati Game Reserve is certainly worth a visit. The reserve opens up into Kruger, allowing its wildlife to roam freely within this greater area. The elusive white lion is a particularly great sighting in this fantastic reserve. Off-road driving allows the guides to take you on up-close interactions with the wildlife.
Klaserie Game Reserve – You’ll encounter many a cheetah within the 60,000 hectares of Klaserie and both day and night game drives here will leave you enchanted. The safaris often lead to interactions with cheetahs. The lack of fences between Klaserie, Timbavati and Kruger National Park gives the visitors of Klaserie easy access to plenty of other animals as well!
Kapama Game Reserve – This private reserve is perhaps best known for being one of the few locations where you can enjoy an elephant-back safari in Africa. The African elephant, far larger than its cousins in Asia, is a surprisingly well-mannered creature. The bush vegetation in this game reserve is a wonder of nature! Many visitors prefer the game drives and walking safaris here because of the stunning landscape. Kapama is perfect for relaxing elephant safaris and ideal for those who prefer a less wild, but more cozy Africa experience! Kapama Buffalo Camp comes highly recommended by our experts!
When Should You Visit Kruger National Park?
An African safari experience is not likely to satisfy you without a chance to spot all the wildlife the region has to offer.
We recommend that you visit Kruger National Park during the months of June to August, when the best Kruger safari experience is possible at the Park and its surrounding areas.
Just in case you’re keen on visiting the Cape region as well, early spring, between August and October is a wonderful time to travel to South Africa.
A South African safari experience at Kruger National Park and the surrounding Private Reserves will leave you with some unforgettable memories. It’s time you planned your very own safari adventure!
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