Safaris in the Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is one of the finest game reserves in Africa. It offers a vast wilderness of thorn trees, prolific game and sub-tropical heat. It stretches some 400km from north to south along the border between South Africa and Mozambique. Thus making it the largest game reserve in South Africa.
The Kruger Park is home to the Big Seven – elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, cheetah and wild dog. It is also home to an abundance of smaller, equally fascinating animals and birds.
It can be divided into three distinct areas. The southern area from Skukuza to the southern border of the Kruger Park is busy and game-rich. The slightly more remote central Kruger Park between Skukuza and Letaba also offers good game-viewing and fewer vehicles. Finally the wild far northern Kruger Park with the Makulele private concession has less game density but the scenery and authentic sense of wilderness more than makes up for it.
The Kruger National Park also has open borders (ie. no fences) with the adjacent private game reserves of the Sabi Sands, Timbavati & Manyeleti. (The Kruger Park and its adjacent private game reserves is referred to by the safari trade as the “Greater Kruger Park’.)
Private Safari Concessions in the Kruger National Park
Several luxurious private safari concessions operate within the Kruger National Park. These include the exclusive Singita Lebombo and Singita Sweni, as well as Rhino Post Safari Lodge, Jock Safari Lodge, Hamiltons Tented Camp and the family-friendly Lukimbi Safari Lodge. These safari lodges offer a private safari experience within the Kruger National Park itself. All offer early morning and evening game drives in open 4×4 vehicles. Unlike the traditional Kruger restcamps, these private safari lodges can conduct night drives after the park gates are closed. Occasionally they can go off-road to Big Five sightings such as lion or leopard. Furthermore, Kruger Park concession Rhino Plains Camp, specializes in walking safaris.
But there are differences between these private concessions and the game lodges in the private game reserves. Have a look at our blog post giving a comparison.
Kruger Restcamps or Country Lodges?
A less luxurious, but more affordable alternative to the private concessions is to stay at the traditional Kruger Park rest camps. These are comfortable but fairly basic. Your Kruger Park safari would be self-guided. However, sunrise, sunset and occasionally night drives are available with park rangers at an extra cost. This is an inexpensive way to enjoy safaris in the Kruger. An alternative to this is to stay at one of the country lodges, such as Buhala Game Lodge or Kruger Gate Lodge. These are only minutes from the park and offer a more convivial alternative. They also conduct open vehicle game drives into the park.