KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AFRICA.
The Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa is one of Africa’s largest game reserves and animal sanctuaries and a top safari destination in Africa. With nearly 2 million hectares of natural and unrivalled diversity of life forms fused with historical and archaeological sights, indeed, Kruger shows the real Africa. In addition, the park offers a wildlife experience that is arguably the best in Africa.
Also, the park rich in legend and history gives off an ancient and peaceful atmosphere that gives visitors a first-hand feeling of being in the African bush. Its large variety of animals namely includes the Big 5: lions, leopards, rhinos. Elephants and buffaloes. Hundreds of mammals and diverse bird species such s vultures, eagles, and storks are in the park. Kruger National Park is home to lots of large mammals (147 species) than any other African game reserve.
Furthermore, two hundred nineteen species of butterfly and skipper are native to the park. One hundred twenty-six reptile species, including the black mamba, rock pythons, are found in the park.
There is truly nothing better than a safari drive for adventure lovers and nature fanatics. However, what sets it apart is the option of a Do It Yourself (DIY) safari experience. In 1926 It became South Africa’s first national park. Vacation at the Exotic Zanzibar, Tanzania.
However, there are several ways of getting to Kruger National Park. First, you can fly directly from Johannesburg to any of the many private lodges around the Kruger. The flight lasts about 90mins and will take you to the nearest airstrip of your lodging of choice, and a representative will meet you to transfer you to your lodge. Flying is the easiest way to get to the park.
Also, you can get several daily flights from Johannesburg to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) and one daily flight from Cape Town to KMIA. You can get to the park from this airport either by road (about 2-3 hours) or by chartered flight (about 25 mins). Additionally, this option is cheaper than flying directly. The most inexpensive (but most time consuming) way is to self drive to the park, which is a 6 hour drive from Johannesburg.
Furthermore, there are also many accommodation options at the National park, so whether you prefer fancy camping, self-catering camping cottages, guest houses, luxury homes or a private villa, there is something for you. The lodging prices start from $36 to $2500.
However, there is a charge of a daily conservation fee. South Africans and residents pay $7 for adults and $3 for children. SADC Nationals pay $15 for adults and $7 for children. However, International visitors pay $30 for adults and $15 for children. Always go with an ID card. Safaris in Kruger National Park.
WHEN TO VISIT
Although, visiting the park can be seen at any time of the year. Although, in the summer (November to December), the bush is lush due to the heavy rains, the bird population increases, and most of the animals are with their young ones. However, the dry season (May to August) is the best as the bushes are sparse and animals move towards water holes, making it easier to spot them. See the beauty of the rain forest Ngungwe National park.
WHAT TO DO
It’d take at least 5-10 days to explore the whole park, so do not be in a hurry. Instead, here’s a list of things you can do.
WALK THE VARIOUS WILDERNESS TRAIL:
Go on a wilderness trail hike for an authentic wilderness experience in Kruger. Moreover, you will get an opportunity to see, smell, hear, touch wild things. Experiencing the African bush on foot is an excellent way of being yourself as close to nature as you can get. In addition, this can be your chance to learn about medicinal plants and animal tracks. They are available in the mornings and afternoons.
With over 500 bird species, Kruger is a prominent place to watch birds. Eagles are common in this park. A morning or afternoon drive in the park and a walk in the campsite can be rewarding for a bird lover.
The Skukuza golf course is a haven for golfers. The course isn’t fenced, so it is common to visit animals such as hippos, impalas and baboons. Even lions and other members of the Big 5 can make an appearance.
The park has fenced off campsites. These rest camps serve as self-serving accommodations and are ideal for groups and families. Rest camps have pools, braai, shops, day visitor areas and many picnic spots for visitors doing a self-drive safari.
GO ON GAME DRIVES:
They are available at sunrise, sunset and night. The park’s game drive gives visitors a chance to see the wildlife from the comfort of an open-air vehicle while receiving commentaries from an experienced guide. You can spot animals like elephants, giraffes, impalas and lions during the game drive.
VISIT THE ALBASINI RUINS:
This place houses the remains of a 19th-century trade post where beads, clothes amongst others, were traded between Portuguese colonialists and indigenous Baphalaborwa. Although most of the walls and artefacts that remain now are crumbled, this place is a great scene away from animals and history lovers.
The hippo pool, which is at the southern border of the park, is the best place to view hippos as they mostly spend their time soaking in the water to stay calm. Equally important, stay in the designated area, though, as hippos are very dangerous. In addition, arrive at dusk when the hippos come out to eat grass for the best pictures.
TIPS FOR VISITING THE PARK
Don’t let the park’s beauty fool you; the animals are unlike zoo animals and are untamed. Hence it is essential to know these tips:
- Respect the guides.
- Bring binoculars.
- Please resist the temptation to feed the animals or bring their attention to yourself.
- Always wind up your car windows.
- Be respectful to other tourists on the vehicle with you.
- Travel a bit to the south and north of the park for a complete experience.
- Ask questions.
- Wear colour-neutral clothes.
- Take a mosquito repellent or even a mosquito net.
- Don’t leave the car during the drive for your safety.
- Keep your belongings close and tights. Monkeys are known for stealing things.
WHAT TO PACK
- Durable hiking shoes.
- Mosquito repellent.
- First aid kit.
- Sunshades and hats.