Nowhere in South Africa matches the amount of wildlife and wilderness experienced on a tailor-made Kruger safari holiday. Established in 1898, Kruger is one of the premier places in the world to find the famous Big Five. In fact, safaris in Kruger explore one of the only areas on the planet where all of the Big Five, Little Five and Birding Big Six can be spotted together. The private reserves to the west of the park have some of the best luxury safari lodges and camps in Africa.
About Kruger National Park
Safaris in Kruger National Park are particularly special thanks to the six different eco-systems that make up the region, including riverine forest, woodland on granite, baobab sandveld, and mixed acacia thicket.
Denser than in the rest of the park, the forests of the north are a favourite with elephants who enjoy eating the mopane bush found here. To the south, verdant savannahs are home to plentiful plains game where wildlife spotting is much easier thanks to the sparse vegetation. As a result, this area of the Kruger is a great place to see predators on safari, as well as white rhino. This abundance means that the southern part of the Kruger can become quite crowded unless you are staying on a private reserve.
Private reserves skirt the western edge of the national park and have been maintained as wilderness habitats, offering some of the best wildlife encounters in South Africa. In recent years over 100 km of fencing has been removed between the Kruger National Park and the reserves, enabling animals to migrate freely between the two. Big game sightings on safari are particularly good in these areas and the standard of Kruger National Park accommodation on the reserves is up there with some of the best in the world.
Kruger National Park Wildlife Safaris
Kruger National Park safaris present some of the best opportunities to see the Big Five in a single day. There are an estimated 1,600 lions, 12,000 elephants, 2,600 buffalo, 1,000 leopards and 5,000 rhino in the Kruger region. It is therefore quite possible to encounter some or all of these animals on a single Kruger safari game drive, although this cannot be guaranteed.
Predators can be found all over the Kruger National Park. As well as lions and leopards there are around 500 African wild dogs, over 400 cheetahs and abundance of spotted hyena. Open grasslands with grazing zebra, wildebeest and impala make the best hunting grounds and are often the best place to find the Kruger’s predators.
Elephants and buffalo can also both be found in much of the Kruger, with both species forming sizeable herds that are often found near water. Giraffes are common sightings during a bespoke Kruger safari too, alongside kudu, warthog, sable antelope, tsessebe, eland and waterbuck.
Kruger National Park safari game drives are certainly the best way to see the area’s wildlife. If staying on a private reserve, game drive packages are usually included in your nightly rate. Packages also include the services of an expert guide who will know the area and its wildlife very well. For private game drives, advanced booking is advised.
Nature walks can also be arranged in the national park and the private reserves on a bespoke Kruger safari, and are escorted by an expert guide. Hot-air balloon rides in the Kruger as well as horseback safaris can also be arranged with some properties.
Birding in the Kruger National Park
Recorded bird species in the Kruger National Park exceed 500 so this is a fantastic place for a South Africa bird watching holiday. The park is one of the best places in southern Africa to find birds of prey with over 60 species recorded, including the Bateleur eagle, African fish eagle and brown snake eagle. The Birding Big Six are also found here – the Kori bustard, saddle-billed stork, Pel’s fishing owl, lappet–faced vulture, martial eagle and the southern ground-hornbill can all be seen during a birdwatching safari in the Kruger.
Birding specials to look out for during a Kruger birding safari holiday include the greater blue-eared starling, white–headed vulture and thrush nightingale among others. In November, migratory species arrive in the Kruger National Park, predominantly from Europe and Asia. After enjoying the warm summer climate, they depart in March/April.
Where to stay in the Kruger National Park
The private reserves on the Kruger’s western border and within the Greater Kruger area would always be our recommendation when it comes to lodging. There are a number of luxury Kruger safari lodge options for a variety of travellers – from young families to couples on their honeymoon. The private reserves offer a more intimate and authentic safari experience than staying within the park. These Kruger camps and lodges are among the best in the world and the service is superb.
Hand-picked Camps and Lodges
Best Time to Visit the Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is a year-round destination and offers a thoroughly exciting safari experience whenever you decide to travel.
The dry, warm winter months of April to October are the best time to visit the Kruger National Park for a safari. With less surface water available and thinner vegetation, finding animals is easier and the climate is pleasant.
During the summer months between November and March, the Kruger is transformed into a green paradise full of young and newborn animals. Birding is excellent during this period but there is a greater chance of rain.
Weather During the Year
How to Book a Kruger Safari Holiday
To discuss your South Africa safari holiday, Kruger family safari packages and tailor-made itineraries, speak to one of our South Africa experts today by contacting us.