With 19,485 square kilometres of wilderness, Kruger National Park is one of the biggest animal reserves in Africa and the ultimate king of the wild. There are 507 bird species, 114 reptiles, 40 fish species, 34 amphibians, 147 mammals, and over 2,300 plants scattered across the luscious South African park. There’s so much to see on the reserve and to make the best out of your trip, you definitely need to plan ahead. Before you make your itinerary, be sure to check out these travel tips for visiting the greatest animal park in the world.
Best Time to Visit
Kruger National Park is open year-round, but each season brings different experiences. If your goal is to see as much wildlife as possible, then it’s best to visit the reserve during dry winter months. This is between the months of June and October when the grass is low and trees are sparse. During this time, you’ll have perfect views of the wildlife. However, if you have the right spotting equipment, you can still see animals during other months. Towards the end of the year between late November and early December, the park is filled with newborns which creates amazing memories. Since the animals become more protective during this time though, you may not see as much wildlife as you’d hope.
What Animals You Will Spot
Kruger National Park is one of the few areas in the world where you’ll find every member of the Big Five in one place. The Big Five consists of rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, and the Cape buffalo. Although this is why most people come to the park, you can also find animals such as hyenas, crocodiles, hippos, zebra, giraffes, and bucks. There are many apps that you can download to help you track down your favourite animal, but you should pick an area that you like and stick to it. The south part of the park is cheaper and more touristy than the rest, but it is where you will find the most game. The Central region has the best landscape views and is less touristy, but the animals are more likely to hide in the thick bushes. Lastly, if you’re a bird lover then the northern regions are the best for you. Here it is sandier and tropical so you’ll find birds that are completely unseen in the South.
What to Pack for Your Trip
A stay at a national reserve is not like any other type of vacation. You will need to pay extra close attention to what you pack. Be sure to pack lots of extra clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. You’ll need to get down in the weeds if you want to get up close and personal with some of the animals. You should also be sure to carry cash with you at all times to tip any guides and bring portable chargers so that your cameras are ready for your entire trip. If you’re going to rent a car, be sure that it has off-road capabilities. A car with four-wheel drive will help you find the hard to spot animals and make your trip worthwhile.
Be realistic about your trip. The area has a motto that says “This is Africa” which means anything can happen. Don’t treat your vacation like a trip to the zoo and instead be prepared for a night out in the wild.