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Kruger National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)

Landscape in the Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is located in South Africa
Location of the park
Location Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, South Africa
Nearest city Nelspruit, South Africa
Coordinates 24°0′41″S 31°29′7″E / 24.01139°S 31.48528°E / -24.01139; 31.48528Coordinates: 24°0′41″S 31°29′7″E / 24.01139°S 31.48528°E / -24.01139; 31.48528
Area 18,989 km2 (7,332 sq mi)
Established January 1, 1926
Visitors 1,336,981 (in 2004)
Governing body South African National Parks
Official website

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers 18,989 square kilometres (7,332 sq mi) and extends 350 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 60 kilometres (37 mi) from east to west.

To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.

The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the "Biosphere").

The park has 9 main gates that allow entrance to the different camps. The names of these gates are Paul Kruger Gate, Numbi Gate, Malelane Gate, Crocodile Bridge Gate, Punda Maria Gate, Orpen Gate, Phalaborwa Gate, Phabeni Gate and Pafuri Gate.

The park is the site of the popular eyewitness viral video Battle at Kruger.



The area that the park currently encompasses was occupied by nomadic hunter-gatherers for thousands of years. People from Europe arrived in the early eighteenth century.[1]

Jakob Louis van Wyk introduced in the Volksraad of the old South African Republic, a motion to create the game reserve which would become the Kruger National Park. That motion, introduced together with another Volksraad member by the name of R. K. Loveday, and accepted for discussion in September 1895 by a majority of one vote, resulted in the proclamation by Paul Kruger president of the Transvaal Republic, on March 26, 1898, of a “Government Wildlife Park.” This park would later be known as the Sabi Game Reserve and was expanded into the Kruger National Park in 1926.[2]

The park was initially created to control hunting[3] and protect the diminished number of animals in the park.[1]

James Stevenson Hamilton became the first warden of the reserve in 1902.[3] The reserve was located in the southern one-third of the modern park.[4] Shingwedzi Reserve, now in northern Kruger National Park, was proclaimed in 1903.[5] In 1926, Sabie Game Reserve, the adjacent Shingwedzi Game Reserve, and farms were combined to create Kruger National Park, which was opened for public visitors in 1927.[6] During the apartheid era, the 1950 Group Areas Act and the 1953 Separate Amenities Act prevented black Africans from visiting South Africa's parks.[7]

The Makuleke area in the northern part of the park was forcibly taken from the Makuleke people by the Apartheid South Africa government in 1969 and about 1500 of them were relocated to land to the South so that their original tribal areas could be integrated into the greater Kruger National Park [8][9]. In 1996 the Makuleke tribe submitted a land claim for 19,842 hectares (198.42 km2) in the northern park of the Kruger National Park.[10] The land was given back to the Makuleke people, however, they chose not to resettle on the land but to engage with the private sector to invest in tourism, thus resulting in the building of several game lodges[11][12].

In 2002, Kruger National Park, Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique were incorporated into the a peace park, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.[6]


Geography of the Kruger National Park
Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers at Crookes Corner in Pafuri triangle

The park lies in the east of South Africa,[4] in the eastern parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. It is one of the largest national parks in the world, with an area of almost 20,000 square kilometres (7,700 sq mi).[13] The park is approximately 360 kilometres (220 mi) long,[4] and has an average width of 65 kilometres (40 mi)[6] at its widest point, the park is 90 kilometres (56 mi) wide from east to west.[4] Several rivers run through the park from west to east, including the Sabie River.


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: SAWS[14]

The climate of the Kruger National Park and Lowveld is subtropical. Summer days are humid and hot with temperatures often soaring to above 38 °C (100 °F). The rainy season is from September until May. The dry winter season is the ideal time to visit this region for various reasons. There is less chance of contracting malaria and the days are milder. Viewing wildlife is more rewarding as the vegetation is more sparse and animals are drawn to the waterholes to drink every morning and evening.

Flora and fauna

Fauna of the Kruger National Park
A male lion
Elephant crossing a road


The Kruger National Park is divided into six eco-systems: Baobab sandveld, Mopane scrub, Lebombo knobthorn-marula bushveld, mixed acacia thicket, Combretum-silver clusterleaf woodland on granite and riverine forest. Altogether it has roughly 1,982 species of plants.


Out of the 517 species of birds found at Kruger, 253 are residents, 117 non-breeding migrants, and 147 nomads.


All the Big Five game animals are found at Kruger National Park, which has more species of mammals than any other African Game Reserve (at 147 species). There are webcams set up to observe the wildlife.[15]

Wildlife population As of 2009
Species Count
African Buffalo 27,000
African Hunting Dogs 350
Black Rhinoceros 350
White Rhinoceros 7000 to 12000[16]
Burchell's Zebras 17,797
Bushbucks 500
Cheetahs 200
Common Eland 300
Giraffes 5,114
Greater Kudus 5,798
Hippopotamus 3,000
Lions 1,500
Leopards 1,000
Spotted Hyenas 2,000
Elephants 11,672
Waterbuck 5,000
Blue Wildebeest 9,612
Impalas 90,000

The park stopped culling elephants in 1989 and tried translocating them, but by 2004 the population had increased to 11,670 elephants, by 2006 to approximately 13,500 and by 2009 to 11,672. The park's habitats can only sustain about 8,000 elephants. The park started using annual contraception in 1995, but has stopped that due to problems with delivering the contraceptives and upsetting the herds.

Kruger supports packs of the endangered African Wild Dog, which canid is presently thought to number only about 400 animals within all of South Africa.[17]

Kruger National Park holds over 48 tons of ivory in storage. According to Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), it is allowed to sell 30 tons.

Following approval by CITES, 47 metric tons of stockpiled ivory from Kruger were auctioned on November 6, 2008. The sale fetched approximately US$6.7 million which will be used towards increasing anti-poaching activity. The average price for the 63 lots on auction was US$142/kg.


Kruger houses 114 species of reptile, including 3000 crocodiles.


The Kruger National Park has 21 rest camps, as well as 2 private lodge concessions, and 15 designated private safari lodges. The concessions are parcels of land operated by private companies in partnership with communities, who outsource the operation of private lodges.

Rest camps

  • Bateleur Bushveld Camp
  • Berg-en-Dal Camp, near Malelane Gate.
  • Biyamiti Bushveld Camp
  • Boulders Bush Lodge
  • Balule Private Camp, near Olifants Camp.
  • Crocodile Bridge Camp, near Crocodile Bridge Gate.
  • Letaba Camp
  • Lower Sabie Camp
  • Malelane Private Camp, Malelane Gate.
  • Maroela Private Camp, near Orpen Gate.
  • Mopani Camp
  • Olifants Camp
  • Orpen Camp, near Orpen Gate.
  • Pretoriuskop Camp, near Numbi Gate.
  • Punda Maria Camp, near Punda Maria Gate
  • Roodewal Bush Lodge
  • Satara Camp
  • Shimuwini Bushveld Camp
  • Shingwedzi Camp
  • Sirheni Bushveld Camp
  • Skukuza Camp, not far from Paul Kruger Gate.
  • Talamati Bushveld Camp
  • Tamboti Tent Camp, near Orpen Gate .
  • Tsendze Rustic Camp

Designated Private Lodges

  • Camp Shawu near Crocodile Bridge Gate .
  • Camp Shonga near Crocodile Bridge Gate .
  • Hamiltons Tented Camp
  • Hoyo Hoyo Tsonga Lodge
  • Imbali Safari Lodge
  • Jocks Safari Lodge & Spa
  • Lukimbi Safari Lodge
  • Pafuri Camp, near Pafuri Gate .
  • Plains Camp
  • Rhino Post Camp
  • Shishangeni Lodge near Crocodile Bridge Gate .
  • Singita Lebombo Lodge
  • Singita Sweni Lodge
  • The Outpost Lodge, near Pafuri Gate.
  • Tinga Game Lodges

Gates to the Kruger Park

The Kruger Park has the following gates:

  • Crocodile Bridge Gate on the road from Komatiepoort.
  • Malelane Gate on the R570 off the N4, near Malelane.
  • Numbi Gate on the R569 road from Hazyview.
  • Orpen Gate on the R531 road from Klaserie.
  • Pafuri Gate on the R525 road from
  • Phabeni Gate on the road from Hazyview
  • Paul Kruger Gate on the road from Hazyview.
  • Phalaborwa Gate on the R71 road from Phalaborwa.
  • Punda Maria Gate on the R524 road from

Wilderness trails

Nine different trails are on offer in the Kruger National Park. Some are overnight and the last several days in areas of wilderness are virtually untouched by humans. There are no set trails in the wilderness areas; a visitor walks along paths made by animals or seeks out new routes through the bush.

See also


  1. ^ a b Foxcroft, Llewellyn C.; David M. Richardson (2003). L.E. Child. ed. Plant Invasions: Ecological Threats and Management Solutions. Backhuys Publishers. 
  2. ^ Edmeades, Baz T. (2003). "Author's Statement". Extinct Megafauna - The First Victims of the Human Caused Extinction. Edmeades (self). 
  3. ^ a b Kruger National Park, Lonely Planet, page 467.
  4. ^ a b c d "Ornamental Plants as Invasive Aliens: Problems and Solutions in Kruger National Park, South Africa". Environmental Management 41 (1): 32–51. 2008. doi:10.1007/s00267-007-9027-9. 
  5. ^ McNeely, Jeffrey A., International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 2001, The Great Reshuffling, IUCN, ISBN 2831706025.
  6. ^ a b c Kruger National Park, Lonely Planet, page 468.
  7. ^ Hattingh, Johan, 2002, Environmental Education, Ethics and Action in Southern Africa, HSRC Press.
  8. ^ Steenkamp, C. (2000). "The Makuleke Land Claim". IIED Evaluating Eden Programme. 
  9. ^ Kruger National Park (2007). "Kruger History". Retrieved 2007-08-04. 
  11. ^ Siyabona Africa (2007). "Pafuri Camp". Kruger Park. 
  12. ^ Siyabona Africa (2007). "Outpost". Kruger Park. 
  13. ^ Schutze, Heike, 2002, Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park, Struik, ISBN 1868725944.
  14. ^ "Climate data for Skukuza". South African Weather Service. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  15. ^ Kruger National Park webcams
  16. ^ "Response from SANParks to Misleading Reports and Claims about Rhino Sales and Hunting in National Parks". 2009-07-15. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  17. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Painted Hunting Dog: Lycaon pictus,, ed. N. Stromberg

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Africa : Southern Africa : South Africa : Limpopo : Kruger National Park
Kruger monument in front of the Paul Kruger Gate.
Kruger monument in front of the Paul Kruger Gate.

The Kruger National Park (KNP) [1] is in north-east of South Africa and and runs along the border of Mozambique in the east, Zimbabwe in the north, and the southern border is the Crocodile River. The park covers 20,000 square kilometers and is divided in 14 different ecozones, each supporting different wildlife. It is one of the main attractions of South Africa and it is considered the flagship of South African National Parks (SANPark).



The park was established in 1898 by the South African President Paul Kruger as a protected area for wildlife and it opened its gate the general public in 1927 for the first time.

Currently, the park is run by the South African National Park Organization (SANP) and is probably the best managed African National Park. Wildlife conservation, education and tourism are the main objectives of the KNP. Effective measures to prevent poaching are in place and as a result of this cars are generally inspected upon entering and leaving the park.

The Kruger National Park has now been combined with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and the Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe into a new transfrontier park to be called The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, although border restrictions at crossings still apply, and border posts are not open all day. [2].

Flora and fauna

The southern part of the park along the Sabie and Crocodile river is rich in water and has a lot of game viewing opportunities. Here you can see the best of African flora and fauna such as Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos, Buffalos often referred as the big five, but there are plenty of others to see as well. Driving around the Sabie river will always result in seeing some interesting animals. The vegetation around the Sabie river can be very dense forest and thicket and it gets a little bit more open driving down south to the Crocodile river. The northern part of the park supports less flora and fauna and is often referred as the birding paradise.


South Africa is located south of the equator and has therefore a reverse order of summer and winter than Europe and North America. Generally is the KNP a dry and hot area, regardless of summer or winter. The South African summer (September -April) in the KNP is hot and sunny with occasional showers and temperature in the shadow range from 18°-30°C. and the winter (May-August) is warm and dry with temperatures ranging from 8°-22°C. September-April Hot and sunny with sporadic thunder showers. Average temp 18-30°C.

Map of the Kruger National Park
Map of the Kruger National Park

The park has several camps, of which some of them offer accommodation, (super) market, restaurants, park management office, filling station (pump), designated picnic areas, laundry service, communal kitchen, barbecue(braai) and swimming pool facilities and most places accept payment by credit card.

Camps inside the KNP provide shelter to visitors and are the only places inside the park where you leave your car safely. The level of service dependents on the camp size and can range from a tent site with a picnic area and bathroom facilities to a small town with swimming pool, library, restaurant, cafeteria, filling station, supermarket and golf course. Travel from one site to another takes on average 2 hours, whereas distances in the south are shorter and northern camps can be a little bit further apart.

Expert Photographic Safaris are available with Tread Lightly Tours & Safaris [4]

  • Berg en Dal, +27 (0)13 735-6106, - a medium sized camp located on the banks of Matjulu-Dam. Visitors of the camp can rest in the local cafeteria or prepare food in the communal kitchen, buy fuel in the petrol station, have a picnic, use public telephones, enjoy a good dinner in the restaurant and cool down in the swimming pool. The camp offers accommodation ranging from tent sites with power points to caravan sites, three bed bungalows and bigger facilities such as 6 and 8 bed houses. Activities from this camp include the Bushman and Wolhuter Wilderness Trails (see also Do section), morning drive, night drive and the Rhino trail camp walk.
  • Crocodile Bridge, +27 (0)13 735-6012 - The third smallest camp of KNP and located close to Crocodile River, Crocodile Bridge is in the most southern part of KNP and it is a camp and as well a gate site. The proximity to the SA civilisation one stone throw apart from the camp means that there is no wilderness romantic, but it serves you well if you are a late comer and the KNP gates are shut. Facilities include laundry service.
  • Letaba, +27 (0)13 735-6636 - One of the more beautiful camps, Letaba is in the central section of KNP next to the Letaba River in the middle of elephant country. Accommodation ranges from tents to huts catering 2-4 persons per accommodation. The camp is known for its elephant sightings and has an exhibition about the elephant life cycle. Camp facilities include: cafeteria, fence perimeter, laundry and restaurant.
Zebras near Lower Sabie
Zebras near Lower Sabie
  • Lower Sabie, +27 (0)13 735-6056 - The most luxurious camp, recently renovated after it was destroyed by a fire. Lower Sabie is in the south east of KNP on the banks of the Sabie River, and offers superb game viewing. Therefore it is one of the most wanted camps by the locals. You can often spot white rhino, lion, cheetah, elephant and buffalo around the camp, because these animals come down to the river to drink. Accommodation is the bare bone minimum such as simple one, two, three and five bed huts without kitchen and bathroom and cooking utensils are not provided. That ultimately leaves visitors from overseas outside of this camp, nevertheless it is a great opportunity to stop in this camp for a rest.
  • Mopani, +27 (0)13 735-6535 - The newest and most comfortable rest camp in the KNP. Mopani has been built near a dam that attracts a lot of wildlife into the monotone northern mopane dominated shrupveld vegetation. Wildlife spotting from the camp is superb and you would have to drive for hours to see more game from your car than in this camp. Enjoy a splash in the swimming pool after a game drive you are prepared for dinner in the local restaurant which is supposed to be far better than in other camps and it offers dinner à la carte. Accommodation in this camp offers fully equipped kitchen and supports up to 6 persons in a house.
  • Olifants, +27 (0)13 735-6606 - Probably the best known camp among South African tourists. Olifants is in the middle of the KNP on top of a hill overlooking the banks of the Olifant River. You can see Africa unfold from your terrace and the Olifant camp has the best settings from all camps. You can see kudu, elephants, lions and giraffes from your room when they come to the Olifant River to bath and to drink.
  • Orpen, +27 (0)13 735-6355 - the smallest camp in the park, situated at Orpen Gate. Orpen offers basic accommodation for 2-3 persons in a hut without bathroom. Consider to stay there if it is too late to reach another camp before darkness.
  • Pretoriuskop, +27 (0)13 735-5128 - A large and luxurious rest camp close to the Numbi Gate located in the southwest of KNP. The landscape consists of rocky mountain and steep ridges supporting klipspringer, reedbuck, rhinos, giraffes and wild dogs in the surrounding shrubs. Accommodations are traditionally thatched rondawels for up to three visitors without bathroom. Other camp facilities include swimming pool, laundry, restaurant and cafeteria.
  • Punda Maria, +27 (0)13 735-6873 - the most northerly camp, also the 2nd smallest of KNP. Punda Maria camp sits on top of a hill and whitewashed thatches are arranged in terraces. The camp offers a rich flora and famous for its huge variety in birds. The camp facilities include a restaurant.
  • Satara, +27 (0)13 735-6306 - A bushveld camp that is situated centrally in the park, surrounded by hot plains that offer good grazing opportunities and attracts a lot of game. It is the second biggest camp in the KNP and offers accommodation, restaurant, cafeteria and laundry facilities.
The old railway bridge near Skukuza
The old railway bridge near Skukuza
  • Shingwedzi, +27 (0)13 735-6806 - nice quiet camp in the far north of the park. Shingwedzi lies in the middle of the mopane shrubveld and benefits from the proximity of the Shingwedzi River and the Kaniedood Dam which attract most of the game in this area. The camp facilities include accommodation, restaurant, swimming pool, cafeteria and laundry. Nyala country!
  • Skukuza, +27 (0)13 735-4152 - Located in the southwest of the KNP and serves as the Headquarter of KNP, Skukuza is located 20 minutes from the Kuger Gate and is the biggest camp inside the KNP. If offers a gas station (pump), library, post office, car rental, grocery store, youth hostel, 9 hole golf course (the hottest one in the world) and swimming pool. Skukuza is situated directly at the Sabie River and animals often come here to drink.
  • Tsendze, The newest camp in the park. Opened for visitors in November 2006.
  • Balule - A satellite camp of Satara, Balule is a rustic bush camp with little luxury, but a lot of bush romantic. It is in the middle of the KNP near the Olifant camp where you have to check in and then drive 11 km to get to the Balule camp. The camp is on the banks of the olifant river and it suits you best when you are prepared for self catering and if a you are happy to share a communal kitchen.
  • Malelane - A satellite camp of Berg-en-Dal, situated near the Malelane Entrance gate on the very southern border of the park.
  • Maroela - A satellite of Orpen the camp is situated on the banks of the Timbavati River. This is apparently the only camp in the park that allows for caravans and camper-vans.
  • Tamboti - A satellite of Orpen, Tamboti is a tented camp situated on the banks of the seasonal Timbavati River and you can see the beasts from your tent coming to the river. Facilities include accommodation and communal kitchen without cooking utensils
  • Pionier - A tented camp, administered by Letaba.

Bushveld Camps

Bush camps provide smaller accommodation varieties than the main camps. They do not have full shops or restaurants in them and only some (Talamati, Biyamiti and Bateleur) will allow you to use electrical equipment like hairdriers.

  • Bateleur - A camp in the northern area of the park. It has 4 and 6 bed cottages, a mini shop and cottages have basic television facilities.
  • Biyamiti - In the southern area of the part, this camp has a mixture of 1 and 2 bedroom cottages. It has a mini shop and offers game drives and walks.
  • Shimuwini - This camp is in the middle of the park. Its name means "Place of the Baobab" and is situated along the banks of the Letaba river which is line with these trees.
  • Sirheni - In the northern areas of the park, this camp is situated near the Sirheni dam.
  • Talamati - Located in the "lower-middle" area of the park, It offers 2 an 1 bedroom cottages, a mini shop, a bird hide and a game hide.
  • Boulders - one of the larger private camps
  • Roodewal - another small private camp.
  • Lukimbi Safari Lodge, +27 (0)11 431-1120, [5].  edit
  • Tinga Private Game Lodge, +27 (0)13 735-8400, [6].  edit
  • Jock Safari Lodge, +27 (0)13 735-5200, [7]. From R3.500pps.  edit
  • Singita Private Game Lodge, +27 (0)21 683-3424, [8]. Sweni and Lebombo Lodges  edit
  • Imbali Safari Lodge, +27 (0)31 310-3333, [9].  edit
  • Rhino Walking Safaris, +27 (0)11 467-1886, [10]. Part of Isibindi  edit
  • Shishangeni Lodge, +27 (013) 735-3300, [11].  edit

Get in

By car

From Nelspruit you will have to choose to which park gate you want to go. Nearest gates are: Malelane (south east), Numbi (south west) and Kruger Gate (south west, slightly north of the Numbi gate). The N4 is a toll road and you have to pay for its use. Depending on which gate you want to reach, add one or two hours from Nelspruit to find out how long your journey will be. Please be aware that the KNP gates are closed after darkness and it is not permitted to drive at night inside the park.

Animals have the right of way!
Animals have the right of way!

The distance from Johannesburg to the 9 different gates of the KNP are approximately:

  • Numbi gate: 411 km
  • Madelane gate: 428 km
  • Phabeni gate: 430-440 km
  • Crocodile Bridge gate: 475 km
  • Paul Kruger gate: 460-470 km
  • Orpen: 490 km
  • Phalaborwa: 490 km
  • Punda Maria: 550 km
  • Parfuri: 600 km

Driving in darkness is considered to be dangerous outside the park especially if you are not used to driving in Africa. Pedestrians walk along the roads as well as local taxis/minibus services and both of them are difficult to spot at night. The area of the Numbi gate had a number of incidents involving barriers on roads and South Africans blame the proximity to Mozambique for this.

By plane

Airports nearby the KNP are:

  • Phalaborwa Airport [12] is located 2 km from the Phalaborwa gate of the KNP and serves as a entry route for the northern camps such as Letaba, Olifants, Punda Maria and Shingwedzi. The airport is well connected to Johannesburg International Airport with two flights per day during the week and a single flight on Saturday and Sunday. The airport has car rental opportunities.
  • Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) [13] receives flights from Johannesburg International Airport, Durban, Cape Town and Vilanculos. Car rental is possible via: Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Imperial Car Rental and National.
    • Distances to KNP gates from KMIA are
      • Kruger Gate 82 km
      • Malelane Gate 63 km
      • Numbi Gate 40 km
      • Phabeni Gate 76 km
  • Malelane Regional Airport near the Malelane Gate is mainly used for private flights and business aircraft.


The KNP is not open all day and night. Entry gate and camp gate opening and closing times are as follows:

  • November-January - Open 4h30 (camp gate) and 5h30 (entry gate), close 18h30
  • February - Open 5h30, close 18h30
  • March- Open 5h30, close 18h00
  • April - Open 6h00, close 18h00
  • May-July - Open 6h00, close 17h30
  • August/September - Open 6h00, close 18h00
  • October - Open 5h30, close 18h00
  • November-January - Open 4h30 (camp) and 5h30 (entry, close 18h30)

If you are later back in the camp or found driving around at night, you will be charged very high rates. So make sure to be out or back in the camp before closing time!

Male elephant ready for charge.
Male elephant ready for charge.

The maximum speed limit is 50 km/h on tarred roads, 40 on gravel roads and 20 km/h in rest camps. However cruising speed of 30 km/h is recommended for maximum safety. Having such speed restrictions in place it would take you roughly 10 hours to cross the KNP in south - north direction. Distances between camps sites are on average 1-2 hours in the south and a little bit more than that in the north. Consider the distances between camps site when planning your trip and remember that you are not allowed to leave your car once you left a camp site.

Get around

By car

The infrastructure of the park is outstanding by African standards and roads inside the park are of very good quality and potholes on the main roads are rare. Smaller sidetracks are close to the originals landscape, but manageable with a normal car, although a 4x4 offers probably a better comfort on this type of terrain. KNP roads have speed limits range from 20 to 50 km/h and it is not wise to go much faster, because game tends to cross the roads out of nowhere.

Make sure you have an up-to-date map, enough to eat and drink, cameras and binoculars, reference books and a litter bag with you.

Take care when approaching animals. They are wild and unpredictable. If you have the feeling that animals get angry, leave! Elephants and rhinos can be very dangerous to you and your car!

It is a custom to share information about animal sightings with other park visitors. This happens casually and information is exchanged when two cars from the opposite direction meet and stop for a short chit-chat.

Avis is the only car rental company with an office inside the park at Skukuza camp, but other companies from Nelspruit and at the two above mentioned airports are happy to provide you with a car as well. You may want to consider an air-conditioned car in the hot climate of the KNP.

As in the rest of South Africa, petrol stations within the park do not accept payment by credit card.

By foot

It is possible to go on guided walking tours, but unauthorised walking is both not allowed and extremely foolish.

  • Crocodile river view point is nearby the Crocodile camp going north on the main park road direction Lower Sabie and then following the sign to the Crocodile river view point on a dirt track for a couple of miles. As a reward you can get out of your car and go with a park guide down to the river to watch hippos and crocs from a few meters distance.
Sabie river is the place with the most abundant wildlife in the Kruger National Park
Sabie river is the place with the most abundant wildlife in the Kruger National Park
  • Bush drives First time visitors may want to consider to book a guided tour through the KNP with local park guides. Bush drives are available from Berg en dal, Letaba, and Skukuza camp and cost around 170 Rand (~$30USD) per person. Experienced rangers will take you in a 4x4 car to the KNP and explain you the finer details of game spotting.
  • Night drives Discovering the KNP on your own is a great adventure, but there are a few things that you can not do without a ranger. One of them is to have a night drive through the park to see nocturnal creatures such as lions, leopards and hyenas. Tours take a couple of hours and leave usually shortly before the main gates close in the night.
  • Wilderness trail Discover African flora and fauna on foot is an unforgettable lifetime experience and only few places in Africa offer such tours. You join a group of up to 8 mates and 2 rangers on a hiking tour that lasts for 3 days and you learn a lot of things about South African wildlife and there is no way that you could see animals closer than on this tour. Imagine seeing lion, elephant or rhino only a few meters from you. This is a breathtaking experience. Trails follow circular routes and you return each everning to the safety of your camp where dinner awaits. The duration of the trails is three nights and two days, either from Sunday to Wednesday, or from Wednesday to Saturday. Hikers meet at the designated restcamp at 15:30 on Sundays or Wednesdays from where they leave by vehicle for their trail camp after a short briefing.
    • Bushman trail Berg en dal camp offers the bushman trail around the Berg en dal camp which is surrounded by granite rocks. Expect to see elephants, white rhinos and buffalos.
    • Metsimetsi trail Is best enjoyed during the South African winter, check in at Skukuza camp and you will travel north to the N’waswitsontso river nearby the Satara camp.
    • Napi trail Check in at Pretoriuskop to enjoy the Napi trail and you may see white rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs and in the past you saw wild dogs which are rare nowadays.
    • Nyalaland trail Check in Punda Maria camp in the north of the KNP to spot crocodiles, elephants and hippos as well as bird watching is going to be on your agenda.Buffalo also frequent the area. Birdlife is prolific.
    • Olifants Trail Check in at Letaba Camp. The trail crosses the Olifants River as well as the Letaba River which supports a variety of wildlife, including large predators, elephant and buffalo. Also listen out for the call of the African Fish Eagle.
    • Sweni Trail Check in at Satara Camp. The Sweni area is popular, in that, there is a high density of both predator and prey, and a trail experience here give hikers the opportunity to observe lion and even cheetah.
    • Wolhuter Trail In the southern part of the park (white rhino country), between the Berg-en-Dal and Pretoriuskop.
Sleeping Rondawel at Wolhuter Trail
Sleeping Rondawel at Wolhuter Trail
  • Olifants River Back Pack Trail, [14]. 42km, 4 Days, from Olifants to Letaba, no frills, no trace camping, no camps provided, sleep in your own tent out in the park with the wildlife. R10 560 for up to 8 people.  edit
  • Landrover Lebombo Eco-Trail
  • The 3 brand new 'Transfrontier Trails do Limpopo'
    • The Shingwedzi 4x4 Eco-Trail
    • The Machampane Wilderness Trail
    • The Massingir Hiking Trail
On foot in Kruger
On foot in Kruger

To make a reservation or get more information about Wilderness Trails [15]. This is a great way to discover African fauna and flora, a unforgettable lifetime experience only available in a few places in Africa.

  • Play golf at the 9 hole golf course in Skukuza, originally designed for the local personal it was recently opened to the public. Please bring your golf clubs with you and enjoy this very special golf course. Considering the average temperature in the KNP this is one of the toughest 9 hole golf courses in the world.
  • Bookings can be made by email: , online SANPark link [16], ph: +27 (0)12 428-9111, fax: +27 (0)12 343-0905, by mail South African National Parks, PO Box 787, Pretoria 0001, South Africa


Bigger camp sites such as the Lower Sabie and Skukuza have comfortable shopping facilities and you can buy almost everything there - right in the middle of nowhere. This includes groceries and wine and beer and souvenirs. Artistic wood carvings can be found there as well and is usually of reasonable quality and cheaper than in Cape Town. Carving can be found in and around the gates to the Kruger National Park as well.

Two white rhinos searching for food
Two white rhinos searching for food

The KNP has several eat options ranging from self-catering and provides therefore some shopping facilities in the park, designated picnic areas, cafeterias in most of the camps and restaurants in some of them. Most of the facilities look clean and will generally cater simple snacks and decent food. Lodges inside and outside the park will cater luxurious food often arranged in well-sheltered outdoor restaurants with open fireplace and barbeque South African specialties such as:

  • wart hog sausage
  • springbok tenderloin
  • ostrich steak
  • Biltong made of game, like Kudu, Zebra or Elephant


Inside the KNP

All camps listed below offer various types of accommodation for 2 to 6 persons in a hut/bungalow/tent/rondavels without kitchen and bathroom whereas others offer access to a communal kitchen and some places have fully equipped kitchens.

  • Balule has camp sites.
  • Berg en Dal has cottages, camp sites for tents/caravan and chalets.
  • Crocodile Bridge has bungalows, camp sites for tents/caravan and chalets
  • Letaba has cottages, huts, camp sites for tents/caravan, chalets and guesthouse.
  • Lower Sabi has cottages.
  • Mopani has guesthouse and chalets.
  • Olifants has 2-4 bed bungalows.
  • Pretoriuskop has huts, bungalows, cottages and camp sites.
  • Punda Maria has cottages, bungalows and camp sites.
  • Shingwedzi has camp sites, huts, cottages, and guesthouse.
  • Skukuza - Main camp. Has camp sites, furnished tents, bungalows, guest cottages, guesthouse and youthhostel.
  • Tamboti is a tent camp in the banks of the seasonal Timbavati River and you can see the beasts from your tent coming to the river. Facilities include accommodation and communal kitchen without cooking utensils.
  • Pestana Kruger Lodge, R570, Malelane Gate, +27 (0)13 790-2503 (, fax: +27 (0)13 790-2503), [17]. Luxury accommodation, from the apartments you have a nice view over the Crocodile River bordering the KNP. From R900 per person.  edit
  • Malelane Sun Lodge, R570, Malelane Gate, +27 (0)13 790-3304 (fax: +27 (0)13 790-3303), [18]. Luxury accommodation next to the Malelane gate into the KNP. It is well situated next to the Crocodile River and close to the most attractive game viewing opportunities in the KNP. Its facilities include 9 hole golf course, tennis, swimming pool, restaurant, car park and bar. It has a high viewing deck onto the Crocodile river, from which one can often see hippos, elephant, crocodiles, antelope and other wildlife. From R800 per person.  edit
  • Protea Kruger Gate, On the Sabie River at the Kruger Gate, +27 (0)13 735-5671 (fax: +27 (0)13 735-5676), [19]. Elegant lodge in front of the Kruger gate situated in the banks of the Sabie river offers good access to the most attractive part of the KNP, apartments are designed as tree huts and are connected by raised wood walkways. Facilities of the lodge include play area for kids, swimming pool in scenic area, spacious car park, electric security fence, several bars, pool service an enormous park like garden with some kind of wildlife such as green monkeys, springbok, bush babies and occasional visitors such as a rhino and cheetah have been spotted. Dinnertime is announced with a traditional African drum and it sound like “tam-tam” and a fabulous display of exquisite South African food is then waiting for you. You have the choice between a big salad buffet supplemented by barbecued meat. The service is generally very good and staff is very friendly and charming, nevertheless sometime slow by hectic European/American standards and order can be delivered by piecemeal, first the scones, 15 minutes later the coffee, 20 minutes later the bill, 20 minutes later collecting the money for the bill, 30 minutes later bringing the change. R1500 per room.  edit
  • Mvuradona Game Lodge, + 27 (0)83 326-2835 (). Nestled a the Crocodile River and only a few minutes from either Malelane and Crocodile Bridge Gate. The Lodge has its own population of giraffe, zebra, lion and other animals. Transfers from the surrounding airports and game drives can be arranged. They four-star lodge offers Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. All rooms are equipped with satellite TV and MNet and coffee/tea facilities. From R450 to R1200 per person.  edit
  • Khaya Umdani Kruger, Korhaanlaan 2907, Marloth Park, + 27 (0)84 565-5916 (), [20]. Located in Marloth Park Conservancy Area, which borders Kruger National Park to the South, this wildlife lodge offers luxury four-star self-catering accommodation for up to ten guests . Marloth Park is home to a wide variety of African wildlife, including a range of bird species and many different small animals, ranging from Zebra and Warthog, to Giraffe and Kudu. Animals roam free within the park, and come right up to the lodge's veranda. The Krokodilbrug Kruger National Park gate is less than half an hour's drive from Marloth Park. R3000 per night for the entire lodge.  edit
  • Many people also prefer to sleep at nearby towns, such as Komatipoort (just 8 km from the Crocodile Bridge Gate), Nelspruit (for Numbi Gate) , Malelane (for Numbi Gate), Sabie and Hazyview (for the Phabeni Gate) and Hoedspruit (for the Orpen gate). All of these have a wealth of accommodation of every standards, are easily accessible for the Park for self drive guests and tours in can be arranged via private tour operators.
  • Respecting speed limits inside the KNP is mandatory. Big game is crossing the roads in the park without any warning and an upset elephant is not easy to deal with - the same applies for rhinos and giraffe bulls. Speed limits are 50km/h on tarred roads and 40km/h on gravel roads.
  • You must not get out of your car inside the Kruger National Park [21] unless you reach a designated place like viewpoints or between the yellow lines on high water bridges. These are camps, picnic places and designated view points.
  • You are not allowed to drive at dark through the park (the gates normally close and open in daylight). Please be careful when driving outside the park at night, especially in rural areas.
  • Firearms must be declared and sealed at the entrance gate.
  • No pets are permitted in the KNP
  • Do not feed animals for you own safety as well as for the animal well-being.
  • KNP and surrounding areas in the eastern part of the country are in a seasonal malaria zone. Consult a physician regarding appropriate precautions given the time of year you will be travelling. The most important defenses against malaria are: using DEET-based mosquito repellent; covering your skin, especially around dusk; and using mosquito nets while sleeping. South African pharmacies also offer a wide range of malaria tablets, which you can take a few days prior to arrival in a malaria zone and that are by far cheaper than in other parts of the world.

Get out

Private Game Reserves and Lodges

Mainly located in the north east of the Mpumalanga Province and often share a border with the south-western part of the KNP. In recent years, most fences between the KNP and private game parks have been dismantled and animals can freely choose were to go.

  • Idube Safari Lodge, +27 (0)11 431-1120 (, fax: +27 (0)11 431-3597), [22]. Idube is a quiet treat nestled in the savanna and is arguably one of the best places in Africa to see the big five up close in the wild. Idube is a 20 bed boutique hotel offering luxury accommodation, tasty African cuisine and the best of South African hospitality.  edit
  • Mala Mala, +27 (0)11 886-4382 (, fax: +27 (0)11 789-2677), [23]. Mala Mala is famous for easily seeing the big five and it has been operated for nearly 40 years. It is often the rest place for celebs and industry tycoons who can afford the hefty price tag that comes with superb service. Mala Mala is split into three different sites, all of which are booked through the above contact details.  edit
    • Main Camp is a luxurious place in the middle of Mpumalanga with elegant rooms. Each room has two bathrooms, a telephone and things you would expect in an upper class hotel, but not in the middle of the bush. Other parts of the hotel demonstrate its history as a hunting camp as was the fashion some time ago by presenting animal skins, heads and massive elephant tusks.
    • Harry’s Camp is the budget version of Mala Mala and shares the same wildlife experience as the main camp for less money. Facilities include bar, swimming pool and of course a private air-strip.
    • Kirkman’s Camp is a ex-cattle farm in a colonial style house near the sand river. Decoration reminds the visitor of past times and the reception looks like a exposition of old weapons, animal skins and other hunting trophies. Facilities include swimming pool, bar and private airstrip.
  • Sabi Sabi, +27 (0)11 483-3939 (, fax: +27 (0)11 483-3799), [24]. Sabi Sabi is among the most famous and pricey game lodges around the KNP. Together with Mala Mala they pioneered private game reserves and this is partly because of their much favoured location near the Sand River as a source of permanent water. Game viewing is absolutely superb and you stand good chances of seeing many highlights. Bookings for the different lodges should be made through the above contact details. From R5600.  edit
    • Selati Lodge is a charming place decorated in colonial style from the nineteenth century and has therefore no electricity and receives a maximum of 16 guests in 8 rooms and has bar and pool facilities.
    • Bush Lodge is located close to a water hole and some of the rooms overlook it. The lodge is tastefully decorated with African art and accommodates 54 guests in chalets and 5 suits. Facilities include bar and pool.
  • Singita, 27'' (0)21 683-3424 (, fax: +27 (0)21 683-3502), [25]. Constantly wins awards for Best Hotel and Safari.  edit
    • Ebony Lodge
    • Boulders Lodge
    • Lebombo Lodge
    • Sweni Lodge
    • Castleton Camp
  • Durban is primarily a holiday/resort city at the Indian Ocean but also boasts South Africa's busiest container port.
  • Drakensberg -- Massive and spectacular mountain range. Peaks exceed 3000 meters above sea level. Climbing, hiking, wilderness trails, mountain biking, fly fishing, and more.
  • Johannesburg (the biggest city south of the Sahara) and Pretoria in the Gauteng Province are busy cities of banks and government institutions.
  • Lesotho -- real Africa right on South Africa's doorstep.

Tip: If you want to explore South Africa at your own time and at a budget, you can make use of Helderberg Camper Hire. They are the best in the game and will definitely be able to assist you.

This is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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