A safari is a strange concept for those of us who live in Africa as it is a way of life for many of us. It is a privilege to live in Africa, even with all its ups and downs. We are never far from a great game viewing experience and we tend to make the most of it. Have you ever wondered how to safari in Kruger? I have visited many times over the years. Here are my tips to make the most of the time you spend in the Kruger National Park.


Kruger National Park Map
Kruger National Park Map


 How to safari in Kruger

  • The Kruger National Park covers a little over 2 000 000 million hectares. This is just a little bit smaller than Belgium and about a third of the size of Ireland
  • Kruger is 360 km (220 miles) long and 65 km (40 miles) wide
  • It has 9 gates to allow entrance to the park and about 1800 km (1118 miles) of road. Not all roads are tarred, but the main ones are.
  • Winter months (June –September) are the best time to visit when the vegetation is drier. This means that you are able to look through the bush to see the animals. It is also the coolest time of the year.
  • The Kruger National Park does fall within a malaria risk area, although it is low. I have never taken anti-malaria medication, but this is a risk I am prepared to take as I do not like the side effects. Mosquitos are around most in the morning and evenings so cover up and use a mosquito spray. Anti-malaria medication is recommended for visitors to this area. Consult your doctor for further advice.


Hyena with cubs Kruger
Hyena with cubs Kruger National Park



Luxury Lodges


The luxury safari lodges, on the whole, are situated along the western boundary of the park. These are mostly privately owned. In simple terms, there is a large block of land divided into individual reserve areas. These are exclusive and expensive. If you can afford this it is a great option for the ultimate safari experience; however, I have chosen to do this only once and stayed at the fabulous Mala Mala Game Reserve.  The advantage of staying at any of the luxury lodges is that you will almost certainly see the Big Five (Lion, Elephant, Rhinoceros, Water Buffalo and Leopard).


Water Buffalo Kruger National Park
Water Buffalo Kruger National Park


Private concessions


These are exclusive areas in the park itself. The standard of accommodation is high as is the guiding. This also allows for night drives and up close sightings of nocturnal animals that you otherwise would not see. Staying here means that the drives can go into the heart of the park, instead of just a defined reserve area. This is a complete list of these concessions in the park.


Lioness Kruger National Park
Lioness Kruger National Park


Parks Board Accommodation


This covers the chalets, hides and camping areas managed by the South African National Parks ( SAN Parks). Details of accommodation available and bookings can be made on their official site which offers a wealth of information. This is my go-to option when I visit Kruger.


Impala Kruger National Park
Impala at sunset Kruger National Park


Other accommodation options


If you are not able to find accommodation in the park then why not stay in one of the surrounding towns that are close to the numerous gates? My favourite of these is Hazyview which is a gateway to the southern part of the park. We normally stay at Kruger Park Lodge, set on a golf estate. There is a wonderful waterhole where you can sit and watch the antics of the hippos as you watch the sunset.  This accommodation can easily be found on Airbnb. There are also many other options to suit for all budgets in the town.


Monitor lizard Kruger National Park
Monitor lizard Kruger National Park




There are 3 distinct regions within the park. Southern Kruger Park, Central and Northern Kruger. They all have their own charm, but the area with the highest concentration of game is in the south. This is savannah land and offers most of the accommodation options in the park. The biggest rest camp is Skukuza, on the banks of the Sabie River. There are too many people around this rest camp for me and as a result, I prefer to stay at Lower Sabie rest camp with a view of the Lebombo Mountains and fewer people.

The Central and Northern areas of the Kruger National Park are hilly and tropical making it more difficult to spot game. It is a great place if you want to go off the beaten track. It somehow feels more remote, with fewer travellers venturing into this area. My preference for a stay here is at Olifants (Elephants) Camp, perched on a hilltop above the Olifants River. There is a breath-taking panoramic view of the bush and you frequently see large herds of elephants drinking at the river below.


Bull Elephant Kruger National Park
Bull Elephant Kruger National Park


All the rest camps in the park have food and drinks available. Some rest camps have large restaurants while others have small shops or kiosks. If you are camping you can get most of the basics at the shops so when you are planning how to safari in Kruger you don”t have to stress if you forget to pack something.


Southern yellow-billed hornbill Kruger National Park
Southern yellow-billed hornbill Kruger National Park


The best tips

  • Bring your passport. You will need it to get into the park.
  • Head to water holes. They are an interesting place to sit and watch the animals. All the animals head to the water for a drink, so you never know what you will see apart from the usual suspects.
  • Focus on one region of the park. It is impossible to cover all of it.
  • Check the sighting boards at the rest camps. It will give you a good idea of what is in the area.


African Wild Dog or Painted Dog Kruger National Park
African Wild Dog or Painted Dog Kruger National Park


  • Talk to game rangers you may see along the way and ask them what they have seen and where the sighting was.
  • Follow the rules of the park. Do not get out of your vehicle in an undesignated area. It’s asking for trouble!
  • Stick to the speed limit. It is there for a reason. You could come screaming around the corner into a herd of elephants. I am sure you have seen what an upset elephant can do to a car.
  • You are not able to go out at night unless you are in a registered safari vehicle



  • Rhino family Kruger National Park
    Rhino family Kruger National Park


  • Get moving early it’s the best time of day for game viewing.
  • Do not underestimate the time it takes to drive a relatively short distance. If there are animals on the road you can be stuck for an hour or more so allow ample time to reach your destination. I speak from experience. The brochure you are given on arrival has good information on times and distances. As a guide allow at least 1.5 hours for 50 km
  • Do not miss the gates closing times. This will result in heavy fines and will spoil the experience.
  • Remember that it is not a zoo, so don’t expect the see everything the park has to offer. On my last 3 visits I have seen no cats, but almost everything else.
    Lilac Breasted Roller Kruger National Park
    Lilac Breasted Roller Kruger National Park


  • Don’t feed the monkeys. They may look cute, but they are wild animals and are very fast.This is an especially important tip to remember.
  • Be patient. This will go a long way to enhance your experience.
  • A pair of binoculars is always useful
  • It is advisable to take a drink with you in the car as it can get really hot during the day.


Baboon at a picnic spot in Kruger National Park
Baboon at a picnic spot in Kruger National Park


Once you have smelt the dust, seen an African sunset or watched the moon rise over the veld, heard the haunting call of the fish eagle or stumbled on a herd of elephants you will be hooked. Hopefully, this guide on how to plan a safari in Kruger has got you reaching for a pen to start planning. It is the ultimate bush experience. Once Africa gets under your skin it will always have a special place in your heart.




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  1. One day I’ll get to Africa and would love to sit by a watering hole in Kruger Park just watching, listening and feeling that wild space. How lucky you are. I once lived in Alaska and like you, every day you headed out on a hike could be a wildlife encounter.

    • That’s fabulous that you saw wildlife on your hikes. There is just so much of the world to see I wish I could spend so much more time traveling. Sitting a a waterhole, watching an African sunset is a very special experience. I am sure you will get there one day 🙂

    • Thanks Patti! Kruger is a totally different experience, but all safaris are good! Seeing the animals in their natural environment is unbeatable .

  2. What a wonderful opportunity to live and explore in such an incredible place! We hope to move on to Africa after we finish our tour of South America 🙂 The whole family would just love these interactions with nature. Pinning for future reference!

    • Africa is beautiful in a very different way to the rest of the world. Hope you manage to make your way here!

  3. We love safaris and loved the one we did in the Kruger! The unique thing of the Kruger is exactly how easy it is to go there… even by yourself

    • I am so glad you enjoyed your time in Kruger. It is easy to visit and I wish more people would realise just how simple it is to get there as well as being extremely affordable.

  4. Your photos are so beautiful. I would love to explore Kruger National Park. I had no idea it was so large, one definitely needs to have an action plan when visiting.

    • Thank you! It’s huge, but that makes exploring it even more fun. Every time I visit I see different things.

  5. This is my first comment here so I just
    wanted to give a quick ѕhout out and tell
    you I genuinely enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/webѕites/forums that
    deal with the same topics? Thanks a lot!

    • Thanks so much! There are loads of websites out there. Just google travel blogs and you will find more than enough to keep you busy.


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