This is the Kruger National Park, a wildlife sanctuary larger in area than Israel. In the heart of the Lowveld, stretching for 352 km from north to south along the Mozambique border. Here, one of the world’s foremost national parks can be found. Covering 19 624 square km and averaging 60 km in width. Kruger provides a refuge for 147 mammal species, 500 species of birds, 116 reptiles, 34 amphibians, 49 fishes. In addition, 457 types of trees and shrubs, and 1 500 smaller plants, and countless insects. Each year approximately 950 000 people visit Kruger National Park in South Africa. South Africans account for 80 per cent of all visitors, and for many a regular visit to Kruger is compulsory.
A 2 600 km network of all-weather roads allow visitors to explore its diverse habitats. This may be done on their own and without the need to hire a guide. Income from tourism and trading activities generates more than R200-million per year. And the Kruger Park plays a major role in the Lowveld’s economy. Even the most popular national parks in the United States cannot equal the number of rest camps. Nor can they surpass the extent of the road network.
Things to do
Of course, visiting the Kruger National Park usually means safari time. Providing an opportunity to spot the Big Five, including the other 142 mammal species to be found in the park. Then there is of course the truly magnificent scenery. Which not just plays home to the animals of the park, but also the vast and diverse bird life.
So where to begin?
Whether you are staying in the park, or outside it, a self-drive safari is always doable. The park rangers will provide you with maps. As well as expert advice about where to go to find whichever creatures you are looking for. They will also impart the parks rules to you. It is vital you follow these both for your safety, the safety of other visitors. And most importantly – the safety of all the creatures who call the park home.
The Safari Experience
Perhaps a self-drive isn’t your thing, and you’re staying at one of the park’s many guest lodges. Then a guided safari is the way to go, where guests are taken through the park by expert rangers. They know the best places to go and when. And will also share their expertise knowledge about the animals and your majestic surrounds.
If you truly wish to get up-close and personal with nature in the park, then try out a walking safari. This will allow you to enjoy close encounters with some of the parks less carnivorous creatures. As well as learn detailed information about animal tracking, conservation, and the importance of the Parks creature’s habitat. It’s also an ideal opportunity for bird watching. Your guide will be able to point out many of the parks more friendly feathery friends.
If you are keen on bird watching and spotting the rare birds of the park then consider a birding safari. The guides know all the nooks and crannies in which the majestic creatures hide, and exactly when they hunt. Of course, you don’t always need to go on a safari if you’re staying in the park. You’ll definitely be able to get a fair amount of bird watching done at your accommodation venue.
A more unique safari experience of horseback safari is available to horse lovers staying in the park. And you don’t need to be an expert – they are available to novice, intermediate and experienced riders. One of the more epic safari rides takes you into the African bush for sun-downers – a true African sunset.
Where to stay in the Kruger National Park
No national park in the world quite lives up to the same range of accommodation as the Kruger. The Kruger National Park has a large number of rest camps, bushveld camps and lodges. Even some overnight hides, all run by South African National Parks Board.
But it is the luxurious privately-run game lodges that steal the show when staying in the Kruger National Park. As a trip is transformed into an experience – the pace of life slows to a leisurely tempo. Your every need is catered for, and extravagance is not spared. All this in the wild heart of Africa – small wonder that the Kruger Park has the reputation that it does.
Private Luxury Game Lodges (Kruger Park Concessions)
These private game lodges are still be bound by most of the rules of the Kruger park. But they offer incredible luxury and superbly guided game drives. The freedom to move into the greater park area if desired is available. Although there is more than enough to occupy you when staying here. These private game lodges offer a more intimate and exclusive experience of the vast Kruger Park.
The most celebrated of these luxury private concessions includes Buhala Lodge
. Situated on the banks of the Crocodile River where the familiar call of the Fish eagle can be heard. Gracefully thatched accommodation and breath-taking scenery are yours to enjoy.