One of the great wildlife destinations, the Kruger National Park region is home to a staggering wealth of wildlife in over 2 million hectares, dedicated to conservation.
The Kruger National Park is situated in the northeastern corner of South Africa and is one of Africa's largest game reserves. Only a short four to five hour drive or 45 minute flight, The Kruger has a high density of wild animals including the Big Five and hundreds of other mammals. There is also diverse bird species including vultures, eagles, storks and hundreds more. The Kruger also has a varied landscapes from mountains to grassy plains, thick bush and tropical forests.
There are also a number of high-end luxury safari lodges bordering the Kruger National Park. The ones preferred by Tailormade Africa are Makalali Private Game Reserve, Thorny Bush Private Game Reserve, as well as the world famous Timbavati Private Game Reserve and Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve. These offer top accommodation, less crowded game viewing, immaculate cuisine & great activities.
Kruger National Park FAQs
What is the best time of the year to visit the Kruger National Park?
The Kruger has amazing game all year round. Different times of year simply bring different conditions which can make for amazing, and different, photographic opportunities. In the rainy season (November through to February), the bush is lush and green, and as you move further into the year it can be a tad challenging to find the game but the contrast in colours can be absolutely magnificent.
You also benefit from some incredible birdlife as this is the prime time for migrating species to be around. Even if you aren’t a birder, by the time you spend one day with your guide in the Kruger you can’t deny that they’re interesting and being a whole new dimension to being in Africa! We all want to see Zazu from the Lion King, after all!
What are the top lodges to visit at the Kruger National Park?
Each lodge has something different to offer, so this is a really tricky one to answer. The park itself is a public space, and therefore we have a relationship with many of the smaller private reserves which border the park offering total exclusivity and the opportunity to enjoy activities such as walking safaris. The Sabi Sands is just one area that borders the park and has a reputation for being one of the densest leopard populations in the country. We have rarely ever heard of a three-night stay that hasn’t seen one of these incredibly solitary cats.
Some lodges are so private they are exclusive villas just for your party. Some are ‘larger’ but even then can only accommodate a maximum of 20 people at any given time, with six people per game vehicle giving everyone a ‘window’ seat, ideal for photos! We have lodges who can organise treetop sleepouts, we have lodges you need to hike through to bush to find. We have lodges with heated plunge pools and water holes directly in front of your dining area. We have lodges with exclusive spas. Ultimately, we can accommodate any kind of whim – just let us know and we can make it happen!
What makes the Kruger National Park so special?
The Kruger National Park was established under government protection in 1898 and opened to the public 30 years later giving the land a great amount of time to properly establish itself as one of the most renowned protected areas in the world. The park has a larger square footage than Fiji at over 19,400 km2 and is home to a tremendous number of reptiles, birds, fish and mammals including the ‘big five’: lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalos and elephants. The land is also a haven for trees and grasses which support this diverse population of game.
Another reason the park is so special is the role it has played in anti-poaching efforts, specifically related to elephants but also more broadly. Elephant ivory and rhino horn is highly sought after by illegal trades and the systems that the government has put in place to support the Kruger National Park and surrounding areas has been hugely positive and has lead the way for other places around the country.
How do I get from Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park?
Depending on where you’re staying, we can get you onto a scheduled flight into a local airstrip or we can make a plan for you to be collected the driven by road. The only thing about the road option is that is can take up to five hours so we really do recommend jumping on a flight! Some light aircraft can get you to within a few minutes of your lodge, shaving off travel time and giving you more time in the bush. We tailor all of our itineraries from scratch so don’t worry – we will chat through all the options with you and let you decide.
How big is the Kruger National Park & its private reserves?
This a really great question. The entire area encompasses 19,485 square kilometres and this reaches well up into the north and down to the south including the Sabi Sands. To put this into perspective, that’s an area bigger than Fiji!
The terrain varies tremendously which is why many will combine a trip in the northern reserve with a trip in the south in the Sabi Sands for example, six or eight nights in total. This gives you a wonderful chance to see open plains in the north with dense bush and river in the south. Let us know what you want to see, how long for, and we will make it happen!
Self-drive or guided safaris in the Kruger Park?
The safari trips we design are never self-guided. All of the reserves and lodges we support offer professionally guided game drives as a part of your stay and we think this is the best way to experience the South African bush. Not only are you supporting the local economy, but you are able to relax entirely with specialists who know where the game tend to congregate, giving you more insight into the environment and detail on the game you will see.
Doing a self-drive is less rich as you have to concentrate on the road, so let us take you on the adventure while you take a well-earned rest!
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK & PRIVATE GAME RESERVESREGIONS
The Makalali Conservancy is a private Big Five nature reserve outside of the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Morning and sunset game drives offer visitors the opportunity to encounter the incredible game that call this conservancy "home". Sit back and relax as experienced guides track down incredible wildlife encounters. Garonga's holistic philosophy is to offer a safari for the soul, an unhurried and intimate wildlife encounter, a time to reflect and find inspiration in nature.
Adjacent to the Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is a private premier game viewing destination. It was the first ever private nature reserve established in South Africa. The landscape features 65 000 hectares of savannah-covered land interspersed with watering holes, dry river beds, lowveld woodlands, and the perennial Sabi and Sand rivers. This spectacular reserve offers exceptional game viewing opportunities with frequent sightings of the renowned Big Five as well as cheetah, zebra, giraffe, and a variety of antelope.Visitors can enjoy excellent wildlife viewing, dining under the stars, guided bush walks and enjoying a stay in some of South Africa’s most luxurious safari lodges.
The Kruger National Park is one of South Africa's most exciting African safari destinations. It is a place of legend and history, the iconic Kruger National Park has much to offer. It has vast landscapes including mountains, grasslands, African bush and tropical forests. Dense wildlife concentrations, which unfortunately also bring large numbers of visitors which for many safari aficionados is not ideal. The Kruger is ideal for large group and family safaris. If you are unsure rather speak with us about the Kruger first.
The Thornybush Private Game Reserve is located on the Western Border of The Greater Kruger National Park. There are two accommodation options at Royal Malewane – Main Lodge which is more classic and grand in style and The Farmstead which is more intimate and contemporary. Thorny Bush & Royal Malewane exude the romance and beauty of a bygone age while offering every modern comfort. The most qualified guiding team in Africa delivers an unrivaled wildlife experience providing fascinating insights into the complex ecosystems of the South African bushveld.
Located in the Mpumalanga Province, north of the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve shares a fenceless border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park. This 60 000 hectare reserve is best known for its two very rare white lions that were discovered here in the 1970s. The name ‘Timbavati’ refers to these two unique creatures, it means 'the place where something sacred came down to earth from the heavens'. It is home to a number of exclusive African-style bush lodges set amidst spectacular African savannah and abundant game including over 40 mammal species, 360 bird species and the famous Big Five. Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of activities including: daytime safaris, night game drives, guided bush walks, and bird watching.