Kruger National Park Safari is justifiably one of the most famous parks in Africa. The park is the size of a small country and supports a huge variety of wildlife. All of the Big Five are present in large numbers. A comprehensive road network that is fine for 2WD cars means Kruger is one of the best parks for self-drive safaris.
Kruger National Park offers magnificent wildlife viewing. All the major safari animals are present including the Big Five. The big cats are present in healthy numbers, and lions, in particular, are frequently seen. Elephants and buffalo are common throughout, while white rhino, though still numerous, are under threat from poaching. Kruger NP has a wide variety of antelope including greater kudu and the very common impala.
Kruger Park has an amazing variety of wildlife with all big safari animals present. All the big cats are found and a lion, in particular, is frequently seen in the south of the park. Kruger National Park Safari is under threat from a dramatic increase in poaching in recent years, but you still have a reasonable chance of spotting one. Buffalo and elephant are easily seen throughout.
Graceful antelope are a highlight of Kruger. Impala, greater kudu, and waterbuck are common. Two secretive species to look out for are steenbok and common duiker. Kruger supports the world’s largest population of white rhino, estimated at 8,000, despite a recent increase in poaching. Black rhino is rarer and seldom seen. The endangered wild dog lives in large groups that range far and wide, although it is rarely spotted.
The best time for wildlife viewing in Kruger Park is during the dry months of June to September when the vegetation is less thick. August to September is a recommended time as temperatures are higher than in mid-winter and the animals are concentrated around water sources making for excellent wildlife watching.
More than 500 bird species have been recorded in Kruger, representing roughly 60 percent of the total for South Africa. This includes more than 50 migratory species, most of which arrive from Eurasia or elsewhere in Africa in November and depart in April. Kruger National Park Safari. Kruger is the best place in the country to see birds of prey; around 55 diurnal and 11 nocturnal species have been recorded. The less-visited northern part of the park offers the best bird watching. All the rest camps tend to be hot spots because there is a high concentration of trees and shrubs.
Bird watching in Kruger Park is good year-round, but at its best from November to April, when Eurasian and intra-African migrants are present. The best time for general wildlife viewing is during the dry months of June to September.
Kruger’s main habitat is woodland savannah, and the vegetation is relatively thick throughout, especially during the Wet season. The gently undulating landscape has its highest peak at Khandzalive (839m), in the southwest. Olifants Camp sitting high on a bluff overlooking the Olifants River is a scenic highlight with jaw-dropping views. Trees to look out for include the baobab in the tropical north and the striking yellow fever tree near water.
Kruger experiences a hot and tropical summer, from October to April, and this is when the park receives most of its annual rainfall. Storm activity is common during the afternoons. The milder winter, from May to September, is more comfortable for visitors, although it can get chilly overnight.
The best time to visit Kruger National Park is during the dry winter months from May to September. At this time, the bush thins out, and animals congregate around waterholes and rivers. Conditions tend to get better as winter progresses, and September is particularly lovely since the mornings are less chilly than in mid-winter. The best wildlife viewing time also coincides with the low season, making it even more attractive. Kruger National Park Safari
The Dry season (May to September) is usually regarded as the best time to visit Kruger. Skies are normally clear, wildlife viewing is at a premium and it is low season – a big drawcard for a park that can get very busy (especially in the south). However, if birding is your interest, consider scheduling your trip during the Wet season (October to April) when a multitude of migrant birds arrives.
Kruger experiences winter and summer at the opposite times to Europe and North America. The wet summer months (October to April) are hot and often humid. Dry winters (May to September) are warm and mild although it cools off considerably at night. It is advisable to take warm clothing for early morning and evening game drives.
Dry season –May to September – winter
There is virtually no rainfall during the whole of winter, and the humidity is very low. Animals are attracted to permanent water sources as water becomes scarce in the bush.
May – This is a transitional month and marks the end of summer. Temperatures are cooling down to typically 12°C/54°F in the morning and 27°C/81°F in the afternoon.
June, July & August – Morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold, so it’s recommended to pack warm winter clothing. The average morning temperature is 10°C/50°F. Afternoons will be pleasant with temperatures around 26°C/79°F and cloudless skies. Kruger National Park Safari
September – The heat gradually builds to about 29°C/84°F in the afternoon, and the first rains bring relief from very dry conditions. Mornings are less cold with temperatures around 14°C/57°F.
Wet seasons –October to April – summer
It can be uncomfortably hot and humid in summer. Peak temperatures frequently reach well over 40°C/104°F, although average daytime temperatures reach 32°C/90°F with high humidity. It seldom rains all day, but the pattern is afternoon storms.
October & November – It gets warmer and starts to rain more often, mostly in the afternoon. Temperatures are between 18°C/64°F in the morning and 31°C/88°F in the afternoon.
December, January & February – These are the wettest and hottest months, characterized by torrential downpours in the afternoon and high humidity. Afternoon temperatures are usually around 32°C/90°F but can soar up to an unbearable 40°C/104°F. Kruger National Park Safari
March & April – Rainfall decreases and it slowly gets colder. April has lovely, clear weather and few clouds. The nights get a bit chillier but are still pleasant at about 18°C/61°F. Daytime temperatures are around 30°C/64°F and the humidity drops.
Most visitors to Kruger fly into O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg. From here a connecting flight goes to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP), which lies 40km/25mi from southern Kruger’s Numbi Gate. Alternatively, fly to Hoedspruit (for the central and northern sections) or Phalaborwa (for the northern section).
It is also possible to take a scheduled flight to Skukuza Airport inside the park and Federal Airlines (see below) offers scheduled flights to some of the lodges’ airstrips.
Alternatively, you could hire a car in Johannesburg and drive to the park. The park has nine entrance gates, the closest of which, Numbi Gate, is 375km/235mi from Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport. The drive takes at least four hours.
As with most parks and reserves in South Africa, it is, in our opinion, very safe to travel around Kruger NP. Basically, all the people you’ll meet are either tourists or staff working for the tour operators, accommodations, or park authorities. All of these people are there to make sure you’ll have a great trip.
When visiting Kruger, Johannesburg is the main city of entry from abroad and crime and carjacking are a concern in the city. However, taking sensible safety precautions (see links below) will result in a great trip without any problems for the vast majority of people. Kruger National Park Safari
Also, since the airport is located on the eastern outskirts of Johannesburg along the main road to Kruger, it isn’t necessary to stay in or even drive through the city when traveling to/from Kruger.
Kruger Park lies in a malaria zone, but there is only a very small risk in the wet summer months (from October to April). At this time, malaria is a health concern, and you should take measures to protect yourself by wearing appropriate clothing and applying mosquito repellent. Seek medical advice with regard to antimalarial medication options. Several vaccinations are also recommended when traveling to South Africa in general and to Kruger.