Kruger National Park open during Lockdown Level 3

Great news for wildlife and nature lovers! It’s finally time to explore the nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled natural beauty and untamed wilderness and wildlife of the real African bush at the renowned Kruger National Park. South Africa National Parks (SANParks) announced on the 6th of June 2020 that self-drive excursions for day visitors will be permitted from Monday, 8 June 2020 in parks that cater for self-drives. While Namaqua National Park as well as Boulders Beach and Cape Point in Table Mountain National Park remain closed for the time being, most gates at Kruger National Park will be open except for Pafuri and Numbi gates. This means wildlife enthusiasts will once again be able to enjoy the authentic sights and sounds of the African bush by visiting one of the most sought-after wildlife destinations in Africa – the Kruger National Park!

**Disclaimer/Important note: This article was last updated on 18/06/2020 as per the current Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations and official SANParks regulations and statements. It is therefore subject to change in accordance with South Africa’s Lockdown Regulations.

Visit the Kruger Park South Africa

 

Article Content:

  1. Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations & Guidelines
  2. Timeslots & Opening & Closing Times
  3. Lockdown Alert Level 3 Guidelines while in The Kruger Park
  4. Rest Camps, Restaurants, Shops, Petrol Stations
  5. General guidelines when visiting The Kruger National Park
  6. Entrance Gates telephone numbers
  7. Daily Conservation Fee
  8. About The Kruger National Park

Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations & Guidelines

 

Visit Kruger National Park wildlife

Although the re-opening of the Kruger National Park is great news for wildlife and nature lovers, strict guidelines have been put in place for self-drive day visitors that are in accordance with the Lockdown Alert Level 3 regulations. SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni issued a statement in which he said that while they are very happy to announce the re-opening of some of their national parks for self-drive excursions, it is their top priority to ensure that it is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both their staff and guests.

For self-drive day visitors who intend to visit the Kruger National Park during South Africa’s Lockdown Alert Level 3, here are all the guidelines, regulations, and information you need to know. Additionally you can visit the SANParks website for all Level 3 Lockdown protocols and regulations.

  • Gate quotas for the Kruger National Park have been revised to approximately one third (30%) of what they were prior to COVID-19. As social distancing in vehicles is paramount, all vehicles are allowed to carry only 70% of their capacity. Here is a general guideline provided by SANParks:
Vehicle Category Seat Capacity Max Occupants
Sedan 4 – 5 3
SUV 5 – 7 3 – 5
Microbus 10 7
Minibus 14 9
Minibus 16 11
Double Cab 4 – 5 3
Single Cab 2 – 3 1 – 2
  • Group travel (any number of persons in one vehicle that is from more than one household) is prohibited at this stage; including OSV’s, buses & taxis. This means self-drive will be limited to households only and not individuals from different households in one vehicle.
  • Visitors are highly encouraged to pre-book and pay online for day visits. Such bookings can be made online through SANParks website or through the traditional means of making bookings, e.g. email, telephonic (012 428 9111) or through one of the reservation offices. Wild Card members will have to ensure that their membership is valid prior to arrival.
  • All visitors are requested to complete the Gate Registration Form (inclusive of COVID-19 questions) before arrival. This form can be found online and will make things run smoother if they are printed and filled out ahead of time and handed to the gate official upon arrival. Visitors will also be required to complete a SANParks Gate Client Declaration and Contact Tracing Upon Exit – This form can also be found online
  • All visitors will be temperature screened at the gate and asked to confirm that you are not experiencing any clinical symptoms before you can enter the Kruger National Park.
  • Before visiting the Kruger National Park it is essential to ensure that you have had no exposure with a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19. Make sure to check body temperature and any clinical symptoms (cough, fever, dry throat, difficulty breathing) of everyone in your travel group.  Anyone with a temperature above 37.3 °C or experiencing any clinical symptoms should remain at home and will not be allowed into the park. This is not only vital for your own health and safety, but for the health and safety of others.
  • Ensure that everyone in your vehicle has a mask and sufficient hand sanitizer to frequently disinfect hands.
  • All visitor’s movements will be traced and recorded upon entry and exit to the Park to ensure compliance with all regulations.
  • Visitors are not allowed to depart from the Kruger National Park into a different province than the one that they entered from, unless they are valid permit holders to do so. No cross-border travelling will be allowed through Giriyondo and Pafuri border posts with Mozambique.
  • No overnight guests/overnights stays are allowed until further notice.
  • Ensure that you take acceptable means of identification along when visiting the Kruger National Park. This does not only apply to the drivers of vehicles but could be requested of all adults that enter or visit the park.
  • Strict social distancing of at least two metres (2m) must be maintained in all permitted public areas inside the park.

Timeslots & Opening & Closing Times

Visit the Kruger National Park South Africa

Three time slots for arrival will be introduced with the understanding that booked day visitors must arrive at the gate within that time span, especially if full quota is not booked.

  • Slot 1 is from 06:00 to 08:00
  • Slot 2 from 08:00 to 10:00
  • Slot 3 from 10:00 onwards.

Gate hours and regulations should be strictly adhered to when visiting the Kruger Park. General Kruger National Park Gate Hours are:

Gate Times Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Entrance Gates Open 05:30 05:30 5:30 06:00 06:00 06:00 06:00 06:00 06:00 05:30 05:30 05:30
Camp Gates Open 04:30 05:30 05:30 06:00 06:00 06:00 06:00 06:00 06:00 05:30 04:30 04:30
All Gates Close 18:30 18:30 18:00 18:00 17:30 17:30 17:30 18:00 18:00 18:00 18:30 18:30

Lockdown Alert Level 3 Guidelines while in the Kruger Park

Wildlife sightings in Kruger National Park South Africa

  • Upon visiting the Kruger National Park during Lockdown Alert Level 3 all general park rules still apply.
  • Access control into the gate reception office and safe social distancing (of at least 2m) will apply and should be strictly adhered to in all public areas.
  • Plan your route ahead of time! The national lockdown regulations relating to movement between provinces must be observed within the parks. This means inter-provincial travel within parks that stretch between two provinces will not be permitted. Visitors must exit into the province from which they entered the park.
  • Bird Hides, Picnic Spots and Day Visitor Sites will be kept closed until ready for operation. Tshokwane – only ablutions available from 8 June 2020. Afsaal will be open from 12 June 2020.
  • Braaing at picnic sites will not be allowed during this period.
  • Bathroom facilities will be open at the entry gates, main camps, and large picnic spots (Afsaal, Nkuhlu and Tshokwane).
  • All visitors should wear a mask and practice strict social distancing (of at least 2m) when making use of the bathrooms facilities as well as when out in public spaces.
  • Alcohol may not be brought in or purchased in the Park by day visitors.
  • Pack a rubbish bag to ensure you return home with all the waste you generate while visiting the park. Visitors are also requested not to deposit their litter inside the bins within the parks but to leave with as much of it as hygienically possible.
  • Guests are urged to be extra cautious when driving in the Kruger National Park as animals are not used to vehicles after such a long period without them.
  • The use of drones inside (and over) our national parks is strictly prohibited.

**Important note: If you experience any clinical symptoms while in the park, immediately avoid contact with people outside your travel group, keep on your mask, exit the park, and seek medical care. The COVID-19 Emergency hotline is: 0800 029 999 | WhatsApp Support Line: 0600-123456. For more information about our Parks, visit our website: www.sanparks.org

Rest Camps, Restaurants, Shops, Petrol Stations

Kruger National Park wildlife at watering hole

Petrol Stations

  • A limited number of filling stations/petrol stations will be open in some parks and will operate in strict accordance with relevant Level 3 lockdown regulations. These filling stations will operate 09:30 to 17:00 daily.

Bathroom Facilities & Rest Camps

  • Designated toilet facilities will be open and available at the entry gates, main camps, and large picnic spots (Afsaal, Nkuhlu and Tshokwane).
  • Camp receptions will remain closed during Alert Level 3 until further notice

Restaurants

Restaurants will be closed for sit-down dining; however some restaurants will offer limited take-away menus and services. Here is a list of the restaurant take-away services that will be open in certain camps (as per SANParks official document) from Monday 8 June 2020:

  • Lower Sabie
  • Skukuza
  • Afsaal Picnic Spot
  • Pretoriuskop
  • Satara
  • Olifants
  • Letaba
  • Mopani
  • Shingwedzi
  • Punda Maria.

Shops

Here is a list of the shops that will be open for operation in certain camps (as per SANParks official document) from Monday 8 June 2020:

  • Letaba (07:00 – 17:00)
  • Satara (07:00 – 17:00)
  • Skukuza (07:00 – 17:00)
  • Lower Sabie Rest Camp (07:00 – 17:00)
  • Orpen (06:30 – 17:00)
  • Pretoriuskop (06:30 – 17:00)
  • Crocodile Bridge (06:30 – 17:00)
  • Berg-en-Dal (07:00 – 17:00)
  • Shingwedzi (10:00 – 15:00)

General Guidelines when visiting the Kruger Park

Kruger National Park wildlife sightings

The function of SANParks is to protect, conserve and control the national parks and other protected areas assigned to it. To ensure a safe and enjoyable trip through the Kruger National Park, it is important for all visitors to the park to kindly adhere to the rules and regulations under the Protected Areas Act. Here are general rules, regulations, information, and guidelines outlined by SANParks when visiting the Kruger National Park or any of their national parks:

  • Please always stay in your vehicle when exploring the Park. As the Kruger National Park is home to a glorious diversity of wildlife, some of which may pose a potential threat to humans as you enter their natural habitat, visitors are only allowed to get out of their vehicles in safe designated areas. Additionally no part of your body may protrude from a window or sunroof while driving and doors should always remain closed.
  • Please take careful note of the maximum speed limits applicable in the various areas of the Kruger Park. Note that not all roads are accessible to vehicles exceeding a certain mass, type, or size.
  • Safety while driving should always remain top priority. General rules of the road apply within the Kruger National Park. It is an offence to drive on South African roads without a recognized driver’s license or under the influence of alcohol. Driving or operating any vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner or in a deliberate disregard for the safety of a person, animal or property is a serious offence and can result in a summons being issued as per official SANParks regulations.
  • Vehicles must always remain on the designated roads and off-road driving or driving on closed or no-entry roads is a serious offence.
  • Feeding of wildlife inside the park is strictly prohibited! The feeding or intentional disturbance of wildlife is a serious offence.
  • No plant, animal, wildlife or any natural or cultural items may be removed from the Kruger Park without permission. To cut, damage, destroy or be in possession of any plant or part thereof, including dry wood or firewood is a serious offence. Importing of any specimen of an alien or listed invasive species into a national park is strictly prohibited.
  • No firearms may be brought into the Park.
  • No pets (dogs, cats, birds or any other) may be brought into a Kruger Park. Transgressors will be dealt with firmly, issued with a summons and serious action will be taken. Guide dogs for visually impaired guests are the only exception, but only if the proper procedures are followed in consultation with park management and if the owner has the necessary inoculations and permits as ordained by the state veterinary department.
  • The Kruger National Park has a NO TOLERANCE POLICY with regards to poaching, killing, or injuring of animals.
  • Starting or causing of any fire, whether it be intentional or unintentional other than in a fireplace or container purposely made available is strictly prohibited and will result in a summons being issued.
  • Behaving in an offensive, improper, indecent, or disorderly manner will simply NOT be tolerated. Playing of any radio, compact disc player, music system, musical system or instrument that may cause any noise that results in the disturbance of any species, specimen or wildlife as well as other individuals visiting the park is strictly prohibited and will be fined if not adhered to.
  • The hindering, intimidating, or obstructing of an authorized Kruger National Park official in the execution if his/her duties or the performance of his/her functions will not be tolerated and is subject to a penalty. Violation, refusal, or failure to obey or comply with any prohibition, request or instruction imposed by these regulations or by the management authority or authorized official will result in prosecution.
  • Beware of Malaria – The Kruger National Park and Mapungubwe National Parks fall within a malaria zone. A 24hour malaria hotline is available on 0822341800 and where relevant, please consult your medical practitioner.
  • Kindly familiarize yourself with the general conditions prevalent in the park you are going to visit by visiting the website at sanparks.org and link onto Parks A-Z as there may be vital information contained therein to assist with your visit.

Entrance Gates Telephone Numbers

Entrance Gate Telephone Number
Crocodile Bridge Gate +27 (0)13 735 6012
Kruger Gate +27 (0)13 735 5107
Malelane Gate +27 (0)13 735 6152
Numbi Gate +27 (0)13 735 5133
Orpen Gate +27 (0)13 735 0237/0238
Pafuri Gate +27 (0)13 735 5574
Phabeni Gate +27 (0)13 735 5890
Phalaborwa Gate +27 (0)13 735 3547
Punda Maria Gate +27 (0)13 735 6870

Daily Conservation Fee

Daily Conservation fees for 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020

South African Citizens and Residents (with ID) R100 per adult, per day
R50 per child, per day
SADC Nationals (with passport) R200 per adult, per day
R100 per child, per day
Standard Conservation Fee R400 per adult, per day
R200 per child, per day

About the Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park Lion Sighting

The Kruger National park is South Africa’s most beautiful and exciting African Safari destination. This South African National Park is also one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Home to nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres, the Kruger Park is spread across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north of South Africa. Just south of Zimbabwe and west of Mozambique. Lying in the heart of the Lowveld, the Kruger Park truly offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience, boasting an incredible diversity of birdlife and wildlife.

Ranking among the best in Africa, the Kruger National Park is undoubtedly considered the flagship of the country’s national parks. Attracting thousands of visitors each year from all around the world looking to experience the ultimate African safari destination and magnificent sights and sounds of the African bush first-hand. A visit to the world-renowned Kruger National Park undoubtedly deserves to be on everyone’s bucket-list when visiting the beautiful and vibrant Africa. To find out more about when the best time is to plan your trip to the Kruger National park, have a look at our blog here!

Kruger National Park Big 5 Wildlife Sightings

But, just to get you a little more excited, here are some great wildlife and birdlife sightings you can look forward to when visiting the Kruger. The Kruger National Park is home to approximately 147 mammal species as well as a prolific diversity of bird life. With over 500 bird species on the Kruger National Park list, it’s any bird lover’s paradise.

Here are some amazing wildlife and birdlife sightings, as well as a few remarkable vegetation, fauna & flora, and incredible natural/cultural features to look out for when visiting the Kruger National Park:

  • The African Big Five – Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhino.
  • The Little Five – Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise, Ant Lion and Rhino Beetle.
  • Birding Big Six– Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Lappet- faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Saddle-bill Stork.
  • Five Trees – Baobab, Fever Tree, Knob Thorn, Marula, Mopane.
  • Natural/Cultural Features – Letaba Elephant Museum, Jock of the Bushveld Route, Albasini Ruins, Masorini Ruins, Stevenson Hamilton Memorial Library, Thulamela.

 

Kruger National Park wildlife, birdlife, vegetation

Besides these magnificent sightings and encounters, the Kruger National Park boasts such an incredible diversity of wildlife, bio-diversity and birdlife. With so many remarkable creatures and animals to see as well as bucket-list worthy sightings of rare species (some of which you may never encounter anywhere else in the world) it truly is any nature, birdlife and wildlife enthusiast’s dream destination.  When visiting the Kruger, it is a great idea to keep up to date with the movements of the wildlife in the Kruger National Park by consulting the sightings map at reception as it is updated daily!

You can also follow the Kruger National Park on all their social media channels for spectacular wildlife sightings, up-close encounters, up-to-date information, recent spottings, and of course the unapologetic beauty of the African bushveld.

**Disclaimer/Important note: This article was last updated on 18/06/2020 as per the current Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations and official SANParks regulations and statements. It is therefore subject to change in accordance with South Africa’s Lockdown Regulations.