The Kruger National Park has been named the 20th most popular travel destination in the world on Big 7 Travel’s list of ‘The 50 Most Popular Destinations For Post-Lockdown Travel’ – and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Big 7 Travel looks at the destinations their readers are searching for the most on site, conduct a survey of their 1.5 million audience members on social media and analyse trending holiday locations on Google Search in the past 30 days to compile their final list of the 50 most popular destinations for post-lockdown travel.
While travel has been off-limits during the global Coronavirus pandemic to help curb the spread of COVID-19, people have been keeping their travel dreams alive by dreaming of where they would like to go next when its finally safe enough to do so. With that being said, we couldn’t be happier that 1.5 million people from 60 other countries are eager and excited to visit South Africa’s most beautiful and premier African Safari destination – the Kruger National Park!
Ranking among the best in Africa, the Kruger National Park is considered the flagship of the country’s national parks. Lying in the heart of the Lowveld, the Kruger Park offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience that’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
Here are our top 10 reasons why the Kruger National Park is the ultimate post-lockdown destination and why you should add it to your post-lockdown travel bucket-list right away.
ONE OF THE BEST & LARGEST NATIONAL PARKS IN AFRICA
There is no doubt that South African tourism has a secret weapon – the Kruger National Park! Many visitors from around the world consider the Kruger National Park to be one of the greatest national parks in the world. It is in fact the third largest National Park worldwide. The pristine wilderness within the Kruger Park consists of nearly 2.2 million hectares of unspoiled African bushveld that stretch for 352 kilometres across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north of South Africa. Besides its millions of unspoilt hectares, the Kruger National Park boasts a variety of safari camps, guest lodges, rest camps and resorts across the reserve.
EXCELLENT WILDLIFE & BIG 5 SIGHTINGS
The Kruger National Park is home to a glorious diversity of wildlife. Through careful wildlife management and conservation initiatives, the Kruger Park has become one of the top destinations in Africa to see wild animals in their natural habitat. Besides its pristine game viewing opportunities, the Kruger Park is one of the best African game reserves to see the renowned African Big 5, also considered the ultimate treasures of the South African bushveld. The African Big 5 include the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. These iconic animals are the most popular sightings on safari excursions, and both local and international tourists travel from far and wide to witness them in their natural habitat. The Kruger is also known for its spectacular sightings of endangered or ‘rarely seen’ animals such as the African wild dogs, cheetah, sable, and roan antelope.
Besides the iconic Big 5, the Kruger National Park is home to approximately 148 of southern Africa’s 350 mammal species, 18 of which are listed in the Red Data Book, 507 bird species, as well as 18 reptile, 35 amphibian and 50 indigenous freshwater fish species. Not to mention the incredible species that make up the Little 5, which include the leopard tortoise, rhino beetle, elephant shrew, ant lion, and the red-billed buffalo weaver.
KRUGER PARK IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE
Travelling to the Kruger National Park is easy and convenient as wildlife and nature lovers now have more options than ever before to reach this premier African game reserve. To enjoy all the wonders of the Kruger Park you don’t have to navigate a 4WD deep into the bush. You can either choose to travel to the Kruger Park by car. The park’s southern gates can be reached in about five hours from Johannesburg, with amazing sights en-route such as the stunning Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve. Besides travelling via road, there are several scheduled flights to the Kruger Park from Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. Charter flights can also access the reserve for groups and high-end travellers.
Once you’ve made your way into the Kruger Park through one of it’s nine main gates, you will be able to explore all the natural beauty, wildlife, birdlife and untamed African bushveld of the Kruger by making use of its excellent network of sealed and well-maintained gravel roads. There are also many well-appointed picnic sites, viewpoints, and bird hides inside the park. On top of that, the Kruger Park’s rest camps boast excellent facilities, including well-stocked shops, restaurants, and spotless ablution facilities. You will also find several petrol/filling stations located throughout the park. It’s safe to say that the Kruger National Park is an extremely accessible and tourist friendly game reserve.
DAY VISITORS ARE WELCOME
The Kruger National Park is the perfect destination for a memorable and exciting African wildlife adventure with the whole family. The park opens its gates to day visitors who wish to explore and experience everything this premier African game reserve has to offer. If you’re planning to enjoy a self-drive wildlife adventure through the Kruger Park, make sure you take your time and plan your route accordingly – that way you get a real taste of what the Kruger Park has to offer!
EXCELLENT BIRD WATCHING
The Kruger National Park is any bird lover’s dream come true. Boasting more than 517 bird species in their natural habitat, some of which are not found anywhere else in South Africa, and hideaways in the most remote places, the Kruger Park is the ultimate bird watching destination. If you’re a birding enthusiast, make sure to keep an eye out for the Kruger’s Big 6 of the bird world. The Big 6 includes the Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel’s Fishing-Owl and Ground Hornbill. Birding is also excellent during the Kruger Park’s wet summer season (October – March) as the summer migrant birds arrive.
THE KRUGER OFFERS A VARIETY OF ACCOMMODATION & EXPERIENCES CATERING TO ALL BUDGETS
To ensure the Kruger National Park is accessible to as many wildlife and nature lovers as possible, they pride themselves on catering to a variety of budgets and tastes in terms of experiences and accommodation. The Kruger Park boasts 12 main rest camps and five smaller satellite camps as well as various bush lodges and bush camps. From campsites, self-catering accommodation and standard rondavels to exquisite five-star luxury safari lodges and the most renowned private concession lodges in the world, there is something for everyone.
THERE ARE 4 MAIN WAYS TO EXPERIENCE THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
- Enjoying a self-drive safari and staying in self-catering accommodation in one of the Sanparks camps or outside accommodation (lodge or hotel). This is a less expensive and budget-friendly option.
- Going on a guided Kruger Park open vehicle safari adventure and staying inside the Kruger National Park at one of its many rest camps and accommodation options. These are typically scheduled small group safaris or private safaris with an experienced guide. This is also a budget-friendly option.
- Embarking on a luxury safari experience at one of the concession lodges inside the Kruger National Park. These lodges generally use their own road network in their concession area, as well as some of the public roads in the Kruger Park. Typically these lodges offer upmarket accommodation at a higher price.
- Going on an exclusive safari at a private game lodge in one of the adjacent private reserves. These private safari lodges have their own traversing area, and offer exciting game drives in open safari vehicles, which are able to go off-road to get close to the animals. Providing you with once-in-a-lifetime up-close encounters and sightings of Africa’s most magnificent wild animals in their natural habitat. These experiences range from basic budget lodges to high-end luxury lodges.
BUCKET-LIST HOLIDAY & TRAVEL DESTINATION
If there’s anything on your South African travel bucket-list it should DEFINITELY be a trip to the Kruger National Park. There is a reason why millions of people from around the world consider the Kruger National Park to be one of the greatest national parks in the world. Not only is it the best and largest national park in Africa, it’s also one of Africa’s most sought-after wildlife-watching destinations. From a rich biodiversity, diverse fauna and flora, exceptional wildlife and birdlife sightings, thrilling African safari adventures, unapologetic natural beauty and so much more, the Kruger Park quite literally has it all. Making it the ultimate holiday and travel destination!
While visiting many African game reserves and lodges is a matter of merely staying in one lodge and spending just a day or two checking out the surrounds. In contrast, as the Kruger National Park consists of nearly 2.2 million hectares of unspoiled African bushveld, stretching 400km/248mi up the Mozambique border to the bottom of Zimbabwe, it offers visitors an entirely different and unique holiday and travel experience. This, combined with its easy access and incredible diversity of environments to explore, gives visitors the opportunity to create their very own bucket-list worthy, self-contained holiday and travel experience.
You could spend a week or more exploring different parts of the park, from the southern koppies (small rocky hills) and acacias to the northern mopane and baobab trees, regardless of whether you’re staying in one place or moving around – Its completely up to you – Your African wildlife travel adventure, your choice! Plus, the fact that each region of the Kruger Park boasts a different ecosystem and terrain, attracting varying predators, prey, wildlife and birdlife, means your bucket-list journey though the Kruger National Park will be jam-packed with tons of adventure, excitement, magnificent sightings, and the untamed beauty of the African wilderness all the way through.
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK ADVENTURES & EXPERIENCES
As the Kruger National Park is known as one of the best national parks in Africa, some safari connoisseurs may say that the Kruger can be overpopulated with humans due to its easy access and sought-after status. However, given the park’s elephantine size and diversity of terrains to explore from grassland to tropical riverine forest, there are various ways you can escape the crowds and have an absolutely unforgettable African wildlife experience. All while ticking a few adventures off your bucket-list too!
By embarking on a guided night drive, you can enjoy the Kruger’s open roads without all the cars and crowds (as the Kruger Park’s gates officially close at sunset for visitors unless you are on a guided safari drive). As an extra bonus, you may even spot a prowling big cat as well as the Kruger’s many nocturnal wildlife.
Another great way to escape the crowds, wonder a bit off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the full African wilderness experience is by enjoying a guided walking safari or bush walk. This exciting Kruger adventure gives you the opportunity to experience nature in real time and come face to face with the wonders of the African bush. A guided walking safari or bush walk involves venturing into the Kruger’s bushveld while accompanied by a highly experienced and knowledgeable ranger where you will learn all about spoor, which includes animal tracks, scents, trails or droppings, as well as the incredible wildlife and birdlife of the Kruger Park. Not to mention enjoy some amazing wildlife sightings along the way. Besides these two thrilling adventures, the Kruger Park has a variety of exciting experiences that can be enjoyed by all its visitors.
THE KRUGER PARK CLIMATE
When to visit the Kruger National Park is one of the most frequently asked questions when planning a trip to this top African safari destination. The time of year you choose to visit the park will have a big impact on your overall experience. While it is an all year-round destination with the Kruger Park boasting a subtropical climate, the Kruger has two distinct seasons – The dry winter season (May – September) and wet summer season (October – March). With each season offering a uniquely different experience in terms of game viewing opportunities, temperatures, park conditions, surrounding scenery and bird and wildlife sightings.
DRY SEASON: MAY – SEPTEMBER
As far as wildlife and game viewing opportunities are concerned, the dry winter season is considered the best time to visit the Kruger National Park. The dry season and its associated sparse vegetation and prime visibility provide visitors with the best opportunity to experience sensational wildlife sightings and encounters, including sightings of South Africa’s beloved Big Five. The Kruger Park’s dry season is also the best time of the year for walking safaris. Other perks of the Kruger’s dry season include lovely mild day-time temperatures, low levels of humidity and minimal rainfall. The dry season is also the Kruger Park’s low season, which means the roads and camps are far less crowded – providing you with a more enjoyable experience overall.
WET SEASON: OCTOBER – MARCH
While the Kruger Park’s wet summer season is not considered the prime time for wildlife sightings and game viewing, there are some great perks that will certainly make your trip to the Kruger worthwhile. As the Kruger Park’s wet summer season is also its peak rainy season, filled with subtropical rainstorms, it is often referred to as the ‘Green Season’ – With the landscapes of the Kruger transforming into a beautiful lush green paradise. This makes it a superb destination for photographers and nature lovers from around the world. By far one of the Kruger Park’s most exciting summer season highlights is the fact that the park is filled with newborn wildlife as most animals give birth during this period – making it a great time to spot wildlife with their young. Birding is also excellent during the Kruger Park’s wet season as the summer migrant birds arrive.
Check out our ‘Best time to go to the Kruger National Park’ blog to find out more about what you can expect to experience during each Kruger Park season as well as all the tips, highlights and need to know information before visiting the Kruger National Park.
BIODIVERSITY & UNRIVALLED FAUNA & FLORA
The Kruger National Park’s ecosystem comprises of five different vegetation zones, each of which attract different wildlife according to the vegetation and climate. The varying climatic conditions of the Kruger impact the type of vegetation in the ecosystem according to whether they can survive and flourish in each vegetation zone. In turn, this affects both the distribution and population density of the wildlife and birdlife found within each vegetation zone, with each favouring some or other ecosystem environment.
In addition to the Kruger Park’s 5 vegetation zones, there are 16 ecosystems within the Kruger’s borders. The Kruger National Park is known for its incredible diversity of fauna and flora. The park contains over 2000 plant species, including more than 235 different types of grasses, and over 330 indigenous tree species. Travelling through the Kruger Park is remarkable in the sense that you will be crossing over into different ecosystems, with the vegetation, scenery and population of wildlife constantly changing.
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.
- Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations & Guidelines
- Timeslots & Opening & Closing Times
- Lockdown Alert Level 3 Guidelines while in The Kruger Park
- Rest Camps, Restaurants, Shops, Petrol Stations
- General guidelines when visiting The Kruger National Park
- Entrance Gates telephone numbers
- Daily Conservation Fee
- About The Kruger National Park
Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations & Guidelines
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|
|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
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:
|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
- 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
- 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 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
- Afsaal Picnic Spot
- Punda Maria.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
- Instagram: @sanparks
- Facebook: @South.African.National.Parks
- Twitter: @SANParksKNP
- YouTube: SANParks
**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.
As South Africa is in the midst of a Nationwide Lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, all travel has been placed on hold for the foreseeable future. Just because we can’t physically travel to some of our top African safari destinations, doesn’t mean we can’t experience all the natural beauty, amazing wildlife, birdlife and endemic fauna and flora virtually. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can now embark on a virtual journey to Africa’s most beautiful wildlife destinations from the comfort of your home. Making it possible for nature and wildlife lovers to experience the sights and sounds of the African bush by means of live streams, interactive game drives, and live Q&As hosted by expert field guides, game rangers and wildlife experts on the ground. On top of that, several game reserves offer round-the-clock live footage of key wildlife hotspots through webcams connected to Africam.com and Explore.org.
While me might not be able to hop into an open safari vehicle and go on a safari adventure right this moment, here are some of the best virtual safaris to enjoy online during the Corona Virus Lockdown.
WildEarth SafariLIVE is an award winning, expertly hosted LIVE safari experience, broadcasted directly from the African bush into your home. Available on both the internet and television, WildEarth’s SafariLIVE gives you the opportunity to enjoy a virtual safari and interact with a knowledgeable game ranger in real time. In partnership with a range of Africa’s top game reserves, lodges, and safari companies, WildEarth will be broadcasting twice-daily, 3-hour long game drives as they explore the heart of the African wilderness. Currently their SafariLIVE virtual safari experiences are broadcasted live from Djuma Private Game Reserve, Chitwa Chitwa in The Sabi Sands, &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve, and Tswalu Kalahari. All these reserves are found in South Africa and offer a vast expanse of wilderness within which Africa’s magnificent wildlife can freely roam.
By making use of safari vehicles, guides on foot, drones, balloons, rovers, and remote cams, they give you the opportunity to explore the glorious African wilderness and its magnificent wildlife in their natural habitat. From incredible sightings of the renowned Big 5 to other prolific wildlife and birdlife sightings, you will be right at the edge of your seat enjoying every second of the adventure. The WildEarth SafariLIVE broadcasts are entirely unscripted, unpredictable, and happening in real time. You never know what you’re going to get – making every sighting and encounter as thrilling as the next.
The WildEarth SafariLIVE is broadcasted in two main timeslots, Sunrise Safari and Sunset Safari. These virtual safari broadcasts can be enjoyed on the following days and times:
- Monday to Sunday
- Central African Time (CAT): 06:30am – 09:30am
- East African Time (EAT): 07:30am – 10:30am
- Eastern Standard Time (EST): 00:30am – 03:30am
- Monday to Sunday
- Central African Time (CAT): 15:00pm – 18:00pm
- East African Time (EAT): 16:00pm – 19:00pm
- Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EST): 09:00am – 12:00pm
WildEarth’s virtual safaris are broadcasted live in real-time, but in case you miss the action you can visit their SafariLIVE YouTube channel as all the videos will be saved there.
WildEarth also has an incredible virtual safari experience for all the young nature and wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy – WildEarth Kids! WildEarth Kids is all about connecting kids with nature and inspiring the next generation of conservation ambassadors. This exciting wildlife adventure takes kids aged 4-18 on free, live, and interactive virtual safari rides, transporting them from wherever they are onto the back of a virtual safari vehicle. For 45 minutes, kids join safariLIVE and tour some of the most iconic wildlife destinations in Africa. They can interact with the expert guides and game rangers in real time as they drive through the African wilderness, asking questions about what they see.
This fun and interactive virtual safari takes place during the first 45 minutes of both the Sunrise and Sunset drives. During that time, the guides will only answer questions specifically from the kids. These questions can be sent to them via firstname.lastname@example.org. Currently no bookings of sessions are required. This means the whole family can join in on all the virtual safari and wildlife fun as often as you want.
- Website: wildearth.tv
- WildEatrh YouTube channel: WildEarth Media
- WildEarth Facebook: @WildEarth.TV
- WildEarth Twitter: @WildEarth
- SafariLIVE YouTube channel: WildEarth
- SafariLIVE Twitter: @LIVEsafariLIVE
- WildEarth Kids Facebook: @WildEarthKids
Experiential travel company &Beyond is bringing the African wilderness to you by means of their WILDwatch LIVE initiative. &Beyond’s WILDwatch LIVE comes in two exciting parts that can be enjoyed by nature and wildlife lovers across the world.
On YouTube or Facebook
In an attempt to liven up your lockdown and give you an authentic African wildlife experience, &Beyond collaborated with wildlife broadcasting experts, WildEarth, to stream (in real time) twice-daily, three-hour long game drives from &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private Game Reserve – two of South Africa’s top game reserves, both of which are adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Authentic and non-scripted, the game drives will follow the sights and sounds of the African bush as they unfold. The stream will move between three or four live feeds to bring viewers the action as it happens. Creating a seamless multi-feed virtual safari experience hosted by both &Beyond and WildEarth’s expert field guides. Viewers will be able to interact with the guides in real time as if they were on an actual game drive by asking them questions on YouTube or using #wildearth on Twitter.
You can join &Beyond and WildEarth’s virtual safari adventure by tuning into Wildwatch Live for a sunrise or sunset safari which takes place at the following times:
- 06:30am – 09:30am CAT (sunrise dependent)
- 15:00pm – 18:00pm CAT (sunset dependent)
The first 45 minutes of each afternoon drive will be dedicated to young wildlife fans and the guides will only answer questions asked by children during this time. Parents can sign their kids up by selecting a date on wildearth.tv/kids. Children (or parents) can then email any questions to email@example.com for age appropriate and personalized responses.
On Instagram Live
Besides joining the &Beyond and WildEarth guides for a thrilling virtual safari in the heart of the African bushveld on YouTube or Facebook, you can also watch all the action unfold on Instagram Live. Their expert guides in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve are always out and about, and will be jumping online, ad hoc, on &Beyond Travel’s Instagram page when they come across any exciting wildlife sightings. If you’d like to sign-up and receive notifications for when these Instagram Live streams will be taking place, be sure to do the following:
- Follow @andBeyondTravel on Instagram
- Select the “Following” button and go to Notifications
- Select Live Videos and make sure “Get all Notifications” is selected
- Website: andbeyond.com
- YouTube Channel: andBeyond
- Instagram: @andbeyondtravel
- Facebook: @andBeyondTravel
- Twitter: @andbeyondtravel
Tintswalo Safari Lodge Virtual Safaris
Tucked into the beautiful Manyeleti Game Reserve in the heart of the Greater Kruger National Park, Tintswalo Safari Lodge has launched free virtual safaris where you can explore the wonders of the African bush from the comfort of your home. The game rich Manyeleti Game Reserve is known for its incredible Big 5 sightings, which include lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalos. Besides the African Big 5, Manyeleti Game Reserve also boasts a prolific variety of birdlife and other wildlife species. Now you get to experience all the action and spectacular sightings the Manyeleti Game Reserve has to offer courtesy of Tintswalo Safari Lodge’s ‘On the Beat’ virtual safaris.
Their ‘On the Beat’ virtual safaris include phenomenal video footage of actual sightings and exciting wildlife encounters experienced by their game rangers on patrol. The videos will be uploaded daily on all their social media channels. Make sure you follow them to avoid missing out.
- Website: tintswalo.com/safari
- Instagram: @tintswalo_safari_lodge
- Facebook: @TintswaloSafariLodge
- Twitter: @Tintswalolodges
- YouTube: Tinstwalo Lodges
Shamwari Private Game Reserve
Shamwari Private Game Reserve is a premier safari destination located in South Africa’s ecologically and culturally significant province of Eastern Cape. The head ranger of Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Andrew Kearney, is doing a series of “lockdown” episodes where he aims to showcase the beautiful African wilderness to as many people as possible. These special lockdown episodes will feature highlights from his daily walks and drives, as well as other interesting titbits and insights into life at the Eastern Cape reserve. As the Shamwari Private Game Reserve is home to the renowned Big 5 as well as vast herds of wildlife, birdlife, and incredible ecological diversity, you can expect some amazing sightings and encounters.
You can find head ranger Andrew Kearney’s virtual safari lockdown episodes on Shamwari Private Game Reserve’s social media platforms.
- Website: shamwari.com
- Instagram: @shamwariprivategamereserve
- Facebook: @shamwarisafari
- YouTube: Shamwari Private Game Reserve
Singita Sabi Sand
Singita is a conservation and ecotourism brand that has been preserving and protecting the African wilderness and its many inhabitants for the past 26 years. Singita’s unique philosophy lives on in each of their fifteen award-winning lodges and camps spread across six diverse ecosystems and four countries in Africa. At each of their premium lodges and camps they aim to offer guests an authentic African wildlife and safari experience unlike any other. Singita has three Sabi Sand lodges located in South Africa. The Sabi Sand is a privately owned game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Together these two areas make up some of South Africa’s most pristine land.
As they aren’t able to share their incredible wildlife and African bushveld with guests at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are doing it virtually by live-streaming game drives. These live-streamed virtual game drives will be hosted by resident photographer and former guide Ross Cooper twice daily on their Facebook and Instagram platforms. Singita Sabi Sand is renowned for their high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings. Not to mention the spectacular lion, large rhino bulls and tiny baby elephant sightings Ross Cooper encounters on his live drives through the Singita Sabi Sand concession. This makes for a thrilling virtual safari experience filled with exciting up-close wildlife encounters.
Motswari Private Game Reserve
The Motswari Private Game Reserve is located within the Timbavati and Umbabat Private Nature Reserve. These two breath-taking nature reserves form part of the Associated Private Nature Reserve region which borders on the Kruger National Park. The Timbavati and Umbabat Private Nature Reserve shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park, which allows wildlife species to move freely between these expansive parks. This means visitors can look forward to some phenomenal Big 5 sightings as well as incredible wildlife and birdlife encounters.
To ensure nature and wildlife lovers don’t miss out on the wonders of the African bush, Motswari Private Game Reserve has two guides who patrol the reserve daily, filming their drives and wildlife encounters and sightings along the way. All the highlights from their drives are then posted to their Instagram feed for everyone to enjoy. Ensuring you get your daily dose of African bush magic from the comfort of your home. Follow Motswari Private Game Reserve on Instagram to avoid missing out on all the incredible wildlife action!
Savanna Private Game Reserve
Savanna Private Game Reserve is an exclusive 5-star lodge situated in the internationally acclaimed Sabi Sand Reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park Conservancy. Known for their authentic safari experiences and magnificent Big 5 sightings, it is considered completely normal to see lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos all in one game drive. The numerous nearby dams and series of waterholes in front of the lodge also attracts several other wildlife and birdlife species.
To ensure wildlife enthusiasts don’t miss a single second of the action, Savanna Private Game Reserve has put together a virtual safari experience in the form of daily ‘Stay@Home Safari’ segments. These segments consist of +/- 10 – 20-minute videos featuring each day’s safari highlights and thrilling wildlife sightings and encounters. Savanna Private Game Reserve shares their daily ‘Stay@Home Safari’ segments on their Facebook page for everyone to enjoy. Follow them as they explore the magnificent Sabi Sand Reserve and everything it has to offer.
- Website: savannalodge.com
- Facebook: @SavannaPrivateGameReserve
- Instagram: @savanna_private_game_reserve
- YouTube: Savanna Private Game Reserve
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is South Africa’s largest private game reserve and one of the best places in Southern Africa to see cheetah in the wild. Situated in the Savannah Biome, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve lies in a transition zone between the true Kalahari ecotype and arid Savannah. This unique location contributes to a greater habitat diversity than anywhere else in the Kalahari. The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is home to one of the very few mountain ranges in the southern Kalahari, the Korannaberg, as well as rolling hills and expansive grasslands. Tswalu is also known to receive more rainfall than many other parts of the Kalahari. Giving rise to a rich biodiversity, thriving ecosystems and diverse range of wildlife and birdlife.
In the shelter of the mountains you will find Tswalu’s 240 bird and 80 mammal species, including Hartmann’s mountain zebra and wild dog. On top of that you will encounter incredible Kalahari species you may never have seen before. While giraffe, zebra, and buffalo will be familiar sightings if you’ve been on a safari before, this will likely be your first opportunity to capture iconic Kalahari sightings such as dainty springbok with a backdrop of red sand, or the silhouette of a gemsbok atop a dune. It really is something special!
Now you can experience all the magic of the Kalahari and its unique wildlife from the comfort of your home. Every Thursday the area’s researchers and wildlife experts will post live videos and Q&A’s to Tswalu’s Instagram and Facebook pages, inviting you to enjoy every second of the action along with them.
Tau Watering Hole, Madikwe Game Reserve
Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve is located on the Northern border of South Africa and Botswana. The magnificent Madikwe Game Reserve is the fourth largest game reserve in the country and one of Africa’s most sought-after wildlife destinations. The beautiful Tau Game Lodge overlooks the famous Tau Waterhole, which is an oasis for a vast variety of wildlife species in the area. Elephants, giraffes, lions, zebras, and cheetahs are just a few of the Madikwe Game Reserve regulars you will spot at the Tau Waterhole.
To share these spectacular wildlife sightings with the rest of the world, Tau Game Lodge has set up a 24-hour Tau live camera feed. This gives viewers the opportunity to enjoy a secret window into this sanctuary and its robust ecosystem as elephants bathe, lions roar, wild dogs roam, and crocodiles prey.
The Naledi Cat-EYE
The Naledi Game Lodge is a World Luxury Hotel and TripAdvisor award winning wildlife safari and luxury game lodge located in an exclusive private reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park. The Greater Kruger extends across several private reserves with no fences to impede the migration of game. One of these private reserves is Balule Nature Reserve – The exclusive 40,000-hectare reserve in which Naledi operates. The reserve holds high natural densities of Africa’s Big Five as well as an abundance of other wildlife and birdlife species.
Explore.org in association with Africam.com is giving viewers a live window into the African wild with a live camera feed over the Balule Nature Reserve’s watering hole. For an entirely unique perspective of the animals that frequent the watering hole, this live camera has been set up at the eye level of a leopard. As other larger wildlife species such as elephants and giraffes tower over the camera, viewers will be able to enjoy a whole other viewpoint of these magnificent animals as they visit the waterhole. According to Explore.org, you are likely to spot a vast variety of wildlife species ranging from curious cheetahs, lions, elephants, giraffes, impalas, baboons and warthogs to Egyptian geese, meerkats, waterbuck, and porcupines.
Tembe Elephant Park
South Africa’s Tembe Elephant Park is a 300km2 reserve located between Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mozambique. It is known for having the largest elephant population on the African continent. Now you can watch these gentle giants of the African bushveld from the comfort of your home via a live feed. Both Africam.com and Explore.org have live webcams set up at the Tembe Elephant Park watering hole. Giving viewers the opportunity to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.
Even when the largest visitors don’t make an appearance, it is still worth the watch as the reserve is home to a variety of other wildlife species, including lions, rhino, buffalo and suni antelopes, to mention just a few. As it’s a 24/7 live feed, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the African wilderness whenever you choose.
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is located in the heart of the South African bushveld. As Ulusaba is a member of Virgin Limited Edition, a select group of luxury hotels, they have teamed up with Virgin to host a thrilling virtual safari experience every Monday at 3:30pm via Instagram. This is the perfect opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to see leopard cups, a lion pride or any of the Big Five in their natural habitat. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to avoid missing out on all the action and incredible wildlife sightings and encounters.
- Instagram: @virginlimitededition
The Majingilane Coalition got their name from the reference of watchmen patrolling the night. They marched with intention, never altering their course. Their origin was traced to the Manyelethi Game Reserve, where they were part of a pride with a reputation as buffalo hunters.
The five Majingilane males were born between 2004 and 2005. By 2009 their solo journey apart from their main pride started. And so they moved south towards Sabi Sands. The brothers decided to stick together and the gang started causing a big stir in their new territory.
Challenging Their Predecessors
By 2010 the new coalition faced off against two formidable Mapogo males – Mr. T (Satan) and Kinky-Tail. The encounter was brutal. The Mapogos managed to isolate and kill one of the Majingilanes, breaking his spine with their sheer force. But the remaining four Majingilane lions managed to strike back with a night attack and killed Kinky-Tail.
Mr. T (Satan) joined his other remaining brothers again in the western sector of the Sabi Sands. Everyone was holding their breath for a big showdown between the two coalitions, but this never happened. The remaining four Majingilane males managed to take control of most of the Londolozi reserve area. Following in the brutal footsteps of their predecessors, they purged the land of all the lions not bowing to their dominion.
Settling In To Their New Territory
The first pride that was targeted by the Majingilane Coalition, was the much-loved Tsalala Pride. Out of the eight sub-adults, four were killed. Only the four younger lionesses and their three mothers survived. By 2010 the two adult lionesses succumbed to their powers and started mating with the “enemy”. Survival of the fittest took over and even though the Majingilane males had killed their cubs, they knew that the strongest and best genes had to be passed on.
Their next target was the Sparta Pride. The Majingilanes killed two of the three cubs and by the beginning of 2011 quite a few pride members were missing. The pride had been split up, and not wanting to draw attention to themselves, they did not call out to each other. This means they could not reunite to stand their ground against the attack. The Majingilane lions grew stronger, with their manes darkening and thickening. And they took over more and more land. They reigned the land for over 7 years.
Making Their Mark
The mighty Majingilane male lions definitely ruffled feathers with their arrival. Similar to the way the Mapogo coalition sowed havoc, the Majingilanes greatly affected the lion population of the Sabi Sands.
Their reputation rests on a few factors. Firstly, the size of their territory, as well as the number of pride takeovers they managed. Not quite as infamous as the Mapogo coalition, the Majingilane lions were just as powerful.
The brothers were born in the Orpen area of the Kruger National Park. They meandered into the Sabi Sands reserve at the beginning of 2010. They dominated 5 prides in total. The Majingilane lions were named according to prominent physical features: Dark Mane, Golden Mane, Scar-Nose, and Hip-Scar.
Cubs born from the coalition:
|Tsalala Pride||11 cubs with 3 surviving|
|2 killed by buffalo, 2 killed by a flood, 1 killed by Scar-Nose (Majingilane) and 3 disappeared|
|Breakaway Tsalala Pride:||no cubs|
|Fourways Pride||4 cubs with 3 surviving.|
|1 cub disappeared|
|Styx Pride||6 cubs with 5 surviving|
|1 cub disappeared|
|Sparta Pride||13 cubs with 8 surviving|
|3 killed by flood, 1 killed by Tsalala Pride, 1 disappeared|
|Total||34 cubs, with 19 surviving|
In the prime of their dominion over the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, it was estimated that they controlled 26 676 Hectares. That’s 267 square kilometres or 65 919 Acres. To put it into more perspective, the area they patrolled was about the same as 50 706 American football fields! The perimeter came to about 64.6 km (40.2 miles).
The End of an Era
On average a male lion lives to the age of 10. As part of a coalition, they can maybe stretch their lifespan a little bit further. But because the battle for dominance over their territory is so fierce, they usually don’t make it much further than a decade of domination.
By the end of the Majingilane coalition, the four brothers split up. The first brother to pass away, was the Hip-Scar male. People following the journey of the formidable four lions, had predicted that he would be first to die. He seemed to be the outsider, mostly a loner away from the group. Sometimes the other brothers would ignore his roars, not answering immediately.
Next the Golden Mane lion went missing. Reports say that he was badly injured during a buffalo hunt. And an old lion’s chances of recovering from such an ordeal, are slim to none. He succumbed to his injuries.
The Dark Mane and Scar-Nose males were the core members of the coalition. They were constantly seen together, almost as if inseparable. In the end they also split up, both emaciated. After 8 years of a reign of terror, it was old age that crumbled their dominion.
Click here to view a tribute to the majingilane