The infrastructure of the park is outstanding by African standards and roads inside the park are of very good quality and potholes on the main roads are rare. Smaller sidetracks are close to the originals landscape, but manageable with a normal car, although a 4×4 offers probably a better comfort on this type of terrain. KNP roads have speed limits range from 20 to 50 km/h and it is not wise to go much faster, because game tends to cross the roads out of nowhere.
Make sure you have an upto-date map, enough to eat and drink, cameras and binoculars, reference books and a litter bag with you.
Take care when approaching animals. They are wild and unpredictable. If you have the feeling that animals get angry, leave! Elephants and rhinos can be very dangerous to you and your car!
It is custom to share information about animal sightings with other park visitors. This happens casually and information is exchanged when two cars from the opposite direction meet and stop for a short chit-chat.
Avis is the only car rental company with an office inside the park at Skukuza Camp, but other companies from Nelspruit and at the two above mentioned airports are happy to provide you with a car as well. You may want to consider an air-conditioned car in the hot climate of the KNP.
Some petrol stations within the park accept payment by credit card.
The maximum speed limit is 50 km/h on tarred roads, 40 km/h on gravel roads and 20 km/h in rest camps, and is generally obeyed. However lower speeds afford greater safety and better sightings. It takes roughly 10 hours to cross the KNP in south – north direction. Distances between camps sites are on average 1-2 hours in the south and a little bit more than that in the north. Consider the distances between camps site when planning your trip and remember that you are not allowed to leave your car once you left a camp site. Toilets are present at all the camps and picnic areas, but not at the hides. A road can be blocked by buffalo or elephant crossing, adding 20 minutes unexpected journey time to your trip. Leave some slack in your travel time calculations.
It is possible to go on guided walking tours, which you can arrange through the camp reception, or in advance with SANParks. However, the rangers in Kruger National Park have a policy of not surprising animals, which means you are going to be walking briskly through bushland with a couple of armed guides ahead of you, rather than stealthily moving through the bush to get a glimpse of an animal that hasn’t seen you. The reality of this is that most animals will well have truly gone from the area before you get there, and the chances of wildlife spotting are dramatically reduced over what you might see by game vehicle or by car. Still, you might be lucky.
Unauthorised walking is not allowed and also extremely foolish.
- Crocodile River view point is nearby the Crocodile Camp travelling north on the main road direction Lower Sabie and then following the sign to the Crocodile River view point on a dirt track for a couple of kilometers. As a reward you can get out of your car and go with a park guide down to the river to watch hippos and crocodiles from a few meters distance.
- Masorini is a restored Iron Age village about 10km from the Phalaborwa gate. It is probably the most accessible of the remnants of stone and iron age life within the park. There is a picnic area and toilets near the bottom of the hill. You need to be accompanied by the guide to tour the village itself. The huts are reconstructed and show the process the civilisation went through to forge iron. These people were not just forging iron for spears and hunting, they had an entire economy based on selling and trading the iron they forged. Brochures say the guided tours are free, and leave at scheduled time. The reality seems to be that tips are required to the attendant who runs the tours, and if you are interested in taking the tour then the attendant will guide you.
The basic way to see the wildlife is to tour the park by car during the daylight hours when the park is open. This is a very effective way of seeing wildlife, even for first timers. There are many other wildlife experiences on offer.
- Bush drivesFirst time visitors may want to consider to book a guided tour through the KNP with local park guides. Bush drives are available from Berg en dal, Letaba, and Skukuza camp and and some other camps, and cost around 170 Rand (~$30USD) per person. Experienced rangers will take you in a 4×4 car to the KNP and explain you the finer details of game spotting.
- Night drivesDiscovering the KNP on your own is a great adventure, but there are a few things that you can not do without a ranger. One of them is to have a night drive through the park to see nocturnal creatures such as lions, leopards and hyenas. Tours take a couple of hours and leave usually shortly before the main gates close in the night.
- Wilderness trail Discover African flora and fauna on foot is an unforgettable lifetime experience and only few places in Africa offer such tours. You join a group of up to 8 mates and 2 rangers on a hiking tour that lasts for 3 days and you learn a lot of things about South African wildlife and there is no way that you could see animals closer than on this tour. Imagine seeing lion, elephant or rhino only a few meters from you. This is a breathtaking experience. Trails follow circular routes and you return each evening to the safety of your camp where dinner awaits. The duration of the trails is two nights and three days, either from Sunday to Wednesday, or from Wednesday to Saturday. Hikers meet at the designated restcamp at 15:30 on Sundays or Wednesdays from where they leave by vehicle for their trail camp after a short briefing.
- Bushman trailBerg en dal camp offers the bushman trail around the Berg en dal camp which is surrounded by granite rocks. Expect to see elephants, white rhinos and buffalos.
- Metsimetsi trailIs best enjoyed during the South African winter, check in at Skukuza camp and you will travel north to the N’waswitsontso river nearby the Satara camp.
- Napi trailCheck in at Pretoriuskop to enjoy the Napi trail and you may see white rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs and in the past you saw wild dogs which are rare nowadays.
- Nyalaland trailCheck in Punda Maria camp in the north of the KNP to spot crocodiles, elephants and hippos as well as bird watching is going to be on your agenda. Buffalo also frequent the area. Birdlife is prolific.
- Olifants TrailCheck in at Letaba Camp. The trail crosses the Olifants River as well as the Letaba River which supports a variety of wildlife, including large predators, elephant and buffalo. Also listen out for the call of the African Fish Eagle.
- Sweni TrailCheck in at Satara Camp. The Sweni area is popular, in that, there is a high density of both predator and prey, and a trail experience here give hikers the opportunity to observe lion and even cheetah.
- Wolhuter TrailIn the southern part of the park (white rhino country), between the Berg-en-Dal and Pretoriuskop.
- Olifants River Back Pack Trail, R10 560 for up to 8 people.
42km, 4 Days, from Olifants to Letaba, no frills, no trace camping, no camps provided, sleep in your own tent out in the park with the wildlife.
- Landrover Lebombo Eco-Trail
- The 3 brand new ‘Transfrontier Trails do Limpopo
- The Shingwedzi 4×4 Eco-Trail
- The Machampane Wilderness Trail
- The Massingir Hiking Trail
To make a reservation or get more information about Wilderness Trails. This is a great way to discover African fauna and flora, a unforgettable lifetime experience only available in a few places in Africa.
- Walking Safaris(Africa Walking Safaris), 30 Cambridge Avenue, Craighall Park, Johannesburg (eight walking trails throughout the Greater Kruger National Park), ☎ +27(0)82 350 2999 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Offers specialist walking safaris for groups of up to eight guests, led by two armed and experienced trails guides. Prices vary according to the accommodation type, ranging from rustic tented bush camps to luxury safari lodges. Typically, the day’s activities are an early morning walk, setting off at sunrise and covering 5-8 km over 4-6 hours, before returning to camp for brunch. In the afternoon, guests may elect for a walk, or a game drive in an open game-viewing vehicle which departs around 4pm and returns to camp around 7pm. This drive includes a sundowner drinks stop at sunset, followed by a night drive with spotlights to view Kruger’s nocturnal wildlife. US$200-600 per night.
- African Big 5 Safaris, PO Box 13539, Sinoville, Gauteng 0129, South Africa, ☎+27 84 381 5775. African Big 5 Safaris offer a variety of safari options into Kruger National Park and Olifants Reserve that are suitable for different budgets (from R800 or $116 USD for 2 nights / 3 days tented safari at the Olifants Reserve to R7000 or $1020 USD for 2 nights / 3 days luxury safari at the Kruger National Park). They also offer one day safaris for those pressed for time, as well as the multi day safaris that take you deep into the Kruger National Park territory. For more detailed information on safari packages and current rates, please check out their website at www.big5safaris.net The two guides Marcel and Retief are also the co-owners of the company. They are experienced, attentive, and safety conscious. Their knowledge of animal behavior and scientific facts is outstanding!
Other than wildlife
- Play golfat the 9 hole golf course in Skukuza, originally designed for the local personnel it was recently opened to the public. Please bring your own golf clubs with you and enjoy this very special golf course. Considering the average temperature in the KNP this is one of the toughest 9 hole golf courses in the world.