Tips for first time visitors to the Kruger National Park

24 May 2018

When you think of South Africa, the incredible Kruger National Park definitely comes to mind. Not only can you catch a glimpse of the famous Big Five, but you will find yourself surrounded by hundreds of bird species, ancient trees, winding rivers, superb accommodation and adventure. The Kruger National Park is a one-stop shop for all of your wildlife dreams.

Imagine rising with the South African sun, driving out of your camp, filled with anticipation as you keep your eyes peeled for a lion spotting or a leopard casually draped over the branch of a big tree or a herd of elephants taking a morning stroll. Then ask yourself, is there anywhere else in the world you’d rather be?

Get your check list ready, here’s everything you need for a successful safari:

1. Light cotton clothing; it gets hot out there in the bush so light, cool and breathable clothing is a must for summer. Avoid brighter colours; rather stick to shades of beige and olive green. You want to blend in not stand out.

2. Sunglasses, sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat are a must for the African sun; a cap simply won’t do the trick. You need to keep delicate ears and necks covered too.

3. A comfy pair of shoes are essential if the game lodge you are visiting offers game walks. Make sure to find out before you arrive whether you’ll be doing any walking, and ensure that you have the correct foot gear. Sandals and other open shoes are going to make for an uncomfortable walk in dry river beds and thick bush.

4. Malaria tablets and anti-mosquito spray are vital as mosquitoes may be small but it is essential that you have protection against them.

5. Make sure to consult with the game lodge you are visiting to find out whether they are situated in a malaria area, and ensure that you take the correct precautions before leaving home.

6. Don’t forget your swimming costume. If you are coming in summer months, which are from October to April, then cooling off after a morning game drive can help with the heat.

Here are some smaller items that you may need:

1. Good lip balm.

2. A lightweight rain jacket.

3. A non-scented moisturizer (Avoid scented ones as this will attract mosquitoes).

4. A book, it is a holiday after all and there will be plenty of time during the day to read and relax.

The best time to visit

During the winter month the grass is low and animals are dependent on waterholes. Summer is hot but scenic, with lots of baby animals to see.

How to get there

There are three airports serving the Kruger National Park:

Northern Kruger Park: Phalaborwa Airport
Central Kruger Park: Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport
Southern Kruger Park: Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMI)

By road from Johannesburg it’s approximately a five-hour drive (depending on where you enter the park). You can also travel by plane to the Kruger Park International Airport in Mbombela (Nelspruit), and drive from there. This is how far the Kruger National Park is from the main cities:

  • Johannesburg/Pretoria – approx.. 420 km (to the southern gate)
  • Durban – approx. 752 km
  • Bloemfontein – approx. 834 km
  • Port Elizabeth – approx. 1 436 km
  • Cape Town – approx. 1 842 km

Where to stay

Have a look at the following accommodation websites to ensure you book accommodation that suits your every need:

  1. https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/tourism/availability.php
  2. https://www.sa-venues.com/things-to-do/mpumalanga/
  3. https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Attractions-g312628-Activities-Mpumalanga.html
  4. http://www.getaway.co.za/travel-ideas/6-free-mpumalanga/

Who to contact

Tel: +27 12 428 9111

Email: reservations@sanparks.org

Sho’t Left has just the Kruger Park adventure for you!