Travel Guide South Africa: Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the oldest and largest national parks in Africa. In 1898, Paul Kruger, president of South Africa at that time, founded the huge nature reserve with the aim of sustainably protecting the unique biodiversity of the region. Learn more about the impressive area in our blog.
The world-renowned Kruger National Park is located in South Africa's northeastern part and is one of the largest game reserves on the African continent. Visitors are offered the chance to witness a tremendous biodiversity which also includes all representatives of the fascinating "Big 5": lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo. Furthermore, the huge wildlife area – covering almost 20.000 km² – is known as a true birding paradise and is home to countless vulture, eagle and stork species.
The scenery is characterised by hills, mountains, bush savannahs and lush tropical forests. And also historical attractions can be admired, such as the early settlements of Masorini and Thulamela. A visit to this amazingly diverse and manifold park is certainly a must for each nature and wildlife enthusiast.
Kruger National Park
1898 as Sabie Game Reserve, 1926 as Kruger National Park
In the northeast of South Africa, in the provinces of Limpopo and the eastern section of Mpumalangas.
approx. 19.000 km²
Elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, hippos, crocodiles, zebras, giraffes, leopards as well as various antelope species and a variety of rare bird species.
amongst others: Camp Makuleke
Game drives, bush walks, birding tours
Best travel time
May to September
Especially the extraordinary biodiversity of the national park may lead to breathtaking animal sightings. Also the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park as border crossing point for animals and humans and the different biotopes like the "Fevertree Forest" of the Pafuri region are highlights.
Visiting Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is located in the northeast of South Africa. It is situated in the Lowvelds landscape, in the Limpopo province and in the eastern part of Mpumalanga. It extends from the Crocodile River in the south to the northern Limpopo, the border river to Zimbabwe. The north-south extension is about 350 km, the east-west extension on average 54 km. With an area of about 19,000 km² it is one of the largest national parks in Africa.
Landscape and animals
The landscape in Kruger National Park is as varied as it is beautiful. The park is dominated by the so-called Mopaneveld biotope which can be described as a sandy, dry savannah with changing tree populations. The habitat is named after the Mopane tree which dominates the sandy soils of the northern park. However, the large rivers of the park change the landscape significantly. River meanders draw valleys into the rock and provide a livelihood for mixed forests and alluvial plains. The Pafuri region, where the Makuleke area along the river Luvuvhu is located, is particularly well known for a densely wooded part of Kruger National Park.
Especially the large elephant populations of Kruger National Park are a merit of the early species protection. In addition to these gigantic mammals, many of the animals known for the African savannahs can be found in the park. Impalas form the largest group of all mammals. But hippos, giraffes and zebras are also important inhabitants of the highly complex Kruger ecosystem. The biggest group of the big carnivores forms the spotted hyaenas who stand in an eternal fight for loot and habitat with lions and leopards. But also rare animals like cheetahs, rhinos and even African wild dogs are represented in Kruger National Park. However, it takes a lot of luck to meet them there.
Last but not least, the national park’s bird kingdom enjoys remarkable reputation among bird enthusiasts. Beside the African ostrich and the Marabou stork, you can also find rare birds like the endangered hornbill as well as a large number of birds of prey including vultures. Tokos and oxpeckers are also an integral part of the national park's ecosystem.
Accommodation and activities
Kruger National Park’s overnight accommodations give the chance to immerse yourself deeply into the landscapes of the park and to explore the huge area for several days. Whether as a self-drive or as an expedition with a professional guide – the possibilities to explore the park from ever new sides are almost unlimited. The partly asphalted roads make it easier for visitors who are on an independent tour to find their way around the park and the African bush. However, it is advisable to have a professional guide at your side, especially on the sandy and impassable roads. A bush walk through Kruger National Park can only be enjoyed with a professional guide – in any case, it is an absolute highlight for every safari enthusiast and adventurer!
African spring (August to early October) is generally the driest time of the year. The maximum temperatures at this time are around 26°C. In this dry season, animals that are normally hidden in dense bushes such as the black rhino can be seen. The African summer is extremely hot and oftentimes quite humid. Most animals give birth to their offspring in summer, when the supply of food is most abundant. In summer, the maximum daily temperatures can climb up to 40°C. During this time, it is particularly important to drink a lot of water and wear a headgear.
Early efforts to protect the various species of the Kruger National Park have succeeded in preserving a particularly rich biodiversity. Due to the enormous variety of animal and plant species, the park's ecosystem is relatively intact. The opportunity to observe a large number of rare animals is what makes Kruger National Park so special.
Kruger National Park also shines with its scenic highlights. The "Fevertree Forest" in the Pafuri region is especially interesting. If you travel there at the right time of day, you will experience a unique natural spectacle. The yellow bark of the trees in the light of the rising or setting sun enables you to admire an extraordinary play of colours.
Kruger National Park is one of the few national parks to offer both animals and humans the opportunity to roam freely through several countries. The project of the Great Limpopo Transfontier Park makes it possible for the wildlife that lives in the Kruger National Park to reuse its old fenced-in migration routes. The fences of the park were torn down between South Africa and Mozambique in order to allow more animal migration and to reduce too much destruction caused by grazing animals on the same grazing grounds.
Live and learn amidst Southern Africa's wild nature for 55 days – and become a Field Guide Level 1
You are a "safari newcomer"? Then gather unique insights into Southern Africa's nature and wildlife
Acquire the basics of Southern Africa's nature, in theory and in practice, and become a Safari Guide
Learn about and experience the African bush whilst contributing to long-term wildlife conservation.
Become active in preserving endangered wildlife and unique ecosystems as a volunteer in South Africa
Spend an unparalleled year amidst Africa's wild nature and get trained as a Professional Field Guide