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Kruger National Park Rest Camp

Sunrise at a restcamp in the Kruger Park, SA

Elephants, Lower Sabie Kruger Park

Elephants near the lower sabie rest camp

Elephants at the Kruger National Park in South Africa

Lioness on Game Drive Safari Kruger

A lioness hides from the heat in the Kruger

Kruger National park Lioness

Kudu, Kruger Park Wildlife

Young Kudu Bulls near Kings camp, Kruger

Youn Kudu Bulls, Kruger Park, SA
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Formed in 1898 by Paul Kruger, this world famous Kruger National Park is now also part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.

The Kruger National Park is huge, about 350km from North to South and covers an area of two million hectares and is home to an astonishing array of wildlife, including 147 species of mammals, 500 types of bird and 33 types of amphibian. The flora is equally diverse with 300 difference types of trees. All the big game can be found here including lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, hippo, giraffe, rhino and buffalo. The Southern section of the Kruger National Park is the most popular as it has the richest diversity of habitats and animal life.

The Park attracts more than 750,000 visitors annually and caters for day-trippers and well as overnight guests and campers. The Kruger Park has 21 rest camps, as well as 7 private lodge concessions, and 11 designated private safari lodges. The concessions are parcels of land operated by private companies in partnership with communities, who outsource the operation of private lodges. Accommodation, apart from camping, must be pre-booked through the National Parks Board.

The park offers numerous organised wilderness trails as well as ranger guided day and night safaris in open vehicles. All the main camps have petrol stations and shops. Skukuza is the biggest rest camp and has a large information centre, a bank, post office as well as a photo developing service and vehicle workshop.

Wildlife in the Kruger Park

Because if it's sheer size and diversity, it is almost easier to list the African wildlife that is not in the Kruger National Park, than what you can see! With about 145 mammal species from the mighty Elephant, hippopotamus, rhino and buffalo, to the tiny Four-toed Elephant-shrew and pretty much everything else in between.

Most people who go on safari aim to see Africa's Big 5 animals, and with an estimated 2 thousand Lions, 12 thousand Elephants, 5 thousand Rhinos (black and white) and approximately 1 thousand Leopards, the Kruger Park is definitely a good place to start.

Below is a list of the more common mammal species, but remember this is only a small fracion of what there is and we haven't even begun on the birds, reptiles and plant species!

Carnivores & Predators found in the Kruger Park
  • African Wild Cat - Felis lybica
  • Serval - Felis serval
  • Caracal - Felis caracal
  • Cheetah - Acinonyx jubatis
  • Lion - Panthera leo
  • Leopard - Panthera pardus
  • Spotted Hyaena (Laughing Hyaena) - Crocuta crocuta
  • Brown Hyaena - Hyaena brunnea
  • Aardwolf - Protelas cristatus
  • Bat-eared Fox - Otocyon megalotis
  • Black-backed Jackal (Silver-backed Jackal) - Canis mesomelas
  • Side-striped Jackal - Canis adustus
  • Wild Dog (African Wild Dog) - Lycaon pictus
  • Honey Badger - Mellivora capensis

Common Antelope Species found in the Kruger:
  • Eland - Taurotragus oryx
  • Greater Kudu - Tragelaphus strepsiceros
  • Nyala - Tragelaphus angasii
  • Bushbuck - Tragelaphus scriptus
  • Roan Antelope - Hippotragus equinis
  • Sable Antelope - Hippotragus niger
  • Common Waterbuck - Kobus ellipsiprymnus
  • Mountain Reedbuck - Redunca fulvorufula
  • Common Reedbuck (Southern Reedbuck) - Redunca arundinum
  • Grey Rhebok - Pelea capreolus
  • Blue Wildebeest (Brindled Gnu) - Connochaetes taurinus
  • Lichtenstein's Hartebeest - Sigmoceros lichtensteinii
  • Tsessebe - Damaliscus lunatus
  • Impala - Aepyceros melampus
  • Suni (Livingstone's Antelope) - Neotragus moschatus
  • Klipspringer - Oreotragus oreotragus
  • Steenbok - Raphicerus campestris
  • Oribi - Ourebia ourebi
  • Sharpe's Grysbok - Raphicerus sharpei
  • Red Duiker - Cephalophus natalensis
  • Common Duiker (Grimm's, Grey or Bush Duiker) - Sylvicapra grimmia

 

Other Large Mammals found in Kruger
  • African Elephant - Loxodonta africana
  • Black Rhinoceros - Diceros bicornis
  • White Rhinoceros - Ceratotherium simum
  • Hippopotamus - Hippopotamus amphibius
  • African Buffalo (Cape Buffalo) - Syncerus caffer
  • Common Giraffe (Southern Giraffe) - Giraffa camelopardus
  • Common Zebra (Burchell's Zebra, Plains Zrbra) - Equus burchellii
  • Common Warthog - Phacochoerus aethiopicus
  • Bushpig - Potamochoerus porcus

Primates in Kruger National Park
  • Chacma Baboon - Papio ursinus
  • Vervet Monkey (Green Monkey)
  • Samango Monkey (Gentle, Blue Monkey)
  • Thick-tailed Bushbaby - Otolemur crassicaudatus
  • Lesser Bushbaby - Galago moholi


Kruger National Park Wilderness Trails

A Wilderness trail in the Kruger National Park allows you to get a close and personal encounter with nature. There are large areas of unspoiled wilderness which you can explore on foot, a walking safari is a very different experience than that of a game drive, it allows you to follow ancient game paths snaking through the bush in search of tributaries and waterholes. You will focus less on the larger mammals in the Kruger and more on the smaller things, like tracking, plants, birds and some of the interesting aspects of the bush that you would drive past without noticing. That is not to say you wont encounter some of the larger game, and when you do, it just makes it that more exciting because you are on foot. On you Wilderness Trail in the Kruger, you will be accompanied by an armed and experienced trail ranger at all times.

Some Facts on Wilderness Trails:
No persons under 12. Maximum 8 per trail. Example cost: 3 nights in a wilderness camp accompanied by a trail ranger costs approx R2400.00

The Olifants River Back-Packing Trail
You leave from Olifants on Sundays and Wednesdays. The trail is 3 nights long.

For something different, there are also Mountain Bike Trails, which currently only leave from Olifants. Morning only: approx R325,00 Afternoon: approx R185,00 Full day: approx R685,00

Wilderness Trails can bee booked through the National Parks of South Africa.


Kruger National Park Accommodation

Accommodation in the Kruger National Park range from a luxury safari lodge, to standard bungalow, to basic camp site and so the kruger has a place to stay to suit every preference and budget. So whether you are a family on holiday, someone who likes to rough it a little and camp, or just looking for a weekend break, the Kruger offers something for you.

The Main Kruger Park Lodging and Rest Camps offer self-catering, economy family cottages, bungalows, chalets and huts. I have listed a few of the better ones below:

Skukusa Restcamp

Skukusa Restcamp in Kruger National Park
is the biggest and one of the the most popular rest camp. It is located right in the heart of Big Five territory and is easily accessed by road and by air.

Skukuza Restcamp in Kruger National Park is capable of accommodating over 500 guests with 104 camp sites, it has 21 furnished safari tents, 180 economy bungalows, 20 luxury bungalows, 15 guest/family cottages, one dormitory and 4 luxury guesthouses. The myriad of birds and wild game in the area is easily spotted by going on bush walks and game drives. You can also watch wildlife documentaries which are shown in an outdoor amphitheater.

On top of that, there is a 9 hole (18-tee), Par 72 golf course available for golf enthusiasts, for more on Golf and Safari Holidays in South Africa click here.

Other facilities include a shop, ATM, internet cafe, restaurant, library, fuel station and more.


Privately Run Northern Kruger Park Accommodation


The Outpost Safari Lodge in Kruger National ParkThe Outpost Safari Lodge

Designed by Italian born architect Enrico Daffonchio and winner of numerous international awards, The Outpost is located in a vast wilderness area in the northernmost part of Kruger National Park called the Makuleke Region. This region covers around 28 000 hectares and is home to large herds of elephant and buffalo. It is bordered to the north by the Limpopo River and Zimbabwe and to the east by Crooks Corner and Mozambique.

The award winning bathrooms at The OutpostThe design of the lodge is unashamedly contemporary and consist of the main lodge and 12 stand-alone living spaces set against the side of a hill overlooking the Luvuvhu River. You will enjoy your own private outdoor terrace, indoor lounge and bedroom with king size bed, an award-winning en-suite bathroom that have stunning views of the surrounding bush. From the inside, retractable remote controlled screens can be opened to offer 180-degree views of the river valley below.

Being in such a remote location does not mean that you have to rough it and this includes eating, with only the best ingredients used, either sourced locally or flown in from Johannesburg.

Views from The OutpostBreakfast and lunches are often served in the dining area of the main building which has fantastic views of the Luvuvhu River Valley and depending on your length of stay, a picnic lunch is sometimes prepared and served out on safari on the banks of the river or under the Baobab trees. You can enjoy your dinner under the stars on the deck next to the pool, or in the enclosed courtyard.

Game Drives & Walking Safaris
All safaris are conducted by qualified safari guides (field guides) and during your stay, you can choose between a long or short game drive in open-air four wheel-drive vehicles in the morning and again in the late afternoon, returning in time for dinner. The game drives are not restricted to public roads in the Kruger National Park and mostly make use of tracks formerly reserved for the use of Park officials. Apart from Elephant, Buffalo and the resident prides of lion, you often see Rhino and many species of antelope including nyala and tsessebe which are not often seen elsewhere in the Kruger National Park.

Elepahnt s are often seen in the riverInstead of a game drive, you can choose to go on a walking safari to experience the bush on foot. These take you to parts of the area that is not accessible to vehicles including the spectacular Lanner Gorge. The Makuleke Region is renowned for its birding and guests may be able to see scarlet chested sunbirds, broadbilled rollers, redheaded weavers, wattle- eyed flycatchers and owls such as the Pel's fishing owl, the scops, white-faced, pearl-spotted and giant eagle owl.

Awards

  • 101 Best New Hotels - Tatler Guide 2005 (UK 2005)
  • 100 Best New Hotels in the World - Conde Nast Traveller (US May 2004)
  • One of Five Best Baths with a View - Independent Newspaper (UK April 2004)
  • Hottest New Game Lodge - Young Rich Travel (Australia September 2003)
  • South Africa's Sexiest Bathrooms - Style (South Africa July 2003)
  • Best Safari Lodge - Wallpaper (UK May 2003)


Contact:
Click here to contact The Outpost, request some more information as well as get some reservation details for The Outpost Luxury Lodge.


More Northern Kruger Park Accommodation

Hoyo-Hoyo Tsonga Lodge & Imbali Safari Lodge
Located on their own 10 000 hectare concession area, part of the world-famous Kruger National Park
Tel: 013 735-8915/7/8
Email: bookings@imbali.com

Pafuri Rivercamp
Rustic accommodation with no electricity, they use paraffin lamps for light, open fires for cooking and gas powered fridges. Located very close to the Pafuri gate in the Northern Kruger National park.
Tel:+27 (0) 82 785 0305
Email: rivercamp@pafuri.co.za


Privately Run Southern Kruger Park Accommodation


Jock Safari Lodge in the Kruger National ParkJock Safari Lodge

This luxurious lodge is situated in the southern area of the KNP at the confluence of the Mitomeni and Biyamiti rivers, half way between Skukuza and Malelane. It is approximately 35 km to the Skukuza airstrip and 150km to the Kruger International Mpumulanga airport in Nelspruit or just over 5 hours drive from Johannesburg.

Jock Safari Lodge consists of two different accommodations: Main Jock and Little Jock. At Main Jock there are the luxurious suites with private plunge pools & salas - overlooking the river. Little Jock offers the privacy, intimacy and peace that just 3 suites can offer – with own chef, waitress and ranger. It is like having your very own lodge in the bush.

Jock Safari LodgeAn abundance of bird life surround and fantastic old trees surround the Lodge, where two track roads take you into 6000 ha of the exclusive private concession set in over 2 million hectares of the Kruger.

They are child friendly with children older than 7 years able to go on game drives where a maximum of only 6 guests per game vehicle are permitted. Walking safaris are possible that will take you to to some of the oldest Bushmen rock art in Africa (approx 3000 years old).

Contact:
Tel: +44 1483 425 465
ukoffice@mantiscollection.com
Web: Jock Safari Lodge


Hoedspruit Accommodation

Hongonyi Private Game Lodge
Hongonyi is near to Hoedspruit in the "Valley of the Elephants" and close to the Orpen Gate of the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga.
Email: info@hongonyi.co.za
Tel: +27 15 793 2784

Marc's Treehouse Lodge
Enjoy a holiday in a magical place surrounded by surreal forests and the Klaserie River, where guests are accommodated in the majestic treetops.
Tel: +27 11 4768842
Email: vivasaf@icon.co.za

Nyala Safari Lodge
A big 5 safari lodge, which borders the Greater Kruger Park directly.
Tel: +27 13 692 8780
Email: nyala@safarilodges.co.za

Matumi Game Lodge
Surrounded by Southern Africa’s prime wildlife conservation area the Greater Thornybush Game Reserve adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park in Limpopo Matumi Game Lodge offers comfortable, affordable 3 star accommodation.
Tel: 015-793-2452 / 1518
Email: info@matumigamelodge.co.za

Pezulu Tree House Game Lodge
Pezulu is a small, exclusive Tree House Game Lodge situated in the Guernsey Private Nature Reserve in the Limpopo province of South Africa, only forty minutes from the world famous Kruger National Park.
Tel: +27 (0) 15 793 2724
E-mail: pezlodge@mweb.co.za

Panzi Bushcamp
Located in the Guernsey Private Nature Reserve in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Only 45 minutes to Kruger Park's Orpen Gate and an hour and a half to Phalaborwa Gate.
Tel : +27 82 751 2000
Email: panzi@mweb.co.za


Crocodile Bridge Restcamp

Right on the Mozambican border, Crocodile Bridge Camp is rich in local ancient history and if your on the way to Maputo a great place to stop on the way. The area is pretty flat and has many Marula trees on the banks of the Crocodile River. This game viewing area is known as the Southern Circle and is well known for the concentration of different prides of Lion with different hunting techniques and behaviors. Obviously with so many lions in the area you will also see plenty of their play, so a large and varied amount of antelope. This area is also home to many of the Kruger National Park's rhino population.

The types of accommodation at Crocodile Bridge Restcamp includes bungalows, safari tents and caravan or tent camping sites.

To sum up, the Crocodile Bridge Restcamp is an ideal camp if you are looking for the Big Five, there are self-catering facilities and camping is available for the independent traveler or camper. The Amenities include a laundromat, grocery shop and liquor store.


Guided Kruger Park Tours


Sabie SafarisSabie Safaris

Privately run southern Kruger Park safari tours and accommodation

Sabie Safaris offers exclusive 5 day guided tours to the southern parts of the Kruger National Park and the Sabie Park Private Nature Reserve. We will spend our days in the Kruger Park, searching for wildlife favourites such as the Big 5, but will also pay special attention to the smaller parts of the ecosystem, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and plants, which will open your eyes to a whole other side of the African bush! A night drive and bush walk are also included in the itinerary.

Sabie SafarisGuest accommodation is totally exclusive in the form of a privately owned house surrounded by the tranquillity of nature in the Sabie Park Private Nature Reserve. Nowhere else can you go to bed with the distant sounds of roaring of lions and laughing hyenas, and wake up with a rich diversity of birds, along with mammals such as zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, and warthogs virtually at your doorstep. This eco-friendly reserve is inaccessible to the general public, ensuring guests their ultimate privacy and relaxation! Check the Sabie Safaris website for the full itinerary as well as available dates and rates.

Contact:
Tel: +27 082 853 1033
E-mail: bookings@sabiesafaris.co.za
Web: www.sabiesafaris.co.za


How to Get to the Kruger Park

Most visitors to the park from South Africa drive their own cars, but there are other options, which many international visitors tend to use like flying to one of the airports near the Kruger National Park and then hiring a vehicle from there, there is also a car hire facility at Skukuza Camp.

Driving From Johannesburg

You can also obviously hire a vehicle from Johanesburg International Airport and drive from there. (View my Guide to Car Hire in South Africa). There are nine enterence gates to Kruger:

Distances From Johannesburg:

  • Crocodile Bridge Gate: 475 km, take the N4 via Witbank & Nelspruit to Komatipoort
  • Malelane Gate: 428km, take the N4 via Witbank & Nelspruit to Malelane
  • Orpen Gare: 490km, N4 to Belfast, R540 to Lydenburg via Dullstroom, R36 and R531 to Orpen via Ohrigstad, JG Strijdom Tunnel and Klaserie.
  • Phalaborwa Gate: 490km, N1 to Pietersburg (Polokwane), R71 to Phalaborwa via Tzaneen
  • Paul Kruger Gate: 460km, N4 to Nelspruit, R40 to Hazyview, turn right to gate or 470km if you take the N4 to Belfast, R540 to Lydenburg via Dullstroom, R37 to Sabie, R536 to Hazyview, on to gate
  • Pafuri Gate: 600km, N1 to Louis Trichardt, on to Musina (Messina), but turn right at R525
  • Punda Maria Gate: 550km, N1 to Louis Trichardt, R524 to Punda Maria
  • Phabeni Gate: 430km, N4 to Nelspruit, R40 to Hazyview, turn right to gate or 440km if you take the N4 to Belfast, R540 to Lydenburg via Dullstroom, R37 to Sabie, R536 to Hazyview, on to gate.
  • Numbi Gate: 411km, N4 to Nelspruit, R40 to White River, R538/R539 to Numbi

 

Kruger Mpumalanga International AirportFlying to Kruger

The nearest airports to Kruger are Hoedspruit Airport, Phalaborwa Airport and the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA). There are daily flight to all three airports from Johannesburg as well as other cities in South Africa. Most of the major car hire companies are represented at all three airports, but it is safest to pre book. (View my Guide to Car Hire in South Africa)

Hoedspruit Airport
There are daily flights to Hoedspruit Airport from Johannesburg.
Flights also from Cape Town.

Phalaborwa Airport
Daily flights from Johannesburg.

Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA)
Only a thirty minute scenic drive away from Kruger Park lies the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, which is also sometimes called the Kruger Airport. There are daily Flights from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.

The Kruger airport is located between Nelspruit and White River and is about 25km from Nelspruit and 15 km from White River.

All the main car hire companies are available from the Kruger Airport, including Avis, Hertz & Budget car hire. There is also a shuttle service between the airport and the Kruger National Park.


Map of the Kruger National Park

Below is a detailed Google map of The Kruger Park showing the main safari lodges, entrance gates, shops, airports, trails, picnic spots, hides, dams, and other points of interest.


Contact Details

Tel: Central Reservations (Pretoria): +27 (0)12 428 9111
Tel: Mobile: +27(0)82-233-9111
Email: reservations@sanparks.org

Office hours (GMT +2):
Monday to Friday: 07:30 - 17:00
Saturday: 08:00 - 15:00



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