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Kruger National Park

Aktualisiert: 2. Mai

Venturing into Kruger National Park feels like stepping into a living masterpiece crafted by nature's artistry. My experience in this legendary wilderness was absolutely captivating, brimming with breathtaking encounters and unforgettable moments. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone seeking an extraordinary adventure. The park's well-maintained roads and clear signage make it ideal for self-driving safaris, catering specifically to visitors who prefer to drive themselves.

DID U KNOW?
Kruger National Park is the largest wilderness area in Africa and the oldest in South Africa. Spanning an area of 2 million hectares, it's just a tad smaller than Belgium.

We set off at 7 a.m. heading towards Phabeni Gate coming from Pretoria, a southwestern entrance to Kruger National Park. We were well-prepared with snacks for the journey and we had approximately 430 kilometers ahead of us, a distance that's considered quite manageable in South Africa.


Our plan was to delve into the southern expanse of Kruger Park during the day, catching glimpses of wildlife, and then settle in for our first night at Skukuza Camp within the park. We intended to spend two nights in total, with the second night planned at Olifants Rest Camp, providing us roughly two and a half days for safari adventures. While it was tempting to extend our stay given the park's vast offerings, we were planning to explore Mpumalanga afterward, so we felt this timeframe would give us a good start to kick off our trip.


INFO

Skukuza stands as the park's largest rest camp and administrative hub, positioned along the southern banks of the Sabie River, providing lodging for approximately 600 visitors.


When booking multiple nights in different rest camps in Kruger National Park, the camp organization ensures that the distances to be covered during the day are not overly long. The average speed in the park ranges from 20 to 30 km/h. Even though speeds of up to 50 km/h are permitted in some areas, it is not recommended if you truly want to see wildlife. Therefore, if you were to start at the southern part of the park and book accommodation at the northernmost part for the next day, the camp organization would issue a warning that the distance is likely too long to be planned effectively.

NOTE
It's advisable to make bookings while in South Africa as prices tend to be lower when searching with a South African IP address. https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger

Upon arriving at Phabeni Gate, we parked our van and proceeded to check-in at the reception. Here, our personal details were verified, our license plate was recorded and all essential information was provided. This included safety regulations as well as tips on where lions had been recently spotted. Once inside the park, you're immediately immersed in wildlife spotting opportunities.



In the southern part of the park, the vegetation is lush and green. However, as you drive further north, the park becomes more savannah-like with open grasslands.


On the first day, we already spotted several animals. Especially impalas, elephants, zebras, wildebeests and warthogs are quite common sightings. While most animals will move away on their own when your vehicle approaches, you should be more cautious around elephants. Elephants frequently attack cars because many visitors lack common sense and get too close to the animals. May the force be with you, if an elephant targets your car. 😁



In general, visitors are allowed to disembark at designated spots within the park. However it's crucial to exercise caution as these areas are limited and it's worth mentioning that only the rest camps have actual fences. Our first stop was at Mathekenyane Hill located near Skukuza Camp. At the view point you're allowed to disembark and enjoy the view (with caution). 😉



We later then continued towards Skukuza Rest Camp. We had a large cooler bag with all the essentials. The great thing about the rest camps is that almost all of them have a supermarket where you can leisurely shop in the evening if you plan to BBQ. Larger camps also have restaurants and cafes, catering to diverse preferences. No matter your plans there's an option suitable for everyone. Additionally, all rest camps are equipped with a gas station.



The majority of bungalows in the national park are equipped with air conditioning, ensuring comfort during your stay. The camps are meticulously maintained, offering cleanliness and a well-thought-out layout. Despite ample space, the camps maintain an authentic safari ambiance. We stopped by the supermarket to pick up some crushed ice for our cooler bag and, of course, some drinks.


The next morning, we got up relatively early because you see the most wildlife early in the morning. Most animals are active at night and are harder to find during the day. That's why you often see animals lying on the roads in the early hours, as the road is nice and cool.


That morning, our eyes were greeted by a captivating sight: a pack of wild dogs moving in unison, accompanied by two hyenas peacefully resting on the road in the soft glow of dawn.



As we headed towards the second camp, the park's landscape underwent a dramatic transformation. We moved from lush, densely forested grasslands teeming with crocodiles along the crocodile river to a more savannah-like terrain around Letaba.



During our journey, we made a deliberate stop at Letaba Rest Camp, primarily to visit its renowned Elephant Hall. This captivating museum showcases authentic elephant bones and intriguing anecdotes shared by the park rangers about the elephants that roam these lands. It's a fascinating insight into the majestic creatures that call this park their home.




Afterwards we were off to the second rest camp, which was approximately 150 km to the north. Olifants Rest Camp is situated within the park, right along the Olifants River. Perched on an elevation, the camp offers a splendid view of the river, allowing guests to leisurely observe wildlife right from their accommodations.









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