At African Budget Safaris, we love organizing trips to the spectacular Kruger Park, and often get numerous questions from clients on all things Kruger. We decided to put all the useful information to answer these questions in an easily accessible blog. If you don’t find an answer for your specific question, get hold of one of our knowledgeable travel consultants and they’ll gladly help you.
- Where is Kruger
- How far away is it and how to get there
- Opening/closing times
- Entry/conservation fees
- Kruger versus Greater Kruger
- Types of accommodation
- Times of game drives and guided walks
- Length of game drives and guided walks
- Cost of game drives and guided walks
- Game drive vehicles
- What to pack
- Wi-Fi and mobile/cell reception
- Medical emergencies
- Water crisis/issues
- Wheelchair accessibility
The Kruger National Park is an area 65 km wide and 360 km long in north-east South Africa. It borders Mozambique to the East, and Zimbabwe on its northern tip.
Getting to the Kruger Park involves either travelling by road (self-drive or shuttle) or air. The distances and times here are to central Kruger, Satara Camp.
From Johannesburg: 550 km, 7 hours
From Cape Town: 1 955 km, 21 hours
From Durban: 900 km, 12 hours
If you’re wanting to hire a car, check out our hired car page for great deals.
By air (to Hoedspruit Airport):
From Johannesburg: 1 hour (two flights daily)
From Cape Town: 3-and-a-half hours (one direct flight daily)
Remember the Kruger Park is a vast area, so distances and travelling times will differ according to which part of the park you’re visiting and where you're coming from.
Yes, there are a number of airports nearby the Kruger Park. There are 35 flights a week to the airports close to the Kruger Park to which local airlines (SA Express, Airlink, SAA and BA) fly. These are Phalaborwa Airport (more North), Hoedspruit Airport (central Kruger) and Kruger International Airport in Mmbombela (previously known as Nelspruit). Within Kruger, there is an airport at Skukuza (central. Travelstart is a great place to look for flights.
Beside these airports there are many small air fields scattered throughout the area, to which charter planes can be organized. We can make any of the African Budget Safari trips fly-in, if that's what you want.
The gates/entrances into the Kruger Park have different opening and closing times during different seasons, as do the gates into the camps within the park. This is to line up with when it gets light/dark. Remember to factor in driving times from the entrance into Kruger to specific camps. Travel times from entrance gates to camp gates can be found on the SANParks site.
These times are for the gates in the Kruger National Park:
Entrance Gates (on the borders of Kruger):
November to February: 05:30-18:30
May to July: 06:00-17:30
August to September: 06:00-18:00
Camp Gates (within Kruger)
November to January: 04:30-18:30
May to July: 06:00-17:30
August to September: 06:00-18:00
The private reserves that make up the (unfenced) Greater Kruger Park can be contacted directly about closing times, as they often have people on duty at the gates for longer hours, thus allowing earlier/later check-ins/check-outs.
Visitors into the Kruger Park must pay a daily entrance fee or conservation fee. This ensures that the Kruger Park can keep going. The fees below are valid until 31 October 2018, when the annual increase will come into effect:
- Foreign Visitors: Adults R328/day, children R164/day
- SADC Nationals (passport): Adults R164/day, children R82/day
- SA Citizens (valid ID): Adults R82/day, children R41/day
Essentially, they’re the same thing, but Greater Kruger Park refers to a much bigger area which includes the Kruger National Park and 22 private game reserves. The area is unfenced, so the animals roam freely. For a full description on the differences, pros and cons, read our blog Breaking Down the Greater Kruger National Park.
We offer tours that include both. For Kruger, check out our 4 Day Kruger Park Budget Camping Safari Package and 4 Day Kruger Park Bungalow Safari. If you're wanting to stay in Greater Kruger, look at our 4 Day Kruger Park Eco Camp Safari at Private Reserve and 4 Day Kruger Park Bush Camp Safari. Many of the trips that stay in Greater Kruger include day trips into Kruger iitself, so chat to one of our consultants if you want to experience both!
There are multiple types of accommodation in the Kruger which is one of the (many) wonderful things about visiting the Kruger Park, and Greater Kruger Park, in that it caters for all preferences and all budgets. From basic camping, to basic rondawels to tree top tents to glamping to in-the-middle comfortable, to high-end luxury, there is something for everyone in the area.
Speak to one of our knowledgeable travel consultants about your preference and budget or take a look around our website – you can put your budget and accommodation preferences in our search tool on the right-hand side, to find your ideal safari.
Want to sleep in a 'treehouse'? Check out our 4 Day Kruger Park Treehouse & Private Game Lodge Safari. Is camping more your style? Have a look at the Kruger & Sabi Sands Tented Camp Package.
Yes, there are shops and restaurants in the Kruger. The bigger campsites within the Kruger Park do have basic shops, restaurants and petrol stations. There are only ATMs at Skukuza and Letaba. Smaller camps that are all-inclusive may provide drinks and snacks for sale, and occasionally some curios, but most don’t have ATMs, so remember to take cash with you for incidentals or be willing to pay with your debit or credit cards.
Game drives in Kruger are generally in the early morning, or late afternoon/evening, as this is when the animals are active. During the heat of the middle of the day, everyone rests, human and animal! If you’re on a full day game drive, you’ll more often than not stop for a lunch break at one of the camps, midday.
Again, the starting times depend on the season. Morning drives usually start about an hour before the official gate opening times, so you get the whole of Kruger to yourselves, while the sun rises. Sunset drives leave camp just before dusk.
In some of the parks within the Greater Kruger region, drives can be organized to suit a specific group – both the length and the starting time. This is usually possible if you book an entire camp i.e. eight people or more.
Guided walks are usually in the early morning, setting out when it gets light, or late afternoon and are always accompanied by armed rangers. Note that under-12s are not allowed on guided walks.
Both morning and late afternoon game drives in the Kruger usually last about three to three-and-a-half hours. Likewise, guided walks usually last about three hours. A full day drive can last from early morning until gate closing time, with a break in the middle for lunch.
Kruger Park night drives are slightly shorter, at around two hours, and depart at either 19:30 or 20:00, depending on the season.
Within the Kruger Park, game drives can cost between R250 and R500 and guided walks between R500 and R750. For many of the trips offered by African Budget Safaris, drives and walks are included in the safari price.
Most game drives in Kruger are done in open-sided safari vehicles (with a canopy/roof), with stepped seating, to allow the best views for everybody. Remember, though that they are open, therefore you’ll get the full effect of whatever the weather is. The weather can also change quickly, so pack for all seasons – it can be very hot during the day, especially in summer, and nippy in the early morning/at night. See below for suggested packing.
Weather in the Kruger Park differs from one area to the next. This graph shows the annual temperature and rainfall for Skukuza.
Remember that the rainy season is summer – October to March – which means that the bush is lush and green, making game viewing a little more challenging. The ‘rainy’ season usually consists of beautiful, hot mornings with wild and short thunderstorms in the afternoons, followed by more sunshine.
Packing for your Kruger Park safari is, obviously, seasonal, but even in summer, pack something warm for cool early morning and evenings and in winter, something cool for the warm days. Avoid bright colours.
- Sun protection: sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, long sleeves/pants (also to avoid mosquito bites at night)
- Good, closed, shoes for walking in
- A warm jacket/windbreaker and rain coat
Yes the Kruger Park is a malaria area, so you need to take malaria prophylaxis. For everything to do with malaria, check out our blog, Malaria made Simple.
Mostly there is no wi-fi or mobile/cellphone reception in the Kruger Park. Mobile/cellphone reception is generally okay in the camps, but in the park itself, it is sketchy. Enjoy the bush and turn your mobile off! Some of the camps, especially the private ones, have Wi-Fi – usually only in the main reception areas. If this is a priority for you, check which camps are included in your safari and check with each camp.
If we were you, though, we’d use our safari as a good reason to take a complete break from technology!
In the case of a medical emergency in the Kruger Park, tell your tour leader immediately, and they will make the necessary arrangements. This is why getting travel insurance – including medical insurance – is compulsory when booking a trip through African Budget Safaris. While there is a small doctor’s practice within the camp at Skukuza that can deal with minor ailments, and doctors and hospitals in the towns outside the Kruger Park, distances can be big. With medical insurance, plans can be made quickly, should an emergency occur.
Yes, the Kruger Park is a great place to take children. Some camps even provide child-friendly activities. While options like guided walks and some game drives have age restrictions, some camps are specifically geared toward families with children.
Ask one of our ABS travel consultants to steer you in the right direction. If you're wanting a full southern African experience, check out our Victoria Falls to Johannesburg Family Overland Safari, which includes the Kruger Park.
Yes the Kruger is safe as long as you stick to the rules of the bush, so have a read of all the ‘do’s and don’ts’ in our blog, Safety on Safari.
Yes there is water in the Kruger Park. While it is always a water-scarce area, as is most of Africa, and may experience drought in some years, it has a good infrastructure and water is available throughout the park.
Yes, in many places the Kruger Park is wheelchair-friendly, and no, in others. The main camps all have chalets that are universally accessible, and most public areas in the camps are also wheelchair-friendly. Game drives can be tricky with transferring into the vehicles, but people are friendly and helpful and plans can be made.