The Kruger National Park is a wildlife and nature paradise. It spans across 20,000 km2, roughly half the size of Denmark or Belgium, and offers a biodiversity which is completely unequally elsewhere. Since it’s a national park you are allowed to enter with your own vehicle, and in a single day you are guaranteed to drive through several completely different types of vegetation.
In our experience, driving in our own car and on a typical day in Kruger (full day) we are sure to see elephants, giraffe, buffalo, hippos, wildebeest, impala (can’t avoid them even if you try), zebra, kudu, waterbuck, warthog, vervet monkeys, eagles, vultures. Often we also see rhino (we’ve seen up to five at the same time), hyena, baboons, crocodiles, klipspringer. If you go either early or late in the day (or both!) you are likely to see lion. The most difficult to spot are leopard, cheetah, wild dogs and snakes – we have seen all these species several times however so it is a matter of bringing your luck with you! You may find yourself driving for 30 or 60 minutes without seeing any animals, and then suddenly you’ll see lots within a short time frame. Spotting is part of the fun.
The only two gates into Kruger along the southern border are Crocodile Gate (15 min from Home of the Wild) and Malelane Gate (30 min). We recommend trying both since the vegetation – and therefore the animals – is quite different. You won’t be speeding since you are likely to be stopping a lot. This is part of the ‘bush experience’ of going with the flow and discovering what the day will bring in terms of wildlife and natural wonders.
Trackers tell the best stories.
It is possible to book early morning (‘sunrise’) or late afternoon (‘sunset’) drives with the local rangers at each of the gates. We highly recommend doing this; even having now been to Kruger ourselves many times, these guided tours remain amongst our personal highlights. The experience of feeling completely alone in the Park is unique and you can really relax and enjoy the scenery. We have a slight preference for the guided drives from Crocodile Bridge Gate since the chances of seeing at least four of the Big Five are very high.
The Park has significantly improved its camps these past years, including the quality of the restaurants. We recommend Berg en Dal which has a beautiful view over a dam and lies in mountains roamed by leopards.