24 Hours in Kruger National Park South Africa
No other place like Kruger National Park in South Africa offers an abundance of free roaming wildlife spread over more than 20’000 square kilometres. The park exists since the early 20th century, which allowed the environment to recover from human influences during an extended period of more than a hundred years.
What to See in Kruger National Park
If you’d like to see the famous Big Five: lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and get close to magnificent predators like cheetahs, jackals, wild dogs and hyenas or you’re in to birding, you’ll have the best photo opportunities in Kruger National Park. Of course you will have only limited time to find and observe these wild, free roaming animals, if you only stay for a day. A lot depends on your luck of the day.
Best Time to Visit Kruger National Park
With only a day to find wildlife I suggest you visit Kruger National Park during winter (June – September) when the scarce and dry vegetation make game viewing easier. Animals gather mostly at waterholes, which makes it easier to spot them. An advantage is furthermore that Malaria prophylaxis isn’t necessary during winter months.
During the summer months the vegetation is lush and animals can hide in the high grass and thickets. With more time at hand it’s the time to visit the Kruger for new-born animals and flowing rivers.
Where to Stay in Kruger National Park
To be able to make the best of your day in Kruger National Park, best is to fly in to Skukuza Rest Camp and book there or in one of the private lodges nearby, depending on your budget.
A cheaper option is to fly to Nelspruit and to book either in one of the southernmost Sanparks Rest Camps, Berg-en-Dal or Crocodile Bridge. You will lose about 1,5 hours for the transfer, which goes off your time in the park.
A Typical Day on Kruger National Park Safari
14.00 – 16.00 Arrival and check-in to cottage or rondavel
18.00 – 19.30 Braai (barbecue at your game lodge)
19.30 – 21.30 Night game drive – first wildlife encounters by night
05.30 – 09.00 Early morning game drive
08.00 – 10.00 Breakfast
11.00 Check-out room
12.00 – 14.00 Relax at swimming pool of game lodge
Other Activities in Kruger National Park
Guided Walk (Walking Safari) in Kruger National Park
As a wildlife enthusiast and nature lover you may want to feel the beat of the bush through the soles of your feet by participating at a guided morning or afternoon walk. You are able to experience nature more intensely using all of your senses by foot than if you’re exploring by car.
The group up to eight people will be accompanied by two armed field guides which make sure that you learn also about the small signs and tracks of wildlife.
Specialized Tours In Kruger NP – Birdwatching
As a birder you can look forward to birders paradise with over 500 species. A wide range from raptors (Martial Eagle, Bateleur), colourful birds (Bee-eaters, Rollers, Hornbills) to large feathered examples of their species (Kori Bustard, Owl’s, Saddle-billed Stork) will excite any bird lover. (pre-booking required)
How to Travel to and within Kruger National Park
You can hire a car and drive yourself through Kruger National Park. Visiting just for one day this makes only sense, if you choose to fly to Nelspruit and drive to your rest camp in the Kruger. In any case I’d advise you strongly to choose the scheduled game drives with professional guides of the rest camp. You’ll see much more game than if you drive yourself.
Costs of a Day in Kruger National Park
I assume in my following remarks about prices, that you are a foreign visitor of Kruger National Park. South African Citizens and Citizens from certain African countries pay reduced prices and with a WildCard access gets even more affordable. This discount card makes only sense if you stay in South Africa’s National Parks for more than a week within a year.
Standard Conservation Fee (Foreign Visitors): R 328 per adult / day
The costs for accommodation vary upon your choice for Sanparks Rest Camps or Private Game Lodges and the luxury of your room. I can only give you some examples.
- Bungalow R 1’150 – 1’555 (2 persons) in Sanparks Rest Camps
- Night Game Drive R 255 / person
- Morning Game Drive R 325 / person
Private Game Lodges offer all-inclusive packages with game drives included. Prices are much higher than in Sanparks Rest Camps but the luxury service and accommodation may be worthwhile. Tariffs 2018-2019 Sanparks Rest Camps and Private Concessions.
Best Place On Earth
I’ve been back to Kruger National Park in South Africa numerous times and I can assure you, that for me as a wildlife enthusiast and photographer, Kruger National Park is the best place on earth. With 24 hours to spend in this magnificent park, you’ll only get a teaser of what you could have experienced with more time at hand.
Better are three or more days, maybe even a guided walk in the bush of several days as a unique once in a lifetime experience. Consider camping out on your safari to hear the sound of wildlife in the night only through the canvas of your tent. That’s to experience the thrill of pure nature at last, don’t you think?
Written by: Marcelle Simone Heller : Marcelle travelled with her South African partner George through Southern Africa repeatedly in the last five years. Both their favourite place in the world is Kruger National Park, where they liked to camp out for a month at a time at least. On the blog THE WILD LIFE she and George publish articles and photography with focus on wildlife, wild places and the wild life as world nomads. http://www.facebook.com/greyworldnomads