The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s first, biggest and most famous game reserve. And yet we don’t seem to ever written a post directly about it! So here is our 5 minute guide, along with some details and a gallery of images from our most recent visit.
Accommodation in the park is mostly government run and can be booked via the really excellent SANParks website (www.sanparks.org) and call centre. Other options include a wide variety of private accommodation outside the park and high end private lodges both inside the park and in neighboring connected reserves. Although the SANParks accommodation can be a bit dated, it’s generally well equipped and clean. We have always experienced great service, from the booking process through to the staff you deal with in the park and the way they handled the COVID booking chaos. There are options to suit all pockets, ranging from camping and basic huts with shared facilities, to smarter bungalows and guest houses. We favor the bushveld and other small camps which are more intimate rather than the big main camps which can be very crowded. Most options are self catering but the main camps tend to have restaurants (of varying degrees of quality – 3638 Restaurant at Skukuza is highly recommended www.krugerstation.com) and shops (well stocked with basics, and plenty of curios) along with fuel. There are also some lovely picnic spots which generally either offer light meals or skottles (basically a giant gas powered frying pan) to rent for almost nothing – the skottle even gets cleaned afterwards for you! Although most camps do offer game drives on open vehicles, Kruger is well set up for self-drive and we really enjoy the adventure of finding our own sightings.
Regular readers of this blog (both of you), will know that we love walking in the bush, and on this trip we did the 2 day, 3 night Napi trail (https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/tourism/activities/wilderness/trails/napi.php) in the Pretoriuskop area of the park. Most of the Sanparks trails involve staying in a small base camp and then doing day walks (sometimes combined with a drive). Food is simple but tasty. Napi base camp is apparently one the smarter ones, with en suite bathrooms and (approximately) warm water. The trail only takes 8 guests, so it’s a tiny camp set on a stretch of the Biyamiti river surrounded by excellent wildlife. We had some great big game encounters, including a heart stopping moment with an angry lion mom who didn’t like the fact that her cub was running in our direction!! We also got very close to elephant and rhinos and had some wonderful sundowners on the massive granite outcrops in the Napi area.
The rest of our itinerary consisted of one night before the trail at the gorgeous Biyamiti bushveld camp, one night after at one of the old-school over-the-top Skukuza guesthouses and two nights at Talamati bushveld camp, which is always excellent for game watching. The predator-odds where definitely in our favour on this trip, and we had multiple sightings of leopard, lion, wild dogs and even a honey badger. We did what was probably our best ever organized game drive in a national park from Talamati, featuring jackals, hyena, white tailed mongoose, genets, african wild cats, serval and, incredibly, a caracal. Total bird count = 161.
Here are some photo highlights:
For some more photos check out our separate gallery post…