#28 Facts and tips about the Kruger National Park
Updated: Jan 10
If you are planning a trip to South Africa, there’s a good chance you’ll
be spending some time in the Kruger National Park.
It’s one of the most popular safari destinations in the world today, teaming with all sorts of wildlife, from diverse plant life, weird and interesting creepy crawlies to the world’s largest mammals.
It is certainly one of the most favourited safari destinations to date. You are able to explore this park either on a self-drive or for a more authentic option, join a Safari company where you are able to relax and enjoy a wonderful wildlife experience on an open safari vehicle, free from any worries or stress from the outside world. The sights, sounds and smells of the African bush are like no other experience.
KRUGER WILDLIFE FACTS:
Here are some tips and facts that may help you during your stay or assist you in your plans to visit the Kruger National park.
#1 THERE ARE OVER 3,414 SPECIES OF FLORA AND FAUNA IN KRUGER
That includes around 147 mammal species, 114 reptiles, over 507 bird species and more than 2000 plant species.
Searching for them is like an endless game of natural bingo – and incredibly rewarding when you spot them for the first time!
One of my favourite things about safari is that you always see something you’ve never seen before, and that’s especially true in the Kruger National Park. You never know what you may see around that bend ahead or that waterhole you’re pulling up to.
#2 YOU CAN SPOT THE BIG 5 IN ONE DAY
Kruger National Park is home to all of the ‘big 5’: rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants and cape buffalo.
And with the Kruger National Park being home to over 12,000 elephants and 1,000 leopards, it’s not uncommon to see all five of them in one day. Though, going with someone who knows the areas well and knows the best spots, would certainly increase your chances.
#3 THE BIG 5 ISN’T THE ONLY ‘FIVE’ TO LOOK FOR
If you’re lucky, you can also see the little 5 (elephant shrew, buffalo weaver, leopard tortoise, antlion and rhino beetle), the 5 trees (baobab, fever tree, knob thorn, marula and mopane), the big 6 birds (Kori bustard, Martial eagle, Lappet faced vulture, Pel’s fishing owl, Saddle-billed stork and Southern ground hornbill) and the magnificent 7 (Big 5, cheetah and wild dogs).
There is just so much to look out for, it’s exciting!
#4 KRUGER NATIONAL PARK IS POPULAR WITH BIRD WATCHERS
And with over 507 birds to find, it’s no surprise! The Kruger National Park is home to some of the worlds most beautiful, colourful and biggest bird species in the world.
The best areas for bird life are the camp sites and picnic areas where you will be able to sit and relax, observing those beautiful coloured starlings or, my favourite, those curious hornbills.
#5 THE SOUTHERN PART OF THE PARK IS THE BEST FOR VIEWING GAME
This is thanks to the higher rainfall and greener flora. It is where you’d have the greatest chance to view the Big 5 but, it is also the busiest part of the Park. There is quite a number of travellers on the roads as the South is where the major rest camps are.
If you want to avoid the traffic, the northern part is where you would be able to enjoy a more secluded experience.
#6 WILDLIFE CAN MOVE INTO AND OUT OF NEIGHBOURING GAME RESERVES
This wasn’t always the case – the fences were only removed in the last few years – but means there is more movement now throughout the Park.
SOME FACTS ABOUT KRUGER NATIONAL PARK CAMPS:
#7 THERE ARE 17 REST CAMPS IN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
Each camp is unique and some have more facilities than others, such as camping, and swimming pools. The biggest and most popular camps are in the Southern part of the Park with the main camp being Skukuza.
#8 THE CAMPS ARE ALL ABOUT Two HOURs APART
If you drive at 25km/h and don’t stop for wildlife viewing, it should take you around two hours to get to the next camp.
For that reason, it’s worth planning ahead for any toilet or coffee breaks you may wish to take during the drive. Travelers are not allowed to exit their vehicles for any reason unless at designated spots.
#9 CHECK THE SIGHTINGS BOARDS
Every camp has its own sightings board where you can check for the latest sightings.
These usually include leopards, lions, cheetahs, elephants, wild dogs and hyenas. Rhinos aren’t listed anymore because of poaching.
If you’re stopping by a camp, make sure you check the board to see where the most activity has been that day so that you can plan your next route.
#10 MANY OF THE CAMPS HAVE SHOPS ON-SITE
These shops are usually well-equipped with everything from souvenirs to braai meat, drinks and cooking equipment if you want to give the restaurants a skip.
Shops usually close 30 minute after the gates close in the evening so it’s worth stocking up earlier in the day and open up again at around seven in the morning.
#11 THE LONGEST DRIVE BETWEEN ANY TWO CAMPS IS JUST UNDER 17 HOURS
It will take you 16 hours and 55 minutes to drive between Berg-en-Dal and Punda Maria if you take the shortest route.
Kruger is huge! Be sure not to be out after hours as camps have closing times.
#12 KRUGER NATIONAL PARK HAS 5 BUSH CAMPS
They are all complete with ablutions, kitchens, crockery and cutlery but don’t have any shops or restaurants.
Camping is not permitted at these camps as there is no fencing. Be careful when going out.
Majority of these camps do not have electricity but are powered by solar, generator or paraffin lamps and fridges. This is for a more adventurous, getting down to basics experience.
DRIVING IN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK:
Just keep these facts about Kruger National Park in mind when visiting:
#13 THE SPEED LIMIT IN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK IS 50KM/H.
On dirt roads, the limit drops down to 40km/h. Speeding cameras are found throughout the park. Speeding is very limited due to the wondering wildlife. The wildlife can sometimes be found lying in the middle of the road or cross unexpectedly. Sightings can also be missed as you won’t have enough time to analyse your surroundings if you’re on the lookout.
#14 THERE ARE 11 GATES TO ENTER AND EXIT THE PARK
You can drive in and out of any of them.
#15 YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF YOUR CAR WHILE DRIVING
Kruger has twelve picnic sites where you can get out, walk around and be at one with nature.
The picnic sites are equipped with barbecues, toilets and seating areas, but they are not fenced so be aware of wildlife.
Leaving your vehicle anywhere else will get you in trouble with a hefty fine. There are also certain bridges in the park where you may exit from your vehicle.
#16 FUEL IS ONLY AVAILABLE AT THE LARGER REST CAMPS
Kruger is huge and so are the driving distances.
Make sure you always have enough fuel to get around. The pricing of fuel aligns with the cost found in all surrounding cities.
#17 CAR HIRE IS AVAILABLE AT SKUKUZA Airport
There’s also a garage that can help if you’re unlucky enough to experience a break down in the park.
#18 OFF-ROAD DRIVING IS NOT ALLOWED
You certainly don’t need a 4×4 to self-drive Kruger. There are 4x4 trails that can be booked within the park with the relevant office.
All of the roads are marked and you cannot go off-road at any time.
#19 MOTORBIKES AREN’T ALLOWED INSIDE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
You’ll need a car if you want to self-drive Kruger. All the wildlife within the park is free roaming so you never know what you might come across.
HEALTH & SAFETY WHEN VISITING KRUGER
Kruger National Park is monitored by the National Parks team, but it’s still a wildlife area – and that comes with risks.
Taking a few health and safety precautions will make sure your trip to Kruger is memorable for all the right reasons.
#20 KRUGER IS A MALARIA AREA
The Kruger National Park is home to so many insects one of them being mosquitos which are prevalent during the wet season.
It’s best to speak to your doctor or safari operator about it before you go.
#21 PETS AREN’T ALLOWED
Although you’ll see loads of wildlife in Kruger National Park, there’s zero chance of seeing any cute puppies.
Dogs, cats and other pets aren’t allowed inside the gates.
#22 IT CAN GET HOT
The average daily maximum temperature in summer is 32.3 degrees and the winter average low is 9.1 degrees. Make sure you’re equipped for all weather
OTHER KRUGER NATIONAL PARK FACTS:
#23 KRUGER HAS SIX WALKING TRAILS
Driving isn’t the only way to see wildlife, walking trails give you a better understanding of the fauna and flora as well as wildlife in the park but you’ll need a guide if you want to see them by foot!
#24 THERE’S LOADS TO DO BEYOND SAFARI
Other activities available in Kruger National Park ranging from an (unfenced!) golf course, mountain bike trails to bush braai and sleepover hides. One of the most popular activities being the night drives where you can book to go on an open vehicle game drive after the sun sets.
#25 THERE ARE OVER 250 CULTURAL HERITAGE SITES INSIDE KRUGER.
They include 130 sites with prehistoric rock art, but only three of them are open to the public.
#26 KRUGER’S HISTORY GOES WAY BACK
Even though the park opened to the public in 1927, man explored the area long before.
There’s substantial evidence that Prehistoric man roamed the region between 100000-500000 years ago!
#27 There is an airport in the Kruger Park
Many guests fly into Johannesburg but, if you’re short on time, you can fly straight into Kruger Mpumalanga airport and cut out the long travel distance.
The airport is to the south west of the park, about halfway between the Malelane and Numbi entrance gates. Or you are able to fly directly into Skukuza Airport within the Kruger National Park itself.
#28 KRUGER IS HUGE!
I know you already know this, but you might not know just how massive Kruger National Park is.
In case you were wondering, it’s approximately 350km long and 60km wide or 19480 square kilometres. It is the biggest Game reserve in Southern Africa. Both the countries of the Netherlands and Israel can fit quite easily into it.
For a full view of the what the Kruger National Park has to offer, you can read our Kruger National Park ebook.
So there you have it, we have set the foundation of some facts for you in what will be a great safari to the Kruger National Park, while visiting South Africa on your next adventure out of your country of residence wherever in the world you find yourself.