What Is The Difference Between Kruger Park And The Greater Kruger Area?
Updated: Jun 2
Many guests ask us what the difference is between Kruger National Park and the Greater Kruger area? Located in the north-eastern corner of South Africa these two areas are the country’s most popular safari destinations. Kruger National Park is our oldest national park in the world, which has been focused on conservation for over a century. The Greater Kruger area is also known as The Extended Kruger Park, since this includes private game reserves that form an enclosed ecosystem surrounded by nature.
What are the main differences between Kruger National Park and the Greater Kruger?
There are 35 conservation areas between Kruger Park and the Greater Kruger region that contains 20 private reserves. While Kruger covers an area of 19,485 square kilometers in Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, The Greater Kruger region encompasses an area of 1,800 square kilometres of biodiversity within the national boundaries to preserve the roles these areas play in supporting plant and animal life.
State-owned versus privately-owned:
Kruger National Park is a state-owned national park. On the other hand, the Greater Kruger is made up of a collection of private game reserves located in an open grassland region near Kruger National Park. The Greater Kruger represents all the lands in between the Kruger Private Game Reserves.
Unrestricted versus restricted access:
In 1993, Kruger National Park and the Greater Kruger Park were separated by rich borders. With the removal of this artificial barrier, animals have been able to freely roam between the two protected areas.
Visitors need to make sure they know which entrance they are travelling through. Kruger National Park and the Greater Kruger are both ecotourism destinations, but travellers can usually only enter via one gate or another with separate road networks.
Guests staying at a private game reserve in Greater Kruger can freely visit the Kruger Park while the reverse does not apply. Access to the private reserves of Greater Kruger is restricted to paying guests.
Great Kruger safari operators have unrestricted access to the public roads of Kruger Park. That said, to reach Kruger National Park, your guide has to drive you one of the Kruger Park entrance gates, i.e., there is no short-cut road through private reserves into Kruger Park. In general, Kruger National Park is anywhere from one hour to an hour's drive away from the Great Kruger private reserves.
Inclusive versus exclusive:
Kruger Park caters for everyone’s budget from rest camps to safari lodges on private concession areas within the park.
Kruger National Park allows for public access to wildlife sightings while Kruger Park Private Game Reserves are generally smaller, more intimate, avoid the crowds. People interested in spending their safari close to animals can choose these private game reserves within preserved areas of the Greater Kruger Park. The Safari Lodges and Camps are not governed by national park rules.
Budget vs luxury accommodation:
The accommodations in Kruger National Park range from camping to traditional bungalows and family guest houses and huts. There is also some lodges in private areas within the park. The accommodation is more affordable and targeted mainly towards self-catering travelers. The camps and lodges within Greater Kruger area are more luxurious; smaller, offer more activities and are fully inclusive.
Self-drive vs open safari vehicles:
Kruger Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa. The majority of visitors to this game reserve drive their own vehicles. The Kruger National Park itself has no rules on self-drives, with most game rangers based out of the Greater Kruger Area. There are also distinct differences between Kruger National Park and the Greater Kruger Area - for example, car-based game spotting means traffic jams are more common there than at the flagship reserve.
Public roads versus Off-road driving:
Kruger National Park visitors are restricted to game-viewing on public roads. It’s impossible to drive off-road. In the Greater Kruger Area, guides can drive off-road to get up close to wildlife sightings
Day drives versus night drives:
Kruger Park has strict opening and closing times. Visitors are not allowed to drive after dark. With Kruger-area game drives, guests leave late afternoon for a late-afternoon game drive, returning after dark. The Greater Kruger does not restrict times on its game drives.
What are the main similarities?
Kruger National Park and Kruger Park are both protected wilderness regions, but one is without question the most biologically diverse in the world.
Incredible wildlife sightings:
The private game reserves of Greater Kruger are unfenced and open to the Kruger Park. With wildlife roaming freely, wildlife viewing in both Kruger Park and the greater Kruger site is an amazing experience.
Which is better? Kruger National Park or the Greater Kruger area?
Why choose Kruger National Park for a safari?
Kruger National Park is an iconic safari destination. It is the oldest and largest national park in South Africa, and one of the country’s most popular tourism venues. The park offers something for everyone; from budget-friendly self-catering accommodation to safari lodges in private concessions.
At certain times of the year, Kruger National Park can get very crowded. For an even more exclusive safari experience, consider booking a safari lodge in one of the private concessions within the park.
Why choose the Greater Kruger for a safari?
The private reserves of Greater Kruger offer a much more authentic and exclusive safari experience not to dissimilar to lodges and camps in Botswana and Tanzania.
At Kruger, the number of people in safari vehicles is limited to four and six people. Camps and lodges are quieter and more intimate. It’s perfect for photography enthusiasts that want to capture exactly what they want with limited disturbance.