Choosing the Season
Summer (December – Feb) Mornings are cool but getting very hot by 09h00 and sweltering by 13h00 then cooling down a little at night.
Autumn / Fall (March – May) In March the days tend to still be hot but by April the days are getting cooler with cool evenings – very pleasant time of the year but the grass is still high in most areas.
Winter (June – August) during the day it warms up but night time and early mornings can get very cold.
Spring (September – November) Days can be warm to hot with cool evenings – the best time for us to be in the bush as the grass is the shortest!
But again this is just a rough guide because we have had unusually cold weather in the Kruger over December which photos of kruger national park is South Africa's hot month.
Once you know which season you will be travelling in you can decide what clothing to pack. We do suggest that you pack light as you can always wash some cloths when you are there.
Making Your Booking
Bookings are essential as the camps get extremely busy, especially over the key holiday periods such as Easter, the summer holidays and Christmas. You will need to book your accommodation 11 months in advance, especially if you want to reserve specific bungalows in the camps.
Generally you make your booking by phoning central reservations to find out what accommodation is available and the prices, but you can also check online before you phone. You are able to search up to eleven months ahead and you can see what types of units are available at each camp.
Now that you have decided on your accommodation and chosen your camps and bungalows, go to to start the booking process. You can make an online booking – which is a nice service for after-hours but we prefer phoning because you are able to change your booking within the next 30 days with no penalties payable. After you have paid your deposit you can still make changes at no extra cost, providing you are adding to the booking.
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There are three airports with commercial scheduled flights near Kruger National Park:
- Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) at Nelspruit
- Eastgate Airport at Hoedspruit
- Phalaborwa Airport which is only 2 km from the Phalaborwa gate of the KNP
or you can fly to Johannesburg, hire a car and then drive to the Kruger
Traveling by Road
The distance from Johannesburg to the 9 different gates of the KNP are as follows:
The southern Section of Kruger…
• Crocodile Bridge Gate is 463 km
• Malelane Gate is 426 km
• Numbi Gate 411 km
• Phabeni Gate 430 km
• Kruger Gate 470 km
Malelane gate, Kruger National Park
• Orpen Gate is 490 km
• Phalaborwa Gate is 490 km
• Punda Maria Gate is 550 km
• Pafuri Gate is 600 km
If you are an international visitor you will then need to hire a vehicle, if doing a self-drive safari, and there are many care hire companies to choose from.
There is a daily entrance/conservation fee payable. This charge is per person and per vehicle. The prices vary between locals and foreign visitors and the fees go up every year like the accommodation costs that increase once a year.
To save money on these daily conservation fees buy a Wild Card. This card can be used in the Kruger and Kgalagadi plus a number of other parks in South Africa that are part of or affiliated to SANParks. Your Wild Card is valid for a year and is excellent value for money if you are spending more than 5 or 6 days in the park.
To find out more and get the latest pricing please visit either the or websites.
Check in times
The Kruger Park camp check-in time is 14h00 and the check-out time is 10h00. Please make sure you have all your booking forms and payment confirmation papers with you when checking in, in case of computer problems.
Gate opening and closing times
The Kruger Park entry and camp gates are open from sunrise to sunset. The entry gate and camp gates opening and closing times are as follows:
November to January - Open 4h30 (camp gate) and 5h30 (park entry gate), both close 18h30
February - Open 5h30, close 18h30
March - Open 5h30, close 18h00
April - Open 6h00, close 18h00
May - July - Open 6h00, close 17h30
August - September - Open 6h00, close 18h00
October - Open 5h30, close 18h00
November to January is the Kruger's busiest period hence the camp gates open an hour before the park gates to give residents time to get to their destinations without having to contend with day visitors on the roads. Each camp has a set of wooden owls that will show these times
Left: Gate Owls, Kruger Park
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What to See and Do
If you are a Wildlife Photographer what can you expect to photograph in the Kruger...
Because the Kruger National Park has dense vegetation you may not find animals as quickly as you will in the more open parks of Etosha, Serengeti and Kgalagadi. For this reason we suggest you stay for a longer period.
The Kruger is over 350 kilometers (220 miles) long from north to south and the diverse geology and landscapes of the park make up fifteen different ecozones! The main camps and bushveld camps are situated in these different ecozones so some camps will be more suited to certain animals than others.
If you are looking for the or your best chance of finding and photographing them all will be in the south of the park. If you are looking for the rare roan or eland then the north will be the best.
Some people say that the winter months are the best time for wildlife photography but we have had good sightings all through the year! There are so many animals in the Kruger, of which the majority are habituated to vehicles, that any month can be a good month for game viewing. The big plus for winter is that the grass will be shorter and the bush a bit thinner.
The south can get very busy so it may be better for you to drive along the dirt roads and if you do see a subject you will be able to spend more time photographing it before 'the mob' arrives.
And of course don't forget you can get some great photographs from within the camps! We have photographed vervet monkeys, baboons, squirrels, mongoose, genet, civet, bush babies and many of the from the comfort of our bungalows.
Right: A leopard photographed within Kruger Park
In addition we have photographed the big-five from inside the camps - camps like Olifants, Lower Sabie and Skukuza provide good vantage points to see the animals coming down to the rivers to drink and hunt.
If you are a Macro Photographer what can you expect to photograph in the Kruger...
In summer (December - April) the Kruger is a macro photographer's paradise!
There are millions of insects, many of which come to your bungalow at night because they are attracted to the lights. In addition some camps, like Punda Maria, Berg en Dal, Mopani and Pretoriuskop have walks that you can go on inside the camp perimeter to look for insects.
Alternatively just walk slowly around any camp or picnic site examining the trees, bushes and bungalows - you will find hundreds of wild flowers and insects to photograph!
Impala Lily, Shingwedzi Camp
If you are a Bird Photographer what can you expect to photograph in the Kruger...
Birding is good throughout the Kruger but the south and far north tend to be the most productive bird photography areas. One of the best-known birding spots in the north is the Pafuri picnic site where you could find a whole lot of 'specials'.
These specials should be looked for all along the Levhuvhu river and not just at the picnic site. This Pafuri area has such good bird specials because it is close to the Mozambique coast and the Limpopo River, which acts as a migration corridor for birds that are normally found further north and east.
The bridge over the Levhuvhu River can be particularly rewarding with sightings of the rare Pel's Fishing Owl. You are allowed to get out your vehicle on the Levhuvhu, Letaba and Olifants bridges.
Olifants River Bridge
There are eleven located throughout the park of which we have found Lake Panic hide near Skukuza and Sweni hide near Satara to provide the best bird photography opportunities.
Sweni Hide near Satara, Kruger National Park
All the main camps and bushveld camps are excellent for birding - some cottages have bird baths in front of them that attract many different birds, while at night you should look for the resident owls and nightjars!
A Martial Eagle photographed at the Park's Olifants Camp
If you are a Landscape Photographer what can you expect to photograph in the Kruger...
There are many high view-points such as Nkumbe, Tshanga, Grano Kop, Bobbejaan Krans and some. Some camps provide excellent scenery potential as they are situated high on a hill, like Olifants or because they are next to a river such as camps like Skukuza, Shimuwini and Lower Sabie.
In addition you should look out for trees that you can photograph against the rising or setting sun while out on your game drive and for the wild flowers that carpet some waterholes after good summer rains.
Some camps provide better star trail photography opportunities than others. Crocodile Bridge and Berg en Dal are too close to civilization so you have lights from Komatiepoort and Malelane as well as pollution from the sugar factory spoiling the photographs.
Dead Tree at Sunset, Kruger Park
If you are going on a walking trail and you want to take photos then you need to consider what camera equipment to take with you. You don't want to carry a very heavy camera so I would suggest a set up like I use in the field: I have a Nikon D300 with a 80 to 400mm lens which is easy for me to hand hold when taking photos and easy to carry. I don't need a tripod because it has VR.
The trail camps are rustic and accommodation consists of A-frame huts or tents. There are four units that sleep two each and there is no electricity. Ablution facilities are communal except the Napi tents.
Ablutions consist out of flush toilets and gas geyser showers. There is a communal social area (lapa) with thatched roof or open campfire area. All linen and towels are provided. Cooling facilities consists of a fridge but it has limited space. The cook prepares all meals in a very basic kitchen with washing up basins and storing facilities. A fence surrounds the camp but it is basically only to tell animals and people where the camp boundary is. Water for washing gets pumped from boreholes close to camp.
- Bushman trail is situated in the south western corner of KNP. This wilderness area is characterized by deep quiet valleys and high rocky outcrops with spectacular views. Expect to see elephants and white rhinos. Bushman paintings are a big attraction as well as other cultural and historical sites
- Napi trail, this wilderness area is situated on the undulating granitic landscape between Pretoriuskop and Skukuza rest camps. The area offers scenic walks along the riverbanks with stunning large trees. You may see white rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs or wild dogs.
- Nyalaland trail is the most remote and out of the way Wilderness Trail’s Camp and is situated between Punda Maria camp and Pafuri with the Lanner and Levhuvhu gorges along the Levhuvhu River. The camp is hidden in a secluded spot on the Madzaringwe River with towering cliffs of the Soutpansberg Mountains in the background. Punda Maria Rest Camp is the departure point for this trail and is only 540km or a 5 hour drive from Johannesburg.
- The Olifants Trail departure point is from Letaba Rest Camp. The two rivers are a big attraction especially as both the Olifants and Letaba rivers join before flowing into Mozambique. These rivers are the focal point of the trail experience with a variety of wildlife, including large concentrations of hippo and crocodiles. Also listen out for the call of the African Fish Eagle and keep a lookout for the rare Pels Fishing Owl.
- Sweni Trail departs from Satara Rest Camp. The trail camp is situated on the Sweni river and is surrounded by open plains. A covered lapa allows one to view the surrounding plains and animals throughout the day.
- Wolhuter Trail was the first of all the wilderness trails and is situated roughly between Berg-en-dal, Ship mountain and Afsaal picnic site. It was named after one of the first rangers that were appointed in the establishment of the Sabie Game Reserve in 1902. Harry Wolhuter later in his career killed a lion single handedly with his hunting knife while out on patrol on horseback. The knife and lion skin are on display at the museum in Skukuza camp.
- Metsi Metsi trail is situated in the eastern side of KNP along the Nwaswitsontso river near Tshokwane picnic site. The departure point is Skukuza Rest Camp. The large open camp is situated on a tributary of the Metsi Metsi river at the foothill of the Nwamuriwa mountain.
- 4X4 adventure trails allow you to get off the beaten track and traverse territories previously unknown. It’s more than just seeing animals; it is a unique opportunity to access parts of the park that are rarely explored.
- There are two backpacking trails - the and. The Mphongolo Trail starts from Shingwedzi Camp and is conducted in the large wilderness area between the Shingwedzi and Mphongolo rivers, while the Olifants River Back Pack Trail starts from Olifants Camp. There are no overnight huts on these trails and hikers have to bring tents and sleep in them every night while they are walking the trail. Both trails stretch over 4 days and 3 nights.
- Cyclists now have the opportunity to combine their cycling skills with a wilderness experience at Olifants Camp. Mountain bike trails are designed to bring cyclists closer to nature than the more usual Kruger game drive experience.
- Early morning and afternoon guided walks and are available from most camps, which you can book at the camp reception. Up to eight guests are taken to interesting places in the surrounding wilderness areas adjacent to most of the camps. The walk itself is relaxed and experienced, armed guides use their knowledge of the bush to explain natural wonders.
- You can go on morning/Sunrise Drives where experienced rangers will take you in open 4x4 vehicles. You leave the camp before the camp gates open and the ranger will explain to you the finer details of game spotting, tell you about the Fauna and Flora and talk about the insects, as well as looking out for the Big Five.
- Night drives through the park allow you to see nocturnal creatures such as lions, leopards and hyenas. Tours take a couple of hours and leave usually shortly before the main gates close in the night.
- Skukuza has a library and museum, both of which are worth a visit when you are not out photographing the wildlife
- Letaba has an Elephant Museum that displays the tusks of the 'Magnificent Seven'. These are seven elephants in the Kruger Park that had the biggest ivory tusks. They have all died but have been replaced by a new crop of 'emerging tuskers'.
Kruger's Elephant Museum at Letaba Camp
- Play golf on the 9 hole (18 tee) golf course on the outskirts of Skukuza Rest Camp. The course is not fenced so interesting spectators are a common sight.
- There are three archaeological sites at Thulamela, Masorini and Albasini.
- The honorary rangers often have attractive displays at some of the camps, like this one at Mopani camp where you can watch animal videos, watch live snakes and examine tortoise shells, skulls and other interesting items.
Mopani Honary Rangers Display
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The Kruger shops are all very well stocked! You can buy anything from food and drinks, clothing, toiletries, to first aid items and toys. If you are wanting to take home a gift for your family and friends, then you can buy lovely curios from the Kruger shops - they are packed with wonderful gifts for everyone. Skukuza, Lower Sabie, Berg-En-Dal, Pretoriuskop, Satara, Olifants, Letaba and Mopani have the bigger shops.
Kruger Park's Skukuza Camp Shop
Kruger Park's Olifants Camp Shop
Even though Crocodile Bridge, Orpen, Shingwedzi and Punda Maria are smaller shops, they have a wide variety of items.
Kruger Park's Punda Maria Shop
They all have credit/debit card facilities, but please take cash with you because sometimes their machines are off line and that is when you will need to pay with cash.
There are three Picnic spots in the south of the park that have small shops that sell curios and food - they are Afsaal, Nkuhlu and Tshokwane. If you are wanting to try something different, Nkuhlu picnic site sell the most divine Buffalo pies, but you have to get there early.
Petrol Stations and breakdown stations
All the Kruger main camps have petrol stations that sell leaded, unleaded and diesel fuel. Fill up at the camp you are staying in because sometimes there is a shortage of fuel or there could be a problem at one of the pumps. You do not want to run out of fuel in the park. There are no petrol stations at any of the bush camps, so please fill up at one of the main camps before setting off to the next camp.
Petrol Station at Mopani Camp
There is a breakdown or service yard at Skukuza, for the Southern area and Letaba for the northern area. Please contact your camp reception if you have a problem with your car as these breakdown yards do change location.
Always carry cash with you in case their credit card machines are not working.
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Safari Dining within Kruger Park
Punda Maria Camp Restaurant
All Kruger's main camps and bush camps have braai facilities and most of the main camps have restaurants.
Mopani Camp Restaurant
Some of the restaurants have great views overlooking rivers like Lower Sabie, Skukuza, Olifants and Letaba.
Letaba Camp Restaurant
Quality of food and service tends to fluctuate - sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad so we stopped eating at the restaurants.
Berg-en-Dal Camp Restaurant
Satara Camp Restaurant
Skukuza camp has the unique Selati Train restaurant.
Selati Train Restaurant at Skukuza Camp
This is the original steam train with coach bar
Selati Train Bar, Skukuza Camp
We prefer braaing and sitting under the stars at our bungalow at night because you can watch and photograph the night life that comes to you at your fire. We have been visited by Bush babies, Civets and Genets. In summer we have hundreds of insects coming to the bungalow which is great if you are into macro photography.
Enjoying a Braai at Lower Sabi Tent
Most main camps have a Wooden Banana take away deli where you can buy sandwiches, cool drinks and other small items.
Take-Away Deli at Kruger Park's Satara Camp
There are 15 picnic sites in the Kruger where you can have breakfast or lunch.
A Picnic Site within the Kruger Park
Our favorite picnic sites are Pafuri in the north and Mlondozi in the south as we have always enjoyed the view and animal sightings from these sites.
Mlondozi Picnic Site
All picnic sites in the Kruger have gas skottel braais (mobile frying pans on gas bottle stands) which can be hired for a nominal fee. They also sell cool drinks and have boiling water for your coffee or tea.
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Keeping You Safe
- Do not feed animals for you own safety as well as for the animal's well-being. Most camps have now put the fridges in cages so that the baboons cannot open them - please lock the cage when you go out for a game drive!
- Do not drive through the park at night - this is when predators are most active.
- Stay in your vehicle, you are allowed to get out at designated places like viewpoints or between the yellow lines on high water bridges.
- Keep to the speed limits which are 50km/h on tarred roads and 40km/h on gravel roads.
- Put out your fire after braaing - we have seen two bungalows burn down in the Kruger as the residents did not douse their fires before going to bed and they were woken with flames devouring their thatch roofs!
Bungalow Destroyed by Fire, Olifants Camp
- Please use a torch at night as there are scorpions that come out primarily on windy nights. If you have a UV torch you will be able to get some unusual scorpion photographs as they fluoresce yellow or blue!
- The Kruger Park is in a malaria area, please consult your Doctor for appropriate precautions.
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