Kruger National Park
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The Kruger National Park lies in the north-east of South Africa and runs along the border of Mozambique in the east, Zimbabwe in the north, and the southern border is the Crocodile River. The park covers 20,000 square kilometers and is divided in 14 different ecozones, each supporting different wildlife. It is one of the main attractions of South Africa and it is considered the flagship of South African National Parks (SANParks).
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Points of Interest in Kruger National Park
- Crocodile River view point is nearby the Crocodile Camp travelling north on the main road direction Lower Sabie and then following the sign to the Crocodile River view point on a dirt track for a couple of kilometers. As a reward you can get out of your car and go with a park guide down to the river to watch hippos and crocodiles from a few meters distance.
- Masorini is a restored Iron Age village about 10km from the Phalaborwa gate. It is probably the most accessible of the remnants of stone and iron age life within the park. There is a picnic area and toilets near the bottom of the hill. You need to be accompanied by the guide to tour the village itself. The huts are reconstructed and show the process the civilisation went through to forge iron. These people were not just forging iron for spears and hunting, they had an entire economy based on selling and trading the iron they forged. Brochures say the guided tours are free, and leave at scheduled time. The reality seems to be that tips are required to the attendant who runs the tours, and if you are interested in taking the tour then the attendant will guide you.
About Kruger National Park
The park was established in 1898 by the South African President Paul Kruger as a protected area for wildlife and it opened its gate the general public in 1927 for the first time.
Currently, the park is run by the South African National Parks (SANP) and is probably the best managed African National Park. Wildlife conservation, education and tourism are the main objectives of the KNP. Effective measures to prevent poaching are in place and as a result of this cars are generally inspected upon entering and leaving the park.
The Kruger National Park has now been combined with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and the Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe into a new transfrontier park to be called The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, although border restrictions at crossings still apply, and border posts are not open all day. .
South Africa is located south of the equator and has therefore a reverse order of summer and winter than Europe and North America. Generally is the KNP a dry and hot area, regardless of summer or winter. The South African summer (September -April) in the KNP is hot and sunny with occasional showers and temperature in the shadow range from 18°-30°C. and the winter (May-August) is warm and dry with temperatures ranging from 8°-22°C. September-April Hot and sunny with sporadic thunder showers. Average temp 18-30°C.
The basic way to see the wildlife is to tour the park by car during the daylight hours when the park is open. This is a very effective way of seeing wildlife, even for first timers. There are many other wildlife experiences on offer.
- Bush drives First time visitors may want to consider to book a guided tour through the KNP with local park guides. Bush drives are available from Berg en dal, Letaba, and Skukuza camp and and some other camps, and cost around 170 Rand (~$30USD) per person. Experienced rangers will take you in a 4x4 car to the KNP and explain you the finer details of game spotting.
- Night drives Discovering the KNP on your own is a great adventure, but there are a few things that you can not do without a ranger. One of them is to have a night drive through the park 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.
- Wilderness trail Discover African flora and fauna on foot is an unforgettable lifetime experience and only few places in Africa offer such tours. You join a group of up to 8 mates and 2 rangers on a hiking tour that lasts for 3 days and you learn a lot of things about South African wildlife and there is no way that you could see animals closer than on this tour. Imagine seeing lion, elephant or rhino only a few meters from you. This is a breathtaking experience. Trails follow circular routes and you return each evening to the safety of your camp where dinner awaits. The duration of the trails is three nights and two days, either from Sunday to Wednesday, or from Wednesday to Saturday. Hikers meet at the designated restcamp at 15:30 on Sundays or Wednesdays from where they leave by vehicle for their trail camp after a short briefing.
- Bushman trail Berg en dal camp offers the bushman trail around the Berg en dal camp which is surrounded by granite rocks. Expect to see elephants, white rhinos and buffalos.
- Metsimetsi trail Is best enjoyed during the South African winter, check in at Skukuza camp and you will travel north to the N’waswitsontso river nearby the Satara camp.
- Napi trail Check in at Pretoriuskop to enjoy the Napi trail and you may see white rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs and in the past you saw wild dogs which are rare nowadays.
- Nyalaland trail Check in Punda Maria camp in the north of the KNP to spot crocodiles, elephants and hippos as well as bird watching is going to be on your agenda. Buffalo also frequent the area. Birdlife is prolific.
- Olifants Trail Check in at Letaba Camp. The trail crosses the Olifants River as well as the Letaba River which supports a variety of wildlife, including large predators, elephant and buffalo. Also listen out for the call of the African Fish Eagle.
- Sweni Trail Check in at Satara Camp. The Sweni area is popular, in that, there is a high density of both predator and prey, and a trail experience here give hikers the opportunity to observe lion and even cheetah.
- Wolhuter Trail In the southern part of the park (white rhino country), between the Berg-en-Dal and Pretoriuskop.
- Olifants River Back Pack Trail. 42km, 4 Days, from Olifants to Letaba, no frills, no trace camping, no camps provided, sleep in your own tent out in the park with the wildlife. R10 560 for up to 8 people.
- Landrover Lebombo Eco-Trail
- The 3 brand new 'Transfrontier Trails do Limpopo'
- The Shingwedzi 4x4 Eco-Trail
- The Machampane Wilderness Trail
- The Massingir Hiking Trail
To make a reservation or get more information about Wilderness Trails . This is a great way to discover African fauna and flora, a unforgettable lifetime experience only available in a few places in Africa.</do>
- Walking Safaris (Africa Walking Safaris), 30 Cambridge Avenue, Craighall Park, Johannesburg (eight walking trails throughout the Greater Kruger National Park), ☎ +27(0)82 350 2999, e-mail: email@example.com. Offers specialist walking safaris for groups of up to eight guests, led by two armed and experienced trails guides. Prices vary according to the accommodation type, ranging from rustic tented bush camps to luxury safari lodges. Typically, the day's activities are an early morning walk, setting off at sunrise and covering 5-8 km over 4-6 hours, before returning to camp for brunch. In the afternoon, guests may elect for a walk, or a game drive in an open game-viewing vehicle which departs around 4pm and returns to camp around 7pm. This drive includes a sundowner drinks stop at sunset, followed by a night drive with spotlights to view Kruger's nocturnal wildlife. US$200-600 per night.
- African Big 5 Safaris, PO Box 13539, Sinoville, Gauteng 0129, South Africa, ☎ +27 84 381 5775. African Big 5 Safaris offer a variety of safari options into Kruger National Park and Olifants Reserve that are suitable for different budgets (from R800 or $116 USD for 2 nights / 3 days tented safari at the Olifants Reserve to R7000 or $1020 USD for 2 nights / 3 days luxury safari at the Kruger National Park). They also offer one day safaris for those pressed for time, as well as the multi day safaris that take you deep into the Kruger National Park territory. For more detailed information on safari packages and current rates, please check out their website at www.big5safaris.net
The two guides Marcel and Retief are also the co-owners of the company. They are experienced, attentive, and safety conscious. Their knowledge of animal behavior and scientific facts is outstanding!
Other than wildlife
- Play golf at the 9 hole golf course in Skukuza, originally designed for the local personnel it was recently opened to the public. Please bring your own golf clubs with you and enjoy this very special golf course. Considering the average temperature in the KNP this is one of the toughest 9 hole golf courses in the world.
For self catering, there are designated picnic areas in the camps, as well as some picnic areas away from the camps (with an armed attendant). The picnic areas have (braai) barbecue facilities and tables.
The camp shops sell food to barbecue and drinks at quite reasonable prices, as well as firewood. They only sell take-away alcohol to those who have proof they are staying in the park.
Many of the camps have cafeterias and restaurants, but don't plan on any variety between the camps. The menu is the same at each camp, with a range of only 10 or so dishes. Most visitors familiar with the park are self-catering in their lodges or at the picnic areas.
Lodges in the private areas of the park and outside the park will cater food, often arranged in well-sheltered outdoor restaurants with open fireplace, and barbecue South African specialties such as:
- wart hog sausage
- springbok tenderloin
- ostrich steak
- Biltong made of game, like Kudu, Zebra or Elephant
Alcohol cannot be brought into the park. Take away alcohol cannot be bought from the park shops, unless you are staying in the park. The camp restaurants and bars sell beer, wine and spirits.
The bars in camp aren't crowded of an evening with people recalling tales of wildlife seen during the day. Generally people aren't visiting Kruger for the nightlife, and are more likely to spend the evening with a braai ready for an early start the following day.
Bigger camp sites such as the Lower Sabie and Skukuza have comfortable shopping facilities and you can buy foodstuffs and souvenirs, as well as some other travel items you may have forgotten. The range is more limited at the smaller or more remote camps. It is easy for them to run out of particular items, so you have to make do with what is there. Fresh milk particularly can be in short supply.
Artistic wood carvings can be found there as well and is usually of reasonable quality and cheaper than in Cape Town. Carvings can be found in and around the gates to the Kruger National Park as well.
Animal skins and rugs are available as well.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Kruger National Park on Wikivoyage.