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About the Kruger Park


We have included more detailed information on the various aspects of visiting the Kruger Park below. Scroll to the relevant section you require more information on.

The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa covering an area of 19,485 square kilometers (7,523 square miles to our American friends) and finds itself within the borders of two South African provinces, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. From north to South the Kruger Park extends for 360 kilometers (220 miles) and has been calculated to have an average of 65 Kilometers (40 miles) in width, estimated to be similar in size to Wales or Israel.
The Kruger Park is separated on both North and South Boundaries by two rivers; the Limpopo flows through the north acting as a natural border separating South Africa from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana and to the south we would find the Crocodile River.
The Kruger National Park now forms part of the Limpopo Trans-Frontier Park which links the Kruger national park to the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique as well as the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, as to keep the major Southern African conservation sites in close co-operation.
The Kruger also forms part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere which has since made the Kruger Park a part of the UNESCO world heritage sites.
The space in which the Kruger currently exists was once the last stretch of wilderness and existed as a sort of wild frontier. The areas surrounding what is now the Kruger Park were occupied by European settlers or African Hunter-Gatherers and as time went on groups of people moved ever forward, encroaching on the wild frontiers. Many Animals were pushed out of their homes or culled in order to placate human settlement and as a result many animal populations were driven near to endangerment while other Animals were split and forced to separate regions in South Africa.
As a result of the endangerment of wildlife; concerned South African conservationists, importantly JL van Wyk and RK Loveday, sought to repair the damage that settlements caused to natural wildlife by cordoning off a section of South Africa. By 1898 their plans had come to full fruition and the proclamation of a conservancy for wildlife between the Sabie and Crocodile River came to be the first move in a set of motions that led to the now Kruger National Park.
The Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves
The Kruger Park was later extended, by the then President Paul Kruger, from the Sabie River in the north to the Crocodile River in the south as well as an increase in its width from the Logies river to the eastern Mozambique border. The reserve was named the Sabie Game reserve with an important historical figure at the helm a one, Major James Stevenson-Hamilton took over much of the parks administrating and saw to it that much of the surrounding land was added to the Kruger Park’s size including many farms and settlements. The prelude to tourism happened by way of a train that was started and set to stop over at the Sabie Game Reserve for an overnight stay; the train went from the border of Mozambique in Komatipoort to a town in the South African province of Limpopo called Tzaneen. The park boasted a range of tours and safaris around the park and because of this its fame and following grew substantially and gave the South African government more reason to proclaim the Sabie Game reserve as a National park. In May 1926 the Union of South Africa passed the National Parks act and renamed the Sabie Game reserve to the Kruger National Park in Honour of the famous Union President.
These are the origins of the now famous Kruger National park, where the land had come from and why the Union of South Africa had named it so.
The start of Tourism in the park
One year after the National parks proclamation in 1926 tourism started with only three cars entering the park which soon became 180 cars in the year 1928 and an even larger exponential jump to 850 cars in 1929. This exponential jump proved to the Government of the time that they were sitting on a gold mine that was waiting to be further developed but there was a conflict of interest as tourism grew, as the worry of conservation became a problem. This was later circumvented when it was later defended that the park would be used to educate and show people the pristine nature of the parks in tandem with the thriving wildlife and in turn would further the much needed conservationist ideals.
Tourism was initially raised as an issue in 1918 and was only dealt with in full by 1923 when the South African Railways initiated a train route that went into the Kruger Park’s Lowveld and through the bordering Mozambican city of Maputo. This railway line proved monumental to the Kruger’s tourism industry as it brought potential tourists out in droves to witness this ground breaking Kruger experience.
With Tourism and the proclamation now in full swing the board of the Kruger National Park held a meeting in which it was decided that in order to boost tourism in the area they would build a main road through the park with a number of roads leading in and out of the hinterlands of the park. Tourism soon became a major part of the Kruger Parks income as many tourists paid for the Aid of guides and multiple park resources and facilities.
It was recognised that the park was lacking in tourist sleeping facilities and accommodations so in early 1927 the board worked in co-operation with the South African Rail Road to build and equip the Kruger Park with sleeping facilities and rest quarters for potential visitors. The need for services as well as amenities grew and soon restaurants as well as security was added to important rest spots around the park in order to assure quality and control to ensure guest safety. The Kruger Park became a booming business for the Board and for the local government as it brought in droves of people who were keen to see what the Kruger National Safari Park had to offer. Bridges like the crocodile bridge were petitioned to be built as well as a railway track going through much of the park itself; the park saw exponential growth in car visitors and in unaccompanied visits.
The early accommodations
The commencement of accommodations started with the building of the first three “rest-huts” with an additional six in store for future plans. These plans for building took some time but eventually these plans had come to be and with them came the visions of grandeur for rest camps the size of current day rest camps. Those in charge of building these spaces saw the potential in building the camps to be bigger and more accommodating and some of the smaller camps like Letaba and Satara were envisioned to become as large as the biggest camp at the time.
By 1929 there was a mass move to increase the amount of accommodations offered by the park and it was done with full intent of turning the Kruger National Safari Park into a world-renowned tourist attraction. Guesthouses were built out of wood and steel at the lower Sabie camp and a multitude of Rondavels (round thatched hut like buildings you will likely see on your travels to Kruger) were built at the Satara, Letaba and Balule camps.
Tourist amenities grew by the early 1930s and kept growing throughout much of the parks history, huts and smaller buildings were built on the banks of the Crocodile River and tents started to make their way into what was offered to tourists and soon tented camps as well as rondavels were offered in the park for all tourist accommodations. Rest camps comprising of tents became common use by tourists and park workers alike, a rest camp comprising only of tents was built by the Tsende River and later a similar camp style was erected at the Shingwedzi rest camp made entirely as a tented camp.
The final camps to be added to the Kruger Parks facilities were opened before 1946, almost 30 years after the Kruger Park’ board of directors initiated the move into planned infrastructure and tourist facilities. The last two camps were camps built in the Lower Sabie and Pafuri regions of the park, the first of these comprised of three chalets with six bedrooms to a chalet and was built in a protective U-shape in order to block off parts of the camp to keep it secure from wild animals. A tented camp was built by the Luvhuvu River with an accompanying picnic area but this soon changed with and infestation of river born mosquitos as well as perennial flooding.
The development of these facilities was done on much of a trial and error basis, many of the directors at the park overlooked pertinent details and many of the board’s decisions lacked a sense of insight into future possibilities for the park. One issue can be highlighted as the quintessence of such behaviour and that is the oversight of a councilor Oswald Pirow who deemed that tourists would not need the offered facilities like rondavels and chalets but that they would rather camp. This lead the board to push an act that stipulated a building style that detracted much from the accommodations and offered the most basic of amenities to guests; one year later this oversight had already become a problem and this stipulation was retracted faster than it was enacted. The progression of the parks facilities and amenities took much time and effort but through all this learning the Kruger park had become one of the most well-governed and looked after national parks with a world renowned directorate board.
Until the proclamation to make the Sabie Reserve the Kruger National park there was a severe lack of infrastructure in the area with the most common form of transport being Wagons or the aforementioned railway line. The start of the road building was initiated in 1927 and took on full effect in this year, some of the bush was removed to make space for the allocated road space and the very first car-friendly road were those that went from white river to Pretoriuskop and through to the main Kruger gate of Skukuza and further through the park to Satara and the Crocodile bridge. The construction of this type of infrastructure was highly lucrative and aided in keeping the region well visited and maintained, further roads were built into the Kruger’s hinterlands through the Crocodile Bridge and further down to the lower Sabie and the Olifants gorge camp. The network of roads to and from different camps grew with tourism and built amenities in order to facilitate infrastructure and development in the area.
The road between Skukuza and the lower Sabie was completed in 1931 and the total span of these roads at the time was at 617 kilometers (386 miles) by 1929. Finally by 1934 there was an approximate 1200 kilometers (800 miles) of completed road in the park and a plethora of new roads as well as diversions from the main road to rest areas and viewing spots.
The final result of the road networks was a major success as many of the roads were well maintained and well-used and by 1946 the final routes and roadways were completed. The board of directors were under heavy financial restraint and this coupled with the dense bush and intense workload it is a wonder that the roadways were completed in their entirety and at the vast expanse to which these roadways reached. The Board of directors often went to the board of directors at the South African railroad and sought financial aid from the Transvaal republic. The Board at the Kruger Park was successful in acquiring loans and financial aid from the Transvaal Republic as they saw the potential in investing their money into the Kruger National Park and found major success in doing so. The South African Railroad were quite different in their approach, they denied the Board of the Kruger park the financial aid and further denied them construction of future railroads going into the Kruger Park. Roads became imperative to the operating of the Kruger National Park and the need for financial aid became dire as the Parks operations and guest list became larger form year to year. One of the most peculiar scenarios in which the government aided the Board of the Kruger National Park was when an appeal for financial aid was made and through the arduous process of proving its necessity the Board of the Kruger National Park managed to find its ally in the South African Defence Force, a border road was needed to patrol the border between Mozambique and South Africa and so a border unit and tarred road was created from Punda Maria to Crocodile Bridge.
The move to have all the roads tarred was met with much resistance and was by and large unsuccessful when the move to apply to tar the roads was initiated in 1937. Tarring roads was an expensive process and to do so in a region as dense and difficult to get to as the inner workings of the park made it even more so. When the Chairperson of the Board for the Kruger Park found out about this move to start tarring the roads he commented by saying that the park was becoming too much like a resort rather than a nature conservancy. With the help of the Pretoria University, however, those in favour of improving the roads managed to justify that the sand that would be upset by constant traffic on the sand roads would disturb the grazing areas of certain fauna and that the roadside plants would become hazardous to the animals that would eat it. With this new evidence the board’s director felt it now necessary to concede and so the board made a move to take a loan from the Government at the time in order to tar the roads. After all of this, however, the move to tar these inner roads ended in failure and the roads were not tarred until much later in the park’s future.
Only by 1965 did the park see the final push to tar all the important roads and routes through the Kruger, the Naphe Road between Pretoriuskop and Skukuza started this massive move to finish the tarring process. The final product of all of this is 850 Kilometers in tar roads today.
The Kruger Park’s Warden James Stevenson-Hamilton retired in April of 1946 and was replaced by J. A. B Sandenburgh, a Colonel in the South African air force. With Sandenburgh at the helm the park saw the entire perimeter boundary of the park fenced off and with this a boundary from all sides of the park was maintained in order to control wildlife. The fence was created in order for patrols about the boundary to be done with ease in order to curb and watch any potential poaching rackets. One of the saddest outcomes of this was the displacement of 1500 of the Makuleke people of the Makuleke area, the Makuleke people were forcibly moved to a region south of the Kruger Park. This was done so that the Kruger’s board of directors could integrate more land into the Kruger parks size.
With the new South African government in 1996 the Makuleke people were able to reclaim much of their ancestral home and 19,842 hectares was afforded to the Makuleke in Reparations. Today the Makuleke use the land in tandem with the tourist industry and have invested in game lodges and other tourist activities.
The Kruger national park is home to a plethora of cultural heritage sites ranging between 250-260 known sites as well as 130 rock art sites with two major archeological sites being the Thulamela and Masorini. This evidence shows us that the area of the Kruger National Park was home to prehistoric man was well as many cultures from today. There is evidence of Inguni speaking people moving through and subsisting on the area as well as evidence to prove that the region was inhabited by Khoe-San and a lot of the rock art being that of Khoi-San style.
The Stone Age
There is evidence of stone relics and tools being found by archeologists working in the park which led many to believe that the Khoi-San people inhabited and migrated to the park as early as 300 000 BC when the region had acclimatised and became more hospitable. The archeological digs of stone age tools coupled with the undoubtedly Khoe-San style rock art leads us to believe that the regions from Mpumalanga to northern most Limpopo was inhabited by many of these people and shows evidence of a spread of certain stone age ideals as groups of Khoi – San fragmented and migrated throughout Southern Africa. The Khoe-San groups in the region moved and fragmented and migrated as far west as Cape Town whiles many of the Khoi -San groups disappeared in the early fifteen hundreds when the ancestors of Present day Bantu speaking groups moved into the region.
The mass migration of the Bantu-Speaking Peoples
The start of the Iron Age brought with it a mass migration of Bantu-Speaking groups into the interior of South Africa and with them a new means of trade, industry and cultures that extended through centuries of learning and teaching. Bantu speaking people is an umbrella term we use in History when talking about the origins of many of our South African groupings and languages, the Bantu identifier includes thousands of different groups and lineages as well as comprising the origin of more than half of South Africa’s 11 official vernacular languages. The Bantu speaking people are recorded to have come far north of South Africa into the deep interiors of South Africa and further down to the eastern and southern coastlines, the term Bantu does neglect to give the detail to each grouping and sub-grouping of families, cultures and lineages but we use the terminology to work in a broader sense and make the understanding of the history somewhat more accessible. With their migration the Bantu-speaking people brought with advancements in metallurgy as well as trade and micro-economies that had early systems of currency and trade. Many of these Iron Age settlements were built closer to rivers and sources of water but far enough away to keep from the annual flood-lines and perennial flood growth.
Iron Age settlers and their ecosystem
The mass migration of people from one region to another leads us to ask further questions about what these people did to affect their eco-system and what sort of relationship they had with their environment. Agriculture did not feature in much of the day to day for Iron Age settlers in the Kruger Park region but domestication of animals and hunting were common ways in which groups would sustain their living in certain regions. Domestic animals were the most taxing on local ecosystems because of the destructive grazing systems wherein animals would graze upon a land until said land had nothing left to offer and then moving into a new region with untouched grasslands. This often left lands desolate for a time and meant that the recovery time of these lands took much longer and in some cases these lands stayed as such. There are heavy indications of hunting but hunting could not have been done to a degree in which there would have been lasting effects on ecology, luckily domestic animals made up the majority of one groups food source and so hunting was done more to one groups needs than an exertion of such. There are signs of the ecology of the region changing in some ways, the evidence of bush pigs in the region indicate that the climate in the region was temperate enough to sustain a bush pigs lifestyle, the change in ecology could have led to the bush pig either migrating or dying out in the region. When one thinks of early human existence in regions like this one often neglects to mention the effects humans have on their environment, while the changes were not drastic in the instance of Iron Age settlements in the Kruger region there is still undeniable proof of their being changes nonetheless.
Communities in the 19th Century
The inhabitants of the lower-Mozambican and upper Kruger region were comprised mainly of a group called the Tsonga who were later fully subjugated and incorporated into a larger group and soon formed part of the groups that were gathered under the umbrella term of Bantu-speaking. These Bantu groups were susceptible to raids from both Zulu and Swazi factions from the south and this only stopped when a new threat of Dutch hunters became an issue in the annual lives of the Bantu inhabitants of this Kruger Park region. The lifestyle of the Bantu people living in this area changed from a more sessile style of living to a nomadic life in which groups would move to new lands or alternate between regions between the summer and winter months. Even in these nomadic settings many found ways to farm on a seasonal basis or grow crops and harvest them as they moved to their alternative regions. The biggest issue in all of this was the spread of disease and the blight put on cattle and wildlife, when groups move they bring with new diseases and often when these are carried from one endemic species to a separate, unconnected one, the diseases could be bubonic in nature. Much of the wildlife in these regions was susceptible to this as well as livestock like Nguni cattle.
The Kruger National park has a plethora of Animals to offer those who have a love for all things feathered and furry. The big five are undoubtedly number one on the list of animals that most want to see and the Kruger park boasts an estimated: 1500 Lions, 17 000 Elephant, 48 000 Buffalo and 1000 Leopard throughout the park. The only species in the big five not mentioned are the black rhino, the black rhino have been hunted near to extinction and for that reason estimates and even the rhino are kept secret as to avoid the temptations of poachers.
Besides the beloved big five there are 147 known mammal species living in the park with more than 490 different bird species for those of you who love our fine feathered friends, as a whole the park houses 348,460 of the larger more sought after antelope, reptiles, feline, canine and big five animals.
The larger carnivores roaming the park are made up of Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Wild Dog and Spotted Hyena and of the classic game there are the Black and White Rhino, Giraffe, Elephant, Hippopotamus, Buffalo, warthog and a plethora of different antelope.
The park plays home to 2000 plant species which includes 340 different species of trees, the park has 16 macro zones which are regions with different climates and slightly different biomes to neighbouring regions of the park. With Mopane veld, desert plains, grasslands and thick shaded lowveld there are many different environments to experience in one route through different regions of the Kruger National park.
Your safety and enjoyment of the Kruger National Park is of paramount importance to us. To ensure a pleasant and successful Safari, it is essential that you adhere strictly to the regulations which are intended for your protection and enjoyment. Kindly click on the link below for a comprehensive set of Park rules.
Worries of Malaria are often expressed by those visiting the Kruger Park, Malaria is a disease that is very possible to pick up while in the park and the park has been noted as one of the two South African Parks situated in Malaria risk areas. Malaria is, however, not a common occurrence even in the summer months of visiting the park. Malaria risk is mainly found near the borders of Mozambique and that the contraction of said disease is a highly unlikely outcome of your visit to our park.
Malaria is a mosquito borne disease transmitted exclusively through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. The highest risk period is between November and April – the end of the summer rainy season. Following the bite of an infected mosquito, an individual may remain asymptomatic for 12 – 35 days, depending on the species of malaria. This is known as the incubation period.
Malaria should be suspected in patients with any unexplained fever after visiting an area where malaria is endemic. The symptoms of malaria include:
  •   Fever
  •   Chills
  •   Sweating
  •   Headaches
  •   Body aches
  •   Tiredness
  •   Stomach problems – These can include:
  •      Loss of appetite
  •      Nausea and vomiting
  •      Belly pain
  •      Diarrhea
  •   Skin that looks yellow – This is called “jaundice”
  •   Cough
  •   Fast heart rate or breathing
When malaria becomes severe, it can cause symptoms such as:
  •   Confusion
  •   Hallucinations
  •   Seizures
  •   Dark or bloody urine
Most types of mosquito that are encountered will not carry the malaria parasite and if an individual is bitten it does not mean that they will contract malaria.
Prevention of Malaria starts with protecting oneself from bites which are likely to occur between 5pm and 5am. Preventative measures one can take would be: Staying indoors, applying mosquito repellent, covering exposed skin with clothing, sleeping with a mosquito net or burning anti-mosquito coils and incenses.
Mosquito nets are fitted in all Kruger accommodations and other preventative means are offered at the park and many of the parks various shops and centers.
Malaria Prophylactic drugs can be acquired from most local clinics or medication distributors but the decision to take the prophylactic must be decided upon with utmost caution. The prophylactic has various side effects to which some people may have different reactions to, the decision to take said drug should be taken up with a medical doctor or should be well researched before one starts the prophylactic course. The three main prophylactic courses one can take for Malaria in South Africa are: Doxycycline, Atovaquone/Proguanil and Mefloquine.
There is no guarantee even after taking the prophylactic that one won’t contract Malaria as the prophylactic does not act as a guaranteed preventative measure but rather as a buffer that helps decrease the likeliness of contraction. If it is suspected that someone has contracted malaria or falls ill to unexplained fevers within 12-35 days of visiting a malaria prone region it is advised you do a blood test as it is the only way to guarantee accurate results.
Accessibility Features Overviews for some of the camps in Kruger Park
Accessible Activities & Facilities
  • Frequently visited destinations in the park have made their facilities accessible and have ensured good general access and parking spaces have been allocated to the physically challenged.
  • There are also 10 accessible unisex communal ablutions among the various campsite ablutions throughout the park.
  • There are a variety of accessible boardwalks, trails, hides, museums, picnic sites and other visitor destinations throughout the park and readers are encouraged to view the individual rest camp profiles or the summary of gates, hides and picnic sites to get an idea of what destinations are suitable.
Kruger has 12 main rest camps, 5 bushveld camps, 2 bush lodges and 4 satellite camps.
Emergencies and Contact Information
  •   Kruger National Park Admin Offices: +27 (0)13 735 4000
  •   See each camp’s General page for Contact Information or Camp Telephone and Fax Numbers
  •   Clinic Phalaborwa Private Hospital:
  •   Tel: +27 (0)15 101 3000/3059
  •   Website: http://www.clinix.co.za/
  •   Address: 86 Grosvenor Crescent, Phalaborwa, 1390
  •   GPS Coordinates: 23° 52′ 28.64″ S; 29° 30′ 44.72″ E
Office Hours
See each camp for details.
There are also a few exclusive private lodges that have been granted concessions within the Kruger National Park. The Kruger National Park is a must see for animal lovers and tourists of all sorts and kinds, local South African’s often visit the park for a few days in their own vehicles with overnight stays in one of the many public rest camps or private Kruger approved guest lodges and camps as well.
The northern regions of the park are less developed and offer the more adventurous explorers dense bush and some of the most arduous mud trails with wilder camping and sleeping arrangements.
Upon arriving at your booked guest camp, occupation can be expected by 14:00 but not guaranteed; on the day of departure accommodation must be vacated by 10:00.
Late Arrivals
Late arrivals are only allowed in cases of emergency (proof and valid reason required) until 21:00 for guests with pre-booked accommodation at certain camps within 10km distance from the relevant gate. An extra late arrival fee will be charged which is payable at the gate. No late arrivals are allowed at Pafuri, Phalaborwa or Phabeni Gates or any other gates for camps more than 10km away.
  • The late arrival fee for Skukuza camp is R500, valid from 1 November 2013.
  New Rule on travelling through KNP to and from Mozambique
  •  As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night.
  •  Besides a bank (only open Monday to Friday and Saturday morning) at Skukuza and an ATM at Skukuza and Letaba, no cash withdrawal facilities are available in the Park.
  • Day visitors will no longer be allowed to bring or consume alcohol in public areas such as parking lots, picnic sites, wildlife viewing areas or roads, gates and all other areas designated as public.
  • The restrictions will not apply to overnight visitors who will be allowed to bring in own alcohol for consumption in the privacy of their booked accommodation and the restaurants. Like day visitors, overnight visitors will be bound by the same rules of not drinking in public.
  • Fuel stations within the Kruger National Park accept legitimate petrol/fuel/garage cards, any VISA/MasterCard cards or cash as a form of payment.
  • Most rest-camps have retail facilities and restaurants. Tariff prices do not include meals.
  •  Vehicle fuel is available in the main rest camps in Kruger.
  •  Currently bedding is supplied in all accommodation.
  • Cooking Utensils and Refrigeration are provided in most accommodation units. Exceptions will be indicated while booking.
  • Adult is 12 years or above.
  • Child (2-11 years), under 2 years – Gratis
  • All rates can be discounted at the discretion of the park or rest camp management. (The travel trade will not be subject to these discounts but rather to the negotiated agreement. Pensioners attention is drawn to existing pensioner discounts.)
  • Additional Person Supplements are applicable to those units where number of beds exceeds the base occupancy, if these beds are occupied:
  • A maximum of only one caravan or mobile home or park home is allowed on each campsite.
  • No animals may be brought into a National Park
  • Consult our reservation staff or watch press for details for out of season discounts and promotions.
  •  Plan your trip – do not try and cover too great a distance. The Kruger National Park is a massive tract of land and frequently visitors try to cover too much ground. Slow travel and regular stopping produces much more action than covering a lot of ground.
  • Early mornings and evening time are usually the most productive game viewing periods.
  • Remember to bring a camera, binoculars, bird and wildlife reference books, a hat and sunscreen lotion. Also remember to take along medicines such as anti-histamine and lotion for insect stings and bites.
●   Do not leave any food unattended, as thieving monkeys and baboons are a constant threat.
  • Small rodents such as Rats and mice as well as bats, snakes and insects are common in the park and many of the rest camps and rest area. These small friends are more often than not harmless but in the event of a dangerous or harmful situation it is advised to call a park caretaker or official to help.These animals often find themselves attracted to the Parks buildings and locales for the nooks and crannies many of them offer as well as the lighting and food brought with human life. Insects are usually attracted to the lights we use and leave on while you might find small mammals pilfering your food.The smaller creatures like bats and small rodents are usually found in camps and the like but are scared to come out of their homes and are of no harm to those staying in the Park approved living spaces.It must be noted that many of these little friends are imperative to a natural and healthy ecosystem and because of this must be respected by visitors. The park has many different species of Rodents and bats ranging between 70 different species of the two.When visiting the park it is important to acknowledge that you may just encounter one of these little friends and that being aware gives you a good idea for what you may experience.
    Spiders, Snakes & Scorpions
    The more dangerous of our little friends like Spiders, snakes and scorpions are usually quite territorial but won’t harm you if you respect a distance and don’t get agitated when in their company. Many of these critters are active during the night and because of this it is imperative to your Kruger stay that when you decide to walk in and around your living arrangements you bring a torch to light up your path and avoid any unwanted interactions. If you do come across a scorpion or snake in your rest area or in your living quarters don’t be afraid to report it to the manager or receptionist in charge.
    Monkeys, Baboons & Bushbuck
    Monkeys, baboons and bushbuck are common in many of the living areas and rest areas in the Kruger Park mainly because they understand that with people come easy food. These animals are in no way as docile as they may appear and feeding them simply sets a dangerous precedent that many animals can get violent for. If fed these animals become dependent on this way of feeding and find it then difficult to subsist in the park without humans giving them food. Do not aggravate or play with the monkeys and baboons especially and if you are staying at the park or leaving the car for some time make sure to lock and close all windows and doors because monkeys and baboons will take whatever food they can find.

  •   New Rule on travelling through KNP to and from Mozambique
  • All accommodation, ablution and kitchen facilities are serviced by cleaning staff on a daily basis.
  • As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night.
  • Besides a bank (only open Monday to Friday and Saturday morning) at Skukuza and an ATM at Skukuza and Letaba, no cash withdrawal facilities are available in the Park.
  •  Day visitors will no longer be allowed to bring or consume alcohol in public areas such as parking lots, picnic sites, wildlife viewing areas or roads, gates and all other areas designated as public.
  •  The restrictions will not apply to overnight visitors who will be allowed to bring in own alcohol for consumption in the privacy of their booked accommodation and the restaurants. Like day visitors, overnight visitors will be bound by the same rules of not drinking in public.
  • Fuel stations within the Kruger National Park accept legitimate petrol/fuel/garage cards, any VISA/MasterCard cards or cash as a form of payment.
  •  Most rest-camps have retail facilities and restaurants. Tariff prices do not include meals.
  • Vehicle fuel is available in the main rest camps in Kruger.
  • Currently bedding is supplied in all accommodation.
  • Cooking Utensils and Refrigeration are provided in most accommodation units. Exceptions will be indicated while booking.
  • Adult is 12 years or above.
  •  Child (2-11 years), under 2 years – Gratis
  •  All rates can be discounted at the discretion of the park or rest camp management. (The travel trade will not be subject to these discounts but rather to the negotiated agreement. Pensioners attention is drawn to existing pensioner discounts.)
  • Additional Person Supplements are applicable to those units where number of beds exceeds the base occupancy, if these beds are occupied:
  •  A maximum of only one caravan or mobile home or park home is allowed on each campsite.
  •  No animals may be brought into a National Park
  • Consult our reservation staff or watch press for details for out of season discounts and promotions.
  •  Plan your trip – do not try and cover too great a distance. The Kruger National Park is a massive tract of land and frequently visitors try to cover too much ground. Slow travel and regular stopping produces much more action than covering a lot of ground.
  • Early mornings and evening time are usually the most productive game viewing periods.
  • Remember to bring a camera, binoculars, bird and wildlife reference books, a hat and sunscreen lotion. Also remember to take along medicines such as anti-histamine and lotion for insect stings and bites.
●   Do not leave any food unattended, as thieving monkeys and baboons are a constant threat.
The Kruger Park is filled with things to do with the most major activity being game drives and wildlife sightings, a multitude of living arrangements with a beautiful South African lowveld to set the tone for your Kruger experience. Eco Trails, day walks and guided activities as well as pool facilities and game drives, the Kruger Park has an array of nature experiences to fill up the day/s that you’ll be spending in the park.
Wilderness Trails
Very little of South Africa is still considered wild while a whopping 50% of the Kruger park is still considered very much so and in this 50%, 2 million hectares, we find many of the guided wilderness trails.While the Kruger Park offers lavish or base facilities with bathrooms and all the luxuries of suburbia the wilder parts of the Kruger offer a more authentic Kruger experience. Staying far into the deep recesses of the African Bushveld in the more rustic of the Kruger’s accommodations can be a great experience for those that wish to experience the Bush as it was before the park was made so luxurious. Being able to experience the wildlife and nature on foot and staying in the deep Bushveld gives one a great perspective of nature not usually experienced.While some of these trails do veer off into becoming game trails to see and view animals and even the big five it is not their purpose, the Nature walks are meant to give visitors an opportunity to truly experience the park and to walk in and among the veld. Being able to walk with animals and the wilderness about you without something as distracting as a car or guesthouse to look into the veld from can give you an entirely new experience to everything you thought the Kruger was.Being on foot gives visitors and opportunity to see the smaller parts of the park and to experience the things you would miss from your car or chalet, you become more aware of your surroundings and listen and focus more on what you’re experiencing and seeing. You are able to touch and sense your way around the park devoid of only needing your sight to guide you and you are able to experience many other senses when experiencing the park as a whole.These types of walks serve to educate those that go out into the wilderness and in an era where so little wilderness is left, it serves as a bastion for all of those that wish to experience something natural and untouched by humanity. The Kruger Park is famous for this and for looking after our natural heritage sights.
Game Drives
The Kruger game drives are offered for those that wish to experience game viewing while being taught and told about the park and its inhabitants by a skilled guide and driver. The following options are available:
Morning Drives
The morning drive leaves before any day visitors or other guests can as it leaves before all official gates open giving some of the best and most serene game viewing experiences available. The morning game Drives are usually packed with breakfasts included in the costs of the drive and an included stop at one of the nature spots for you to enjoy your lovely breakfast. These morning drives are usually quite eventful as you get to see the park as it starts to wake up and many of the parks inhabitants spend their nights on the tar road for their heat and so these drives are often met with a pride of lions sleeping on the tarmac or one of the many other feline or canine species resting here. This drive lasts for an approximate three hours unless otherwise stipulated and this experience must be booked and paid for at the reception of the rest camp you are staying at if the rest camp offers game drives.
Sunset Drives
The sunset drive leaves in the late afternoon and arrives three hours later after sunset; this drive offers visitors a view into the activity of the night life and of nocturnal animals as they begin their day. Like the morning drive you are accompanied by a skilled guide and driver but will be equipped with a spotlight in order to enhance your viewing experience.
Night Drives
The Night drive usually starts at 20:00 and arrives back at approximately 22:00 lasting for an estimated two hours. This time of the day allows you to get a glimpse into the world of the more secretive nocturnal animals and this drive is the only way in which one can get a glimpse of some of the nightlife still asleep at dusk. The Night drive is a great experience as it is also when many of the lazier animals become more vocal and the park comes to life with noise and activity as your senses, devoid of sight, are heightened to pick up traces of activity in the surrounding bush.
Guided Walks
Guided walks are offered to guests by the Kruger Park wherein no more than 8 guests get to go with a skilled and trained guide through a part of the Kruger on an educational, exploratory walk in either the early morning or afternoon walks.
These walks make for a great time to learn about the environment form one of the Kruger’s knowledgeable guides about the flora and fauna that inhabit the area and these walks last no more than a few hours making it easier for you to learn about the environment at a leisurely pace
Comfortable shoes must be worn, and clothing should be natural colours and applicable to the prevailing weather conditions. Cameras and binoculars can be taken along, as very interesting sights will be discovered and guests can revel in the spotting of fascinating creatures and plant life. No children under 12 are allowed. Comfortable shoes or hiking shoes must be worn and sandals or open foot shoes should be avoided. Guests can bring cameras and binoculars along to enjoy the view and two guides will join you on these walks armed in the unlikely event of a bad encounter. Children under the age of 12 are prohibited from these walks.
4×4 Safaris
The 4×4 Safari is a way in which guests can experience the parks more rugged terrains without damaging the environment or themselves, many of these 4×4 safaris take guests through rivers and thick mud flats as you go deeper into the wild bush and inaccessible zones of the Park. The 4×4 Safaris are done at one’s own risk and are usually, unless otherwise organised, done without the aid of a park guide. There are no stops or facilities along the trail so preparation must be done and visitors wishing to do the 4×4 Safari should bring a GPS with. The 4×4 Safari is usually closed soon after rainfall and only re-opened after a period of time in the dry season.
Mafunyane 4×4 Eco-Trail
The Mafunyane trail is a four day trail in which participants are to bring their own food, camping gear, firewood and their own 4×4. The route is 270km long but those going on the trail are provided with a guide to lead visitors safely though the trail and so they do not get lost, the guide is a professional and has had experience with such activities and as such is perfect for the trail. Visitors are required to drive their own 4x4s, the conditions of the trail roads vary depending on season and rainfall and because of this have the potential to be very bad; visitors must come in well-equipped and maintained 4×4’s and if guests bring trailers with these 4x4s they must be fitted on properly. The overnight arrangements have toilets and showers that are friendly to the local environment as well as fireplaces for cooking.
The Mafunyane trail departs from the Phalaborwa gate every Thursday afternoon at 12:00 pm and on the Sunday morning the trail comes to a close at the Punda Maria camp and this operation only opens from the 1st of March to the 30th of November during the dry season. The route is restricted to a 5 vehicle maximum on one route and no more than 4 people per vehicle. Children under 12 are only allowed to go on the trail if a parent/guardian arranges it before the convoy departs.
The Kruger National Park is a malaria area and participants must take the necessary precautions.
Mountain Bike Safaris
Olifants Cycle Trail
The cycle trail is only available from the Olifants camp and much like the walk allows for a different experience when traversing the park as you cycle your way through much of the untouched veldt. The trail starts with transportation taking the guests, bikes and guides to their starting point where backpacks and bicycles are arranged as well as snacks, water and bicycle helmets. The trail only allows 6 participants at one time as well as two armed and qualified field guides to lead the way for you.
The Bike trails are susceptible to seasonal circumstances and departure times can vary depending on season as well to ensure the best viewing experience. The mountain bike trails usually last from between three to four hours depending on the chosen path as well as different morning and afternoon trails depending on your preference.
Reservations need to be made for all 6 participants. Full day cycles are available, however, only fit and experienced cyclists are capable of doing this. No persons under 16 are allowed to join on the mountain bike trails.
A certain degree of fitness is necessary; please remember appropriate comfortable bush clothing (neutral colours), insect repellent, binoculars, camera, correct footwear, hat, sun block lotion and personal medication. The guides carry a first aid kit and a hand held radio for communication with the base camp in cases of emergencies. Remember to wear something comfortable as well as bring with any of the equipment you would usually on a trail or game drive as well as personal medication and sunblock. If visitors wish to use their own bicycles they are welcome to, however, if visitors bring their own bikes they are required to bring with the necessary tools and equipment needed to maintain their mountain bike.
Backpacking Trails
Lonely Bull Trail
The Lonely Bull trail is a backpacking trail starting at the Mopani rest camp and goes between Letaba Low Water Bridge and the Mingerhout dam, it is a 4 day trail and this trail starts every Wednesday and Sunday from the 1st of February to the 30th of November. This trail accentuates the back to basics vibe in that it takes you on a 4 day trail hike inside the Kruger Park in which you have to bring your own food, camping gear and essentials for survival all with you as you depart and keep them with you throughout the hike. Hikers are accompanied by two experienced rangers who help guide and lead the trail as it starts and stops at various rest points. The hike starts at the Mopani camp where hikers leave their cars in safe designated spots and form there they hike starts on its 4 day adventure. This experience puts heavy emphasis on a no trace camping experience by which it is meant that participants are not allowed to bring any non-biodegradable waste; whatever is taken in on the trail must be taken out.
Olifants Trail
The Olifants trail is a four day trail covering a full 42 kilometers without overnight huts, hikers are to bring their own equipment and camping accessories as well as any overnight necessities, cooking equipment and food. All of this is to be brought with the hiker as well as any medication and sunscreen. At peak midday sun the hike will be halted for a break and for hikers to relax and catch their breath. The first day’s hike spans 4-5 kilometers and is the easiest to manage while the rest of the 3 days will evenly distribute the other 38 kilometers. During break times hikers can take in the environment as they watch for wildlife as they walk or take photographs of the beautiful African landscape while the last leg of the walk will bring the hikers back to camp where they will set up and rest.
Firewood is used only when necessary and fires are made along the trail for social and safety reasons to bring the hikers together and scare away predators respectively. It is suggested that hikers bring with mini gas braais or stoves in order to cook food without the need of firewood and water is supplied at rest stops but chlorine tablets are needed for purification.
The landscape is dense and wild with bush, 10-15 kilometers will be covered each day with heavy backpacks, because of this hikers are required to be decently fit in order to traverse the wild and rocky terrain, Participants are required to produce a medical certificate when applying or booking the hike to prove participants are healthy. Trail leaders are skilled and experienced field guides and are accompanied by a second armed guide to make sure there can be no missteps or mistakes with the hike. Basic first aid will be supplied by the guides but they will not have prescription or general medication on hand.
This backpacking trail goes for four days and three nights with departures every Wednesday and Sunday between the 1st of February to the 30th of November and starts at the Shingwedzi camp. This camp trail does not have a prescribed route and the route trail path is left entirely to the decision of the group and the guides.
Guests must supply their own camping equipment and food as well as any necessities for living and camping, fires will be lit each night for socializing and safety and a reasonable level of fitness is required if one wishes to participate in the hiking experience. An indemnity form must be filled out and signed by all participants in order for visitors to partake in the activity.
Lebombo Trail
Eco trails are car trails that take the more alternative routes and because of this it is required that participants come in 4x4s and approved trailers or caravans, these routes are susceptible to being closed during heavy rainfall.
This trail leaves from Crocodile Bridge every Sunday and the trail ends at Pafuri on a Thursday and lasts from the first Sunday in April until the last Sunday in October.
Malopeni Trail
A one night guided adventure trail which travels through north-east Phalaborwa gate until the Letaba River. Note that this expedition is wholly motorised. This route accesses the remote areas that vehicles do not often frequent and because of this much of the wilderness and wildlife is fresh and untouched while leaving those viewing them at peace and secluded from the buzz of a buys park. A maximum of five vehicles are allowed on the trail at once and these vehicles are required to be guided by a professional ranger, all participants must be fully equipped for the expedition and are required to bring their own equipment, tents and food.
The landscape is full of geology formations, consisting mainly of granite and gneiss. Soils of the watersheds are generally deep and sandy. Wildlife can be spotted in the forms of elephant, buffalo, hippo, kudu and waterbuck. Nyala are also found, but in low densities.
Birding Safaris
General Birding
The Kruger Park has over 500 different species of bird making it the perfect place for any bird watcher to catalogue and view our fine feathered friends to their heart’s content. The big six of the birding world that you could encounter on this safari are the Saddle-bill stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel’s Fishing-Owl and Ground hornbill. Birding can take place as you drive about the park on game drives and the like or even at rest stops or camping sites as you get to relax and take in the birds chittering in and around the camp.
The camp is an excellent venue to see Grey Tit-flycatcher (Fan-tailed Flycatcher), White-browed (Heuglin’s) and White-throated Robin-chats. Scarlet-chested Sunbird is particularly prominent. The adjacent Matjulu Dam attracts a constant supply of water birds and African Fish Eagle is usually present and viewed at close quarters. The surrounding hills host a wealth of species and are a good place to search for Pennant-winged Nightjar (in summer and at dusk) and Croaking Cisticola. Orange-winged (Golden-backed) Pytilia were recorded by several people in the camp during the 2004 winter.
Bushveld Camps
The parks’ 5 bushveld camps all offer superb birding opportunity. Camps in general attract a boon of birds. They are all well foliaged and usually next to water-courses. The advantage of the bushveld camps is that there are less other visitors to scare things off. All of these camps have hides or viewing platforms that further enhance birding. Some of the specials associated with each camp are:
Bateleur: Birding in camp and access to Silvervis and Rooibosrandt Dams may produce Greater Painted Snipe, White-backed Duck, Common Redshank and Osprey.
Biyamiti: Great for Woodland birds – good place to see African Barred Owlet and Retz’s (Red-billed) Helmet-shrike.
Shimuwini: Great for waterbirds – White-backed Night-Heron, Greater Painted Snipe, and Pel’s Fishing Owl
Sirheni: Excellent Birding in camp and proximity to Pafuri make this an ideal destination for birders. Dwarf Bittern, Arnot’s Chat and many others.
Talamati: Excellent woodland birds. Several stork species may be seen. Narina Trogon recorded in 2001
Crocodile Bridge
A special to be looked for in this area is the Pink-throated Twinspot. Blackbellied Starlings have also been recorded in this region. It is also perhaps the only reliable place in the park to see Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird (Golden-rumped Tinker Barbet) and it is relatively easy to locate in the camp by its monotonous call. The rest camp itself has a busy stream of bird activity (Look for White-crowned Shrike, Bronze Mannikin, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Orange-breasted Bush-shrike and Black-backed Puffback), while the short drive down to the river causeway is always good for waterbirds.
Letaba Camp has a rich bird population and is particularly good for viewing owls. Pearl-spotted and African Barred Owlet and African Scops-Owl are all resident in camp and should be heard come nightfall, while Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl is regularly recorded along the river itself. Scan all large Riverine trees carefully. Green-capped Eremomela should be looked for in the camp and like most camps in the central and northern parts of the park Mourning Dove is particularly prominent. The camp’s Red-headed Weavers are unusually bold (they nest adjacent the petrol station and in front of the restaurant. The riverbed usually hosts a wide range of herons, storks and waders. Look carefully for Greater Painted Snipe.
The Matambeni Bird Hide on the northern bank of Engelhard Dam is a good place to watch water birds. On the south bank of the dam, near the dam wall Collared (Redwinged) Pratincoles appear annually and can sometimes be seen from the rest camp.
The Masorini Ruins close to the Phalaborwa Gate is a good venue to view Yellow-throated Petronia (Sparrow), Mocking Cliff-Chat and Red-headed Weaver. The nearby Sable Dam has a hide and is a good spot to view waders.
Lower Sabie
Starlings, sunbirds, weavers, woodpeckers and hornbills typify the commoner species in the camp itself. At night residents should listen for Square-tailed (Mozambique) and Fiery-necked Nightjars and the grunt of Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl. The nearby Sunset Dam is one of the finest venues in the Park to observe aquatic species at close quarters with cormorants, herons, kingfishers and storks occurring in abundance. Marabou, Saddle-billed, Wooly-necked, Yellow-billed and Black Stork and African Open-bill can sometimes be seen simultaneously. White-crowned Lapwing (Plover) appears to be resident on the river side of the tar road in the area of Sunset Dam. In the Lower Sabie area Mlondozi Dam is a good spot to view waterfowl including some of the rarer species in the park. It has resident Mocking Cliff-Chats as well. The small pan on the N’watimhiri road is a regular haunt of Lesser Moorhen in summer.
The camp overlooks the Pioneer Dam where a plethora of water birds are to be seen. Storks, egrets, kingfishers and African Fish Eagles are ever present while Collared (Red-winged) Pratincole, African Spoonbill, Black-winged Stilt and White-winged Tern are some of the more uncommon species to watch for. Mosque and Wire-tailed Swallow breed in camp (the former should be looked for at the camp’s huge Baobab Tree). Mocking Cliff-Chats should be looked for from the ladies bar.
Also worth visiting are the Shipandani and Pioneer Dam Hides, that allow visitors to get very close to the water’s edge and a perspective from the other side of the dam.
At the nearby Nshawu Pans look for Kittlitz’s Plover, Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark (Finchlark) and Collared (Red-winged) Pratincole.
Two birds to look out for on the Olifants River are White-fronted Plover and White-crowned Lapwing (Plover), both of which can be seen in the riverbed. The bridges on the main tarred road and at Balule are the places to look for these species. Search the riparian trees on the Olifants River near Balule for the Pel’s Fishing-Owl. It is occasionally seen on night drives from the low level bridge here, while it has also been seen infrequently from the high level bridge on the main tar road. This low level bridge adjacent Balule is an extremely productive venue. During the day one will get close encounters with several stork, heron and kingfisher species while the lure of the Fishing Owl by night is a big incentive. It is usually seen on the same sand-bank adjacent the same river pool. Only a few metres away, a White-backed night heron are sometimes seen. Then, at dusk in November 2002 a Black Egret (very rare in the park) was watched from only 5m away as it employed its definitive umbrella-wing fishing technique.
Camp bird-life in Olifants, like all camps is busy. Red-winged Starlings are particularly prominent. Trumpeter Hornbills and Acacia Pied Barbet are regularly seen in camp, and when the many aloe plants in camp are in flower, they act as a magnet for sunbirds. Rufous-bellied Heron has been recorded on the Olifants River a little downstream of the camp. Unconfirmed reports of Woodward’s Batis offer an exciting possibility
Orpen and the surrounding area is a good region for general bushveld birds and 5 of the “big 6” are regularly seen and breed in the area, with only the Pel’s Fishing Owl being absent.
The plains immediately east of Orpen Camp are one of the more reliable places to see the nomadic Senegal (Lesser Black-winged) Plover (Search at the turn off to Tamboti and Marula Camps). Montagu’s Harrier has also been recorded on a few occasions in this grassland area.
White-faced and Comb (Knob-billed) Ducks, Little Grebe (Dabchick) and Lesser Moorhen breed in the flooded vegetation at Rabelais Pan. 1999 saw the first Kruger breeding record of Painted Snipe here.
African Rail and African Crake are regularly recorded in dense, marshy areas, particularly on the dirt roads around Talamati. These species early in the morning or late afternoon or on overcast, rainy days when they are foraging on the edge of the road. Fairfield Waterhole near Talamati is a regular haunt. Also just outside Talamati Camp Saddle-billed Stork breed. Of the other storks, Wooly-necked, Open-billed (African Openbill), White and Black may be seen, the latter two being locally common when food is abundant. Marabou Stork is regularly seen at the waterhole outside Orpen Camp.
The Orpen area hosts a wealth of raptors, especially in the summer months. Tawny (breeding outside of the camp), African Fish (at Rabelais Pan), Wahlbergs, Lesser Spotted, Steppe, African Hawk and Brown Snake Eagles, Bateleur, Black-shouldered Kite, Gabar and Dark Chanting Goshawk, Little Sparrowhawk and Amur and Red-footed Falcons (Eastern and Western Redfooted Kestrels) are all regularly seen. Less frequently seen are African Goshawk, Martial and Black-chested (breasted) Snake Eagles and African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene). Five vulture species may be seen in the area, although the Cape Griffin is least often observed despite a breeding colony near the Strydom Tunnel at Manoutsa.
Night drives, and dawn and dusk produce Pearl-spotted and African Barred Owlets, Scops, Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle, Spotted Eagle and Barn Owl, as well as Fiery-necked, Square-tailed (Mozambique), Freckled and European Nightjars. Less common are Marsh and Grass Owl and Rufous-cheeked and Pennant-winged Nightjar.
Rarities to come out of the area include Plain-backed (Blue-throated) Sunbird at Orpen Camp, Long-crested Eagle on the Timbavati River, Olive Bush Shrike at Tamboti Camp and in the incredible wet season of 1999-2000 plenty of Black Coucal. In 2001 a Narina Trogon (not previously recorded in the area) flew into the window of one of Talamati’s cottages and killed itself.
Pafuri Region
The drives along the banks of the Levuvhu River via the Nyalaland Drive (S64) or the picnic site/Crook’s Corner loop (S63), take visitors through some of the most potentially productive birding territory in South Africa. One can simply spend several hours in the Pafuri Picnic Site itself, with Trumpeter Hornbill, Purple-crested Turaco (Lourie), Black-throated Wattle-eye (Wattle-eyed Flycatcher), Tropical Boubou, Meve’s (Long-tailed Starling), Narina Trogon, Thick-billed Cuckoo (summer only), Gorgeous, Grey-headed and Orange-breasted Bush-shrike and several different species of robin, sunbird and firefinch all potentially swelling one’s list. Other rarities for the Park recorded at the picnic site include Lemon (Cinnamon) Dove, Brown Scrub Robin and African Wood Owl.
Another rewarding place to spend time is the tar road’s bridge over the Levuvhu River. Horus Swift is regularly seen here alongside the commoner little and White-rumped Swifts. White-crowned Lapwing (Plover) and Finfoot are also regularly recorded from the bridge’s vantage-point. The reeds and undergrowth may hold Red-faced and Black-backed Cisticola. It is also a good place to watch for Birds of Prey including the magnificent Crowned Eagle. For the lucky ones the chance of locating a roosting Pel’s Fishing Owl makes scanning all large riverine trees worthwhile.
Above the baobabs along the Nyala Drive is an excellent place to search for both Böhm’s and Mottled Spinetails, while the drive is also good for recording Crested Guineafowl and Meve’s (Long-tailed) Starling. A journey to Crook’s Corner should produce White-fronted Bee-eater and Broad-billed Roller (summer) while Lemon-breasted Canary is frequently recorded in the Hyphaene palms not far from the lookout point. Scaly-throated Honeyguide has also been recorded near this spot.
In the camp itself look for African Green Pigeon, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Retz’s Helmet-shrike, Green-capped Eremomela, Brown-headed Parrot, Cutthroat Finch, Redheaded Weaver and several sunbird species. Black Cuckoo (summer) and Gorgeous Bush Shrike can be heard calling from the dense bush surrounding the camp. The Pretoriuskop region is one of the best areas in the Park to see Pennant-winged Nightjar, Black-bellied Bustard (Korhaan) and Red-collared Widow.
Punda Maria
In the camp (particularly on the Paradise Flycatcher Trail) Yellowbellied Greenbul and Terrestrial Brownbul (Bulbul), Bearded Scrub Robin should be looked for. Birding throughout the camp is excellent. Birds of prey are common overhead. Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle is sometimes seen, while in winter the White-necked Raven is a regular visitor. The Mahonie Loop, (the 25km circular drive around the camp) is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding birding drives in the Park. One should give oneself plenty of time to cover the distance, and travel with windows down and stop frequently, particularly for calls. On a good day one could record several of the following ‘specials’: White-breasted Cuckoo-shrike, Arnot’s Chat, Crowned Hornbill, Grey-headed (Chestnut-bellied) Kingfisher, Crested Guineafowl, Gorgeous Bush Shrike, Grey-headed Parrot, African and European Golden Oriole (both summer), Eastern (Yellow-spotted) Nicator, Stierling’s Wren-Warbler (Barred Warbler) and Dickinson’s Kestrel. Narina Trogon has also been recorded on the loop, but is shy and elusive. On the drive from Punda Maria to Pafuri via the Klopperfontein Dam, Racket-tailed Roller and Southern (Mashona) Hyliota have been recorded. This is also one of the best areas to search for Yellow-billed Oxpecker. This species was absent in the park for many years, but returned in the 1980s and their numbers are still increasing. Buffalo are the preferred hosts.
Satara, like other camps, has a plethora of resident birds. Particularly prominent are Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Burchell’s Starling and Mourning Dove. At night Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle, Barn, Scops Owls (which roost in the trees outside reception) and Pearl-spotted Owlet can be seen and heard in camp, along with Square-tailed (Mozambique) Nightjar. The open plains to the north of the camp are perhaps the best place in the park to record Montagu’s and Pallid Harrier.
The N’wanedzi Picnic Site (24 km from Satara) is worth visiting. Violeteared Waxbill, Yellowbellied Greenbul (Bulbul), Mocking Cliff-Chat are regulars here, while Shaft-tailed Whydah has been seen nearby. Golden Pipit has been seen on the S100. There is also a viewing platform that provides an elevated view down on the N’wanedzi River. About 2 km from N’wanedzi on the S37 Road the Sweni Bird Hide is well worth stopping at. In winter, when water levels are low, and rocks, mud-banks and reeds are exposed, the site is exceptionally active bird-wise, with many passerines coming to drink and joining the ubiquitous Hamerkop, Green-backed Heron and Great (Great White) and Little Egrets. In summer, after heavy rain, the high water levels reduce the bird-life. However it is an excellent venue to see Blue-cheeked Bee-eater that is regularly in attendance here.
Shingwedzi has abundant bird-life and, aside from the ubiquitous squabble of hornbills, starlings, weavers and Mourning Doves, the camp is a good place to see Bennett’s Woodpecker, Natal Robin, European Hobby (hawking prey at dusk in summer), Grey Penduline Tit, Dusky and Village Indigobird (Black and Steelblue Widowfinch) and African Scops-Owl (at night). Verreaux’s (Giant) Eagle Owl is also regularly seen in the large riverine trees on the road approaching the camp. One should keep a careful lookout for Bathawk. Although not easy to see, they are around and the lucky birder could see them catching bats and swifts at dusk. In summer Eurasian Hobby do the same thing. The Highwater Bridge is a good potential vantage point, while they can also be seen along Kanniedood Dam.
There was great excitement in 1995 when Collared Palm Thrush was recorded in the camp. It has subsequently been recorded every year and quite possibly breeds.
Downstream from the rest camp Kanniedood Dam hosts many interesting species. Storks (Open-billed, Yellow-billed, Saddle-billed and Wooly-necked) are prominent. The hide is a good spot to see Black Crake and African Jacana at close quarters. White-winged Tern has also been recorded on the dam. In summer a bit of luck may offer birders the chance to compare the rare Dwarf Bittern with the common Green-backed Heron.
Yellow-billed Oxpecker is being recorded more regularly in the Shingwedzi area since their recolonisation of the Park. Check buffalo in particular for this species. Broad-billed Roller, Mosque Swallow and Dusky Lark (summer) are other species that should be searched for in the Shingwedzi area.
Although Skukuza is a large and busy camp, the camp hosts an excellent avi-fauna. Scanning the Sabie River from in front of the restaurant can produce Finfoot and Half-collared Kingfisher. In summer this venue is a hub of activity with a massive nesting colony of Lesser Masked and Village (Spotted-backed) Weavers. Green Pigeons are abundant in the Riverine fig trees. In taking a walk along the river’s bank there is a strong chance of encountering Red-faced Cisticola and Spectacled Weaver and, in early the morning, Little Sparrowhawk. The river walk and a stroll around the rest of the camp could yield Collared Sunbird, Red-backed and Bronze Mannikin, Purple-crested Turaco (Lourie) and three bush shrikes (Orange-breasted, Grey-headed and Gorgeous) may well be heard or even seen. White-browed (Heuglin’s) Robin-chat is another species constantly heard but more difficult to see. Up to seven species of flycatcher may also be found (Paradise, Black, Dusky, Spotted, Grey Tit- (Fantailed), Ashy (Bluegrey) and Pale (Pallid)).
Watching the sky above the river at dusk may reveal Bat-hawk or Eurasian Hobby. When night falls a spot-light lights up a fig tree outside the restaurant. Woodland Kingfishers use this ‘extended daylight’ to hunt insects attracted to the glow.
The nearby bird hide at Lake Panic is a good spot to go to observe kingfishers, herons and Wire-tailed Swallows at close quarters. Black-winged Stilts are often in attendance.
Wilderness Camps and Trails
The parks seven Wilderness Trails offer an excellent opportunity to watch birds at close quarters and to target much sought after species. View the Wilderness Trails link for likely species details per trail.
Golfing Safaris
The Skukuza Golf Course
The golf course was built in 1972 as a recreational facility for the Skukuza personnel, and is now available to visitors to the Kruger National Park. The Skukuza Golf Course is situated on the outskirts of Skukuza Rest Camp. The rich wildlife sanctuary surrounding the golf course is home to the Big Five, a huge variety of birds and countless animals, which all conspire to provide the visitor with a harmonious close-to nature golfing experience.
Time you visit the Kruger National Park and enjoy one of the most unique 9-hole golf courses in the world. Since the course is not fenced-in, uninvited spectators are a common sight, hippo, impala, warthog and baboons to mention but a few. The Skukuza Golf Course has no bunkers, although ‘aerial bunkers’ abound because of the many trees found on the course.
Tee-off times are available for visitors in the mornings between 07:00 and 11:00 from Sunday to Friday. Please book in advance to avoid disappointment. Saturdays are Club Days for our members or a Sponsor’s Day and it’s a Two Field-Morning and Afternoon. It’s a Shotgun Start and the morning field is 06:30 for 07:00, the afternoon field is 12:00 for 12:30 in summer and half an hour earlier in winter. No late entries are accepted.
An indemnity form must be completed prior to playing. Standard golf dress code applies. Caddies are normally available on weekends but we do not make bookings for caddies. Motorised Golf Carts and Pull Carts are available for hire. Light refreshments and full bar facility daily.
The Skukuza Golf Course is designed for all levels of golfers.
Other Activities Include:
Great Limpopo Park Transfrontier Trails – Parque Nacional do Limpopo is truly the perfect setting for an adventure without boundaries. Together, Moçambique’s Parque Nacional do Limpopo, South Africa’s Kruger National Park and Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou National Park form the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, covering a total of 3.3 million hectares – one of the largest wilderness conservation areas in the world.
Safari Bush Braais
This unforgettable bush braai experience is not to be missed. A game drive leads you to an open area filled with burning lanterns and fires where, whilst listening to the sounds of the bushveld and the distant animals calling, the food is grilled on open fires.
Special Occassions
Explore Kruger Park and Thornhill Safari Lodge has, over the years, played host to many weddings and special family events. With unique surroundings, tranquil settings, superb facilities and enthusiastically helpful staff, let us turn your marriage or any special occasion into a memory that will stand the test of time!
  • Read an important media release about day visits to Kruger National Park
  • All the main rest camps have day visitor areas. There are also many picnic spots and other visitor get out points distributed throughout the park. At the picnic spots visitors can (for a nominal fee) hire gas skottels (outdoor elevated frying pans) to cook meals on. These pans are cleaned by the attending staff, thus meaning people don’t have to worry about carrying cumbersome and greasy pans in their vehicles.There is a maximum threshold of vehicles that can enter the park daily. If this threshold is reached only visitors with pre-booked overnight accommodation will be permitted access.Such situations tend only to arise in extreme cases such as public holidays. See more details.
  • Hop in and ride – it’s as simple as that! Guests at Kruger now have the opportunity to make use of the “Park and Ride Scheme” where you can get to see the Big 5 – currently only available in the Marula Region – Numbi, Phabeni and Kruger gates.
  • Cultural Heritage in the Kruger National ParkKruger National Park is best known for its big game sightings and large expanses of wilderness; however, Kruger has a unique cultural and historical landscape and diversity, with well over 255 recorded archaeological sites ranging from early Stone Age (roughly 1 million years ago) to various Iron Age settlements and recent historical buildings and sites.Many of these sites hold cultural and spiritual importance, while others reveal an exciting and romantic history of the area.Conservation of these sites is imperative due to their cultural and spiritual value and the historical importance. As national stewards of the conservation of the area we are legally bound to protect these sites. Kindly have a look at the sites that are open to the public.
  • https://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/people/heritage/albasini.phphttps://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/people/heritage/masorini.phphttps://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/people/heritage/thulamela.php