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Kruger Park Safaris in the world’s most beloved park
In 1898 Paul Kruger had the foresight to proclaim an area for conservation. As the president of what was known as the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger knew the importance of ensuring that the wildlife in the region would be conserved and protected from hunting parties passing through.
His foresight is one of the biggest reasons why today guests can experience Kruger Park safaris.
There are a few ways that you can see the Kruger. From Kruger National Park safari packages to self-drives through the rugged terrain, when you enter the park, it is like exploring another world. The Kruger is a haven in a modern African country. South Africa has all of the amenities that make life a little easier, although we still like to work on Africa time. The pace is slow, which is more than ideal when you are on holiday. Kruger Park safaris will have you meandering slowly through the nature conservation park, spotting all kinds of animals and plants along the way.
The animal populations are all free range, and for the most part, they are well-protected within the confines of the park. Before 1898, foreign hunters would journey to the area in which the park is now located to claim wild trophies. Back then, Africa was still very much known as the Dark Continent. Everything was wild and exciting, with few explorers having seen even an inch of what the continent had to offer. Once Africa was opened to European visitors, wildlife was hunted for sport and soon the populations were depleting.
In order to give future generations the opportunity to see wildlife, the Kruger National Park was born. But it was not until 1927 that the park became a place for visitors. During the earlier years of the park, before there was a board to take care of the various park-related affairs, a warden took care of the safety aspect of the park. Once a board of administrators was established, guests were introduced to the park. The attraction was instant and visitors fell in love. Today, the park has welcomed millions of people, from every corner of the world.
At that time, vehicles were not capable of easily travelling to the park. Some of the first visitors travelled through the park on a train. The route was in no way diverse, and as you can imagine, having a train going through the park could only bring harm to animals. Once the first vehicles capable of driving through the park become available to the public, guests had a better experience and animals were no longer in danger of being killed.
The Kruger National Park will always be known as the People’s Park. It’s incredibly affordable and locals are frequent visitors, especially as the park will always be the ideal place to break away for the weekend.
Most Kruger Park safaris are reasonably priced and guests can easily spend up to 7 days in the park without breaking their holiday budget.
A short history of the Kruger National Park
It’s difficult to talk about the Kruger National Park without acknowledging the incredible history of the park. As with most things, it is the history of the park that has made it what it is today.
After the train journeys came to an end, the roads in the park were limited, as were the number of guests allowed entry. This limitation was done in the best interests of the animals, and as there was no overnight accommodation at the time, guests were restricted to areas that would enable them a quick exit.
More and more people expressed their interest in visiting the park, and with the board under pressure, plans were put into motion to build accommodation facilities. True to African style and design, rondavels were built. Even to this day, the rondavel instantly brings to mind images of the Kruger.
Along with the newly built rondavels, which were constructed at Satara, Skukuza and Pretoriouskop, the former accommodation facilities used by park rangers were also converted into guest’s lodgings. If you have done some research into the climate of the park, you’ll be well aware of just how hot it can get, even in winter. The first overnight guests had no respite from the intense heat, other than an open hole which served as a window. To say that the rondavels were popular amongst park visitors would be a tall tale. Even with the option of staying over, many guests preferred a day visit.
Yet as the park expanded, accommodation, as well as park security, improved. Ablution blogs were built and guests had access to more comfortable quarters. All of the additions and improvements only served to make the park a must visit destination.
Where to Stay In the Kruger National Park
These days, unless specified, most Kruger tour operators offering Kruger Park safaris will set their guests up at luxury lodges in the Hazyview area. Generally, Kruger tours end at around 16:00 or 17:00 pm and guests are driven back to their hotels.
There are 12 great camps in the Kruger, each offering affordable accommodation along with some pretty exquisite views, for those staying over in the park and for those stopping during a day tour. No two camps are the same. From the vegetation to the possible animal sightings close to the camp, each camp is unique. The camps also have their own features such as museums and other must-see historical sites.
If you are staying in one of the smaller main camps, chances are very good that you will enjoy a kind of tranquillity that you won’t easily find anywhere else. Even when visiting during peak season, the park is a quiet place, with the well-being of the animals always coming first. Here are the main 12 camps of the Kruger, in no particular order.
Let’s start with the biggest, and the one you are most likely to see while on a Kruger day tour; Skukuza. Found along the banks of the Sabie River, the lookout points are amazing and often people have seen various animals stopping off for a drink of water. This camp acts as the “capital” of the park. From here, the day to day administration is carried out. It is the base for the park doctor, post office and it is also home to the staff settlement. Some of the animals you could possibly see around here include hyena, crocodile, hippo and on rare occasions, lion.
Found in the northern section of the park, Shingwedzi is quite popular when it comes to spotting wildlife, including some of the members of the Big 5. When driving to Shingwedzi, you are in for a real scenic treat, with the road following the Shingwedzi River. The camp itself is very rustic when compared to other camps. This is really the ideal place to go when you want to break away from the world.
Satara is one of the parks busier camps, and it is also a camp known for spotting animals such as lion, honey badger and giraffe. The camp is situated in a wooded area and as a result, it is a bird lover’s paradise. The camp is also quite rustic, but it certainly has some of the best accommodation in the area.
Over the years, the name of this camp has changed a few times. As the northernmost camp of the Kruger, very few guided Kruger Park safaris reach this area (if they operate from the south of the park that is). Punda Maria has a reputation for being one of the hottest camps in the park, with summer months being almost unbearable. It is in a sandveld region and has some of the most stunning plants. Punda Maria is often called the botanical camp. Along with the plants, guests can also spot plenty of nyala, wild dog and herds of zebra.
Another of the parks older camps, Pretoriuskop is situated between ancient rocky outcrops. As one of the oldest camps in the Kruger, the layout is not as modern as other camps, but it does give off that lovely old world feel. The area also has a reputation for certain animal sightings such as kudu, wild dog, Sable antelope, and hartebeest.
Orpen is not a camp on its own. With two satellite camps, Maroela and Tamboti, this camp offers guests a bit more variety in terms of where they can stay. The camp is named after Eileen Orpen who donated the land on which the camp now sits. What’s lovely about Orpen is that there are wide grassy areas surrounding the camp, and animals of all kinds are often spotted here. When spending the night here, guests will often hear the distant sound of roaring lions and chattering hyenas. Some of the animals that frequent the area include all of the Big 5 as well as grazing animals such as wildebeest and impala.
Named after the Olifants River, this camp offers some of the most spectacular views of all of the camps in the park. Look out points are the perfect place to take a seat and look for animals visiting the river for a drink. Of the animals, you could spot while staying here, or while stopping off for a picnic, crocodile, hippo, lion and elephant are often seen.
While most of the other camps in the Kruger have a long history, Mopani is relatively new by comparison. The camp gets its name from the abundance of Mopani trees. A massive baobab tree makes a fantastic centrepiece for the camp. The camp is pretty wild, with the vegetation not strictly kept in check. The animals you might see in this area include waterbuck, tsessebe and hippo. This is one of the few camps in the park that is situated on the banks of a dam, so catching sight of thirsty animals is common.
Another camp bordering on a river, Lower Sabie is well-known for having a much laid back atmosphere where both day guests and those staying for the evening can relax. Surrounding the camp are towering trees, and on more than one occasion guests have spotted a lazy leopard high up in the branches. Along with the possibility of seeing a leopard, the area surrounding Lower Sabie is also known for hippo and lion sightings. You can also expect to see the usual grazing animals such as impala and kudu.
Often referred to as the camp that marks the halfway point of the park, Letaba is one of the best places in the Kruger to see the elephant. The name Letaba means “River of Sand”, but instead of coming across a barren sandy landscape, Letaba is in a grassland area. Should you be spending the night at Letaba camp, your evening will be filled with the sounds of cicadas, owls, nightjars, bats and frogs, especially in the summer months. During the day, some of the animals seen in the area include plenty of elephants as well as bushbuck.
Crocodile Bridge is named after the Crocodile River, and although it is one of the smaller camps in the park, it remains a great place to spend the night or stop off during your Kruger Park safari. If you drive the Southern Circle road, which is close to the camp, your chances of spotting lions are quite good. Lions are not the only animals roaming this part of the camp. You could also come across giraffe, spotted hyena, kudu and cheetah. For many, Crocodile Bridge is considered the best camp in the Kruger.
The last camp on the list is Berg-n-Dal. It is situated up in a mountainous area and the natural environment within the camp has been exceptionally well preserved. The surrounding areas of the camp are dry, while there are also quite a few trees around. A few of the animals you might see in the area include wild dog, leopard and klipspringer, all of which are fond of mountainous habitats.
Experience the Kruger with Our Kruger Park Safari Packages
One of the best ways to experience the Kruger National Park is by booking a Kruger Park safari with a tour company. At Kruger To Kruger, we have the experience and we have the team of passionate professional guides who will be able to give you the best Kruger experience.
Compared to other Kruger Park safari companies, we offer highly affordable all-inclusive, exclusive Kruger Safaris and day tours. Currently, we have 5 Kruger Park safari tour packages ideal for all budgets.
The Bush Baby Kruger Safari Package
The Bush Baby Kruger Safari Package gives guests a relaxing 2 nights and 3 days in the Kruger National Park. This is our best priced Kruger safari and it includes a visit to the Panorama Route. This package includes accommodation as well as meals. And along with day tours of the Kruger, it also includes a memorable sunset drive.
The Honey Badger Kruger Safari Package
With 3 nights and 4 days spent in the beautiful Kruger National Park, the Honey Badger Kruger Safari Package is well priced and includes a number of inclusive features that are guaranteed to make your stay with us a memorable one. Accommodation and meals are included in the package, along with transfers from Gauteng or Mpumalanga. A sunset drive as well as a Panorama Route tour is included.
The Big 5 Kruger National Park Safari Package
Everyone who visits the Kruger hopes to spot the 5 animals who make up the famous Big 5. The Big 5 Kruger National Park Safari Package will give you 6 days in the Kruger and with that much time in the park, you are almost guaranteed to see the Big 5. Transfers, meals and accommodation are all included while guests will also be treated to a sunset drive and a tour of the Panorama Route.
The Hot Air Balloon Kruger Park Safari Package
If it sounds like the ideal romantic getaway idea, that is because it is. The Hot Air Balloon Kruger Park Safari Package includes a trip to the Kruger National Park as well as a hot air balloon ride. This is the ultimate luxury Kruger Park safari package. The tour includes all transfers, accommodation and meals. The accommodation is at a luxury lodge outside of the Kruger National Park and you can ask the team about the other activities available. Kruger Park safaris, a sunset drive, as well as a tour of the Panorama Route, are all included.
Along with our extensive variety of Kruger safaris, we also offer our guests a Kruger Park day tour. This tour is really affordable, and we try to make this tour unforgettable for our guests. We have both shared group half and full day safaris as well as private half day and full day Kruger Park safaris.