Kruger National Park is one of the largest in Africa and the largest in South Africa and covers an area of 19 485 square kilometers (7 523 sq miles). From north to south it covers 360km (220 miles) and from east to west it covers 65 kilometers (40miles). Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898 and it became South Africa’s first national park in 1926.
To the west and south of Kruger National Park you have two of South African Provinces named Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe and to the east of Kruger you then have Mozambique. The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere an area designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve.
Climate in Kruger National Park
The climate of Kruger National Park and the Lowveld is subtropical. The summer days are quite humid and hot and the rainy season is from September until May. It is also listed that September and October are the driest periods, culminating in rains late in October. The dry winter season (June to August) is the ideal time to visit Kruger National Park for various reasons. There is less chance of contracting malaria and the days are milder with viewing wildlife more rewarding as the vegetation is more sparse and animals are drawn more to the waterholes to drink every morning and evening.
Health Requirements for Kruger National Park
Upon entering South Africa, vaccination requirements are not needed. But if you might have visited a country which is in the yellow fever region (such as North Africa) you will then need to produce proof of your vaccination certificate. Southern South Africa is a low/zero risk area of where you will not need to use any medication. For travelling to places such as The Western Cape Province & Garden Route and Eastern Cape for safari, etc. you will not need any medication as it is malaria-free.
Traveling then to Kruger Park you will need to consult with your local doctor before departing your country and recommended for Kruger is Prophylaxis. If you are in South Africa already and decide to travel to Kruger Park, South African Pharmacists might suggest a drug called Malerone but you might also consider consulting one of the local doctors before travelling to Kruger National Park.
South African Government Hospitals are not recommended there for the reason I would suggest to rather get your travel insurance cover in order. In the event of an illness, the private hospitals will require proof of your insurer or if not, they will ask for a large cash deposit before admission.
Travel Guidance on Travelling in Kruger National Park
Check In & Check Out Times
Check in at the lodges is normally at 2pm the afternoon and check out will be between 10:30am and 11:00am. Some of the lodges will do their best to accommodate early arrivals and late departures.
Domestic travel and luggage weight
It entirely depends on the travel arrangements been made prior to your visit to South Africa, Kruger National Park. Domestic flights we recommend should be booked in advance as to get the best price and also to plan your route to travel to get to your lodge so that you do not miss out on game drives. You can either enjoy a 6/8 hour road transfer from Johannesburg to Kruger depending again on where your lodge is booked or you can decide to fly to Kruger for 45mins and a further 2/3 hour drive to the lodge.
From Cape Town it will be a 2hr15min flight and again a road transfer to get to your lodge depending again on where the lodge is situated in Kruger Park. Your luggage for domestic travel should be as light as possible of which you will be allowed only 20kg’s for check in luggage and 8kg for carry-on luggage. For light aircraft flight travel, only soft light bags are allowed on the airplane with total weight of 20kg including carry-on luggage. Bags must be entirely soft-sided and this means no wheels or frames.
The size limit for luggage on light aircraft transfers is:
25cm wide x 30cm high x 61cm long (10inch wide x 12inch high x 24inch long) = 20kg max
Packing Tips for travelling on Safari in Kruger National Park
Important to remember to bring along comfortable clothing in neutral colours (tans, browns and greens) and to dress appropriately for the weather. Avoid loud patterns, bright colours and white. Above all avoid dark blue, which is the colour used for tsetse fly traps – this means no jeans. (Jeans are heavy and take forever to dry). Natural materials such as cotton, linen, wool and silk do better in the bush.
For shoes on the safari camps or game drives, it is recommend to rather bring two pairs. A pair of sandals for lounging around camp and a pair of closed-toed walking shoes for game drives and bush walks (open-toed shoes are an invitation to thorns and rocks). On walking safaris, you might want to invest in a decent pair of shoes and try to walk them in before you go on safari/holiday.
Very little people dress up for dinner on safari, and those who show up in evening wear look rather like the odd ones out. You may want to keep a clean set of clothes one side for dinner so that you do not wear the dusty late afternoon/evening game drive clothes to the dinner table. Don’t worry about what people might think of you are wearing the same clothes every night, it’s unlikely anyone would notice.
Accommodation in Kruger National Park
Classic Game Lodges
Budget: ZAR3500 p/p (per night) - ZAR6500 p/p (per night)
Quite a basic, entry level to experience comfortable accommodation of where you will be able to enjoy good levels of services from the lodges. Food will be good as well and the game viewing will be kept in smaller vehicles of where you might be joined with other guests on the vehicle as well.
Luxury Game Lodges
Budget: ZAR6500 p/p (per night) – ZAR11500 p/p (per night)
A step up in terms of very good services that will be received from the lodges. The quality of the accommodation will be luxury and the service will be of high standards. Very good quality food will be served and the culinary aspects of your diet can also be enjoyed in various tasteful experiences. The safari game viewing will be of high quality and you will be able to enjoy semi/private safaris.
Premiere Game Lodges
Budget: ZAR11500 p/p (per night) – ZAR17500 p/p (per night)
These lodges have a very high standard of delivering the services to their guests. Superb accommodation accompanied with excellent food prepared by well renowned chef’s and your game drives will be of high standards as well as you will enjoy the game drive with highly skilled and professional field guides.
Prestige Game Lodges
Budget: ZAR17500 p/p (per night) – ZAR25500 p/p (per night)
From superior accommodation to the exceptional levels of services and hospitality, that will be received when staying at one of these lodges. The food will be of the highest caliber and prepared with personal taste from your local chefs and to compliment your stay, the field guides will go the extra mile to make sure that your stay at their lodge will complete the experience and round it off in high style.