Kruger National Park Tours
The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in the world. It covers an area of 19 485 square kilometres. It is 350 km long from north to south and 60 km wide from east to west. Were it a country, it would rank 152nd in the world in terms of size, making it larger than other countries like Fuji, Kuwait and Swaziland. The biodiversity in the Kruger National Park is nearly unrivalled, and it is littered with both historical and archaeological sites. The Kruger National Park is the purest form of Africa, and if you live in any other nation such as Australia, England or America, you owe it to yourself to see this natural splendour in all its glory.
The History of the Kruger National Park
Before the Second Anglo Boer War, the area in which the Kruger National Park is located was the last vestige of true wilderness in the eastern half of the Transvaal region. The President at the time, Paul Kruger, declared it an area of protection for wildlife. Even to this day, it is against the law to hunt or farm within the borders of the Kruger National Park. In 1898, it was officially declared a “Government Wildlife Park” and went by the name of the Sabi Game Reserve.
The Sabi Game Reserve was a lot smaller than the Kruger National Park as we know it now and initially only covered the southern third of the park. In 1903, the Shingwedzi Reserve (named after the Shingwedzi River) was created in the northern area of what is now the Kruger. In the following decades, all the native tribes of the area were removed from the reserve. The last tribe was displaced from their home in Makuleke, in the 1960s. The Shingwedzi Reserve and the Sabi Game Reserve, as well as the surrounding farms, were combined in 1926 to create the Kruger National Park.
In an attempt to right the past wrongs, Makuleke was returned to the Tsonga people in 1998, and the Kruger national park has been paying the Tsonga family royalties ever since.
In 1927 the first three tourist cars entered the park. This number grew exponentially to 150 cars in 1928 and 850 cars in 1929. In 1959, in an attempt to curb poaching and the spread of diseases, an initiative to completely fence the park was undertaken. In 1960, the Western and Northern borders were fenced, followed later by the Eastern border with Mozambique.
These fences stood until the 1990s when the Kruger National Park joined with the Klaserie Game Reserve, the Olifants Game Reserve and the Balule Game Reserve. The joining of the reserves added 40 000 hectares of the area to the reserve. The area was once again expanded in 2002 when the Gonharezu National Park in Zimbabwe and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique all joined with the Kruger National park to create a peace park known as the Great Limpopo Trans-Frontier Park.
You may wonder what there is to do in the Kruger National Park. With a huge biodiversity spectrum (including 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals) the eco-tourism of the Kruger is its main attraction. Watering hole lookouts, lions taking down a zebra and the laughing of hyenas in the night, all fantasies that you see on the TV in England, Australia and America, all come to life when you set foot in the Kruger.
Man’s footprint through history can also be seen in the Kruger National Park. Bushman rock paintings dot the lowveld and majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela give us a glimpse of the life lived thousands of years ago.
Things to Look For In the Park:
All the various sightings are wonderful, and among them, the Big Five get a lot of the attention, but there are other groups that you can keep your eyes open for in addition to the animals that have their home on our currency.
- The Big 5:
Buffalo, Leopard, Elephant, Lion and Rhino.
- The Little 5:
Elephant Shrew, Ant Lion, Leopard Tortoise, Buffalo Weaver and Rhino Beetle.
- The Birding Big Six:
Kori Bustard, Lappet- Faced Vulture, Ground Hornbill, Saddle-Bill Stork, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Martial Eagle.
- The Big Five Trees:
Baobab, Fever Tree, Knob Thorn, Marula and Mopane.
The main attraction of the Kruger National Park is obviously the Game Drives or ‘Safaris’. But unlike the Safaris of old, the only shooting of animals that will happen is with a camera. Game drives take place in the early morning and late afternoon. Midday is too hot for game drive comfort, and most animals are inactive as they try escaping the heat. Night tours are also on the cards during which high-powered spotlights are used. These tours are especially awe inspiring as most of the apex predators (such as lions, leopards and hyenas) typically hunt at night, leading to truly unique and unforgettable experiences as you can witness first-hand how a top predator makes its way in the African wilderness.
Find out more about the guided tours we offer in the Kruger Park.
Kruger National Park FAQ’s
If you’re coming from England, America, Australia or any other similar nation, and have never been in the African wilderness before, it is understandable that you have a few questions that need answering. You are definitely not alone, and to help ease your mind here are a few of the most FAQ:
What do I Need to Pack?
Often people who are going on an adventure for the first time tend to over pack. With luggage restrictions on flights being what they are, it is prudent to pack only what you need. With this in mind, here are a few essentials for the Kruger Park:
- Light Cotton Clothes In Light Tones:
Light cotton clothes help you to stay fresh in the sweltering African heat. Do not pack white clothing, as this gets dirty very easily and makes you very visible when going on game drives and using hiding holes. Avoid red which can cause aggressiveness in animals and blues and blacks in Tsetse fly areas. Most of your time will be spent in the bush, so informal, tough and comfortable clothing is the appropriate dress code.
- Long Sleeve Shirts And Jackets:
The evenings can be quite cold in the Kruger. Long sleeve shirts and jackets will allow you to remain warm and assist in keeping mosquitoes and other annoying insects at bay. A light waterproof jacket will keep you dry and warm in the event of rain. Temperatures in the Kruger vary greatly. The mornings can start off in the single digits and hit the low 30s by midday. The secret to staying comfortable is wearing layers, which you can peel off as the temperatures rise, and put back on as they cool down again.
- A Good Pair Of Walking Shoes:
Unless you are hiking through the Kruger National Park, you don’t need a pair of specialised hiking boots. A durable pair of walking shoes will be good enough. A pair of sandals for comfort around the camp is also recommended.
- A Hat, Sunscreen and Sunglasses:
The sun in the Kruger is formidable. Don’t underestimate it. A good that will keep you cool and prevent sunstroke, sunscreen will ensure you get a nice tan as opposed to a strong burn, and sunglasses will take the glasses and strain off of your eyes. If you’re not used to constant bright sunlight you could be at risk of headaches.
- All Your Camera Equipment:
You are going to want to take lots of pictures during your stay in the Kruger National Park. Ensure you have everything you need to do so. Take your camera, charger, spare battery packs and spare memory cards to capture every moment.
- Medical Supplies:
Most camps should have first aid kits, but be sure to pack lip balm, sun screen, disinfectant and plasters as well as insect repellent. Don’t forget anti-allergens and any prescription medication you might need. In addition, the Kruger National Park is in a malaria area, so be sure to pack your anti-malarial medication.
- A Book:
You will likely have leisure time during the day and when waiting for flights – so keep yourself entertained. A good book is a great way to spend those lazy hours on your holiday.
What Are Conservation Fees?
Included in your package you will likely notice the term ‘Conservation Fees’. These are the fees the park levies in order to maintain the park’s natural and cultural heritage. The money raised this way goes not only into conservation but also into the maintenance and repair of the viewing hides, water supplies and watering holes.
Is It Safe In The Camps?
At night, the camps get locked up to prevent the wild animals from entering. While a small monkey or baboon may be found walking around the camp, if you leave them alone they should present no danger to you. This means you are able to walk freely around the camps at night.
Is The Water Safe To Drink?
All the water supply in the Kruger is safe to drink, however you’ll find that as a courtesy to the guests, most camps provide bottled water in their lodgings.
Can I Take My Pet With Me?
In order to maintain our delicate natural balance and to avoid the spread of disease, the Kruger National Park does not allow pets to be brought in. Exceptions can be made for service animals such as guide dogs, but we need to be notified in advance so that a proper licence can be obtained.
Will There Be Cell Phone Coverage?
There is mobile coverage throughout most of the park, but due to the distances between the cell phone towers the signal strength does vary. It is recommended that you find a strong signal spot and go there when you need to make a phone call. However, we’d like to remind you that you are on holiday in the African bush, so turn off that cell phone and enjoy your disconnect from the outside world, however brief it may be.
Southern Circle Tours and Safaris
Southern Circle Tours and Safaris is your all in one go-to when it comes to arranging a tour in South Africa. Our packages include transport and accommodation in addition to a specially crafted itinerary designed to maximise your Kruger Park Tours. From short stops in the Kruger National Park as part of a larger tour, or a dedicated game viewing holiday, we have it all. How do we do it? We have identified what it is that people want from a South African tour and polished those aspects to a mirror finish.
Our vehicles are all air-conditioned and meticulously serviced and maintained. They are fitted with public address systems, radios and refreshments so that every trip is an experience in and of itself. Our scheduled tours cover all of South Africa, allowing you see all the keystone tourist sites and a lot of the local lifestyle, granting you the true traveller experience.
For more information, get in touch with us today.