How to tour the Kruger National Park like a local
The Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s major tourist attractions, especially for visitors from overseas. Yet, locals can derive just as much enjoyment from this natural wonder as international guests. This is how you can tour the KNP like a local.
Sometimes it can be quite difficult to get accommodation in the KNP. If you do not plan on camping it requires booking a few months in advance and even up to a year in advance if you plan on visiting over school holidays or long weekends.
There are four types of accommodation to choose from: bungalows, cottages, safari tents and campsites. Bungalows and cottages can get pricey, ranging between R1 300 to R4 300 per night depending on the type and number of guests. The advantage of bungalows and cottages is air-conditioning, especially during summer, and fridges.
The safari tents bring you closer to the bush without all the work. You can expect to get ones of these for approximately R600 for two people per night. To get a real feel for a bush retreat, you cannot beat a camping experience. The wildlife is louder and closer and there are more opportunities to interact with other people, especially overseas guests. It is also the most affordable option starting at approximately R300.
When to visit
Game viewing is the best during winter as the animals need to go to watering holes to hydrate. It can, however, get very cold at night. It rains during summer and the game can find water deeper in the bush than during winter. You can also expect hot weather in summer, with temperatures sometimes well above 30 degrees Celsius.
Shoulder season, in April and September are worth considering. The weather falls between the two extremes, as does the quantity of wildlife. Between September and November you also have a better chance of seeing young game.
Must do experiences
Games drives are not just for international tourists. it should be the birth-right of every South African. The Kruger National Park offers morning, sunset and night drives for a reasonable rate. Select the early morning or sunset drive for the best viewing as animals are most often on the move at these times. But! Remember, you are never guaranteed you will see anything. So do not set your hopes up.
Wait at the gate at the crack of dawn to be one of the first to leave when the gates open in the morning. This is the best time to catch some of the more elusive game moving to their spots for the day. Nothing beats securing a prime spot in front of a pride of lions. Make sure you pack your flask of coffee and biscuits in case you make that rare sighting.
Also pack ingredients for breakfast which you can skottle braai at one of the picnic spots along the way. The picnic spots hire out the skottles. You can sit in the middle of the KNP without fences and enjoy nature in its natural splendor. Maybe you will be lucky enough to see a buck wander into the area. Remember though, never feed the game as it puts their life at risk.
The Kruger National Park provides one of South Africa’s most relaxed and enjoyable spots to take a break from city life. If you have not yet experienced it, do not waste any more time and start planning your truly local holiday.
To read more MasterTravel articles, click here