Best Time To Go To The Kruger National Park
The Kruger National park is South Africa’s most beautiful and exciting African Safari destination. This South African National Park is also one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Home to nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres, the Kruger Park is spread across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north of South Africa. Just south of Zimbabwe and west of Mozambique. Lying in the heart of the Lowveld, the Kruger Park truly offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience. Boasting an incredible variety of birdlife and wildlife. Including South Africa’s beloved Big Five including, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo.
Ranking among the best in Africa, the Kruger National Park is undoubtedly considered the flagship of the country’s national parks. Attracting thousands of visitors each year from all around the world looking to experience the ultimate African safari destination and everything it has to offer first-hand.
Best Time to visit:
May – September
April – May & September – October
June- August & December – February
Average Summer Weather
+/- 16 – 35°C
Average Winter Weather
+/- 9 – 28°C
WHEN TO GO TO THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
When to visit the Kruger National Park is undoubtedly one of the most frequently asked questions when planning a trip to this top African safari destination. The time of year you choose to visit the Kruger Park will have a big impact on your overall experience. While it is an all year-round destination, the Kruger National Park has two distinct seasons. Namely the dry season (winter) and wet season (summer). With each season offering a uniquely different experience in terms of game viewing opportunities, temperatures, park conditions, surrounding scenery and birdlife and wildlife sightings. However, the dry winter season is considered the best time to visit the Kruger National Park.
Summer: October – March
- High day-time temperatures
- High levels of humidity
- High levels of rainfall
Winter: May – Spetember
- Low humidity
- Lovely mild day-time temperatures
- Virtually no rainfall
TOP REASONS TO VISIT THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK DURING THE DRY WINTER SEASON
Prime time for game viewing
Optimal visibility due to sparse vegetation
Mild temperatures & minimal rain
Best time to visit / Low season
The best time of year to visit the Kruger National Park is during the region’s dry winter season. Which takes place from May through to September. This is due to the prime game viewing opportunities visitors will get to experience during this time of year. And as most local and international visitors to this top South African National Park come for the incredible wildlife sightings. There’s no question that the dry winter season and its associated sparse vegetation and prime visibility, will provide game viewers with the very best opportunity to experience sensational wildlife sightings. Including South Africa’s beloved Big Five including, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo.
- Prime time for incredible wildlife sightings
- The bone-dry, end-of-winter months of September and October is when the concentration of animals around water sources are at their highest. As the water levels are extremely low, wildlife will gather around the park’s surrounding water sources. Thereby providing visitors with some incredible and rewarding game viewing opportunities. This period is therefore regarded as the best game-viewing time for a Kruger safari
- The dry season is the best time of the year for walking safaris in the Kruger National Park. Providing visitors with a unique perspective of the region’s wildlife and surroundings
- Vegetation is low and sparse at this time of year, thereby making animals easier to spot and follow
- Visitors can enjoy blue skies and pleasant mild day-time temperatures with low levels of humidity
- Little to no rain can be expected during the Kruger’s dry season
- There is virtually no risk of Malaria
- Dry season also falls within the Kruger National Park’s low season. Which means the roads and camps will be far less crowded. Thereby allowing for optimal game viewing opportunities and wildlife sightings
Additional wildlife, vegetation & birdlife sightings you can expect to experience during the Kruger Park’s dry season:
- The month of May, which marks the start of dry season in the Kruger, is the time of year when wild dogs begin their denning period. Thereby providing visitors with the best opportunity to view these rarely seen endangered animals.
- Visitors to the Kruger with also be able to enjoy incredible sightings of elephants as they migrate from Mozambique and Zimbabwe into the Northern Kruger in search of winter grazing during the Kruger Park’s dry season
- Bird lovers can expect great birdlife sightings as July marks the arrival of local bird species such as the stonechat
- September also marks the time of year when the Weeping boer-beans burst into flower attracting a myriad of bird life, insects, monkeys and more. Thereby allowing for more incredible wildlife and birdlife sightings
- The dry season brings with it breath-taking scenery as White seringas blossom during this time of year
- The ancient baobab trees flower during the Kruger’s dry season
Things to remember when visiting the Kruger National Park during the dry winter season:
- The Kruger National Park’s conditions are very dry during this time of year and dirt roads (which are extremely popular in the Kruger) can become very dusty
- Temperatures can drop significantly during the early mornings and evenings. It can therefore become very cold. Warm clothing is highly recommended when going on a safari in an open vehicle or otherwise
TOP REASONS TO VISIT THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK DURING THE WET SUMMER SEASON
Lush greenery due to high rainfall
Park is filled with newborn wildlife
Great birdlife sightings
Excellent photography opportunities
Although the Kruger National Park’s wet season is not considered the best time to visit the Kruger, it does offer visitors a slightly different experience and perspective. As well as a few unexpected surprises and adventures that will be thoroughly enjoyed by nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
The Kruger National Park’s wet summer season takes place from October through to March. The summer rains in the Kruger Park usually start from the end of October/start of November. With it peaking in the months of January and February and ending around April. As the Kruger Park’s wet summer season is filled with subtropical rainstorms. It is often referred to as the ‘Green Season’. With the landscapes of the Kruger transforming into a beautiful lush green paradise that stretches as far as the eye can see. Making it a superb time of year for photographers and nature lovers from around the world. The higher levels of rainfall also fill the rivers and waterholes that have dried up over the dry winter season. Completely transforming the Kruger from a dry oasis into a lush nirvana of greenery.
Although the Kruger National Park’s wet summer season is characterised by high levels of rainfall. It also marks the time of year where the region’s temperatures start to rise significantly. The Kruger’s Park’s wet season is therefore characterised by extremely hot and humid conditions. With peak day-time temperatures reaching well over 40°C. Although the average day-time summer temperatures reach approximately 32°C. Paired with very high humidity levels.
Besides high rainfall and hot and humid park conditions, one of the Kruger National Park’s summer season highlights is the fact that the park is filled with newborns. Which is undoubtedly one of the wet season’s main attractions. The summer months are therefore the best time for a Kruger Park safari if you are keen to see baby animals as most animals give birth at the start of the rainy season. Thereby significantly increasing your chances of spotting wildlife with their young. Making for an unforgettable Kruger Park Safari experience.
What can you expect when visiting the Kruger National Park during wet summer season
- High levels of rainfall results in the surrounding scenery being green and lush. Transforming the Kruger National Park into a lush green paradise.
- Wet season is the prime time for newborn & young summer-born wildlife sightings
- The higher number of newborn animals present during this time of year means the Kruger Park also becomes a predator’s paradise. Thereby further enhancing your chances of spotting potential predators
- Birding is excellent during the Kruger Park’s wet season as the summer migrant birds arrive
- As the wet season is also known as the Kruger Park’s ‘Green Season’ (due to the high levels of rainfall) it’s a great time of year for photography
- It’s the perfect time of year to visit some of the Kruger’s hidden gems and lesser known heritage sites, including rock art, stone ruins and comprehensive museums
- February is the waterbuck birthing season, leading to increased encounters with these unique fluffy calves
- March is the peak of the Greater kudu and Cape buffalo breeding season. Thereby creating increased excitement amongst the predators, lions in particular.
- Summer in the Kruger National Park is not considered the prime time for wildlife sightings
- Game viewing is more difficult during the Kruger Park’s wet summer season due to dense vegetation. Thereby making it much harder to spot and observe wildlife
- Due to high levels of rainfall animals start to spread out as waterholes are filled again. They therefore no longer feel the need to congregate around water sources as they would during the Kruger’s dry winter season
- Visitors to the Kruger will experience extremely hot and humid day-time temperatures with peak day-time temperatures reaching well over 40°C in extreme conditions
- Summer is typically high/peak season in the Kruger Park (due to school holidays and the festive season) which means roads and camps will get extremely busy
- The risk of malaria increases during the Kruger Park’s summer season. Although the risk of contracting malaria is still relatively low, the region does lie within the malarial belt. It is therefore advisable to take antimalarial medication or to consult a medical practitioner for advice about malaria if you plan to visit the Kruger Park during or just after summer.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
Summer: October – March
October – November:
- Temperatures start to gradually rise with increased rainfall, especially in the afternoons
- Average morning temperature: 18°C
- Average day-time temperature: 31°C
December – February:
- Known as the Kruger Park’s wettest and hottest months
- High levels of humidity and torrential downpours in the afternoon
- Average day-time temperature: 32°C but can soar up to an unbearable 40°C
March – April:
- Temperatures start to cool down, rainfall decreases & humidity starts to drop
- April is often characterised by lovely clear weather conditions
- Average day-time temperature: 30°C
Winter: May – September
- Transitional month between summer and winter marking the end of summer
- Average morning temperature: 12°C
- Average day-time temperature: 27°C
June – August:
- Temperatures cool down significantly
- Average morning temperature: 10°C
- Average day-time temperature: 26°C
- Temperatures gradually start to rise & the first rainfall brings relief from the dry conditions
- Average morning temperature: 14°C
- Average day-time temperature: 29°C