Located in the north-eastern corner of South Africa, the Greater Kruger and Kruger National Park are considered two of the country’s greatest wilderness areas. Combined, the Greater Kruger and Kruger Park boasts one of the finest and most diverse biospheres and wildlife and birdlife destinations in Africa. While many assume the Greater Kruger and Kruger National Park to be one and the same, it is important to know the difference between the two and to recognise the different regions that make up the Greater Kruger and how they fare in terms of wildlife sightings and experiences. To help you differentiate, here are 10 things you should know about the Greater Kruger National Park.
One of the most frequently asked questions by both local and international wildlife and nature enthusiasts is – What is the difference between the Kruger National Park and the Greater Kruger Park? Despite the fact that the Kruger National Park and Greater Kruger are used interchangeably, with many assuming there is no distinction between the two, there are several obvious and distinct differences between the Kruger National Park and Greater Kruger Park.
Set within the Greater Kruger National Park, the renowned Thornybush Game Reserve, also known as Thornybush Nature Reserve, is a pristine 14,000-hectare private game reserve. Beyond being one of the most sought-after game reserves in Africa, it is every bit as wild and untamed as its famous neighboring national park, the Kruger National Park, with the added bonus of sharing an unfenced border with Timbavati Nature Reserve and the Kruger Park.
Regarded as one of the best safari destinations and premier private game reserve in South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve should be on every wildlife and nature enthusiast’s African safari bucket-list. Boasting 65,000 hectares of vast untamed wilderness, the notorious Sabi Sand Game Reserve shares an unfenced border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park, allowing animals to roam freely between the reserves.
South African tourism has a secret weapon – the Kruger National Park! Regarded as one of the greatest national parks in the world, the renowned Kruger National Park is South Africa’s flagship national park. Deemed the third largest national park worldwide and one of the largest in Africa, the pristine wilderness within the Kruger Park consists of nearly 2.2 million hectares of unspoiled African bushveld.
Regarded as a piece of unspoiled Africa, the world-renowned Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park, is a combination of the Timbavati, Klaserie and Umbabat Private Nature Reserve, forming one large expanse of pristine wilderness. Located in the heart of the Lowveld region of South Africa, Timbavati Game Reserve shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park, allowing wildlife to migrate freely between the two reserves.
With the global pandemic restricting world wide travel a number of Kruger National Park Game Lodges have announced and continue to run some amazing South African resident deals.
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.
Visit the Kruger National Park during SANParks Free Access Week 2021! The annual South African National Parks Week is an initiative aimed at giving all South African citizens the opportunity to experience the incredible variety of National Parks our country has to offer.
This year SANParks will celebrate its 16th annual South African National Parks Week from the 22nd – 28th of November 2021, granting free access to day visitors to most of its National Parks across the country, including the renowned Kruger National Park (KNP).
While SANParks will be hosting its annual SA National Parks Week from 22 to 28 November 2021, the free access will only be valid until Friday 26 November at the following National Parks:
- Addo Elephant National Park
- Kruger National Park
- The Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park
As announced by SANParks Acting Chief Executive Officer, Luthando Dziba, the week-long campaign will be applicable to all the National Parks managed by SANParks, with the exclusion of the Boulders section at Table Mountain National Park (Boulders Beach & its African Penguin Colony) as well as accommodation facilities and tourist activities.
Total Energies and First National Bank (FNB) are official partners, helping SANParks achieve its vision to create a sustainable National Park System that connects society. The purpose of this amazing initiative is to familiarize and create awareness of the National Parks that exist in South Africa and foster a greater understanding of environmental conservation amongst South African citizens as well as cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage.
“The week is meant to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage and a deeper appreciation of biodiversity. It is important for South Africans to visit and know the importance of national parks.” – SANParks Acting Chief Executive Officer, Luthando Dziba
Luthando Dziba further emphasized the growing need and importance for all National Parks to be relevant and accessible to everyone, particularly to the young people and communities living adjacent to these parks.
“Through our Socio-Economic Transformation programmes and our Expanded Public Works Programme, we work closely with communities living adjacent to national parks in a quest to be more inclusive in our management of protected areas. This inclusivity encompasses providing access to parks for cultural use as well as exposing young people to the different career options in conservation and tourism.”- SANParks Acting Chief Executive Officer, Luthando Dziba
The SANParks Free Access Week celebration usually takes place during September (tourism month) but due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and concerns regarding the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, SANParks has moved the event to November with the hope that it will allow more people who ordinarily could not afford to visit the Kruger National Park, as well as all its other National Parks, to do so safely.
“SANParks is postponing the free access week which is traditionally held in September, to November due to concerns regarding the number of COVID-19 cases across the country. The safety of both guests and staff is of utmost priority and we, therefore, have to ensure that we are in a position to effectively implement the COVID-19 visitor management procedures in all our parks at all times.” – SANParks’ General Manager: Media, PR and Stakeholder Relations, Rey Thakhuli
Since the programme started in 2006, some 591 234 South Africans have been afforded the opportunity to enter National Parks free of charge. Every year SANParks aims to increase the number of citizens that are granted free access to its incredible range of National Parks. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of free access guests that the various National Parks are able to cater for will be highly subject to gate quotas. Extra visitor management procedures will also be in place to manage visitor volumes.
The Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park Gareth Coleman reiterated his excitement to welcome South African citizens to the Kruger National Park, while highlighting the importance of adhering to COVID-19 protocols and regulations including sanitizing, wearing of face masks, and observing social distancing.
Conditions for free entry into Kruger National Park
- All South Africans must produce a valid SA ID to enter for free during South African National Parks Week. No electronic copies of IDs will be accepted.
- Only children below the age of 16 gain entry without proof of identity.
- Groups regarded as commercial ventures: private open safari vehicles operators, tourists who come to the Park on tour buses and overnight visitors are not included in this free access arrangement.
- It should be noted that free access to parks does not include free access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities.
- All members of the public visiting the Kruger National Park and other National Parks are requested to adhere to all the COVID-19 protocols and regulations including sanitizing, wearing of face masks, and observing social distancing.
- Due to COVID-19, all the parks will be operating under capacity constraints, and a first come – first serve basis principle will apply. Daily quotas will be implemented in all National Parks.
Top attractions & experiences
- The Big Five: Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhino.
- The Little Five: Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise, Ant Lion and Rhino Beetle.
- Birding Big Six: Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Lappet- faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Saddle-bill Stork.
- Five Trees: Baobab, Fever Tree, Knob Thorn, Marula, Mopane.
- Natural/Cultural Features: Letaba Elephant Museum, Jock of the Bushveld Route, Albasini Ruins, Masorini Ruins, Stevenson Hamilton Memorial Library, Thulamela.
- Self-drives & game drives
- Wilderness trails
- Guided Walks
- 4×4 Trails
- Mountain biking
- Eco Trails
- Wildlife sightings
- Bird watching
“SANParks and their employees proudly look after National Parks for the people of our country and the world. During SA National Parks Week we encourage all South Africans; in particular those from communities that border the Park and may never have an opportunity to visit to make a turn and come and see for themselves. This is why during the SA National Parks Week we offer free access to all the citizens of South Africa. We would like to make the public aware however that entries are limited. Because we are a conservation area we must observe the normal daily quota for visitors at the gates so people must arrive early. Quotas still apply during that week and entry will be given on a first come first served basis.” – Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park Gareth Coleman
Visit the SANParks website for more information.
National Parks included in SANParks Week
- Kruger National Park
- Addo Elephant National Park
- Agulhas National Park
- Augrabies Falls National Park
- Bontebok National Park
- Camdeboo National Park
- Garden Route National Park
- Golden Gate Highlands National Park
- Karoo National Park
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Mapungubwe National Park
- Marakele National Park
- Mokala National Park
- Mountain Zebra National Park
- Namaqua National Park
- Table Mountain National Park
- Tankwa Karoo National Park
- West Coast National Park
- |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park