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 16th – 20th 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).
The week-long campaign will be applicable to all the National Parks managed by SANParks, with the exception of Namaqua National Park, the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony, and the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway in Table Mountain National Park.
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.
“It is important for South Africans to visit and know the importance of our National Parks.” – SANParks Chief Executive Officer, Fundisile Mketeni
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 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
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.
Kruger National Park Gate Quotas
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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
- Table Mountain National Park
- Tankwa Karoo National Park
- West Coast National Park
- |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
It’s time to explore the renowned Kruger National Park like you never have before. Boasting nearly 2.2 million hectares of unspoiled African bushveld that stretches for 352 kilometres across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north of South Africa, the Kruger National Park is not only the third largest National Park in the world, but the flagship of South Africa’s national parks. Lying in the heart of the Lowveld, the Kruger Park offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience that’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before
It’s no surprise that wildlife and nature lovers travel from all around the world to witness the unspoilt natural beauty and untamed wilderness of the Kruger National Park first-hand. If going on an authentic African safari in the Kruger National Park is not on your bucket-list, you better add it right away – trust us, you won’t be disappointed in the slightest!
Here are some of the top reasons why you should go on a Kruger Park safari.
EXCELLENT WILDLIFE & BIG 5 SIGHTINGS
The Kruger National Park’s incredible diversity of wildlife is one of the top reasons why it is regarded as the crown jewel of South Africa’s national parks. Through careful wildlife management and dedicated conservation initiatives, the Kruger National Park has established itself as one of the top destinations in Africa to see wildlife in their natural habitat. Not to mention one of the best reserves to see the renowned African Big 5. Dubbed the treasures of the African bushveld, the iconic Big 5 include the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. These remarkable animals often take centre stage, with locals and tourists travelling from all corners of the globe to witness them first-hand.
Besides the African Big 5, the Kruger National Park is home to more than 148 (the most of any African country) of southern Africa’s 350 mammal species, 18 of which are listed in the Red Data Book, approximately 507 bird species, 18 reptile species, 35 species of amphibians, and 50 indigenous freshwater fish species.
The Kruger is also known for its spectacular sightings of endangered or ‘rarely seen’ animals such as the African wild dogs, cheetah, sable, and roan antelope. That’s not all – The Kruger is where you will find the beloved members that make up the Little 5. Africa’s Little 5 include the leopard tortoise, rhino beetle, elephant shrew, ant lion, and the red-billed buffalo weaver. The Kruger National Park’s incredible and diverse wildlife is without a doubt one of the top reasons to go on a Kruger Park safari.
SIX DIFFERENT ECOSYSTEMS IN ONE PARK
The Kruger National Park boasts 2.2 million hectares of unspoilt African wilderness and spans a total of almost 20 000 square kilometres. Such a large space means that no part of the Kruger Park is the same. Stretching across Mpumalanga and Limpopo and bordering Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the park gives rise to a diverse ecology as well as six different ecosystems. Besides the fact that the Kruger National Park is home to the renowned African Big 5, as well as an incredible diversity of wildlife and birdlife, the changing landscape of the Kruger means that there are more than 2 000 plant species present in the park, and six major rivers flowing through it, supporting a rich and diverse habitat.
Whether you’re going on a self-drive safari adventure, a thrilling open-vehicle game drive, or a fly-in safari, the Kruger National Park is highly accessible. Travelling to the Kruger Park is both easy and convenient as wildlife lovers now have more options than ever before to access the park. If you choose to fly, there are several scheduled flights to the Kruger Park from Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. There are also three airports close to the Kruger: Skukuza, Phalaborwa, Hoedspruit airports and the Mpumalanga International Airport. Skukuza Airport offers daily direct flights from Cape Town however, most flights to the Kruger Park are from Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. For high-end travellers and groups, charter flights can also access the Kruger National Park.
For those travelling by car, the Kruger National Park has nine entrance gates. These entrance gates are accessible centrally, as well as from the north and south. The park’s southern gates can be reached in about five hours from Johannesburg. Once inside the park, the Kruger boasts an excellent network of sealed and well-maintained gravel roads.
EXCELLENT BIRD WATCHING
Boasting more than 517 bird species, some of which are not found anywhere else in South Africa, the Kruger National Park is the ultimate bird watching destination. If you’re a birding enthusiast, be sure to keep an eye out for the Kruger’s Big 6 when visiting the park. The Big 6 include the Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel’s Fishing-Owl and Ground Hornbill. Birding is excellent during the Kruger National Park’s wet summer season (October – March) as it marks the time when the summer migrant birds arrive.
GREAT FOR DAY VISITORS
The Kruger National Park is the perfect destination for a day filled with magnificent wildlife and birdlife sightings and encounters as well as tons of fun safari adventures for the whole family. The park opens its gates early, giving visitors the opportunity to spend the whole day exploring one of Africa’s most pristine national parks. If you’re planning to enjoy a self-drive wildlife adventure through the Kruger Park, make sure you take your time and plan your route accordingly – that way you get a real taste of what the Kruger National Park has to offer!
VARIETY OF ACCOMMODATION
The reserves in and around the Kruger National Park offer a wide variety of accommodation options to choose from, catering to all budgets and levels of adventure. The Kruger Park boasts 12 main rest camps, five smaller satellite camps as well as several incredible bush lodges and bush camps. From campsites, self-catering accommodation, and standard rondavels to exquisite five-star luxury safari lodges and the most renowned private concession lodges in the world, there is something for everyone. Exceptional luxury can be found in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Thornybush and Madikwe Game Reserve. However, there are plenty more to suit your budget and expectations.
BUCKET-LIST HOLIDAY DESTINATION
Considered by many to be one of the greatest national parks in the world, the Kruger National Park should be on every wildlife lover and nature enthusiast’s travel bucket-list. Not only is it the best and largest national park in Africa, it’s also one of Africa’s most sought-after wildlife destinations. With so much to offer, the Kruger Park truly is the ultimate bucket-list holiday destination.
The fact that it is the largest national park in Africa means that there is so much to explore and discover. While visiting many of Africa’s smaller game reserves is a matter of staying in one lodge and spending just a day or two exploring the surroundings, this is not the case with the Kruger Park. As the Kruger National Park consists of nearly 2.2 million hectares of unspoiled wilderness, stretching 400km/248mi up the Mozambique border to the bottom of Zimbabwe, it offers visitors a unique holiday and travel experience. This, combined with its easy access, incredible biodiversity, and varied environments, means you could easily spend a week or more exploring different parts of the park, creating your very own, self-contained holiday and travel experience along the way.
The fact that each region of the Kruger Park boasts a different ecosystem and terrain, attracting varying predators, prey, wildlife and birdlife, means your bucket-list journey through the Kruger National Park will be jam-packed with tons of adventure, untamed beauty, and exceptional sightings and encounters all the way through.
Being one of Africa’s most sought-after national parks and wildlife destinations means the Kruger National Park attracts quite the crowd. However, given the Kruger Park’s size and diversity of terrains, there are plenty of ways to escape the large crowds, and tick some thrilling safari experiences and adventures off your bucket-list.
Embark on a guided night drive and explore the Kruger’s open roads without all the cars and crowds (as the Kruger Park’s gates officially close at sunset for visitors unless you are on a guided safari drive). As an extra bonus, you may even spot a prowling big cat as well as the Kruger’s many nocturnal wildlife.
Another great way to escape the crowds, wander slightly off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the African wilderness is by enjoying a guided walking safari or bush walk. A guided walking safari involves venturing into the Kruger’s bushveld while accompanied by a highly experienced and knowledgeable ranger. This thrilling safari adventure gives you the opportunity to experience nature in real time, come face to face with the wonders of the African bush, learn all about spoor (which includes animal tracks, scents, trails and droppings), as well as the incredible wildlife and birdlife of the Kruger Park. Not to mention enjoy some amazing wildlife sightings and encounters along the way. To really feel one with nature and push yourself to the ultimate adventure limit, book a wilderness or backpacking trail where you’ll spend a few days walking through the bush and nights by the campfire.
Besides these three thrilling safari adventures, the Kruger National Park has a variety of exciting experiences that can be enjoyed by all its visitors.
The Kruger National Park is a great family-friendly destination. Most lodges and camps in the park make provisions for children of all ages, meaning a great safari experience for the whole family. A trip to the Kruger Park is both educational and fun, making it a wonderful choice for families.
Each season brings its own special perks and unique sightings, which means you can visit the Kruger National Park all year round. Boasting a glorious sub-tropical climate, you can enjoy sunshine for most of the year. As far as wildlife is concerned, the dry winter months are known to be the best time for game viewing, but, at the same time, the wet summer months have new-borns, full waterholes, and migrant birds to offer.
YOUR CHOICE OF EXPERIENCE
As the Kruger National Park boasts a variety of different reserves, terrains, and concessions, it has the added advantage of giving guests a lot of choice about where to go for the experience they would like. Each section of the park is unique and provides visitors with a vastly different experience. Each section of the Kruger Park also has its own selection of lodges and camps that offer superb accommodation options, services, and safari activities and experiences ranging from walking safaris to 4×4 game drives.