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6 tips for an unforgettable safari in Krugerpark

A safari to the Krugerpark will for sure be remarkable and is an absolute must in your South Africa itinerary. These 6 tips for a visit to Krugerpark will give you a truly unbelievable experience.

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Tips for a safari in Kruger

Focus on the southern part of the Krugerpark

This part of the park, partly because of the presence of lot’s of waterholes and different rivers, houses most animals.  This makes spotting wildlife easier.  After we got this tip from a ranger we made all our game drives in this region and were not disappointed.  In 4 game drives spread across 3 days, we managed to see all of the big 5 and much more.

Roughly, this is the area that starts at the Paul Kruger gate in the north to the southern boundary of the park.

You can find the best time to visit Kruger national park here. 

Do both a Kruger self-drive safari and an organized game drive

It’s not hard to spot animals when doing a Kruger national park self-drive. It’s usually as easy as stopping where other cars are standing to see what animal they’re looking at.

In that case, why would you book a game drive?

Because when you do a game drive nobody needs to be behind the wheel and everybody can enjoy all the beautiful things that Kruger has to offer.  As a bonus, your driver will also tell you some interesting things about the animals that you’re watching.

Read also: 8 adventure activities you must do in South Africa

Don’t book your game drives directly with the National Park

It may be tempting to book directly with the park as they offer the cheapest game drives.  Or maybe because you love to see your money go to a good cause.  Know however that you risk to end up in a 20 seater safari vehicle.

We did our sunset drive in one of these and it took away a lot of the charm.

Private Game Reserves versus Krugerpark

Adjacent to Krugerpark in the West you will find many Private Game Reserves. Together with the Kruger National Park these form the Greater Kruger Park.  The Greater Kruger Park is fenced but animals move around freely between these private game reserves and the Kruger National Park.

Read also: Hiking the Robberg nature reserve on the garden route

Is it better to stay in one of the Private Game Reserves or is it better to stay in Kruger itself.  Both have their advantages.  Game drives in the private game reserves are limited to the area around the hotel which limits your opportunities to find animals.  We were tracking two lions until the tracks left the territory of the hotel and we were forced to stop our journey and look for other animals.

Later on, we were lucky enough to find a leopard that was closing in on a duiker and caught it almost right in front of our vehicle.  We didn’t spot many animals on this particular game drive in Sabi Sands but being a witness of this catch was amazing.

Read also: Zip through the Spier vineyard on a Segway.

The number of visitors in the Private game reserves is limited and safari vehicles will go off-road to provide better viewing opportunities when possible.  This offered us a great view of the action in this case.  That wouldn’t have been possible in Kruger.

I would say that Kruger is a better choice if you want to spot many animals and the Private Game Reserves are a better choice if you’re interested in quality sightings.  If you can do a combination of both.

If you are looking for a complete guide about Kruger park, take a look here. 

Go looking for leopards with a sunset drive in Sabi Sands

Sabi Sands is one of the best places to spot leopards.  Leopards hunt after sunset so get out for a sunset drive and keep your camera ready!

A game drive in Sabi Sands is normally only for those that are staying in Sabi Sands with one exception.  You can book a game drive in Umkumbe through Elephant’s Herd.  We booked our Sabi Sands sunset drive with them to great satisfaction.

When you choose to stay in Sabi Sands, is the Lion sands-Tinga lodge a good option.

  Lion sands-tinga lodge

Lion sands safari lodge -krugerpark -south africa

Lion sands-Tinga lodge is a beautiful lodge with stunning suites, fabulous views, and superb staff.  The rooms are spacious with your own deck and plunge pool. They are very well laid out so you can take advantage of the views. The rangers working in the lodge will offer you excellent safari experiences. A great place to see the big 5 but also lots of other delights.

Click here for reviews and the latest prices: BOOKING

Stay in or close to the park

The warmer it gets the lazier the animals become.  This is certainly true for the cats.  (compare it with your cat at home ;-))  This means that the best opportunity to view them is at sunrise or sunset and you will be up early.  Staying in the park or nearby means you will get to sleep a little longer and will not lose half an hour each morning driving from Hazyview to Kruger. Below we share the nicest safari lodges in or near the park.

The nicest safari lodges in or near the park

  Rhino post safari lodge

Rhino post safari lodge - Krugerpark - South Africa

Rhino post safari lodge has beautiful bungalows adapted to the environment with an open bathroom and an outside shower.  The friendly staff will look after you when you’re in the hotel and the excellent guides will do their best to give you some great photo opportunities during your safaris. In the evening dinner is served together with the other guests.  Be sure to take a walking safari. This hotel is a great choice if you want to stay in the Kruger Park itself.

Click here for reviews and the latest prices: BOOKING

  Protea Hotel Kruger Gate

We chose to stay in the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate because we could book it with Marriott Rewards points. We would however absolutely recommend this hotel, even if you cannot stay here on points. It is a beautiful and very pleasant hotel. The sparse free hours between your game drives can be spent on the viewing platform. The buffet in the Lapa restaurant was very extensive and also very tasty. We also enjoyed a wonderful massage in the spa. If the weather is permitting, as it was in our case, the massage is offered with a view on the drinking pond. Although you obviously do not see much when you are on the massage table, we still found it a special experience.

In the morning they will come to pick you up in the lobby to leave for your game drive. The advantage of starting your game drives from here is that you’re right next to the entrance gate of the Kruger Park.  This grants you at least half an hour extra of quality bedtime.  If you would leave from Hazyview you spend at least half an hour going back and forth between Hazyview and Kruger Park before and after every game drive.  Believe us, half an hour makes a lot of difference if you have to get out of bed at 5 o’clock in the morning.

Click here for reviews and the latest prices: BOOKING

More South African travel tips

2 weeks in South Africa is not enough to discover it all but does give you the opportunity to discover the lush Southern part of the country. You pass some of the fantastic highlights such as the Cape of Good Hope, the Garden Route, and the Addo Elephant National Park.  


Are you planning 3 weeks in South Africa, but could you use a bit of inspiration? Discover this beautiful country with this South Africa 3 week self-drive itinerary. It is a relatively classic road trip that will bring you past all the great landmarks. Ideal if this is your first time in this beautiful country.

Are you doing a road trip through South Africa? Here are our best tips.


Are you also visiting the garden route? Read about our hike through the Robberg Nature reserve.

Do you love going on a safari? Here is a list of the top 5 safari destinations in Africa and here you find the best binoculars for safari.  If you are looking for a pair of lightweight binoculars, click here.


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Do you have other tips?  We would love to hear them!  All pictures in this article except the safari vehicle are taken during our last trip.



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