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10 Reasons to safari in Kruger National Parkby Dalene Ingham-Brown

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A safari in Kruger National Park is all about the wildlife, cultural, African safari experience that has been on everyone's lips for the past few decades. Why? Read these 10 reasons to safari in Kruger National Park and get on the same page as everyone else as to why you should tour Kruger.

Kruger_National_Park_Safari_Wildlife

Photo from Ken Easton Gallery

1. Wildlife

This world famous national park is well known for its great wildlife viewing opportunities. A safari in Kruger not only gives opportunity to scope out the sought after African Big 5: lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant, but also the endangered species of the black and white rhino and wild. Giraffe, hippo and zebra can also be seen meandering the park, making for a great sight and photographic gems while on a Kruger safari.

2. Birdlife

You’re familiar with Kruger National Park’s Big 5. Now meet its Big 6! Birding in Kruger Park is great, and thanks to the area's eco-system, an array of brilliant birds make for great bird spotting along the way. The 6 most desired birds that visitors hope to see while on a Kruger safari are:

The Big 6 birds are:

  1. Kori Bustard
  2. Martial Eagle
  3. Lappetfaced Vulture
  4. Pel's Fishing Owl
  5. Saddle-billed Stork
  6. Southern Ground Hornbill

3. Well managed

The national park is governed with South African National Parks, and the organisation manages the park by a strict set of rules to ensure that all guest get an enjoyable experience out of their visit, while a happy family of wildlife, bird life and vegetation are left behind. Here are the Kruger Park rules:

* Visitors are to stay in their vehicles unless in designated areas.

* Vehicle doors are to be closed at all times.

* No part of a person's body may protrude from a vehicle.

* The speed limit is to be adhered to. General rules of the road apply within the park. The speed limit is 50 km/h on tar roads and 40 km/h on gravel roads.

* Gate times stated in your green gate permit are to be considered. Visitors must be inside the camp or out of the gate before these times. Gate times are extremely important and late comers may be fined.

* There is no tolerance for “off-road” driving or on roads with a “no entry” sign.

* Feeding or disturbing animals is a serious offense.

* Overnight visitors are only allowed to stay at a booked and recognised overnight facility and have to report to reception before occupying accommodation or camping.

* All accommodation and camping sites may be occupied from 14:00 on the day of arrival and must be vacated by 10:00 on the day of departure.

* Vehicles of a carrying capacity exceeding 4 000 kg, buses or any vehicles with more than 25 seats, may only drive on tarred roads.

* A strict noise restriction is enforced between 21:30 and 06:00. The use of cell phones is permitted only at rest camps, at gates and in cases of emergency.

* No drinking in public areas of the park is tolerated.

* Roller skates, skateboards, bicycles and motorbikes are prohibited.

* The Kruger National Park is a malaria zone - we advise that all visitors adhere to their doctor’s instructions.

* Rules and regulations are enforced under the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act no. 57 of 2003) and transgression can result in a fine.

4. Well-maintained roads

Hand in hand with having a great governing body, the park has a superb network of well-maintained roads compared to other safari destination roads in Africa. The park’s 12 main rest camps are well connected, as well as the smaller camps found in the park. Main routes are tarred and stand in excellent condition, which means even 2-wheel drive vehicles can happily make it through the park. The park’s dirt roads are easily navigated and along the way, the facilities and amenities that weave throughout Kruger are said to be world-class, with most camps also having a petrol station, basic shop and restaurant, as well as laundry facilities, public telephones and clean tap water. Brilliant.

5. Cheap safaris in Kruger National Park

Most of us don’t have a bucket of money we can leisurely throw at treating ourselves to Kruger National Park luxury. For that reason, the park has offers a bunch of different types of accommodation. Each rest camp comes with accommodation options that range from bungalows and camping facilities to air-conditioned safari tents and luxury lodges. Thankfully this means that safaris in Kruger National Park can be enjoyed on a budget safari experience!

6. Animal interaction activities

An elephant back safari in Kruger is a great animal interaction activities to experience when touring Kruger Park. What a truly unique way to soak up the beauty of the area; as one with an elephant, one with his pace, one with surrounding nature. Without a doubt, one of the best things to do on a safari in Kruger. A controversial topic indeed: Elephant back safaris. “Cruelty! Cruelty”, they cry. Not cruelty. As an overland guru previously explained to me, you do not randomly pick any old elephant out in the wild, shoot it with a tranquiliser dart, hop on its back and wait for it to wake up. No sir! The elephants used on this amazing adventure through Kruger are usually orphaned when their mothers or herd are poached by bad men with guns. A baby elephant cannot join any herd, it has to be its own. For that reason, if these animals were not lovingly hand-reared by humans, they would be left in the wild to die. Not cool.

7. Cultural heritage

Kruger is greatly proud of its conservation of historical sites. Within the park’s unfenced boundaries lies the Iron Age site of Thulamela. The area still has traces of trade, farming and graves from an age that saw the movement of Great Zimbabwe abandoned over 500 years ago, and its groups moving down to Northern Kruger to start smaller chiefdoms. This culturally historic site ensures one’s tour of Kruger National Park is a well rounded one, offering a generous portion of historic appeal to this wildlife rich area.

8. Wilderness trails

Sure, you can explore the park in a vehicle, from the back of an elephant, or even from the a hot air balloon's bird's eye view. Another way to get even closer to nature is to experience the walking wilderness trail tours Kruger National Park has on offer. Kruger has ensured that it offers 7 well looked after wilderness trails for those who wish to experience the park on foot. Here is a run down of the 7 different wilderness walking safari routes: safari_in_kruger_national_park

9. Easily accessible

Kruger receives yet another pat on the back for making themselves easily accessible from various points. Below is a list of the park's 9 entry gates, the road they are on and from which town you can access the road from, as well as coordinates of each gate. Now there is no excuse not tour Kruger! roads_for_safari_in_kruger_national_park

10. Self-drive safari in Kruger

Kruger National Park’s roads are extremely well built and maintained (as we now know), and for that reason, the park is ideal for a self-drive safari. You don't need a guide, or to travel with a group of people (even though it is the most fun way to travel), you can enjoy the experience at your own pace. By driving yourself you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility a self-dive safari promises. All you have to do is pick up your Kruger Mpumalanga airport car rental and venture into the national park.  Self-drive tours in Kruger National Park makes for an easy, value for money getaway. With many petrol stations along the way and easy-to-follow maps to help you navigate your route, even beginner 4x4 drivers and families should feel comfortable tackling a tour in Kruger. A safari in Kruger National Park promises a well rounded safari adventure. The wildlife, the culture and exceptional management of the park allows travellers an opportunity to have a blast when they tour Kruger.

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