Kruger National Park, South Africa – What to Expect

If you want to see a lot of wild animals in their natural habitat and have an awesome experience, go to Africa’s Kruger National Park. Expect to stay at least two days since it is the largest game reserve in South Africa, covering 7,332 square miles.

You most likely will be staying in Johannesburg before you go to the park. The weather may be significantly different than from where you departed, so be prepared for climate changes. Plan for a 4-5 hour drive (pack snacks and plenty of water), depending upon which gate (entrance) you choose to go to first. The more popular southern gates to enter from Johannesburg are either the Crocodile Bridge Gait or the Nambit Gate – and traveling between the two to get a glimpse of the park.

Expect to pay about $15 (120 Rand) a day per person (children are half price) for entrance into the park. If you plan to stay overnight at one of the camps, you will pay prices similar to staying in hotels. Most people tour the park in private or rented vehicles, but tours are also available. You must be careful to get to your planned destination before the gates close. If you arrive at a gate or camp after they close, you will not be permitted to enter, exit, or receive accommodations.

If you are equipped with a map, you will have no difficulties navigating the park. You will more often than not run into a park ranger who can give directions and offer guidance as to where to find the game.

As you tour through the park, you can expect to see giraffes grazing along the road, warthogs darting in and out of the brush, and impalas by the thousands. When you pass by pools of water, be sure to drive slowly to see if you can’t spot the hippo poking their snouts out of the water.

Don’t be hesitant to ask the park rangers where the wildlife is located since some game tends to not to stay fixed in one area. The ranger’s job is not only to care for and protect the animals in this sanctuary, but also provide assistance to visitors. After all, without visitors, there would be no revenue, and they also want to make sure you have a fabulous, naturalistic experience.

If your heart is set upon seeing elephants, ask the park rangers where they have been spotted recently. You might get lucky and even see the baby elephants. You can observe the elephants grazing or taking mud baths and spraying mud all over themselves.

However, as fun as elephants are to watch, the only protection you have is your vehicle. Please remember not to get too close and give the animals their space. Be sure to retreat if they show signs of aggression such as shaking their head, flapping their ears, and trumpeting their horn. They are surprisingly quick and fast for how big they are and extremely protective of their young.

You can’t help but be impressed by the kudus and other wildlife not commonly known. Even the warthogs, which were so ugly and yet so cute as they run around with their tails pointed straight up in the air, will give you great entertainment when you spot them.

Don’t forget to keep your eye out for groups of rhino, herds of zebras, sables, and hordes of wildebeests throughout your visit. As you keep your eyes are peeled looking for wildlife out in the grass, don’t forget to look up now and then to spot birds and monkeys in the trees.

It is difficult to even get a taste of the park if you only tour it for one day. Consequently, lodging is provided at over 18 camps within the park. Most camps have a fence all around to keep the animals out. Dinning is available at the camps for a reasonable price with excellent service.

You need to take special note that Kruger Park is a Malaria region and you will be required to take anti-malaria medicine. The infected Anopheles mosquito carries the protozoan responsible for Malaria. The mosquitoes may not seem bad during the day, but at nighttime they become especially aggressive and numerous.

You may feel forlorn to leave this great, once-in-a-lifetime experience behind when you exit Kruger Park. To express the thought that it is well worth the time to visit Kruger National Park would be a severe understatement.

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