Best time to visit Kruger National Park

Wildlife is best viewed in Kruger during the cool, dry winter months of July-October
The lack of rain in winter means that animals cluster round waterholes, while the short, dry grass makes spotting them even easier. Book early (it gets very busy) and bring layers – it’s incredibly cold after sundown. But while this is arguably the best time to visit Kruger National Park, it really is open for business year round, with each season bringing new treats. Migratory birds are present from Oct-March, while the hot, rainy summer (Nov-Jan) is a treat for photographers as the landscape turns a vibrant green, and newborn animals can be seen in Nov-Dec.

Kruger National Park Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
21
32
95
FEB
20
32
93
MAR
19
31
68
APR
16
29
35
MAY
11
28
15
JUN
6
26
10
JUL
7
26
16
AUG
9
27
8
SEP
13
29
25
OCT
16
29
43
NOV
18
30
65
DEC
20
32
95

Our top Kruger National Park Vacation

South Africa safari vacation, 14 days

South Africa safari vacation, 14 days

Award winning safari in South Africa

From £3250 to £3660 14 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2018: 5 Jul, 18 Jul, 26 Jul, 19 Aug, 16 Sep, 30 Sep, 7 Oct, 14 Oct, 21 Oct, 28 Oct, 4 Nov, 11 Nov, 18 Nov, 25 Nov, 2 Dec, 9 Dec
2019: 12 May
Helpdesk
Hello. If you'd like to chat about Kruger National Park or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

Things to do in Kruger National Park

Things to do in Kruger National Park...

Hire a car and drive your way around – it’s one of the few places in Africa where you can have an easy self drive vacation. This particularly convenient for families, and those who prefer more independence. Explore the human history. The San Bushmen have left their trace at over 170 sites, dating back between 1,500 and 3,000 years. The beautiful paintings are believed to depict scenes of hunting, as well as trances and spirit worlds. A good place to start is the walking trail near Bern-en-Dal. Despite being protected in a huge national park, much of Kruger’s wildlife is still endangered. Support conservation efforts as a research volunteer, learning to track, monitor and identify wildlife, as well as setting up camera traps and recording behaviour, or even microchipping a rhino. Make this the focus of your trip – or just spend a day or two working alongside local teams. Walk a Wilderness Trail with a guide to experience Kruger on foot. Each of the nine trails has a different theme and different attractions, including rhinos, birds or rock art. Trails take three nights and two days, and book up well in advance.

Things not to do in Kruger National Park...

Cuddle a cub. Many places in South Africa offer the chance for a lion selfie (or, even more inexplicably – a tiger selfie) – or the opportunity to “walk with lions”. But don’t. Habituated lions cannot be released into the wild, and when they get too big and dangerous to cuddle, the chances are they’ll be sold on to canned hunting reserves.
Don’t ignore the people that live alongside the wildlife. Poaching is a very real problem in Kruger; its enormous size makes patrolling tough. When protected areas are created, they often leave local communities out – depriving them of land and resources, without sharing the economic benefits. By visiting communities, and spending money on local guides, souvenirs and food, they can understand that wildlife is worth more alive than dead – and benefit from supporting in the conservation of the land.
Don’t break the park rules – they are there for the safety of both wildlife and visitors. If driving, be aware that offroading is forbidden; and if walking, you may only do so with an authorised guide. Nighttimes drives are a thrilling way to experience the park – but again, you’ll need to go with a ranger.

Kruger National Park travel advice

Camps vs. lodges

Camps vs. lodges

Rupert Calcott, from our supplier Exodus, prefers campsites to lodges:
“Camping brings down the price, but its also offering something different. A lot of people stay in lodges, which means they only experience the park when they’re doing their activities. They’ll go out and do a game drive, but then they’ll come back and sit in their rooms or the restaurant, maybe even watch TV. But when you camp, you’re in that natural environment 24/7, experiencing the sounds, the smells, the noises at night – it’s a much more intense experience.”
Advice for families

Advice for families

Rupert Calcott, from our supplier Exodus, says Kruger is a great place for a family vacation:
“We recommend that kids are at least eight or nine years old, and more accustomed to sitting quietly in a vehicle so that they can get the most out of game drives. The minimum age for a game walk is 12, but some operators won’t take kids younger than 14. It’s great for older kids to get out and experience camping, rather than just staying in a lodge, as it’s good to get them out into the pristine areas. They’re really dwindling and there is so little wilderness left. It motivates children. It opens their eyes to different experiences in a way a city tour can’t. And I believe that in the long term you get a budding conservationist.”
Getting more out of a safari

Getting more out of a safari

Will Fox is the founder of our supplier On Track Safaris, and a conservationist specialising in leopard behaviour. Here's his travel advice for safari goers:
"So many people come back from Africa and say, ‘that was nice, but I wish I'd been more involved.’ They don't want to just be shown animals, it's not Disney World. Safaris shouldn't just be about seeing animals and staying in a nice lodge with a spa. That's wonderful, but it should also be about understanding the real issues in Africa and learning more about whatever it is you're keen on. We teach our guests a few native words. If you thank the lodge staff in their own language, you'll get such a beaming smile. They're just so impressed that someone has learned a few words of their language."

Tips from our travelers

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.
We have selected some of the most useful Kruger National Park travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
We were as captivated by insights into birds, insect life and plants as much as we were by the excitement of the traditional big five on safari
- Martin Thomson
"There were great laundry facilities everywhere so you didn't need to many clothes - but you certainly needed a good variety for this time of year (mid-November) and its weather. We had everything from baking sunshine to cold winds and heavy rain." - Dave McCall

"Go on every possible game drive. Every one of them was special in some way, and if we had missed a single drive, we probably would have regretted it when speaking to others on their return. As first time safari goers we didn't want to go with a check list of what we wanted to see. We just went to see whatever Africa had to offer. We were not disappointed!" - Janet Thomas

"Have a good camera with a 300mm lens or longer (a DSLR is ideal). Good binoculars - the birds are really interesting. Other than that be prepared to have fun." - John Ryder

"Best suited for the very first-time safari goers. RSA has perfect travel infrastructure and this package in particular seemed for us more predictable than going the very first time on safari in Tanzania, Zambia or Botswana." - Yuriy Danchenko
The most memorable part of the vacation? Learning some bushcraft, hearing a baby rhino squeak, seeing a leopard and white-tailed mongoose bump into one another at 11 pm at night
- Ivor Williams
"Don't forget binoculars. Bring a torch with spare batteries (it gets very dark at night). Don't expect a lie-in; to get the most out of this vacation you need to be up early for the morning game drives and go to bed late after the night game-drives." - Kathryn Horne

"We were able to visit a village school and took some stationery, pens, and books for "achievers" prizes which were warmly welcomed." - Steve Last

"Be prepared to learn a lot, ask a lot of questions, and contribute in whatever way you can. This will be an experience that you will never forget!" - Bonnie Shirley
Written by Vicki Brown
Photo credits: [Page banner: sivanadar] [Things to do: leftcoastenvy] [Camps vs. Lodges: Mandy Goldberg] [Advice for families: flowcomm] [Getting more out of safari: flowcomm] [Tips intro: Christian Keller] [Review 1 - Martin Thomson: Vaughan Leiberum] [Review 2 - Ivor Williams: MCSchaeffer]
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