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Spotting wildlife in the Kruger Park

Elephants, giraffes, zebras, leopards... You can really encounter it all in the Kruger Park, one of the largest game reserves in the world.

The Kruger Park, the largest nature reserve in the world

When you travel to South Africa, the Kruger Park is one of the most famous sights to visit. The Kruger Park is one of the best known and largest nature reserves in the world. This nature reserve is no less than 1,948,528 hectares in size. That is about the size of half of the Netherlands. The Kruger Park is huge wildlife park.

The Big 5 in the Kruger Park

The Kruger Park is South Africa's largest nature reserve, but there is another reason why this nature reserve is so famous. You can see all 5 of them in the Kruger Park, the Big 5. Rhinoceroses, lions, leopards, elephants and buffalo, all five live in the wild in the Kruger Park.

Spotting animals in the Kruger Park

The Kruger Park is known for its large size, but this size might also be the disadvantage of the Kruger Park. Because although you can see the Big 5 in the Kruger Park, that does not mean that you will actually see them. Because of the size of the Kruger Park you can really drive around here for days looking for animals and still not see a rhinoceros or leopard.

Of course they try to help you at the Kruger Park to see all the animals. For example, at the various camps in the Kruger Park there are signs with up-to-date information about where the different animals have been spotted. There is a good chance that you can still spot these animals in that same corner of the Kruger Park.

Explore the Kruger Park with your own car

You can choose to explore the Kruger Park with your own car/rental car. This is really doable. There are some large, asphalted roads through the Kruger Park, but the sandy paths are also easy to drive. Driving through the Kruger Park with your own car is therefore really no problem. You are absolutely not allowed to leave the car when you drive somewhere through the Kruger Park. Keep the windows and doors of your car closed and only get out of the car in the designated, safe places. The animals in the Kruger Park live in the wild and thus behave like wild animals.

On safari in the Kruger Park

The Kruger Park also offers different kind of safaris, night safaris, walking safaris, sunrise safaris, sunset safaris, etc. The leaders of these safaris keep each other informed if, for example, a leopard or rhinoceros is spotted somewhere, so that they can respond immediately. Discovering the Kruger Park with one of these safaris certainly gives you the best chance of seeing the Big 5 and takes you to the most beautiful places of the Kruger Park.

Is the Kruger Park really so special?

Idon't know if you want to hear our answer to this question, because according to many, the Kruger Park is a must do when you are in South Africa. However, we have visited both smaller game parks and large game parks in South Africa and to be honest we found the small game parks more impressive than the large game parks.

Traffic jam in the Kruger Park

Because the Kruger Park is so commercial, there are really a lot of cars on the road. The feeling that you are driving in the natural habitat of all these animals has somewhat disappeared in our opinion. Especially if you drive on the asphalted roads. At times you just drive 20 or 30 cars in a row, which gives you the feeling that you are driving in a traffic jam in the Netherlands.

Once we spotted the lions, there were really dozens of cars around us in no time. That detracted a bit from the magical moment of seeing a lion in the wild.

At camp in the Kruger Park

In the Kruger Park there are several camps where you can sleep. Camp sounds a bit primitive now, because they are actually all small holiday parks with restaurants and shops and even a swimming pool. The houses are all quite luxurious and do not resemble a camp at all.

If you drive through the Kruger Park, these camps are also great places to stop and stretch your legs. You can only leave the car at the indicated places in the Kruger Park, because the risk with all the wild animals is too great in the rest of the park. But these camps all have good restaurants with nice views and the kids can play for a while. Because the Kruger Park is so commercial, so are the prices. And certainly compared to the rest of South Africa, food and drink in the Kruger Park is expensive.

Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp, a beautiful camp in the Kruger Park

We were allowed to spend 2 nights in the Kruger Park and slept in a house in the Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp. The restaurant at Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp is very nice and it has a terrace which offers a great view over the Kruger Park. You can regularly spot animals here on the water. We were lucky enough to see a rhinoceros the first minute after we arrived. It is a fairly large camp with all neat houses.

The houses in the Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp, Kruger Park

We slept in a house with two bedrooms, a bathroom and a large living room with kitchen. There is also a private terrace where you can listen to all the sounds in the Kruger Park. The house inside was fine. Not very attractive and a bit outdated. It reminded me a bit of the old Center Parcs houses.

Animal sounds while sleeping in the Kruger Park

But you do sleep in a house in the middle of the Kruger Park, so you can of course expect some small animals and insects. So all night long I heard something crawling in our roof and running under my bed. Probably just a gecko, but you should not be scared of animals. After a day of driving around the Kruger Park, I even saw that something had gotten into my bed.

And in the ceiling of our living room two birds had made a nest and they flew happily through the living room all day long. And spiders loved it in our bathroom. All in all, sleeping in the Kruger Park was a special experience.

And despite the fact that the house was in principle big enough and completely fine, it was not quite our thing. I was happy to leave after two nights.

3 days of exploring the Kruger Park

After 3 days of driving around the Kruger Park, you are ready. You want to see as much as possible of the Kruger Park and of course you want to spot as many animals as possible, so you make long days in the car. And then 2 to 3 days is just enough. After 3 days sitting in the car you are done with driving around and ready to move on to a different part of South-Africa.

Is the Kruger Park a must do?

If you are in South Africa then you really can't skip the Kruger Park, mainly because it is so well known in the world and you still want to visit it once. But for us it lacks some charm and at times it felt a bit like a zoo, a safari park. So we were left with a bit of mixed feelings about our visit to the Kruger Park and as far as we are concerned it is not a must do.


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