Most people who have traveled to South Africa have heard about the world-renowned Kruger National Park, a safari destination unlike any other situated in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The park was nationalized in 1926 and today is home to several luxury lodges that are sprinkled across its’ 7,523 square miles (this reserve is bigger than some countries!).
The main draw card, of course, is the abundance of wildlife that roams the land but the environment you will find yourself in is just as exquisite. Gorgeous river scenes, savannah grassland and thorn and marula woodlands all make up this wonderfully wild location.
Within the Kruger National Park are private concessions where you will find some of Africa’s top luxury lodges. Big five game viewing in these areas is second to none as the wildlife population is dense and off-road driving is permitted. Unlike the crowds you will find in the public areas of the park, the concessions are limited to a certain number of guests at a time, so you are essentially paying for exclusivity of some of Africa’s finest real estate!
An example of a lodge situated in a private concession would be Londolozi. Londolozi is a family-run reserve that was founded in June 1926, the same time the Kruger National Park became nationalized. Londolozi, meaning ‘Protector Of All Living Things’, was given its’ name to honor the Varty family’s decades of work towards a vision of conservation and restoration in Southern Africa. Today, this five-star game reserve is known for its’ leopards and luxury and can be found within the highly sought-after Sabi Sand Game Reserve within the Kruger National Park. Here, guests pay top dollar for the ultimate luxury safari experience and are almost guaranteed close-up sightings of all members of the Big Five.
Londolozi Varty Camp
But Kruger National Park has something for everyone. Whether you prefer self-catering and self-drives or luxury lodges with guided game drives, the park caters for all budgets and all travelers. Some of the best times to go would be in the off-peak season to avoid congestion on the public roads and to secure your booking in the private lodges (lodges can be booked up for months in advance!).
You may have also discovered there are a few ways to get to the Kruger. From Johannesburg’s O.R Thambo International Airport it is about a 4.5 hour drive; another option is to fly from Johannesburg into Nelspruit, which is about an hours drive into the park depending on what gate you are entering; you can also fly directly from Johannesburg into Skukuza Airport, which is conveniently located in the park; if you are staying in Kwa Zulu Natal you can spice things up and travel through Swaziland and enter the park by Crocodile bridge.
It is also worth setting a day aside to explore Mpumalanga’s star attractions along the Panorama Route. These sights include; Pilgrim’s Rest, God’s Window, Bourke’s Luck Potholes and the Three Rondavels. South Africa is an exceptionally beautiful country and those lucky enough to visit this area will be awestruck.
Blyde River Canyon
In terms of seasons and the best time to go on safari, we recommend going in the dry season between June and October. However, that said, if you find yourself traveling outside of those months you will not be disappointed. Each season holds its’ delights and game viewing happens all year round.
So, if the travel bug is biting and you are looking at the map, consider spending a week in the Kruger National Park for an incredible safari experience.