Kruger National Park
*Please note the traveling and cost section was on Kruger National Park: The North, but they are relevant to both posts!*
Traveling to Kruger National Park
There are a few ways to get to Kruger National Park. There are airports in Nelspruit and Hoedspruit which are in close proximity to the park. Please note that this increases the price of the flight. We flew into Johannesburg to save money and rented a car to drive to the park.
The closest gate is approximately 4 hours drive away from the Johannesburg airport. The roads are well laid out and have good signage along the way. Depending on which rest camp is your destination, the drive time to the nearest gate will change. Our first rest camp was the furthest from the airport and also the most remote of our sites. This came with a 6-hour drive. Pretoriskop is only about a 4 hour drive!
Cost of Kruger National Park
The cost of Kruger National Park, separate from accommodation, is all conservation fees. The amount for the conservation fees change depending on your residency status in South Africa. Max and I are not permanent residents, so we are considered foreigners. The daily rate for foreigners is R304, but if you have the Wild Card- it is free. We have been huge proponents for the Wild Card because it has saved us a ton of money. The only cost we had in Kruger National Park was for accommodation. The Wild Card saved the two of us a total of R2432 for our 4 days in the park.
*To put this into perspective, we paid R3455 for a year of the Wild Card. If you are a foreign couple visiting Kruger for 6 days, it is worth it to get a Wild Card. Read our post to see what is included in the Wild Card subscription.
Accommodation at Kruger National Park
Max and I are avid campers and would not think of doing anything different in a national park. Sometimes it is confusing to find the public rest camps and campsites in Kruger because there are so many private operators, but all of the rest camps we discuss are public and open to camping! Our total for 4 nights came to about R1100 or $85USD.
Lower Sabie Rest Camp
- The Lower Sabie site was another extensive campsite. The camp store had more things than you would ever need for camping- it felt a bit like Disneyworld. Lots of tourists and a lot of chalets and RV’s rather than camping. There was a large restaurant (Mugg and Bean) attached which served decent food.
- The campsites were an adequate size for us. We chose one of the last reamining campsites and it was open because it was small and could not fit an RV. Again, we had planned to braai but could not because there was no table or seating around the braai. The ablutions were well kept and easily accessible.
- The game hide at the site was nonexistent! Because it is on a river, the game viewing is amazing during the day. But there are no lights on the river at night. Though we could hear hippos through the night, I want to be able to see their activity!
Berg En Dal Rest Camp
- The Berg En Dal site was a great rest camp and our favorite of the 4 we stayed at. This site was much smaller and less populated than Letaba or Lower Sabie. The camp store was large enough to cover all needs. There was a good restaurant attached to an amazing deck overlooking the Berg En Dal dam.
- The campsites were adequate size and we got one right by the fence. Even after our Kgalagadi experience, we still wanted to feel like we were in the bush. We had hyenas and Civets running along the fence all night. They were close enough that we were able to shine our light on them and see them.
- There again a beautiful walkway near the dam but no game hide! Luckily our site had animals, but still! Everyone comes to see animals and out of 4 campsites, only 1 had a game hide.
Other public rest camps in the south:
- Beautiful campsite that is known for having big cats near it. Very busy campsite!
- Arguably the largest campsite in the park. It is closest to the main gate. You can get anything and everything you would possibly need here.
- An amazing view over a river. This site is named correctly- lots of crocodiles and hippos!
Game Viewing at Kruger National Park in the Sorth
We had some amazing sightings in the south. The atmosphere is completely different from the north. It is obvious that the south is more popular solely based on the number of tourists. There is more large game in the south so if you are going for a very limited amount of time, I would recommend the south.
This Kruger trip was our birthday presents to ourselves (our birthdays are a week apart). Part of the deal was to do both a night game drive and a sunrise game drive. We chose to do our sunrise game drive through the Lower Sabie rest camp. Our guide was lack luster to be honest, but we still had a great time. We did not see much game for the majority of the drive and our guide did not speak for the first two hours. We ended up seeing an amazing leopard (above) and it was our first great leopard experience! The only thing we had to complete for the Big 5 was a rhino and from pictures above- you can see we accomplished it!
Overall thoughts on the north of Kruger National Park
Overall, we really liked the south of Kruger. If you have a lot of time in the park, I would suggest doing both the north and the south. It shows the vastness that is Kruger. We drove for 3 full days and just barely made it through. This park is massive. We can definitely understand why this park is so famous. We saw the Big 5 and lots more. It is one of the only places where you can see that much diversity in wildlife!