Entering Kruger National Park, the final one of our six-country roadtrip across southern Africa, felt like a massive bucket list moment and we drove in awe through this incredible park for three beautiful days.
Our trip across Africa began with a week based in Cape Town, a gem of a city situated right on the southern tip of Africa. We landed on a beautiful Saturday morning, picked up our rental car and spent the rest of the day getting acquainted with the city and exploring many of its highlights. After our exceptional week spent in Cape Town, at the southern tip of South Africa, and one of my now-favourite cities in the world, we dropped off our rental car at before spending the night sleeping on benches in Cape Town airport. From there, we took an early morning flight in a tiny airplane up to Windhoek in Namibia where we picked up our rental 4x4 truck with a roof tent and headed into the city, anticipation at an all time high for the adventure we were about to undertake.
We spent six days roadtripping across Namibia, witnessing extraordinary places, deep in the desert and thousands of years old. From Namibia, we turned eastward and completed our first African land border crossing into Botswana where we visited two exceptional game reserves - the revered Okavango Delta, a wet river delta teeming with life, before entering Chobe National Park.
From Botswana we continued east across the continent, making the long drive from Chobe National Park towards Victoria Falls, a famous spot in northern Zimbabwe and right on the border with Zambia. After Victoria Falls, we made the 910km drive southward across all of Zimbabwe, stopping to spend the night in Matobo Hills, before crossing the border back into South Africa at Beitbridge and driving eastward towards Kruger National Park.
How to Visit Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park, like all the national parks we visited across southern Africa, can be visited with a guide or you can simply self-drive through the park, stopping whenever and wherever you may choose. We entered Kruger at the Pafuri Gate in the far north, after crossing the border from Zimbabwe, and spent three days / two nights driving south through the park.
Whilst Kruger was certainly the most developed and best maintained national park we visited, we found the paved roads, while easy to drive, actually to be a detriment to animal viewing as the animals all avoided the areas or ran away as we approached in our car. Nikias looked up the best bush routes to drive through the park (we highly recommend S39!), getting off the paved roads and back onto the gravel and, while they were bumpier to drive, that’s where the animals came out in full force.
Not only did we witness hundreds of wild animals, but we also watched eighteen giraffe all coupled up on a massive open plain before coming across all of the big predators: three buffalo, two lions and a cheetah. These animals are completely wild and we have zero say so on what they do or where they go, so every single sighting is a rare and lucky chance and somehow our stars aligned and we got them all. Feeling utterly privileged for moments like this.
You pay a per-day park fee to enter Kruger in addition to the cost of your camping. We spent one night at the delightful Tsendze Rustic Camp (which wasn't rustic in the slightest and provided a great kitchen and toilet facility) and then one night at the Skukuza Camp which is the largest in the park and feels a bit more on the touristy/family-friendly side, complete with pools, spas and restaurants... You book all your campsites on the Kruger website and plan your route out there.