Looking to take an adventure for your next vacation? Then you might want to check out Kruger National Park in South Africa. It’s one of the largest game reserves in Africa, and often tops the list of the best safaris in Africa.
From lions and hyenas to gazelles and hippos, you can see iconic wild African animals in their natural habitat and explore the beautiful Savannah landscape.
However, you can’t visit this park at any time and expect to see everything you want. Instead, you need to plan accordingly. If you want to make the most out of your trip to the park, you need to go at the best time.
That’s where we come in. Below we’ll discuss the best time to visit the park along with some planning tips. Keep reading to learn all you need to know!
Why You Should Visit Kruger National Park
How many people do you know can say they’ve been on a safari in Africa? Probably not many. That’s why visiting Kruger National Park is so unique. Here, you can book a safari to see the Big 5, including lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalos, and elephants out in the wild.
While the “big 5” in the game is one of the biggest draws of this park, you can’t forget about all of the other animals you can find here, such as vultures, giraffes, eagles, wild dogs, and impalas.
Of course, as a National Park, Kruger offers more than just safari trips.
Visitors can also take advantage of guided walks, backpacking trails, wilderness trails, birding, mountain biking, and 4×4 adventure trails. The park offers endless opportunities for entertainment to keep your days packed with fun.
Overall Best Time to Visit Kruger National Park
Visitors can plan trips to Kruger National Park all year long, since it doesn’t really have an off-season. However, the overall best time to visit Kruger National Park is between June and September.
South Africa experiences their dry season during these months since its winter. Visiting any time between June and September means that you won’t have to worry about the intense heat and humidity that comes when visiting during the summer.
You also won’t have to worry about the sporadic rainstorms that occur during the spring and summer either. Because of the dry season, the landscape at the park becomes a bit more sparse, which is ideal for visitors wanting the best chance at getting a glimpse of some elusive animals.
During these months, you can expect warm temperatures during the day and cooler temperatures at night.
Plus, if you’re worried about those malaria-ridden mosquitos when planning your visit, you don’t have to. Between July and August, the mosquitos that carry malaria go dormant so you can spend your trip worry-free and mosquito free.
Cheapest Time to Visit Kruger National Park
You’ll find that the cheapest time to visit Kruger National Park is between June and August. Prices during these months are at the lowest because crowds are not as abundant as they are during the warmer weather months.
You can make your trip even easier on your wallet if you plan well in advance.
In doing so, you can book accommodations and flights at better prices than you would if you were to plan too late. Similarly, when planning, you can try to find packaged deals for accommodations and things to do.
For example, if you know you want to go on a safari tour, you can see if your lodging offers any discounts if you book through them or for larger parties. Of course, if you want to save even more, you can try to find either an all-inclusive resort to save money on food and drinks.
Or, you can try to find a lower-cost vacation rental. Whichever way you decide to go, there are always plenty of ways to save a buck or two when planning a trip.
Least Busy Time to Visit Kruger National Park
While crowds can be fun on occasion, you don’t always want them when exploring a national park, especially one with rare animals.
You don’t want all of the people around scaring away the animals you want to see. So, if you want to plan your trip to Kruger National Park at a lower traffic time, you should plan to go in either late January or February.
Not as many people frequent the park during these months because the weather is very dry and can get very hot. Temperatures usually sit in the 70s at a minimum during the day during this time but can spike up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since not as many people visit during these months, you have a better chance of booking activities and finding accommodations. You also have a better chance of seeing animals and bird watching because many species begin their migration during this time.
Although not as empty as the summer months, you will see reduced crowds between June and August because the weather isn’t as ideal as it is during the cooler months.
Worst Time to Visit Kruger National Park
Even though most people like to plan vacations during the summer, that is not the case for vacations to Kruger National Park. The summer in South Africa starts in November and lasts into early January.
While many animals give birth during these months, which would be a truly breathtaking experience, these months also welcome the rainy season.
During the rainy season, visitors can expect rainy afternoons and pop-up thunderstorms that may ruin a day outdoors at the park. The rainy season also brings with it intense humidity that can make outdoor excursions unbearable.
Because of all the rain, the vegetation in the area becomes full and lush. And, while that might sound beautiful, it can hinder your ability to see wildlife.
All-in-all, you’ll probably want to avoid visiting Kruger National Park from November through December unless you don’t care about seeing some animals, love humidity, and won’t mind if your excursions get rained out.
Things to Consider
If you’ve never visited a national park or South Africa, or if you’ve never planned an outdoorsy trip, there are some things you’ll want to consider before going all in on the planning.
These things to consider include:
- How much do you want to spend on the vacation? Set a budget ahead of time so you don’t overspend while you’re on your trip.
- What kind of activities do you want to take advantage of? Plan ahead- some of the things you may be interested in will likely have to be reserved in advance.
- What kind of weather do you want to have when you go? This may lead you to choose a different time of year to visit.
- Is your passport up to date? Double-check well in advance. Passports can take up to 120 days to be updated once you submit changes.
- Do you need any specific vaccinations before going? Find out well in advance, schedule an appointment with your doctor, and make sure you bring proof of vaccination with you on your flight.
- Do you have appropriate attire? Pack for all types of weather.
Like planning any trip, you’ll always have some questions before making a decision. However, if you keep these items in mind, it might make your decision and plan a little bit easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have some questions you need to be answered about planning your trip to Kruger National Park? We’ve got you covered with some of the most frequently asked questions about the park below.
How Many Days Should I Spend at Kruger National Park?
With so much to explore and so many activities to take advantage of, you would do your best to plan to stay at the park for either four or 5 days minimum. Spending this amount of time at the park ensures you get to see and do all that you can.
Should I Be Worried About Getting Malaria?
Unfortunately, Malaria is a primary concern for people visiting the Kruger National Park area. While there are some months when malaria-ridden mosquitos aren’t active, it would still be in your best interest to research malaria vaccinations and plan on going forward with it when you plan your trip.
Is Kruger National Park Safe for Children?
Yes. Everyone in the family can enjoy all that Kruger National Park has to offer. However, the park has various age restrictions for some activities.
For instance, children under six years old cannot attend game drives, and children under 12 are not permitted to attend bush walks. Of course, these restrictions are for your and your family’s safety.
How Do I Book a Safari?
There are a few ways in which you can go about booking a safari tour. You can research different tour companies, book through Skukuza Safari Lodge, or you can do a self-drive tour. While all have advantages and disadvantages, the self-drive tour means you can do things at your pace and not a company’s schedule.
How Much is the Park Entry Fee?
For international visitors, the standard conservation fee for entry costs 460 Rand per adult, which costs around $27. For children, you will need to pay R230 per day, which is around $14.
What Do I Need to Pack?
What you need to pack depends on the time of year you visit. Typically, the weather dips at night to cooler temperatures. If you visit during the summer, make sure you pack to accommodate the intense heat and humidity. Also, be sure to pack some rainy-day gear in case a thunderstorm pops up while you’re outside.
Can I Take My Dog or Pets into Kruger Park?
Unfortunately, your furry friends are not permitted inside the park to keep the potential spread of diseases at a minimum and for general safety.
The park does make an exception for service animals, but visitors will need to acquire the correct license and paperwork to do so. Those visitors will also need to notify the park ahead of time.
What is a Daily Conservation Fee?
The daily conservation fee is the fee you pay to get into the park. These costs go toward conservation efforts to keep the park safe, clean, and thriving.
Why is Kruger National Park Famous?
The park is also home to thousands of animals from reptiles and birds to mammals. Plus, it is one of the best places in the world to see a leopard in the flesh.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Kruger National Park?
Kruger National Park is a unique destination for a vacation. From hiking trails and safari tours to bush walks and birdwatching, the possibilities to explore are endless here.
The only thing you need to do is plan your trip around the best time possible, which is any time between June and September. So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today!