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PLANNING A KRUGER PARK SAFARI  

A BASIC INTRO

The focus for your trip to this region will be the Kruger National Park, the brightest jewel in Africa's treasure chest. The whole of the north-eastern corner of South Africa revolves around it, a shimmering presence just over the horizon even in the surrounding towns. It spills over into Mozambique to the east and Zimbabwe to the north. The spectacular Blyde Canyon is its gateway to the west.

The Kruger is a world-famous Game Reserve for good reasons. As a visitor, you will find that it offers one of the best wildlife experiences in Africa. More than 500 kilometres from north to south across the diagonal, and teeming with wildlife, it offers more species than anywhere else in Africa. The Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, cape buffalo and hippo) abound. Vital populations such as the endangered wild dog (African painted wolf) and cheetah exist in significant numbers. Any Kruger Safari will dip into an astonishing species list of (to date) 336 types of tree, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals.

This is perhaps the longest established protected area in the world. Since 1898 the Kruger has preserved South Africa's wildlife, initially from colonial hunting. Now, this two million hectare protected area is unrivalled in bio-diversity. An academic hothouse, it has field reserch programmes that have run for decades, and leads new environmental thinking across the planet.

Visitors like you are a essential players in modern conservation efforts. The last century has seen the area developed to welcome you, striking a clever balance between ecology and the strong belief in the right of access to National Parks. Today, tourism provides income enabling the protection of huge amount of space, and innovation in the industry ensures a very wide range of ways for you to participate in the of this unique system. Today the Kruger has unparalleled infrastructure which operates unobtrusively and efficiently to make your visit as hassle-free as possible.

There are the most sophisticated Safari Lodges in the world to which you can fly in and your feet will scarcely leave the ground thereafter. Equally, you can arrive in your own car or rent one: turn up, drive yourself around the Park, pitch a tent, light a fire and cook. You can be forced backwards down a untarred track by an elephant in musth within minutes of your arrival, or be guided in an open 4x4 vehicle to see the most exquisite close-up leopard sightings on the planet. This is one of very few places where you have the choice and flexibility to experience both worlds. And the Kruger accommodates day and overnight visitors.

We provide a range of itineraries, resources and services to help you make the most of your trip. We can help you whether you are self-driving between Government Restcamps or flying in to Singita Lebombo for the ultimate in luxury. We advise on what to do in the Greater Kruger area, including the Panorama Route. And we also help position the Kruger in a bigger trip, taking in the Cape, Mozamabique or the other adjoining countries, which we can organise for you. See why using us as your operator will help you.

BASIC KRUGER MUST-DO'S

If you only do a day trip, you will soon see why one day is not enough, likely getting frustrated to boot. To get a very basic sense of the Kruger's magic you need to experience at least one morning and night drive, ideally off-road in a Private Reserve or concession where your Guides can track and follow the game. A bush walk is a must to get a totally different perspective. A bush braai (barbeque) under the stars gets your attention focused on your immediate surroundings for a couple of hours and is a mind-opening experience.

You should go and sit at a waterhole for half a day, armed with binoculars, camera, a good book and some refreshment.

Self-driving is a great experience, but if you are new to Safari, make sure that the majority of your activities are Guided. You will see things (and many more of them) completely differently. Your Safari becomes a rich interpreted experience like a real-time documentary and you will be amazed by what is going on around you and what clear signs are left behind.

We recommend making the time to stay at a Government Restcamp. They are all mostly well located, clean, well-provisioned and great fun if you are in a group (cook your own steaks over the fire in the evening, for example). They were, of course, the original Kruger experience. Today they represent a worthwhile contrast with the Private Reserves and concessions which define the gold standard Kruger experience.

If all of this sounds difficult to organise, we'll do it for you, departing from wherever you wish in South Africa. Or we can arrange for you to join an organised Group trip from a local centre. Hoedspruit, Phalaborwa and Nelspruit all have airports and are good starting points.

Next: Private Reserves


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