If you only manage to do a day trip, you will soon see why one day is not enough, and you are likely to be frustrated to boot. To get a very basic sense of the Kruger’s magic you need to experience at least one morning and one night drive, ideally off-road in a Private Reserve or in a 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 to the Private Reserves and concessions which provide 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.