Kruger National Park Travel Guide

South Africa  #5 in Best Places to Visit in Africa
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Kruger National Park Area Map

Neighborhoods

Kruger National Park sits in northeastern South Africa next to the Mozambique and Zimbabwe borders. Within the park, visitors will find three main regions: Marula, Nkayeni and Nxanatseni. Each of these regions houses two to five main rest camps, as well as more rustic accommodations and various landmarks and game-viewing areas.

Located in the southern part of Kruger, Marula Region features five park access points (Malelane, Crocodile Bridge, Numbi, Paul Kruger and Phabeni gates), plus the area's main airport (Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport) and the smaller Skukuza Airport. Must-visit sites like Hippo Pool and Wolhuter Trail are also available in this part of the park. What's more, Marula Region offers some of the best opportunities to spot the Big Five, meaning many of the park's busiest camps – like Skukuza and Lower Sabie – can be found here. Other camps situated in the area include Pretoriuskop, Berg-en-Dal and Crocodile Bridge.

Even though this central region only offers two main rest camps – Satara and Orpen – Nkayeni Region boasts impressive vantage points for spotting giraffe and large cats like lions, leopards and cheetahs. To get into Nkayeni Region from outside the park, visitors can drive or fly into Hoedspruit Airport before passing through one of two gates (Orpen or Phalaborwa).

Kruger's northernmost region – which can be reached by driving or flying into Hendrik Van Eck or Hoedspruit airports before entering through Phalaborwa, Punda Maria or Orpen gates – is a favorite haven for elephants, so you're bound to see these giant creatures here. Additionally, Nxanatseni Region offers ample opportunities to spot impala, zebra and other smaller wildlife. And by the Olifants River, travelers can catch a glimpse of iconic water animals like Nile crocodiles and hippos. Noteworthy areas found in Nxanatseni Region include the Red Rocks and several wilderness trails. At night, visitors can retreat to one of five main rest camps: Olifants, Letaba, Mopani, Shingwedzi and Punda Maria.

Most of Africa's safari parks (especially those with periods of heavy rains) are prone to malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that's endemic throughout the continent. To protect yourself from mosquitoes, wear long-sleeved clothing at night (when mosquitoes are most prevalent), as well as insect repellent with DEET (a chemical that makes it harder for mosquitoes to smell you). Also, speak with your doctor to obtain a prescription for an anti-malarial medication, which will need to be started before your trip and continued after returning home. Note: Some anti-malarial medications cause side effects like vivid dreams, anxiety and nausea, so discuss all options and their potential effects before choosing a medication. And remember, like other animal sanctuaries, keeping a safe distance from wildlife at all times is a must. Always follow park instructions. Should a dangerous situation arise, Kruger guides and rangers – who carry loaded rifles as a precaution – are trained to shoot any threatening animals.

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