Getting Around Kruger National Park
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get around Kruger National Park is to book a safari tour. Safari guides know the park's roads and game-viewing areas well, so you won't have to worry about getting lost while trying to spot animals. Many safari packages also cover food, lodging, game drives and transportation to and from a regional airstrip or Johannesburg. If you'd rather avoid a group tour, you can rent a car at most of Kruger's airports and Skukuza rest camp. Car hires are also available from Johannesburg's O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB), but you'll have to drive 244 miles (or about four hours) to reach the park. A faster (albeit pricier) option is to fly into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP), Hoedspruit Airport (HDS), Hendrik Van Eck Airport (PHW) or Skukuza Airport (SZK) from O.R. Tambo.
Safari tours offer a convenient way to get around Kruger without blowing your budget. Guides can provide a wealth of information about local flora and fauna while navigating the park's roads, meaning you can focus all your energy on searching for wildlife. Safaris generally span several days and include one or two game drives on each day of your trip. Plus, most safari rates – which vary by company – cover accommodations, airport transfers, park entrance fees and some or all meals. The majority of local safari operators offer group tours, but pricier options, such as Moriti Private Safaris, provide private, customizable tours.
Driving around Kruger is not recommended. Poorly marked roads can be confusing to navigate, and fuel stations are only offered at main rest camps. However, travelers will have the flexibility of choosing their own start and stop times for park drives. To navigate Kruger's roads, consult maps like those found on the park's website and Siyabona Africa's website. Most major car rental companies have kiosks at O.R. Tambo and Kruger Mpumalanga, while Skukuza, Hoedspruit and Hendrik Van Eck only offer car hires from Avis or Bidvest Car Rental. On average, standard car rentals cost $12 to $20 per day. Note: An international driver's permit is required to drive in South Africa. Applications for international driver's permits are available on DMV.org's website and AAA's website.
The fastest way to get to and from Kruger is to fly into one of four airstrips located in or just outside of the park's perimeter. All regional airports offer direct flights every day to and from Johannesburg. On average, round-trip tickets between O.R. Tambo and Skukuza, Hoedspruit, Hendrik Van Eck or Kruger Mpumalanga cost approximately $100 to $400 per person. Kruger Mpumalanga has the most daily flights of any regional airport, while Skukuza is the only airstrip situated within Kruger's gates. Every flight is operated by South African Airways' partner Airlink and lasts less than an hour.
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