Best Things To Do in Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park primarily caters to nature and animal lovers. At natural landmarks like the Kruger Tablets and Hippo Pool, visitors will likely see lions lounging and hippos swimming. Meanwhile, game drives and bush walks allow travelers to spot must-see animals like Nile crocodiles, elephants, giraffes and rhinos. More traditional vacation pursuits like guided mountain bike excursions and golfing are also available here. And for those who enjoy archaeology and history, do not pass up a chance to explore the Albasini Ruins.
Updated March 28, 2019
- #1View all Photos#1 in Kruger National ParkHiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Recreation, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
If you don't have multiple days to spend at in-park trails like Wolhuter and Nyalaland but want to explore the area on foot, consider signing up for a river walk or a morning or afternoon bush walk. These two- to four-hour walks depart daily from main rest camps like Letaba, Lower Sabie, Olifants, Satara and Skukuza. However, river walks by the Olifants River are only offered at the Olifants rest camp. Each walk is led by two experienced guides.
Large game, birds and insects are regularly spotted during bush walks, so bring your camera with you. Do not be startled to see your guides carrying loaded rifles; rangers are armed solely to protect you from animals. And as an added precaution, you will be asked to wear neutral colors, which help you blend in with your surroundings. Recent travelers recommend the bush walks offered at Lower Sabie and Satara.
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Though Kruger boasts several locations where lions are known to linger, one of the best places to spot the park's big cats is atop the Kruger Tablets. Nestled along the southern edge of Nkayeni Region, the Kruger Tablets are dedicated to Paul Kruger, the founder of the Sabie Game Reserve, which later became Kruger National Park. A plaque on one of the site's rocks can still be seen from the adjacent road.
Lions enjoy lounging on rock formations, so it's hardly surprising that Kruger's rock pilings – including the Kruger Tablets – are a popular lion haven. Odds are you'll snap tons of photos of these animals while in the area. But remember: Lions are dangerous animals, so stay in your car or safari vehicle at all times.
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An easy way to search for animals in Kruger National Park is to sign up for a game drive. Departing from all bushveld and main rest camps throughout the day and night, the park's game drives offer visitors a chance to see wildlife from the comfort of an open-air vehicle while enjoying commentary from an experienced guide. Animals commonly spotted on game drives include elephants, giraffes, lions and impala.
Game drives are available at sunrise, sunset and night. Each time of day and camp provides travelers with different game-viewing opportunities, so consider booking multiple drives while in the park. Additionally, drives last two to three-and-a-half hours, so dress and pack accordingly. Long-sleeved clothes and a jacket, sunscreen and water are highly recommended. Travelers can also bring snacks, but remember to keep items secure at all times and to dispose of garbage in designated trash bins.
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As its name implies, Hippo Pool – which sits near Kruger's southern border – acts as one of the park's premier locales for viewing hippos. In fact, hundreds of these giant, grunting creatures frequent this part of the Crocodile River, where they spend the majority of their time soaking in the water to stay cool. Crocodiles also reside here but are typically harder to spot.
Visitors are more than welcome to get out of their vehicles at Hippo Pool. However, hippos are extremely dangerous, so stay in designated viewing areas at all times. For the best hippo photos, arrive around dusk when these creatures climb ashore to eat grass.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Kruger National ParkNatural Wonders, Sightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Sightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDRead More
Situated near the Shingwedzi River in the park's Nxanatseni Region, the Red Rocks are beautiful to admire. Exposed after years of wear by the adjacent river, the Red Rocks offer a stark contrast to Kruger's trees and savanna grasslands. Plus, these sandstone slabs are regularly visited by must-see animals like elephants, giraffes and lions.
If you want to check out the Red Rocks, consider staying at Shingwedzi rest camp, which is located less than 15 miles away. The sight can be accessed by car or safari vehicle, though game drive routes vary depending on the guide. Driving can be a bit tricky in this part of the park, so ask for detailed directions from a Kruger employee before heading out.
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Located in Kruger's Marula Region, Wolhuter Trail features one of the park's more unique landscapes and some of the best opportunities to spot wildlife. The area's granite outcrops and deep valleys are regularly frequented by animals like elephants, zebras, giraffes and black and white rhinos. An array of birds are also seen here often. What's more, visitors can catch a glimpse of historic relics that date back to the Stone and Iron ages on many of the trail's rock formations.
According to recent travelers, Wolhuter Trail offered some of the best game-viewing and bush accommodations in the park. Plus, many loved the catered meals provided and described the rangers as "friendly" and "knowledgeable." But keep in mind that this area requires a three-night stay, so plan accordingly. Visitors with limited time may want to consider skipping Wolhuter Trail in favor of a bush walk from a traditional rest camp. Also, age and fitness restrictions apply, so consult Kruger National Park's website before booking a stay here.
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One of two sites with ruins found inside Kruger's gates, the Albasini Ruins offer a look into the park's rich history. This locale houses the remains of a 19th-century trading post, where goods like beads, clothes and metal products were once traded between Portuguese colonists and the indigenous Ba-Phalaborwa. All that remains today are a few crumbled walls and some artifacts, but history buffs will likely enjoy snapping some photos and perusing the attraction's display cases.
Travelers who are not fond of history may want to skip the Albasini Ruins. But for those who pass through Phabeni gate, which is less than a half-mile away from the attraction, stopping here may be worthwhile. The Albasini Ruins also offer a change of scenery from the park's animal-focused activities.
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