Africa Travel Blog (9/10/22): Kruger National Park Safari

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Hello from Kruger National Park! Today was our last full day on safari in the Greater Kruger National Park area and I wanted to spend this post talking a bit more about my thoughts on the animals we have seen on safari as well as how I think safari in Kruger compares to the safaris that I went on in Tanzania. Until you actually go on safari in Africa, it is really hard to understand just how incredible it is to see these wild animals in their natural habitat. The behavior of the animals is different, and the experience is much more intense than seeing these animals in a zoo. And while the experiences that I have had on safari are very similar to my safaris in Tanzania in many ways, in some ways they also couldn’t be more different. I am very much looking forward to sharing more about these experiences with you.

The diversity of wildlife that you see in Kruger very much rivals what we saw in Tanzania. I would say that it is much easier to see lions in Tanzania (we saw them every day in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro), but it is much easier to see rhinos closeup in the greater Kruger National Park area. We saw rhinos close up on multiple days.

The greater Kruger National Park area, as it is called, is made up of the large national parkland and several private game reserves that share an unfenced border with the park. While the park is renowned for its incredible density of wildlife, safari vehicles (or private vehicles on self-safari) must stay on the roads within the park. In the reserves, they can go off road, which sometimes makes spotting wildlife easier.

That is why we choose a safari package that offered a combination of Kruger Park safari and safari in a private nature reserve. We stayed next to the Balule Nature Reserve and went on safari half of our days there and the rest within Kruger. We are very happy with our choice! We got our closeup rhino sightings and our night time lion sighting at the reserve.

As for our safari in Kruger National Park, our tour explored the Orpen-Satara-Nwanedzi region, which is located in Central Kruger National Park. The park is divided into the Southern, Central, and Northern regions. The Southern region is the most popular region (because it has a great density of wildlife), but it is also the most crowded region by far. It is not uncommon to have traffic and backups near sightings.

I really loved the Central region because it had a great density of wildlife, but was far less crowded. We saw very little traffic, which allowed us to see more.

We got to see a ton of elephants, giraffe, crocodile, hippo, spotted hyena, a ton of different antelope and bird species, and we got to see Casper the white maned lion and his brother! He was incredible!!

We just missed out on seeing a leopard, as he jumped from the tree he was resting in and disappeared into the bush before we could glimpse him. I was also hoping to see the extremely rare Africa Wild Dog, but those sightings are unfortunately very rare and we weren’t so lucky.

Overall it was an absolutely incredible day in Kruger. Tomorrow we go on one last game drive in the reserve and then head back to Johannesburg. Until then, safe travels!

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