The Kruger National Park is the flagship of wildlife conservation on the African continent. It runs 350km north to south, flanked on the north by Zimbabwe and on the east by Mozambique. The area is unrivalled in the diversity of its flora and faun – nearly 150 species of mammal, over 500 species of birds and about 330 species of trees across 16 distinctly different habitats.
Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres and with a bewildering choice of nearly 350 different places to stay, its easier to break up the area into four distinct zones – Northern Kruger, Central Kruger, Southern Kruger, and the Private Reserves.
The large bulk of travellers looking for affordable safari accommodation throng the Central and Southern Kruger areas, while the North receives few visitors. Most Indian travellers looking for a luxury safari experience would be best to book one of the private reserves.
The South is also called the “circus”, and you can guess why. But the landscape is lovely, and the game-viewing can be sensational. However there a couple of private concessions (concessions are areas within the Park, while reserves are outside the Park but unfenced and contiguous to the Park) offering a much higher quality safari experience including some of the best walking camps in the whole reserve.
The Central Kruger area receives lesser visitors than the South and offers reliable game viewing, though perhaps not as much wildlife as the South. There are a number of private concessions with high quality (and expensive) lodges to the East and West of this zone within the Park.
The North is the wild side of Kruger – a more arid region with woodlands and bush. This is an area with animals are difficult to spot and visitors are few. This delivers perhaps a truer safari experience for people who don’t want instant gratification, but where you have to work hard for the rewards.
And finally, what most luxury travellers from India are familiar with – on the western flank of Kruger, adjacent to the main park are a huge number of uber expensive private reserves. These private reserves offer a much lower density, higher quality safari. While they are not within the confines of the Park (like private concessions), they are largely unfenced, allowing wildlife uninterrupted mobility and therefore form part of the greater Kruger eco-system. Within these private reserves, the southernmost cluster known as the Sabi Sands, hosts many of the finest and most expensive safari lodges, probably in the whole world.
With a range of accommodation and game drive safaris to suit all preferences and budgets, the Greater Kruger National Park offers, you, the visitor, an exceptional wildlife experience in Africa at its best.