Exploring great Kruger is an experience you won’t soon forget. Imagine driving at your own pace while seeing monkeys playing in the trees, elephant herds peacefully crossing the road and lazy hippos or crocodiles sun-bathing on the riverbanks… That’s everyday life at Kruger. And what’s best? Besides the entrance fee and gasoline for your car, it’s free!
Yes, you can drive as you wish on the park’s perfectly maintained road network and stop here and there (only where allowed) to stretch your legs, surrounded by abundant wildlife. The park has a couple of “villages” with all services, especially in the southern part (the norther you go, the wilder it gets). But the biggest difference between self driving and guided safari tours is that on your own you usually see most of the game only from far, unless you are very lucky. Some animals are also quite tricky to spot during a self drive, like big cats (lion and leopard). That’s why in addition to the national park itself I strongly recommend to spend a few nights in lodges that organize safaris, either in or outside the park (the most luxurious ones are located next to the park) like Sabi Sabi or Kapama.
First, my shots taken in Kruger:
Then those taken during open-air jeep safaris and bush walks organized by the lodges I stayed in (Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp and Kapama Karula):
All in all I started with 2 nights in Sabi Sabi, then one day of self driving in Kruger and I ended with 2 nights in Kapama. Outside the park I also recommend to drive the highly scenic road R532 for gorgeous landscapes (like the famous Three Rondavels viewpoint).
On your way back to Johannesburg (by the way it’s very easy to drive the freeway between Joburg and Kruger) and if you have a few spare hours before your flight, you should definitely take a Soweto tour. I took the private tour with Mandy by Imbizo Tours and found it amazing. Soweto is one of the world’s biggest townships (a.k.a slums) and witnessing such poverty is difficult… But this is also the reality of South Africa, a country of huge and sometimes disturbing contrasts. You will also see Nelson Mandela’s house and visit a museum about the apartheid, next to a school where in the seventies hundreds of pupils were killed by the police only because they were protesting against Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools…
Next to come: the beautiful Cape Town area.