The Best Things to Do and See in the Kruger National Park
Visitors to the Kruger National Park can rest assured that they’ll be spoiled for choice with a wide variety of activities and attractions. There’s something for everyone – from Big 5 safaris, bird watching, cultural heritage sights, museums, golf, to spas and fine dining.
While animals are hardly the only thing worth seeing in the Kruger, a Kruger Big 5 Safari is one of those not to be missed experiences. The Kruger National Park is known for its wildlife, and it won’t disappoint. With a plethora of species in the park, there’s a lot to see. Of all the animals in the park, the Big 5 remain the most popular animal attraction. While on safari, you’re sure to encounter elephants and buffalo, and possibly even rhinos and lions, or the ever elusive leopard.
There’s plenty of lodging in and near Kruger National Park if you’re eager to see wildlife. But we’d suggest making a booking well ahead of your trip. Book your stay to avoid missing out.
The Kruger National Park prides itself on protecting not only its animals, but also culturally and historically significant sites. Thulamela, a prehistoric site, is one such place.
When Great Zimbabwe fell, people went to the Northern part of the Kruger National Park and founded smaller chiefdoms. Thulamela still has traces of what was once: signs of commerce and farming, and burials can be seen here. Chinese porcelain, imported fabric, glass beads, ivory bracelets, gold, bronze, and other jewellery are still found at the archaeological site of Thulamela. Join a tour to this historical location to re-discover a piece of Africa’s past.
Avid bird watchers will be delighted at the variety of bird species in the Kruger. There are over 500 species to be found, after all. Due to the enormous variety of birds in the Kruger, bird watching has become a highly popular activity for visitors. Some Kruger species aren’t seen anywhere else in South Africa!
Keep an eye out for vultures, hornbills, starlings, and bee-eaters. The lappet-faced vulture, saddle-billed stork, ground hornbill, kori bustard, martial eagle, and pel’s fishing owl, also known as the ‘big 6’ bird species, can also be seen within the park. The Pafuri and Punda Maria regions in the North of the Kruger is a birding hotspot famous for housing numerous rare species, although birding is superb throughout the area. The Bateleur, Martial, Black-chested Snake, Brown Snake, African Hawk, African Fish, and Tawny eagles are abundant; Wahlberg’s, Steppe, and Lesser Spotted in summer. The park’s water spots and resting camps and picnic areas are all great for birdwatching. The park’s seven Wilderness Trails are great for seeing birds up close.
Thirty plus years ago, the Kruger National Park was home to seven enormous elephant bulls with tusks weighing over 50 kg each. Dr. U de V Pienaar, the Kruger’s Chief Ranger at the time, publicised the elephants as a conservation triumph. He named the bulls and dubbed them the Magnificent Seven after the 1960 film. Dr. U de V Pienaar, Kruger’s Chief Ranger at the time, publicised the elephants as a conservation triumph.
In1980 marketing efforts were started with paintings by Paul Bosman and illustrated writings by Dr. Anthony Hall-Martin. When these elephants died, their tusks and skulls were collected for public display. Dzombo, Kambaku, Mafunyane, Ndlulamithi, Shawu, and Shingwedzi’s tusks can be seen at the Elephant Hall at Letaba Rest Camp.
Learn more about the Magnificent Seven, elephant evolution and biology, and much more. Along with information for schools and educators, it also provides entertainment and games for youngsters. For more information about the museum, you can visit the SANParks website.