Kruger Park was established in 1898 and is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It extends over 300 km from north to south along the Mozambique border. It is one of Africa’s most accessible reserves, with a fine network of roads, and you can easily spend a day or two driving at a leisurely pace and spotting game from your own car.
This is worthwhile, even if you have spent some time in a private game reserve, not especially to see more game, but simply to experience the park; and it is interesting to discover what you can spot unaided by a ranger and tracker. Because of the great variety of habitats in the Kruger you will see different game (there are 150 species of mammals in the park) and lots of birds too, with over 500 species recorded.
There are park entrances to the north of Sabi Sand, at Hazyview and at the southern end of Kruger, so it is easy to include the Kruger in a self-drive itinerary. The southern central area of the park is the part with the greatest concentration of game – roughly, the triangle between Satara in the north, Skukuza in the south-west and Lower Sabie in the south-east. Game is harder to find in the northern area, which is wilder and less busy.
Inside Kruger Park, rest camps run by the Park's board provide clean, affordable chalet accommodation and restaurant meals. The chalets also have kitchens and braii (BBQ) stands, so you can cook your own food, if you wish. Several camps offer guided game drives and guided daytime walks.
On entering the park, you pay a daily conservation fee of around £10. If you have booked accommodation, the fee is pre-paid.
Recently, private operators have been able to buy concessions to erect accommodation in specific areas of the Kruger Park. The chief advantage of these private lodges is the much higher quality of the accommodation they provide. They have their own exclusive areas, which are not accessible to the public, and, because these parts of the park have no public roads, they tend to be areas of pristine wilderness.