No trip to South Africa would be complete without a safari, and if you would like to get up close and personal with Africa’s Big 5 (that’s Elephant, Leopard, Rhino, Lion and Water Buffalo to you and me!), then one of the best places to do so is Kruger National Park.
One of South Africa’s largest and most popular game reserves, Kruger National Park covers a whopping 19,485 km² or 2 million hectares, and homes some of the most beautiful creatures on earth, with an estimated 147 different mammals, 114 different reptiles, and over 500 bird species that have dwelled in the Lowveld environment for centuries.
While Kruger National Park is easily accessible from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, many internationals arrive at Johannesburg airport, and prefer to make the journey by road. The Panorama Route from Johannesburg to Kruger Park is extremely scenic, and while you can expect to be on the road for a good 5 – 6 hours, the lookout points and sightseeing activities along the way are worth every minute!
If you would prefer not to self-drive, there are some fantastic small group escorted tours from Johannesburg to Kruger National Park, like this 3-day adventure…
Day 1: Johannesburg – Kruger National Park
After breakfast today, you will be collected from the hotel reception for your morning departure to the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ Mpumalanga. Your 5½-hour journey takes you through incredible scenery – mountains, panoramic passes, valley, rivers, waterfalls, and forests that characterize the landscape. Arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon. Check in to start your Kruger Experience immediately with an afternoon open vehicle game drive into the Kruger National Park. All safaris in the Kruger Park are operated in specially designed open safari vehicles and you will be accompanied by a qualified and experienced FGASA and SATOUR registered guide. After the sun has set on your first exhilarating day, you will return to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Kruger National Park
After breakfast, embark on a full day safari into the Kruger National Park. The safari starts early in the morning and your guide will cover as much area as possible. Stops will be included at the various lookout points within the park and you will be given the opportunity to explore man’s interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries – from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like the Masorini and Thulamela. A packed lunch will be enjoyed inside the park. Return to the hotel in the early evening in time for dinner at the hotel.
After an early breakfast, depart the Kruger National Park and travel back to Johannesburg via the ‘Panorama Route’. The Panorama Route is best known for its cultural heritage and its dramatic landscapes. It leads through the rugged mountain range of the northern Drakensberg in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. Travel through “Gods Playground” to God’s Window overlooking the green Lowveld. Further north along the route, stop along many well-positioned vantage points from where one has a view of the 33km long Blyde River Canyon gorge, which stars at “Bourke’s Luck Potholes” and ends at the “Three Rondavels”. The Potholes are very impressive rock formations that were shaped millions of years ago by erosion. Time and weather permitting, stop at various waterfalls along the way. This tour ends on your arrival at Johannesburg airport, where you will continue with your South African adventure.
Designed to coordinate beautifully with a visit to Cape Town and a trip up the illustrious Garden Route, this is a great 3-day safari for travellers on a budget.