The Greater Kruger includes Kruger National Park and surrounding private reserves that have partnered to create a massive stretch of land. Kruger National Park is one of the oldest parks in the world and one of the most wildlife-rich regions in Africa. Private landowners and wildlife conservancies have dropped their fences with Kruger to protect an area of almost five million acres.
The Greater Kruger is a varied landscape of large perennial rivers, wide-open grasslands, undulating mountain ranges, woodlands, and thornveld. Wildlife excursions offered in this region are extremely productive. Most lodges and camps offer game drives in 4x4 vehicles and bush walks. Depending on whether you stay inside the national park’s boundaries or in a neighboring reserve, different rules apply with regards to off-roading policies and activity times. A stay in a neighboring reserve or conservancy will provide more flexibility. Two of the most well-known private reserves are the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve.
Winter sets in slowly in the Kruger Region. In late April, the rains end and temperatures fall. Days are quickly warmed by the sun and remain comfortable, but temperatures fall at sunset, giving way to cool and crisp nights. By June, winter is in full swing as the trees and grasses thin and colors fade to brown. Food and water become scarce, and wildlife depend upon permanent water sources, such as rivers, waterholes, and lagoons. Wildlife sightings become a bit more productive during winter, as thin vegetation provides greater visibility.
Kruger’s summer season lasts from October to early March. During this time, the area experiences higher temperatures and receives the majority of its rainfall. Days are long and warm with moderate temps at night. The bush during this time of year explodes into a thick, lush, green environment, and the rivers swell. Migratory birds arrive, and antelopes give birth to a new generation of young.
Wildlife viewing in the Greater Kruger National Park is spectacular. This area is known for its large prides of lions, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos, but the biggest highlights are the region’s resident leopards. These solitary, spotted cats are known for being extremely shy and elusive, but the private reserves surrounding Kruger are some of the best areas to view leopards in Africa. This is due in part to decades of habituation, as trusting female leopards raise their young in the presence of vehicles, who grow up accustomed to them. Experienced, professional guides take great care in maintaining this delicate relationship. You can also expect to see plains animals, great numbers of birds, and if you are lucky, rare wild dogs or a cheetah.