A 4-night visit to Kruger is superb – it means you can explore a large area of the park but don’t have to rush around too much or change camp every night if you don’t want to.
These itineraries focus on those who do want to change camps frequently to explore lots of different habitats, while those looking for a stay at a single rest camp can read through the various rest camp profiles in this section of the KrugerExplorer App to learn more and decide which is the best fit for their interests.
The Southern Kruger Explorer
Rest camps: Satara (1-night), Lower Sabie (1-night), Skukuza (1-night), Berg-en-Dal (1 night)
Perfect for… A magical tour of some of Kruger’s premier wildlife viewing areas
We kind of had to name one itinerary after the App!
This is a wonderful tour of the southern half of Kruger, taking in a great diversity of habitats and some of the very best game viewing areas of the park. But don’t forget, these itineraries are just suggestions – if changing camp every night it too hectic for your perfect Kruger experience, then just get in touch via the link at the end of this itinerary and the team can help you book something that has a slower pace…
Enter Kruger via Orpen Gate, which is the closest entrance to Hoedspruit, one of the main Kruger gateway towns. Heading towards Satara along the Orpen to Satara route, there are a multitude of excellent game viewing roads, dams and waterholes to explore, and if time allows then a drive along the famous S100 road before sunset is essential! Accommodation is at the lovely Satara rest camp, one of the best to hear nightly quarrels between nearby laughing hyenas and roaring lions…!
Today is all about the route Satara to Lower Sabie, starting with the S100 and then heading through varied grassland and bushveld habitats that host the Big 5 and much more, before reaching the Nkumbe hills and their astonishing views across the epic savannah. Finally, you will reach the mighty Sabie River, which supports some of the greatest densities of wildlife anywhere in Africa. Finish with a visit to the Sunset Dam before retiring to the Lower Sabie rest camp and its breathtaking views over the Sabie.
You may also want to arrange a night drive here, with many of Kruger’s elusive nocturnal cat species being well represented in the local grassy plains to the north of the rest camp.
The Sabie River will be at the heart of all your game driving today. Make sure you check what’s happening at the Sunset Dam and Sabie River bridge crossing, before making your way along the river towards Skukuza. The Big 5 and more are resident in excellent numbers along the Sabie and the variety of mammals and birds that you can tick off is extraordinary. Finishing at the world-famous Lake Panic Hide is the perfect way to end a hopefully memorable day. Accommodation is at Skukuza rest camp, the largest in Kruger. Enjoy a braai or visit the excellent Skukuza Cattle Baron restaurant with its stunning views over the Sabie River.
Starting the day in Skukuza means you have the day ahead to explore the southwestern corner of Kruger. The Great Gates Loop takes you through a mix of habitats and allows for another stop at the Lake Panic Hide. Heading south later on, the two main roads towards Berg-en-Dal are excellent for apex predators while the Biyamiti Weir is a wonderful eye-level waterhole. The final stretch takes you into the mountains of the Drakensberg escarpment – seeing an elephant near the peak of a mountain really is one of the more unusual safari experiences! The rest camp is the secluded Berg-en-Dal, which is perched in the hills, overlooks a dam and has a lovely birding walk route.
The Berg-en-Dal rest camp is close to the Malelane Gate for those needing to make a quick departure, but for those with a little time, exploring the mountain roads and the Biyamiti Weir area can prove extremely rewarding before leaving the park.
Adventures in Kruger’s Tropical North
Rest camps: Mopani (1-night), Shingwedzi (2-nights), Punda Maria (1-night)
Perfect for… Remote habitats, rare species & stunning scenery
The north of Kruger is much less explored than the south. The open vistas and epic scenery can give you a wonderful sense of solitude and private wildlife encounters. The climate also changes in the far north of the park, reaching tropical latitudes and offering unique and astonishingly beautiful habitats, rare species and some of the very finest birding in the park, in addition to most of the mammal predators and herbivores found in the south.
If you’re looking for a remote wilderness adventure, then the north of Kruger could be for you…!
The first night’s accommodation is at Mopani, so entering the park via the Phalaborwa Gate is the most convenient option. Following the H14 section of the The Phalaborwa Region route, you traverse bush that offers a good amount of elephant, leopard and wild dog sightings as well excellent birding and dramatic views into the local river ravine. If you have time, a visit to the Shipandani Hide to see the resident hippo pod, crocodiles and a wide variety of water birdlife is a must. Enjoy a cold drink at the Mopani rest camp restaurant, perched on the hills with spectacular views over the Pioneer Dam down below.
The remoteness of the north means there are some long game drives involved, but they consistently traverse outstanding nature habitats and offer excellent sightings. Today is one of those days but you will be exploring the S50 road – one of Kruger’s best kept secrets…!
The morning is all about looking for rare species on The Nshawu Plains route to the east of Mopani rest camp; these are some of the best roads in Kruger to find cheetah, roan and tsessebe as well as many other large mammal species coming in to drink on these marshy expanses.
Heading north on the Mopani to Shingwedzi route takes you past mountains, big dams and onto the Shingwedzi river which supports much of the wildlife in this region. The close bush along the road can offer many close-up sightings and the open riverbed and drinking hole views mean you can sit and watch the wildlife coming and going for hours. Expect to tick off a great variety of species in this area of the park, including some of the rarer antelope.
The night’s accommodation is at Shingwedzi rest camp, which has stunning views over the riverbed, including from the tarred approach road which is one of the very best in the park for lions and a variety of species of eagle.
The morning is the perfect time to explore the wonderful _Red Rocks Road_ route, which winds and meanders along a river that hosts an incredible abundance of wildlife. This is probably the best place in the area to spot a leopard, while lions and elephants are frequently encountered here. After lunch, try the Babalala Loop route to the north, which traverses different habitats again and is particularly good for spotting uncommon bird species. The accommodation is a second night at Shingwedzi rest camp.
Leaving Shingwedzi behind, the morning is a long drive to the enchanted fever tree forests of the Pafuri region on the northern borders of the park. The Pafuri area is a floodplain of the Luvuvhu River and has a tropical climate. This is one of the premier birding areas in the entirety of South Africa and is one of the most stunningly beautiful places one could imagine. The vivid fever tree forests, winding river and incredible array of animals creates a magical feel and a unique atmosphere that will live long in the memory.
Returning south towards Punda Maria rest camp includes passing waterholes that offer some of the best game densities in the north of Kruger. In the afternoon, taking a very slow drive around the Dimbo Hill & the Mahonie Loop route will reveal an incredible diversity of bird species, rare antelopes and, with some luck, close encounters with the Big 5 (including the big cats!).
During the evening, the accommodation is at Punda Maria rest camp. This camp has a nice walking loop where you will probably get close to the camp’s resident bushbucks, and don’t forget to check out the camp’s floodlit waterhole that sees an incredible diversity of wildlife visit to drink throughout the night.
The nearest park entrance is Punda Maria gate and is only a short drive from the rest camp. If you have more time to get to your next destination, you could take the long route south and leave the park via the Phalaborwa Gate, but do make sure you give yourself enough time to get to the next stage of your plans.
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All of the itineraries are suggested only – they can be reversed, changed or adapted as part of a wider trip depending on availability in each of the rest camps, but they are a great start point.
All enquiries for SANParks accommodation within Kruger National Park are handled by the wonderful team at our excellent and carefully selected partner Safari.com. They will be able to check availability, help with adjusting an itinerary depending on availability and get your reservation confirmed.
Their team can also help with booking SANParks accommodation at any other National Park within South Africa too – just let them know!