The Kruger Park, an iconic reserve of unparalleled beauty and serenity. A place that captures your soul, then steals a very special piece of your heart. Thousands of people around the world are bitten by the ‘bushbug’ every year, but what is it that makes the Kruger Park so infectious? Is it the animals, the wide-open spaces or the infamous African sunset? Here is a collection of our favourite photos, which we feel encapsulate the entire experience beautifully. Here is…
The Kruger Park in 10 Photos
1. Endless possibilities
The early wake ups. The anticipation for the day ahead. The building excitement. With a steamy cup of coffee in hand, the sun rises and the gate opens and so the adventure begins. With winding roads ahead and the anticipation growing as you take the first turn, there is nothing quite like this excitement.
2. The Big 5 & the diverse wildlife
You have just entered a highly populated Big 5 zone, your mind is running crazy with the thought of leopard, buffalo, rhino, lion and elephant that could be only meters away without your knowledge. The true Kruger Park experience has begun, you take the road less traveled with high expectations and although at first these are not met, you are thrilled by the diversity of life all around you. Then, just as you relax your eyes, that adrenaline-fueled moment hits as a lion steps out into the road ahead or you round a bend to see parked cars, you slowly roll up to find a leopard perfectly elongated on the branch of a tree mauling at its kill. Can you feel it?
Like an oasis in the desert, the picnic spots are perfectly positioned. You pull up, just as tummies start to grumble, bladders need emptying and a little break from the car has been earned. They provide a perfect setting of tranquility, where you can pour another coffee and tuck into an Ouma rusk, as the Hornbills hop around you hoping to snatch up any leftovers. A neighbour fires up his ‘skottel’, the sound and smell of sizzling bacon fill the air. Peaceful and relaxed you start noticing all the frequent flyers around you, chattering and fluttering, as they go about their morning routine.
4. Prolific birdlife
The Kruger Park is swarming with more than 500 bird species. As the heat intensifies, the many water holes in Kruger Park are well worth a visit. Not only for the array of mammals coming for their morning drink, but also for the number of birds present. These feathered creatures are like a constant backtrack to your trip, music to your ears, and hints to where you need to be. There are so many things we love about the Kruger wildlife, so much room for opportunity and learning.
5. The little guys
These little critters, bugs, beetles and beauties we often tend to forget when visiting the Kruger Park. However, often an encounter with a chameleon, tortoise or the iconic dung beetle rolling its ball can bring a quiet game drive to life and have the kids giggling! Why not challenge yourself on your next trip and keep an eye out for the Little 5, the leopard tortoise, red-billed buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, antlion, and rhinoceros beetle.
6. The Views
Coming towards the end of the day, the sun has found its way into your point of view and you decide another stop is well needed. As the birds are singing their farewell songs and the bugs start to chirp, your heart is filled with satisfaction and warmth. You kick back, reflect on the day past, digest the scene before you and the serenity of it all.
7. An African sunset
There is nothing quite like it and to experience one in the Kruger Park is to know sheer awe! As the sun starts setting a sky of fire emerges changing to hues of orange, the vehicles below it scuttling back to camp. You stop for a photo, then another and another, totally mesmerized by what’s before you. Then suddenly you realize, THE GATES, something easily forgotten in the glow of a true African sunset.
You arrive back at camp and somehow your tiredness fades away, the smell of burning wood drifting on the air. Quiet murmurs and chitter-chatter of the day’s sightings abound, with the warm flickering light of fires all around you. Some choose to do a little fence walk, stretch the legs out and maybe catch one last glimpse of something special. You settle down around your own campfire with an ice-cold beer or a chilled glass of wine. This is the point, the point you want to quit your job, move to the bush and feel this at ease for the rest of your life.
9. The Braai
Let’s be honest, there is not much to say here! The smell of braai smoke filling the air and the sound of sizzling meat is music to every South Africans ears. Add to this the bush setting, under a clear diamond encrusted sky and you feel like you are in heaven.
10. Bush nights
The day finally comes to an end, tummies are full and the campfire has been stoked back into action, yet you don’t want it to end. The camp is silent and this is when you often get rewarded with something different, something special. The bush doesn’t sleep, in fact, it is more alive than ever! Suddenly a genet appears in the dim light of the fire, a ‘nag appie’ (bush baby) cries overhead or a hyena slinks past on the other side of the fence, letting out a haunting ‘whoop’ as he does. This is the Africa we know, the one close to our heart and finally the silence is shattered by the best sound of all, the mighty lion roars in the distance!
Thank you for reading (and looking). We would love to hear your thoughts, what do you love about Kruger? Was there anything we missed? Post your comments below. There are a number of links throughout the article as well to other cool content, so check those out. Or go straight to our Blog here. Also, visit this cool Blog, Animals Around the Globe, where we are listed as a top tour operator in Kruger. Lastly, visit our YouTube channel for a range of epic and sometimes comical wildlife videos. Don’t forget to hit subscribe as we will be posting a lot of new videos in the near future.