Affordable safaris in the Kruger National Park

For the traveller who doesn’t want to rough it, but is also not partial to having the utmost in luxury, the Kruger National Park offers a surprising array of mid-range safari options. Part of making your visit to the park more affordable lies in how you put your trip together: shave off a spa treatment here and a five-course dinner there and soon you’re left with most of the luxury, but much less of the cost.

Instead of taking a charter flight or shuttle service directly to your lodge, hire a car at the airport and make a road trip out of the journey to the Kruger National Park. The world’s third largest canyon, the Blyde River Canyon, is en-route to the Kruger and certainly worth a visit, not to mention other nearby sites like Sabie’s Waterfall Route and the quaint village of Pilgrim’s Rest.

enter image description here Blyde River Canyon

A great way to enjoy the Kruger National Park is to split your stay between one of the public camps of the park and a lodge within one of the private concession areas. This means you’ll have time to self-drive in the park which is a great hands-on game viewing experience. Once within the exclusive concession area, a seasoned guide will use his or her expertise to show you the very best of the African bushveld. As a bonus, these guides are allowed to conduct game drives outside of their concessions into the public areas of the park to give you an optimal chance of spotting elusive species such as the beautiful leopard.

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Several of the private luxury reserves along the unfenced western border of park, known as the Greater Kruger, contain affordable lodges, guest houses and tented camps aimed at a mid-range budget. Self-catering is an option in some of the camps and guest houses, many of which you’ll have exclusive use of if you book the whole camp or house. Stay at these and you’ll save on some of the over-the-top frills while still being able to enjoy treats like guided game drives and walks. Here guides are allowed to track animals off-road and at night – something you are not allowed to do on your own in the public areas of the Kruger.

Practical information

• Travel in the off-season when both flight and accommodation prices are lower. The winter season, from May to September, is less busy in the Kruger yet still excellent for game viewing. Keep an eye out for package deals as many of the lodges offer free nights and discounted offers.

• Rent an SUV or a 4x4 vehicle as the added height is helpful for game viewing, especially in the summertime when the grass in the Kruger stands tall. The extra interior space is also welcome on long drives and for luggage storage.

• Several rental companies offer fully kitted vehicles that are camp-ready with rooftop tents, awnings, kitchen setups and chairs and tables. Larger vehicles also cater for groups or families.

• Staying just outside one of the main gates of the park – in Hazyview, Phalaborwa or Nelspruit for instance – and doing day trips into the Kruger is often comparatively more affordable.


Popular Kruger National Park Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Big Five Safari in the Kruger National Park (3 days)

Big Five Safari in the Kruger National Park (3 days)

Encounter the Big Five safari and discover the elusive leopard...

 | Affordable Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls Luxury Safari (10 days)

Affordable Cape Town, Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls Luxury Safari (10 days)

Visit the most popular destinations in Southern Africa on this luxury tour for the budget-conscious...

 | Forray into the Wilderness of Sabi Sands and Madikwe  (7 days)

Forray into the Wilderness of Sabi Sands and Madikwe (7 days)

Our selection of South Africa's top safari lodges and game reserves are guaranteed to suit every taste and budget...

Romantic view | Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

Combine three of Southern Africa's most loved destinations into one romantic getaway and you'll share the memories forever...

 | Sabi Sand Game Reserve Safari (5 days)

Sabi Sand Game Reserve Safari (5 days)

You'll trek Africa's Big Five members in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve...

 | Blissful Fly-In Kruger Safari (4 days)

Blissful Fly-In Kruger Safari (4 days)

Experience luxury in the Kruger Park ...

 | Cape Town and Kruger Family Safari (8 days)

Cape Town and Kruger Family Safari (8 days)

Combine the best that Cape Town and the Kruger National Park have to offer – beach and bush – for the ideal family holiday...

 | Thornybush Game Reserve Safari (4 days)

Thornybush Game Reserve Safari (4 days)

Enjoy the city life in Johannesburg and track the Big Five in the Thornybush Game Reserve...

 | Cape Town, the Winelands and Kruger Luxury Journey (9 days)

Cape Town, the Winelands and Kruger Luxury Journey (9 days)

Experience Cape Town, the lush Cape Winelands and a safari in the Kruger National Park and you'll fall under South Africa's spell...

 | Bespoke Safari in South Africa (14 days)

Bespoke Safari in South Africa (14 days)

Experience the best that South Africa has to offer, with a holiday tailor-made for you ...

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