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Budget safari in the Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is certainly the most well-suited safari destination for budget-conscious travelers. More than a century of conservation efforts have made sure that the magic of the African bush and its incredible wildlife is accessible to all who visit the Kruger.

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Getting to the park is easy – from the nearest international airport, OR Tambo International in Johannesburg, a comfortable drive along the N4 highway will get you there in under five hours. All major car rental companies have counters at the airport offering a comprehensive range of rental options.

One of the Kruger’s best features for those on a budget is that you are able to conduct game drives in your own vehicle. The well-maintained road network (mostly tarred or good gravel) within the park means you do not need to hire an expensive 4x4 - a regular hatchback or sedan will do the job equally as well.

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The cost of accommodation usually takes a large chunk out of any travel budget, but luckily the Kruger has a wide range of affordable options throughout the length and width of the 19 485km2 park. The southern regions around Lower Sabie, Skukuza, Berg-en-Dal and the central regions near Letaba and Satara offer more bang for your buck in terms of facilities and game viewing opportunities alike. These regions are also more easily accessible than the far north, meaning that you spend less time traveling to and from your destination and more time experiencing wildlife or leisure time at camp.

Camping is the most affordable accommodation option and the main camps of the Kruger all have plentiful facilities such as restaurants, swimming pools and grocery shops that make for a most comfortable stay without breaking the bank.

Traveling in the Kruger on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean you have to camp though, as many of the camps also offer reasonably priced safari tents, chalets and guesthouses. These are especially good options for groups of friends and families.

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While there is no denying that a luxury safari lodge is an experience bar none, there is plenty of benefit in a more hands-on approach. You curate your own experience by setting own schedule, planning daily excursions and in many ways seeing the Kruger the way the locals do.

Travel tips

• Book accommodation well in advance if you plan on traveling during Easter, the school holidays in late June/early July or the month of December. The park is at its busiest during these periods.

• Many car rental companies offer camping ready vehicles that are fully kitted with all equipment needed for setting up a campsite. This is a much more convenient option than sourcing camping gear separately.

• The park offers guided bush walks from all the main camps which are an exceptional way of experiencing the wildlife of the Kruger. Game drives in open 4x4 vehicles are also on offer and are a good way to supplement your own game viewing.

• Several overland and hop-on-hop-off bus tour operators offer all-inclusive travel packages to the Kruger National Park. These tours typically include transport to and from major cities, accommodation (camping) in the park and game drives.


Popular Kruger National Park Safaris

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

 | 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...

 | South African Bush and Beach Journey (10 days)

South African Bush and Beach Journey (10 days)

Explore the magic of Cape Town followed by the Scenic Garden Route and finally the Big Five members at the Kruger National Park...

 | South African Bush to Mozambican Beach Holiday (9 days)

South African Bush to Mozambican Beach Holiday (9 days)

In this exciting safari holiday, you'll get to experience both Southern Africa's bush and beach beauty...

 | 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...

 | 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...

 | Kruger, Cape Town and Mauritius Bush & Beach Safari (15 days)

Kruger, Cape Town and Mauritius Bush & Beach Safari (15 days)

Spend your days discovering the fine beaches of Cape Town, enjoying the remarkably untamed wilderness of the Kruger National Park and swimming the pristine beaches of Mauritius....

 | The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

The Ultimate Big Five South African Safari (7 days)

Get the best possible chance to see the Big Five wildlife in the iconic Kruger National Park and Manyeleti Game Reserve ...

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...

 | Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari (8 days)

Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari (8 days)

Spot the Big Five in Thornybush Private Game Reserve and enjoy the majesty of Zimbabwe's roaring Victoria Falls ...

 | 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...

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