The Kruger National Park sits right at the top of family-friendly safari destinations in South Africa. The park prides itself on being accessible to young and old alike and many South Africans will confess to cultivating a life-long love for the African bush from an early age in the Kruger.
A family holiday in the Kruger is best done in one of two ways; either self-driving or choosing an all-inclusive package at a private lodge. Both options have their own unique appeal depending on the type of holiday experience you’re after.
Long hours in the car are always a concern when travelling with children, but the Kruger is only an easy five-hour drive away from the nearest international airport in Johannesburg. All major car rental companies have counters here and offer vehicles suited to families. Alternatively, you might opt for a shuttle service when staying at an all-inclusive luxury lodge.
En-route to the Kruger National Park, whether self-driving or by lodge transfer, there are plenty of rest stops and one can even turn it into a scenic road trip of sorts by including some of the sights on the stunning Panorama Route. Once inside the park, the vast network of good tar and gravel roads make getting from one place to another equally comfortable.
Exploring the park in your own vehicle means your family stays together and you can plan outings according to personal preference. If you are traveling with toddlers, this is the only way you can take them on game drives in the reserve as children under the age of 6 are not allowed (for safety reasons) on the game drives in open 4×4 vehicles provided by the park. Similarly, only children over the age of 12 may join guided bush walks.
The southern and central regions of the park are more family-friendly than the far north, since distances between rest areas are not so spread out, the landscape is more varied and animals are more abundant. Skukuza, Satara, Lower Sabie, Letaba and Berg en Dal camps are superb options for family orientated accommodation since they offer restaurants, shops, swimming pools, child-friendly activities, museums and movie screenings.
Although staying at a luxury lodge is naturally more costly, the experience is wholly more personal with offerings such as private family villas, your own guide in an open 4×4 game viewing vehicle and special activities for children.