Kruger National Park is in the northern part of South Africa in Mpumalanga and Limpopo Province, about 400 kms. from Johannesburg. It is one of the world’s largest wildlife-watching places where you will find Africa’s Big Five (buffalo, rhino, elephant, lion and leopard) along with some other 140 mammals and 500 species of birds all living in the bushveld. The park is huge with an area of 19, 624 sq. kms. and the distances are great, stretching 329 kms. from north to south and 80 kms. from east to west. There are 2,600 well-paved all-weather roads meandering around the great sweep of this vast plain in what is seemingly an endless landscape of verdant wilderness, dry woodland, savannas and rivers. There are about 9 gates that can be accessed to enter the park and they are open from 6:00AM till 6:00PM. There are many camps inside where you can book your stay but we stayed outside during our 3-day self-drive tour with a rental car.
We started each day by driving to the gate we chose, pay the entrance fee and drive around wherever we pleased, looking for game and hoping to spot the rare ones like the elusive leopard and the difficult lion. There were many zebras, giraffes, warthogs, buffaloes and elephants as well as numerous antelopes, impalas, bushbucks, reeboks, klipspringers and other deer species. Baboons appeared out of nowhere and could be found by the roadside with some of them climbing up the cars’ roofs probably looking for food. In the watering holes we spotted alligators and hippos but since it was winter, there weren’t so many of them maybe because they weren’t that thirsty. The vegetation was sparse since it was the dry season making it easier to spot them when they were feeding and seeking shelter from the noonday sun.
We had a great time because watching animals living in their natural environment was pretty awesome and beats seeing them cooped up in the zoo hands down!