Like most National Parks, Kruger can only be entered through a designated gate. Entrance fees are charged. For more details on entrance fees and all other things Kruger-related, click here: www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/
Here's what you WILL NOT learn on their web site, but is important to know:
- Unless you stay overnight in the park (see below), you have to be out of the Park by sundown. If you are not, you'll be fined by the rangers, so plan your drives accordingly.
- There can be long lines in the morning to get into the park, depending on holiday schedules. Self-drive cars are let in AFTER licensed tour guides, so don't be surprised by that.
- Within the park itself, your choice of overnight accommodation is A) one of the well-run SanParks rest camps which are rustic, basic, "decently"- priced (about the same cost these days as Cameron Cottage or more), usually built on a river or something of interest, BUT are often booked months in advance, or B) one of the fabulous private lodges that lease an area inside the park from the government. These lodges are almost all gorgeous, and almost all are scandalously expensive. And that's it. There are absolutely no private homes for rent inside Kruger. An example of one of the several beautiful private lodges inside Kruger is Singita Boulders, about a 45 drive from Cameron Cottage. It's the equivalent of $1,800 USD PER PERSON, PER NIGHT! https://singita.com/lodge/singita-boulders-lodge
- Driving your own car through the park doesn't technically put you at any disadvantage. You will be driving the same roads the SanParks tours and privately-licensed safari operators drive on, and seeing the same animals. And as you familiarize yourself with the Kruger map, you'll notice that every two hours' drive or so, there is a camp or rest stop, for bathrooms, coffee, whatever you need. This is important to plan because you CANNOT get out of your car unless you are inside a rest stop.
- Going on a day drive with a private licensed guide does have many advantages: they know the park inside and out so you don't have to plan anything, you will be in an open-air vehicle which is hands-down the best way to view wildlife, and most of the guides are SUPERB, teaching you much about the environment and wildlife, and knowing the best places to see specific animals. They are reasonably priced and will pick you up at the house and drop you there at the end of the day. Look at the the Things to Do link for recommendations.
- THE ONLY WAY TO WALK IN KRUGER PARK is through a reserved walk with Sanparks Guides. These walks are must-do's. Reasonably-priced and the only way to get out of the vehicle inside the bush. They always start at dawn, so psyche yourself for an early morning! These walks book up quickly - plan ahead.
- SanParks also offers sunset drives and late night drives in open-air vehicles and with a SanParks ranger from all of the rest camps. These are excellent as well. If you book a sunset or late night drive at Crocodile Bridge, yes, they will let you drive out of the park after 6pm 🙂
- The Malelane entrance gate to Kruger is 45 minutes from Marloth. It's less busy than Crocodile Bridge and has no accomodation or shops. If you can't book a walk or drive at Crocodile Bridge, try Malelane. It's a very pleasant entry point.