Kruger vs. Greater Kruger – The Experience!

By Kavi Naidoo

What is the difference? Certainly a question asked by many Safari goers. 

Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is the public section run and managed by Sanparks which allows Safari vehicles as well as local and international private vehicles to traverse the well planned tarred roads. These roads allow for large areas to be covered during a single day and therefore increases the chances of sightings as well as a greater coverage of varied habitats. However, the downside to this can be congestion of traffic at sightings. Entry times are early morning with gates closing late afternoon. Entry can take some time during peak periods due to the large volume of vehicles entering. No public traversing is allowed during evenings. 

Greater Kruger

The Greater Kruger area is mainly made up of the Sabi-Sands, Manyeleti, Timbavati, Klaserie and Balule private game reserves. All of which share unfenced boundaries with the public section of the Kruger National Park. 

The experience staying at Lodges in the Greater Kruger area can be much more fulfilling and exclusive in a sense and may vary between the different private game reserves. 

Below are the main differences, particularly with regards to the experience between a safari in the Public and Greater Kruger area:

The differences: Kruger National Park (Public Section)

  • In the KNP you are able to cover a larger distance in a day which can allow for a larger variety of animal sightings as well as a greater variety of habitat seen in a day. 
  • Even though there a few gravel roads, most of your Safari will be on tarred roads. 
  • There is no off road driving or tracking of animals allowed. 
  • No evening game drives are allowed by private vehicles. The night drives offered by Sanparks are of not good quality. 
  • Both guests and guides are not allowed to jump out of the vehicle. This is only allowed at designated rest camps and view points. 
  • Congestion at sightings and waiting times at entry gates can sometimes be inconvenient.
  • The Game Vehicle used, even though open, has slightly raised sides and a roof. 
  • Private vehicles are allowed to enter after paying a standard entry fee. 

The differences: Greater Kruger (Private)

  • Game Drives are done early morning and late afternoon leading into the evening, often with a game walk included in your package. Each game drive will last about 3 hours. Each game drive will have a short break where guests will be allowed to jump out of the vehicle. This usually happens at sunset and sunrise at a beautiful location….while you enjoy the drinks and snacks carried along. 
  • No private vehicles are allowed therefore there is no congestion at sightings. 
  • Game Vehicles in the area are on a radio communication network that assists with communication about animals sightings and movement as well as controlling sightings. There will only be a maximum of 2 vehicles allowed at a sighting at a time. 
  • Each sighting can be enjoyed often for as long as you would please and often alone as well.
  • The Game Vehicles used are completely open with no raised sides or roof. Allowing for more open and satisfying game viewing.
  • Vehicles are allowed to go off road and therefore are able to get as close as possible to an animal sighting. Allowing for the enjoyment of the sighting with all your senses!
  • Rangers will often jump out of the vehicle to view animal tracks or signs. Guests are allowed to jump out of the vehicle at your rangers discretion.
  •  Rangers in Private Game Reserves as opposed to guides in the Kruger National Park are often more skilled and knowledgeable in tracking and finding animals. 
  • Experienced rangers in private game reserves will greatly enhance ones safari experience by covering several interesting topics such as animal behaviour, traditional beliefs, plant uses, astronomy and display amazing skills in tracking and finding animals. 
  • Lodges in the Greater Kruger area are often luxury with personalized staff to take care of you. The Safari experience will continue when you are back at camp with tell tail stories from your ranger and mostly around an open fire listening to the nights sounds.

Have a look at our different safaris in Greater Kruger here and also here

For safaris in the Kruger National Park area, click here