World renowned Kruger National Park covers a massive 19,500 square kilometres in the north-east of South Africa, forming a large part of the border with Mozambique. It was established in 1926 from two former nature reserves and is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Game drives and various other trips can be arranged through the managing body Sanparks; (sanparks.org), and there is a variety of accommodation inside the park ranging from up scale resorts to campgrounds. It is easily possible to visit Kruger in your own vehicle. There are plenty of tarred roads through the park and the dirt roads are smooth and in excellent condition, so a 4WD shouldn't be necessary except during heavy rains. A guide will, however know the areas to see particular animals, especially the cats, and the tour guide drivers stay in touch with each other by radio during the drives, so get an alert when something interesting is spotted. A lot of tourists come here as one can spot all of the "Big 5" here; rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard and elephant. There's a great variety of birds here also and the hard to find African wild dog is also present.
Budget travellers usually stay outside the park, where accommodation is cheaper, and take their trips in from there. As the park is so huge, there are a number of excellent bases from which to do this. Komatipoort, south-east of the park on the border with Mozambique, has excellent hostel accommodation, whilst Nelspruit has many backpacker hostels and all are of very decent quality, but a little away from the centre. As you travel north along the western border of the park, there are options just outside Hazyview; in Sabie, a little further west, but handy also for the Blyde River Canyon and the Panorama Route, as is Graskop, which also has backpacker accommodation. There is also backpacker accommodation at the village of Moremela by the entrance to Bourke's Luck Potholes, on the Panorama Route between Graskop and Hoedspruit.
All these hostels, guesthouses and lodges organize trips into the park and the surrounding countryside and all the towns and cities mentioned here have supermarkets, international ATMs and reasonable public transport links. However, getting from Hazyview to Sabie and Sabie to Graskop takes a little patience, as there are not many minibuses between these towns.
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the Hostelz.com local expert for Kruger National Park hostels. Welcome.