The Best Time of Year to visit Kruger National Park
The best thing about Kruger National park is that it provides exceptional game viewing opportunities all year round so the decision on when to travel comes down to personal preferences and the experience you’re after.
Things to keep in mind
Kruger National Park has a sub-tropical climate so temperatures during the day are pleasant to hot all year round with rainfalls normally around September to May. It can get very hot during the day in summer with temperatures reaching above 38°C and the reason many travellers prefer to visit in the winter months. Don’t be too put off by the hot temperatures though, this is a perfect excuse to stay hydrated and have a little midday siesta.
South Africa’s main school holiday falls over Dec/January and you’ll find this is a very busy time. If you do travel over these periods maybe look into the more Northern accommodations but do take into consideration that you’ll need more traveling time. I’d also recommend that you always try to book in advance, there are so many amazing options to select from.
If you’re flying, keep an eye on the air fairs that tend to be higher during peak seasons. Kruger National park does however have plenty of affordable accommodation options to help you stay within your budget.
At the risk of sounding like a weather girl, the below will give you a quick overview of what you’re most likely to experience and may assist with your decision making.
This area experiences a Dry Winter Season which starts in May with pleasant days and somewhat chilly nights. From around August, the temperatures start heating up and evenings are mild. Summer is their wet and rainy season with very hot and humid conditions and the possibility of breathtakingly beautiful evening thunderstorms. The highest rainfall in the area is generally from around March with high temperatures.
The Dry Season with its more bearable temperatures is probably the best and preferred time for most travellers. The area is dry, bushes, and trees are thinning out which makes it very easy to spot the wildlife and this is also the time where you’ll find them all migrating towards the water spots especially during the morning and evening hours.
You won’t find a more perfect view to enjoy your sundowners.
During the wet season, the Park is lush with greenery which could make wildlife a little more challenging to spot. Don’t be discouraged though, from late November the area starts filling up with newborns to keep you entertained for hours on end and it is also an excellent time for birdwatching.
Probably one of the best experiences you’ll have as a photographer with so many unique and sought after opportunities. From the lush greenery, migration of birdlife, and awe-inspiring thunderstorms of the wet season to the magnificent predators almost begging to be photographed in the dry season. One of the other perks of the Kruger National Park is that you can self-drive, so take advantage of this and don’t feel shy to stop Game drive vehicles to ask what sightings they’ve had.
If you’ve opted for self-drive to the Kruger National Park I’d recommend an SUV type vehicle that is perfect for road conditions while also providing you with that extra lift from the ground to get a better view. It also gives you that extra feel of freedom to be able to venture out and explore on your own.
No matter the season, you’ll be able to find plenty of wildlife to view. So work around your timeline, your budget, and your preference when planning your trip. It truly is a MUST do experience on everyone’s holiday bucket list.