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ITINERARIO SUDAFRICA 10 GIORNI - Elefanti attraversano un fiume al Kruger National Park - 10 days in South Africa travel itinerary

The Kruger National Park is one of the wildlife parks where you can experience a safari self drive. Here, without the need for guides to accompany you, you have the opportunity to explore South Africa’s rich animal world at your leisure, using your own vehicle. Here’s what you need to know about the self drive in Kruger National Park and some Kruger self drive tips.

11 Kruger self drive tips

The safari self drive in Kruger National Park is an electrifying and adrenaline-fuelled experience.

Once through the entrance gate, you immediately have the impression of being inside the movie Jurassic Park, but in this case surrounded by hungry felines and majestic animals such as rhinos and elephants.

We were privileged to experience this extraordinary adventure, and in this article we would like to share with you valuable tips and information that we hope will be of great help to you if you decide to go on a Kruger self drive safari.

Entry requirements for safari self drive Kruger National Park: Conservation Fee and Indemnity Form

To gain access to the Kruger National Park and explore the park doing Kruger self drive safari, it is essential to be in possession of the following documents:

  • the receipt for payment of the Conservation Fee
  • the completed Indemnity Form.

The Conservation Fee is a vital contribution towards accessing the park and supporting all conservation and maintenance projects in the Kruger National Park. For foreign visitors, this fee amounts to 460 South African rand for adults, equivalent to about €23, while for children, the fee is halved.

The Indemnity Form is an assumption of liability form, through which you declare that you are aware of the rules of the park, that you release the park management from any liability for any accidents and that you are aware of the risks involved in entering the Kruger National Park.

Considering that the queues for entry gate checks can be quite long, sometimes taking up to half an hour or more, to speed up the process and minimise waiting time in line we recommend that you

  • make an advance booking of your entry and pay the Conservation Fee online: this service has an additional cost of 50 rand per person, which is about €2.50, but it will allow you to avoid queuing at the ticket counters.
  • download the Indemnity Form from this link or pick up a few copies at the ticket offices. Make sure you have a copy for each day and for each person who will be participating in the Kruger self drive safari. Fill out the form in advance so that you can hand it in quickly at the controls, avoiding queuing for this document as well.

Safari self drive in Kruger National Park: the entrance gates

Unless you are staying in a private reserve within the Kruger National Park, you will have to pass through one of its 11 entrance gates to gain access.

These gates are distributed as follows: 5 in the southern part of the park, 3 in the central part and 3 in the northern part. A detailed map of the park is available on the official Sanparks website at this link.

Based on information provided to us by local residents and accommodation owners, we recommend avoiding two of these entrances, where recent incidents of violence have occurred: the Phabeni Gate and the Numbi Gate. These gates are located in more isolated areas and in close proximity to the so-called ‘Townships’, settlements with a high level of poverty and where crime is likely to occur.

The opening and closing times of the gates vary depending on the season. During winter, the park opens from 6 a.m. to 5.30 p.m., while in summer the gates are open from 5.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. The exact opening times can be found at this link.

The entrance gates are generally located in the vicinity of the camps, the equipped areas within the Kruger National Park, which we will discuss in more detail later. On arrival at the gates, the following checks will be made:

  • Verification of payment of the Conservation Fee;
  • Verification of possession of the Indemnity Form;
  • Check for the presence of alcohol or other substances or objects not allowed inside the park. 

During park gate entry checks, rangers will ask you to inspect your car so we advise against trying to be clever!

Entrata al gate con macchina per safari selfdrive al Kruger National Park in Sudafrica

Kruger self drive safari: Entrance gate Crocodile Bridge

Where to stay in the vicinity of the Kruger National Park

If your intention is to go on a Kruger self drive safari, we recommend finding accommodation close to the park or within it.

If you opt for private reserves, it is important to bear in mind that these reserves may have different rules than the Kruger National Park, and may not allow self-drive safaris. We therefore advise you to check this possibility before booking.

The other two main options are camps within the park or accommodation outside the Kruger.
If you are looking for an inexpensive solution, you can opt for accommodation outside the park, but we recommend finding one in the immediate vicinity. For example, we chose a lodge outside the park, the Crocodile Bridge Safari Lodge, which is only a two-minute drive from the Crocodile Bridge gate and next to the control station.
In this way, as we wanted to be at the gates by opening time to explore the park with a few tourists, we were able to save valuable time to sleep and get as much rest as possible (safaris are a challenging experience anyway and the wake-up call is in the early hours).

Camps within the Kruger offer various accommodation options, from tents to campers, caravans, small bungalows, cottages and even luxury lodges. Camps areas are usually equipped with reception, toilets, kitchen, laundry, barbecue facilities and in some cases swimming pools.
Regarding the choice of area in which to book accommodation, if you have several days to spare, it might be a good idea to book facilities in different parts of the park: keep in mind that to cross the park from north to south, it would take about 9 hours of driving (speed is limited to 40 km/h).
If you only have a few days and only have to choose one location from which start safari self drive in Kruger National Park, we recommend opting for the south-central part, as this area offers a better chance of spotting all the Big Five.

Tenda con camera matrimoniale in lodge per safari al Kruger National Park in Sudafrica

Kruger self drive tips: Our tent

Lodge con terrazza e divani con vista sulla savana al Kruger National Park in Sudafrica

Kruger self drive tips: Crocodile Bridge Safari Lodge

Kruger self drive safari: THE RULES TO FOLLOW!

There are two basic rules that you must absolutely follow during your safari self drive in Kruger National Park:

  1. Never get out of the car, except in designated areas such as picnics, get out points or inside camps: this rule is extremely important for your safety. Getting out of the car in other areas is prohibited and dangerous. Should you have any problems, such as a punctured tyre, call the emergency number if you have a telephone signal or wait for someone to come to you for help.
  2. Respect speed limits: the speed limit in the park is 40 km/h, but it is likely that you will have to go much slower (between 20 and 30 km/h maximum) in order to spot animals. Keep this in mind when planning your trips and make sure you return in time for the gates to close if you are staying outside the park or to refuel at one of the camps.

These two rules are essential to ensure your safety and respect for the wild animals.

There are other important rules to follow during your safari, such as no smoking, no alcohol or feeding the animals. You can find the full regulations on this LINK, and we strongly recommend that you read them carefully before embarking on your safari self drive in the Kruger National Park.

One thing that we often noticed during our self-drives in the Kruger was that several visitors were quietly travelling with their car windows open! We enquired with the rangers and discovered that having the windows open is not a danger with most animals, this is because they see the vehicle as a single volume (unlike monkeys with whom we suggest you roll up the windows!). However, it is important never to lean out of the window because in such cases the animals will be able to identify two separate elements!

Kruger self drive tips: how to make the most of safari self drive

Here are some valuable tips for your safari self drive in the Kruger National Park:

  • Rent a suitable vehicle: we recommend renting a tall vehicle, such as an SUV or similar, to ensure good visibility and tackle roads that may have potholes or water passages.
  • Take advantage of the best times: The ideal times for safari are dawn, dusk and night, as the animals are most active at these times, especially early in the morning. During the day, they tend to rest in the shelter of vegetation. Plan your safari self drive to make the most of these time slots, with a break in the central hours to rest from the heat.
  • Find out from the rangers: before entering the park, ask the Kruger rangers for information on animal sightings and consult the maps indicating the sightings of the previous day and the current day. However, keep in mind that this information is not always 100% reliable, as anyone can move the markers.
  • Watch out for stopped cars: If you see other cars stopping in one spot, chances are you’re in for an interesting sighting. Ask guides or other tourists what they are observing, the safari community is usually very willing to share information.
  • Fuel: leave with a full car tank, as not all petrol stations are constantly stocked.
  • Toilets: as regards the toilets, keep in mind that they are only found in the camps, therefore, plan the stops during your journey accordingly, to avoid waiting up to half an hour.
  • Plan the itinerary: Don’t improvise the itinerary. Decide in advance the roads you want to travel and calculate the distances and times. It’s important to be at the gates before closing, so factor the timing into your plan.
  • Recommended itineraries: To get inspiration and ideas, you can consult the ten beautiful recommended itineraries for your game drive at this link.

By following these tips, you will be able to make the most of your safari self drive in Kruger National Park and will have the opportunity to live unforgettable experiences in the wild nature of South Africa.

Elefante nella savana che mangia al Kruger National Park in Sudafrica

Kruger self drive safari: the roads

Road conditions in Kruger National Park are generally good.

The main roads are asphalted and well maintained, while the secondary roads are dirt but usually in good condition. Directions are clear and well-signposted at every intersection, making navigation within the park relatively simple.

However, it is always a good idea to have a detailed map of the Kruger National Park with you, especially if you plan to explore less frequented areas during your safari self drive in Kruger National Park or if you want to have a clearer view of the layout of roads and landmarks within the park. You can download detailed maps of the Kruger National Park divided by area from this link to help you plan your self-drive safari.

Each camp is equipped with maps of the Kruger National Park and other nice gadgets, in case you forgot anything!


Within the Kruger National Park, there are more than a dozen camps, which are equipped areas for visitors. These camps are generally located near the entrance gates, but it is also possible to find more camps within the park. You can consult a very detailed map of the camps at this link to plan your visit.

In all Kruger National Park camps, you will find the following services:

  • Ticketing and tourist information office: here you can collect Indemnity Forms, book guided safaris if you wish, purchase park access through the Conservation Fee and request any information you need;
  • Refreshment facilities: the camps offer refreshment facilities, which can range from a simple bar in the smaller camps to full-fledged restaurants with panoramic views in the larger camps, such as Lower Sabie. These are good places to relax in the shade and continue watching the animals approaching the water points;
  • Toilets: there are toilets in all camps;
  • Small shops: you will find a shop in the camps where you can buy souvenirs or basic necessities;
  • Petrol station: most camps have a petrol station, which is essential to ensure you have enough fuel for your travels within the park, but remember that they are not always full so check the notices posted in the camps.

Some camps are larger than others and offer a wider range of services. For example, Skukuza, Satara and Lower Sabie are among the larger camps and include restaurants with panoramic views that allow you to continue watching the wildlife while you eat. Other camps may only offer basic services, but are still convenient landmarks.


Famiglia di scimmie con cucciolo in mezzo alla strada durante safari al Kruger National Park in Sudafrica

Kruger self drive safari: Meetings on the roads of Kruger

Leonesse che giocano nella savana durante un safari al Kruger National Park in Sudafrica

Kruger self drive safari: Lionesses in the Kruger National Park

Picnic areas and get out zones

Picnic and get out zones in the Kruger National Park are unfenced areas where you are allowed to get out of the car for a break or to stretch your legs during your safari self drive in Kruger National Park. Here is some information on these areas:

  • Picnic areas: these are areas equipped with tables, barbecues and toilets. They are located at vantage points that offer spectacular views. Picnic areas are ideal places to take a break, enjoy a meal or snack, and admire the surrounding landscape;
  • Get-out zones: get-out zones are areas where you can get out of the car and stretch your legs. They are places with or without fences where you can take a short walk or simply stretch your legs;
  • Look-out zones: look-out zones, on the other hand, are vantage points located on terraces or heights from which it is possible to observe the surrounding landscape without getting out of the car. These points often offer spectacular views of waterholes, rivers or the surrounding bush, allowing observers to admire the fauna and flora without disturbing the animals.

Mobile phone coverage

A very important tip for your safari self drive in Kruger National Park is to arrange for no phone coverage, especially in remote areas of the park. Although there is usually phone coverage along the main roads and within the camps, you may encounter areas where the signal is weak or absent.

You can use offline maps or GPS navigation apps that work without a data connection to help you find your way around the park.

At this link you can find an indicative map with mobile phone coverage to get a rough idea of where you may or may not have coverage.

Credit cards and cash

In camps within the Kruger National Park, you can generally pay by credit card at restaurants and shops.

However, if you need to refuel inside the park, you can only pay in cash.

Therefore, we recommend that you always carry a sufficient amount of cash with you to cover fuel expenses or for any emergency needs.

What to bring with you for your safari self drive in Kruger National Park

Here is a list of things that we highly recommend you take with you on your safari self drive in Kruger National Park:

  1. Hat: a hat is essential to protect you from the sun, especially when you get out of the car to make stops or walks;
  2. Closed-toe shoes: it is important to wear closed-toe shoes to avoid the risk of being bitten by snakes or other animals when you stop in the get-out areas or picnic areas;
  3. Camera with a good lens: the Kruger National Park offers amazing opportunities for wildlife photography. Make sure you have a camera with a suitable telephoto lens to best capture the unique moments you may experience;
  4. Water: take a good amount of water with you to keep you hydrated during the safari. Temperatures can rise considerably during the day;
  5. Binoculars: Binoculars will help you spot animals that may be at a distance or hiding in the bush vegetation;
  6. Hard copy of maps: Although digital maps are useful, having a hard copy of park maps can be a valuable backup in case of problems with electronic devices or connection.

We hope we have provided you with useful information for planning your safari self drive in the magnificent Kruger National Park. It is truly an extraordinary experience that will give you unique and unforgettable emotions. If you would like to delve further into certain aspects or get more details about the Kruger National Park, we recommend to stay connected with us, well’publish soon other articles about Kruger National Park.
We wish you and all future travellers to the Kruger an extraordinary experience and lasting memories amidst the wonderful fauna and flora of this national park. Happy safari self drive and as always, “trip to try”!

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