The Kruger National Park is one of the most popular game reserves on the continent – if not the world. It should be on everyone’s bucket list to visit – even if just for a day. And it’s not just game drives that you can enjoy in the park – there’s so much more that visitors can do. Here are five lesser-known things you can do in the Kruger National Park that are not about spotting game from a vehicle.
If you’re tired of doing your animal spotting from your vehicle, you will be happy to know that you can do guided walks instead. Many of the camps in the park offer morning and afternoon walks to guests who are keen to explore the surrounding areas by foot. Experienced guides are able to give amazing insight into the plants in the area and common animals that are found nearby. These walks are usually a few hours long and take place at a leisurely pace. “But how safe is it to roam the park on foot?” you may ask? Two armed field guides accompany you on the walk in order to ensure your safety.
Have a five-star meal
Bet you didn’t imagine that Kruger would be a 5-star dining venue, so it’s good to know about what’s new on the Kruger food menu. t The same team who launched the incredible Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge also launched the 3638 Restaurant at Kruger Station last year.
At the helm of the food offering in restaurant 3638 – and in fact all food operations around Kruger Shalati – is well decorated celeb Chef Andrew Atkinson who has helped the team come up with a menu that takes inspiration from the Park itself. Diners can expect dishes such as crispy homemade samosas with venison bobotie and mango chutney as one of the fillings, while other dishes include succulent burgers (chicken, beef and vegan), handcrafted pizzas topped with kudu bobotie, among other toppings, and mains such as butter chicken bunny chow, duck ragu with pappardelle pasta, a game ‘Shisa Nyama’ sharing platter – and so much more. There is also a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes on the menu.
No one ever says “I’m off to Kruger for cocktail”, but then again, until recently there wasn’t a stunning spot to get world-class cocktails in the heart of the Park. Also located at the Kruger Station precinct is the Round in 9 Bar where visitors are able to grab a refreshing cocktail or drink between game drives. This fully-serviced bar that’s the perfect place to unwind while enjoying a relaxed atmosphere and casual dining.
To find Kruger Station, make your way to Skukuza Rest Camp. Once there you can enter in one of two ways: from the rest camp – at the traffic circle just past camp reception and the Total garage you turn right and just keep following the road until you see the Kruger Station on your right-hand side. Alternatively, you make your way to the Skukuza Day Visitors area where you can park and enter through our entry point there. The precinct is open 7 days a week for guests to enjoy an artisanal food experience centred around the last train ever to pass through the Kruger National Park.
Play a round of golf
In the heart of the Park is the Skukuza Golf Course. This course is situated on the outskirts of Skukuza Rest Camp and is surrounded by a rich wildlife sanctuary that is home to the Big Five and a number of other beautiful creatures. The course does not have a fence, so be prepared to have a hippo, impala, warthog or another unusual golfer disturb your round. Visitors are advised to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Another unique way to explore certain areas of the Kruger Park is on a mountain bike. If you are staying at Olifants Camp, you will be happy to learn that this activity is on offer here. Guests and bikes are driven to the start of the trail and everyone is provided with backpacks, water bottles, bicycle helmets (compulsory), snacks and a juice. Bikes are available to use, but you are also welcome to take your own bicycle along. Booking ahead of time is encouraged as only six participants are allowed per trail.
So, if you are tired of doing the game drives or the self-drives through the Kruger National Park and you are keen on something different, definitely give one or more of these activities a try on your next visit.