Kruger National Park

In June 2014, John and I went to the Mpumalanga province of South Africa to explore The Panorama Route and Kruger Park.

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa.

Kruger National Park


It covers an area of 19,633 square kilometers in northeastern South Africa.

We stayed at Ashbourne Country Escape, a beautiful home away from home in Hazyview.

Ashbourne Country Escape

There are 9 gates into Kruger Park.

Kruger National Park

The Phabeni Gate is a short 20 minute drive from the Ashbourne Guesthouse.

We arrived just as the sun was starting to rise.

Kruger National Park

Arriving at sunrise allows you to watch the park come alive.

Kruger National Park

There are several safari tours offered at Kruger, but we chose to drive ourselves.

Kruger National Park

Both options are great, but I prefer the self-drive so we can move along at our own pace.

It is also somewhat rewarding when you spot the animals on your own.

Kruger National Park

One of the first things we saw that morning was a family of hyenas.

Kruger National Park

Adult hyenas have evil grins and look exactly how they are portrayed in cartoons.

Kruger National Park

But the cubs are adorable!

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

And: curious.

Kruger National Park

Rhinos are pretty easy to spot thanks to their size.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

I think they are one of those “so ugly they’re cute” animals.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Lake Panic is one of eleven bird/game-viewing areas.

Kruger National Park

Sometimes there are hippos hanging out there, but they were hiding.

Kruger National Park

We finally found them a little further up the river.

Kruger National Park

There are well over 12,000 elephants in Kruger and we had the opportunity to see several herds.

Kruger National Park

Up close and personal.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

This guy walked right up to our car and looked in the back window:

Kruger National Park

That was very cool!

Kruger Park

You can tell the depth of the water they crawl out of by the waterline across their bodies.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Except the cute little baby:

Kruger National Park

He was the depth of the water!

We saw several species of primates during the day:

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

As well as Antelope:

Kruger National Park

Or “buck”, as the locals call them.

Kruger National Park

There are twenty different kinds to spot.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

This buck was extremely skittish:

Kruger National Park

Something spooked him and he ran off into the bushes.

Kruger National Park

We decided to wait and see if the other animal would show up.

A couple of minutes later, a lioness and her three cubs came out of the bush.

Kruger National Park

Our jaws dropped . . . literally.

Kruger National Park

Momma Lion barely took her eyes off of us.

Kruger National Park

We were so close we could hear her panting and lapping the water.

One of her cubs was an adorable scaredy–cat.

Kruger National Park

He’d take a drink and then run back to the bushes.

Kruger National Park

Can you see him “hiding” in the bushes?

We sat and watched them as they watched us for quite awhile.

Kruger National Park

They were fascinating.

Kruger National Park

As the lioness walked towards us, the cubs followed:

Kruger National Park

Even skeptical little scaredy–cat.

Kruger National Park

They eventually disappeared into the bushes behind our car.

What an amazing treat!

Kruger National Park

That’s a good example of why you should scope-out the watering holes.

Many animals like to hang out at them during the heat of the day.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

At this particular watering hole, hippos and crocodiles were enjoying a midday nap together.

Kruger National Park

I adore this hippo’s pink belly and the way he is cuddled-up.

Kruger National Park

The gates were going to close at 5:30 p.m. and we were still about an hour away.

Kruger National Park

Just as we decided to head towards the gate, we came across another herd of elephants:

Kruger National Park

So we had to pull over and watch them for a little while.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

And then we drove by a herd of buffalo:

Kruger National Park

So of course we had to pull over and watch them for a few minutes.

Especially because there was a baby buffalo!

Kruger National Park

Precious.

We checked the clock again and realized that time was quickly running out and we needed to head for the gate.

Kruger National Park

There is a late arrival fee if you don’t make it back by closing, so be sure to check the gate times HERE.

We had a great day at Kruger Park and saw so many cool animals including Four of the Big Five: Buffalo, Elephant, Lion and Rhino.

Leopards, the other of the Big Five, are nocturnal and tough to spot between sunrise and sundown.

The only other animal I wanted to see was a giraffe.

I really wanted to see one in the wild.

Oh well. Next time.

And then all of a sudden . . .

A giraffe!

Kruger National Park

But I didn’t yell “giraffe”, it sounded more like, “ba-ya-yi-ah-da-ya-yiyia!”

The garbled words that came out of my mouth asking John to stop the car were incoherent.

Kruger National Park

But it worked, he stopped, and I didn’t care about being late to the gate anymore:

Kruger National Park

There was a wild giraffe snacking on a tree right in front of me!

Kruger National Park

Okay, now we can head to the gate — for real this time.

Kruger National Park

John and I had such a wonderful day exploring Kruger Park.

Kruger National Park

We drove the park from sunup to sundown and loved every second of it.
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If you’re planning a trip to Kruger Park and are looking for a place to stay outside of the park, look no further than Ashbourne Country Escape in Hazyview. For more information, click HERE.

In 2011 we went to Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa. You can read all about that HERE.

For more on Africa, click HERE.

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