Choosing where to stay in Kruger National Park can be a tad overwhelming. There are a wide variety of options on offer, from basic chalets in the park’s main rest camps to luxury alternatives on small private concessions within the reserve’s borders. Camp’s are dotted throughout the park’s vast wilderness, and each offers easy access to various wildlife hotspots within the park.

Kruger is considered to be the rough diamond of South African safari destinations. Located in the southeastern corner of the country, the almost 20 million hectare national park is bigger than Israel and boasts a vast road network which stretches in excess of 3,000 kilometres.

Whether you’re looking to self-drive and self-cater, or experience a more relaxing, luxury offering – Kruger National Park has something for you.

Here’s our recommendation on where to stay in Kruger National Park:

Main camps

Kruger’s Rest Camps are the park’s primary ‘in-house’ accommodation and safari centres. All of which are easily accessible along main roads. All major camps are well-equipped with; a first-aid centre, a grocery store, communal braai (barbeque) and kitchen facilities, a laundromat, a restaurant/cafeteria, public swimming pools, picnic areas and a petrol station.

Skukuza

Situated along the southern banks of the Sabie River, Skukuza Rest Camp is one of Kruger’s primary safari hubs, with a full grocery and curio shop, world-class steak house, petrol station and even a golf course!

The view from the outdoor seating area of Skukuza Rest Camp’s restaurant

Skukuza hosts a variety of accommodation types, from camp sites and basic chalets to family guest houses.

The Greater Skukuza area is one of the most wildlife-rich areas in the national park and one of the best areas for spotting the Big Five. Spotted hyena and cheetah are also frequently spotted and if you’re lucky – crocodile and hippo can be observed from the restaurant viewing deck.

Skukuza Rest Camp is best accessed from the Paul Kruger gate, which is just 12 kilometres away.

 

Crocodile Bridge

Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp lies in the southeastern corner of the Kruger National Park, along the northern banks of the Crocodile River – from where it’s name is derived.

Accommodation is best suited for guests looking for a self-catering bushveld experience with a campsites, safari tents and basic bungalows.

Tented accommodation at Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp

The surrounding area, known as the ‘Southern Circle,’ is renowned for its different prides of lion, that display different hunting techniques and behavioural habits. While offering some of the best cheetah viewing in Kruger, the area is also home to a great density of the park’s total rhino population.

Giraffe, zebra and several species of antelope species are usually seen within a couple hundred meters of the camp’s borders, and hyena are known to patrol the camp fence every night.

Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp is found right at the Crocodile Bridge gate.

Lower Sabie

Overlooking the banks of the Sabie River – Lower Sabie Rest Camp is a popular stop over for self-drive safari goers due to its variety of useful amenities, popular restaurant and wildlife-rich surrounds.

The restaurant at Lower Sabie Rest Camp offers incredible views over the Sabie River

Accommodation comes in the form of campsites, huts, safari tents, family bungalows and a guest house. Some of which offer river views.

Along with Skukuza, Lower Sabie is arguably the most game-dense region in Kruger National Park, with large numbers of lion, cheetah, elephant, hippo, rhino and huge herds of buffalo. The H4-1 main road between the two camps is also one of the best routes for spotting leopards in the whole of the Kruger.

Lower Sabie Rest Camp is most easily accessed from the Crocodile Bridge gate, which is 34 kilometres or a 2 hour drive away.

 

Satara

Satara rest camp lies in the heart of Kruger’s “Predator Country” and is always buzzing with guests and visitors hoping to spot one of these majestic cats. The camp has a rustic charm, and offers all basic amenities along with takeaway restaurants and a grocery store.

The bulk of the accommodation is set out in a series of circles, and ranges from camping facilities to guest cottages. Bird life within the camp is prolific, thanks to its wooded layout.

where to stay in kruger national park
Male lion feeding near Satara Rest Camp

The Satara region is regarded as one of the best game viewing areas in the Kruger and is particularly popular for it’s big cats. Sightings of lion, leopard and cheetah are very common.

The typography is vast, open and relatively flat, which makes game-spotting a lot easier than in some other parts of the park. Other general game includes blue wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, giraffe and impala. Rhino, buffalo and elephant are also frequently seen.

The easiest way to access Satara Rest Camp is via the Orpen gate. The camp is 48 kilometres from the gate so be sure to allow an extra 2 hours to your trip.

Punda Maria

Punda Maria is the northern-most rest camp in the park, situated in the Sandveld region. The surroundings are often described as the botanical garden of the Kruger National Park – with numerous plant species, that occur nowhere else in the reserve.

Safari tent at Punda Maria Rest Camp

The camp offers all basic amenities with a restaurant, shop, laundromat and petrol station, and accommodation consists of campsites, safari tents and bungalows.

Game sightings can be sparse in this vast region but animals most likely to be seen include: impala, zebra, eland, sable as well as large herds of buffalo and elephant. The area is also considered a paradise for birdlife and sightings of wild dog and lion do also occur.

The rest camp is easily accessible from the Punda Maria Gate, which lies around 8 kilometres away.

 

Berg-en-Dal

Situated on the banks of the Matjulu Spruit, Berg-en-Dal is the only rest camp set in a rugged mountainous environment. The camp is bordered by a dam as well as dry riverbeds on the northern and southern sides – with large trees lining them on either side. Special care has been taken to preserve the natural flora within the camp.

Family bungalo accommodation at Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp

The surrounding area of Malelane, is known to host healthy populations of white rhino, kudu, giraffe, elephant, reedbuck, klipspringer and warthog.

Leopards are seen regularly in the area and some lucky visitors have even spotted them drinking at the camps bordering dam. Wild Dog’s are also found in the region, although sightings are not very common.

Berg-en-Dal is approximately 12 kilometres away from the Malelane Gate.

Letaba

The Letaba Rest Camp is situated along a sweeping bend on the Letaba River, halfway between the southern and northern borders of the Kruger National Park.

‘Letaba’ means “river of sand”, and is characterised by sandy riverbeds which make for excellent game viewing, primarily elephant, which are abundant in the area. The camp is a lush, green oasis within the surrounding mopane veld, and is a popular location for visitors.

An elephant walking through Letaba Rest Camp:

Accommodation ranges from campsites and huts to guest cottages, and the night hours play host to a symphony of sounds with – owls, nightjars, frogs, fruit bats, crickets and cicadas all adding to the chorus, but when the lions roar, all fall silent.

Most of the park’s large mammals can be seen in the greater Letaba area, however rhino sightings are few and far between. Along with the elephant, waterbuck and buffalo are also plentiful along the riverbed.

Letaba Rest Camp is 51 kilometres, or a 2 hour drive, from the Phalaborwa Gate.

 

Olifants

Situated atop a hill overlooking hundreds of metres of river – the Olifants Rest Camp offers visitors and breathtaking and unique window of Africa.

The camp’s lookout platform provides views over the river, similar to those a soaring eagle would experience as it surveys the water for its next meal. Accommodation on offer comes in the form of bungalows and guest houses.

Bungalows at Olifants Rest Camp with hundreds of metres view over the Olifants River.

The area surrounding the camp hosts most of the Kruger National Park’s iconic species and elephant are common as its name suggests. Lion and leopard are common sightings on game drives.

Baboons and vervet monkeys are popular inhabitants of the camp’s grounds along with fruit bats and thick-tailed bush babies. Cape clawless otters have also been seen from the Olifants lookout point.

Olifants Rest Camp is 83 kilometres, or a 3 hour drive, from the Phalaborwa Gate.

Orpen

Orpen Rest Camp is located in the centre of Kruger’s western border.

Small in comparison to the park’s larger rest camps, Orpen derived its name from the original donor of the land, Eileen Orpen. Accomodation on offer is bungalows and guest cottages.

Guest Cottage in Orpen Rest Camp

With scattered trees and vast, sweet grass covered plains, the surrounding area attracts a large variety of browsers. Which in turn, attracts the iconic predators –  cheetah, lion and leopard.

Well known for its biodiversity, Orpen offers visitors opportunities to experience close encounters with the Big Five in their natural environment. Wild dog, zebra and giraffe are also prominent in the area.

The camp is situated right at the Orpen Gate.

 

Shingwedzi

In the heart of mopane country, in Kruger National Park’s northern region lies Shingwedzi Rest Camp.

With regular sightings of waterbuck, nyala, kudu, elephant and some incredible bird life, a game drive along the Shingwedzi River towards the Kanniedood Dam is one of the most rewarding drives in the park.

The rustic camp carries an essence of the bush, untouched by modern technology. Accommodation is arranged in two separate circles and ranges from camp sites and huts to cottages.

where to stay in kruger national park
River crossing at Shingwedzi Rest Camp

Impala, duiker, bushbuck and Sharpe’s grysbok are browsers to look for in the area while buffalo and waterbuck are the most common grazing species. Baboon and vervet monkey are prominent as are tree squirrels, especially within the camp itself.

Predators in the area include lion, leopard, spotted hyena and a couple of packs of wild dog are also known to roam these northern reaches of the Kruger National Park. On the open plains north of Babalala Picnic Site, cheetah are regularly recorded.

Shingwedzi is accessed most easily from Punda Maria gate, however with a 71 kilometre drive it still takes around 3 hours.

Pretoriouskop

Set among spectacular, ancient granite outcrops, Pretoriuskop Rest Camp is situated in the southwestern corner of Kruger National park.

Around 3500 million years ago, molten rock forced its way through the earth’s crust and solidified to form the spectacular granite outcrops, the most famous being ‘Shabeni Hill’.

Pretoriuskop is the park’s oldest rest camp and offers a unique atmosphere with red trees and exotic flowering plants dotted throughout, with accommodation that caters for campers, couples and families.

where to stay in kruger national park
Naturally designed rock pool at Pretoriuskop Rest Camp

Both species of rhino, elephant and buffalo can all be seen along the loop roads which surround and camp, and numerous rocky outcrops make perfect habitat for rock hyrax, klipspringer, oribi and red duiker. The chance of also seeing herds of sable, eland and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest make Pretoriuskop a special location within Kruger.

Wild dogs are frequently spotted in the area and so are cheetah, although sightings aren’t as easy as in other parts of the park due to the dense vegetation.

Pretoriuskop is easily accessible with a 9 kilometre drive from Numbi Gate.

 

Mopani

Along the banks of the Pioneer Dam, and nestled against the mopani tree-covered hills, lies Kruger’s best kept secret – Mopani Rest Camp.

Named after the vast mopane veld that surrounds the camp, its signature feature is the giant baobab tree in the centre of the camp. The foliage within its boundaries is left wild, adding to it’s unique atmosphere.

Accommodation includes bungalows, cottages, guest cottages and guest houses.

where to stay in kruger national park
A cheetah using the Mopani Rest Camp sign as a vantage point in the Kruger National Park.

The dense mopane veld has a reputation for being a poor game-viewing area. However hippo, waterbuck, impala, warthog, elephant, buffalo and sometimes even lion can be spotted.

The Nshawu pans and the Tropic of Capricorn loop are excellent areas for spotting wildlife. The surrounding plains host species like blue wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, and tsessebe. Caracal have also been spotted in the area.

Bush Camps

Kruger National Park’s Bush Camps offer a more authentic bushveld experience, with more remote locations and no tourist traffic. The camps do not have any commercial shops or restaurants and access is restricted to overnight guests. Appliances like hair-dyrers and cell phone charges can’t be used at three of the five camps and each unit’s veranda often serves as a kitchen and dining room. Kitchen areas are fitted with refrigerators, stove/oven and cooking utensils including cutlery and crockery.

Bataleur

Set on the banks of the Mashokwe spruit, approximately 40 kilometres southwest of Shingwedzi, Bateleur Camp lies in the picturesque northern Mopane woodland savannah of the Kruger Park.

The oldest and smallest of all the bushveld camps, Bateleur camp was named after the majestic eagle, commonly found in the area. The camp offers 7 family cottages and a game-viewing hide that overlooks a waterhole adjacent to the camp. Two large dams – Silwervis and Rooibosrand – are within close range and restricted to residents of Bateleur camp.

Bateleur Eagle circles the air in Kruger National Park

The dams offer regular sightings of hippo, crocodile and bushbuck, and for the lucky few – leopard. The nearby Nshawu pans are open plains that host species such as blue wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, buffalo and tsessebe.

Bateleur Camp is most easily accessible from the Phalaborwa gate, but the 140 kilometre route still requires at least 4 hours.

 

Biyamiti

Nestled between the Mbiyamiti river and dense Delagoa thickets – Biyamiti bush camp is one of the most beautiful places to stay in Kruger National Park.

Wild Fig tree near Biyamiti Bushveld Camp

Ideally situated between ginormous Wild Fig and Jackalberry trees, the camp attracts an abundance of wildlife including: giraffe, kudu, duiker, impala, steenbok, elephant, rhino, buffalo and hippo as well as predators like lion, leopard and hyena. The area also offers the chance of seeing the cheetah and packs of wild dog.

The camp offers 15 guest cottages and is easily accessed from the Malelane gate with a 39 kilometre drive that shouldn’t take any more than 2 hours.

Shimuwini

The Shangaan word, Shimuwini, means “Place of the Baobab Tree” and this camp derives its name from the Letaba River on which its 15 cottages front. The river is lined with many of these giant trees, with one of them estimated at being well over 2,000 years old.

The most modern of all the bush camps in Kruger, Shumuwini was completely rebuilt after floods destroyed the old camp around 20 years ago.

where to stay in kruger national park
Elephants under the shade of a giant baobab tree near Shimuweni Bush Camp

Wildlife frequently seen in the area include: lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena, giraffe, kudu, impala, wildebeest, zebra, duiker, hippo, crocodile, sable, roan, eland, tsessebe, waterbuck, baboon and buffalo.

Shimuwini is 50 kilometres, or a 2 hour drive, from the Phalaborwa Gate.

 

Sirheni

Sirheni Bush Camp is situated on the very edge of Kruger National Park’s northern plains within the region’s Mopane  veld. The word ‘Sirheni’ is a Tsonga word meaning ‘cemetery’ – referring to an elephant graveyard site near the camp.

The camp’s 15 cottages, as well as its two bird hides, overlook the Mphongolo River which runs adjacent to the camp and visitors have been woken by the sounds of lion and hyena as there are regular kills around the river’s edge. Sirheni also has a resident leopard that is regularly seen as it comes down to the river to drink.

Leopard resting near Sirheni Bush Camp

The area surrounding the camp is renowned for its density of rare antelope species , such as roan, sable, tsessebe, lichtenstein’s hartebeest and reedbuck.

A poster at reception calls for guest to record sightings of these rare species. Elephant and buffalo are also common. Sirheni is 54 kilometres from the Punda Maria gate and around 2 hours should be allowed for the drive from the gate.

Talamati

Talamati is a Xitsonga word which means “Lots of Water”. Ironically, the river is completely dry.

However, the river bed’s clay soil acts as a giant sponge which holds a vast reservoir of underground water, allowing the surrounding vegetation to flourish all year round.

Vultures in a tree at Talamati Bushveld Camp

Talamati Bush Camp is situated in a vast, open valley and offers some of the most superb game viewing opportunities in the Kruger National Park and the 15 cottages on offer provide accommodation suitable for the whole family.

The lush grasslands in the area attract large herds, and the predators are never too far behind. Animals regularly seen in the area are giraffe, kudu, eland, impala, zebra, rhino, buffalo, lion and hyena.

Talamati lies 30 kilometres, around an hour and a half’s drive, from the Orpen gate.

 

Bush Lodges

Kruger National Park’s bush lodges are exclusive, private lodges with a unique styling and a peaceful atmosphere as only residents are allowed access.

There are no shops or restaurant facilities, but all units have a kitchen fitted with a gas stove with oven, fridge, freezer, cutlery and crockery. Braai and barbecue facilities are provided.

Boulders Bush Lodge

Around 25 kilometres south of Mopani Rest Camp, Boulders Bush Lodge is rooted in rocky outcrops, iconic for the northern Kruger Park.

Private suite at Boulders Bush Lodge

The rock formations create a majestic backdrop for all the units, which are built on stilts with wooden boardwalks connecting the bedrooms to the communal living area. Rooms are close together, but still provide privacy. They are ideal for close families and friend groups that want to experience the bush together.

Boulders can accommodate a maximum of 12 guests at a time. Be sure to allow about two and a half hours drive, as the lodge is about 55 kilometres from Phalaborwa Gate.

Pafuri Border Camp

Pafuri Border Camp is situated in the northern most part of the Kruger National Park, close to Punda Maria and near the meeting point of the Luvubu and Limpopo rivers. It is renowned as some of the most productive birding territory in South Africa.

where to stay in kruger national park
Riverfront leisure area at Pafuri Bush Lodge

The camp’s accommodation comes in the form of 3 family-sized cottages, where all are fitted with en-suite shower and bathroom.

The camp is situated 70 kilometres from the Punda Maria gate.

 

Roodewal Bush Lodge

Situated on the banks of the Timbavati River, Roodewal Bush Lodge is a secluded lodge around 44 kilometres north of Satara.

Roodewal Bush Lodge

Each sleeping unit is offered extreme privacy and the braai area offers picturesque views over the Timbavati river and the Natal Mahogony and Jackalberry trees which line it on either side.

The camp has a total of 18 beds, and all units have a lounge and kitchen, as well as a private braai area. Roodewal is a 3 hour, 75 kilometre drive from the Orpen gate.

Satellite Camps

Satellite Camps are small, intimate camps located near to the main rest camps. They only offer self-catering accommodation and camping facilities which provide a true wilderness experience. This means they are also low-traffic camps and the morning and noon hours allow for a vibrant bush feeling as the nocturnal animals are abuzz.

Balule

Set right at the heart of Kruger National Park, Balule camp is named after the Tsonga word for the Olifants river, from which it is found only short distance away, and the same can be said for the nearby Olifants Rest Camp.

Basic chalets at Balule Satellite Camp

With no electricity and only the most basic of facilities, a low fence is the only protection between the camp and the wildlife that surrounds it.

Elephant are common in the surrounding area while baboon and vervet monkeys are prevalent within camp. Balule lies 85 kilometres from the Phalaborwa gate, so allow for an extra 3 hours on your journey in.

 

Malelane

Malelane camp is found where the powerful Crocodile River separates, rolling sugar cane fields of the neighbouring farms and the majestic savannah of the Kruger National Park.

An elephant on the move near Malelane Satellite Camp

The only camp found on a park boundary, Malelane is a small camp which provides an intimate bush experience only 5 kilometres away from the Malelane gate. Accommodation on offer are electrified campsites and bungalows.

The surrounding area is a hotspot for game viewing with regular sightings of the Big Five.

Maroela

Another small satellite camp, Maroela is a situated on the banks of the Timbavati River, on the western boundary of the Kruger Park, a stone’s throw east of Orpen Rest Camp.

where to stay in kruger national park
Nile crocodile on the banks of the Timbavati River

Maroela is one of only two camps in Kruger that caters exclusively for caravans and campers and there are no other pre-erected accommodation structures in camp. Close to the fence is the ideal place to be as visitors can watch the variety of wildlife that visits the small watering hole which neighbours the camp. There is also a rustic viewing platform that overlooks the Timbavati River.

The game-rich surrounding area offers excellent opportunities for viewing large herds of zebra and wildebeest and the predators who prey on them.

The camp is a short 3 kilometre drive from the Orpen gate.

 

Tamboti

Tamboti tented camp is also situated on the banks of the Timbavati River, not far from Maroela. It’s size and location makes Tamboti one of the most popular camps in Kruger. The exclusively tented accommodation ranges from budget offerings to semi-luxury safari tents.

Safari tent accommodation at Tamboti tented camp

It boasts a boma area, ideal for small groups and families to gather around and enjoy an evening bonfire, as well as a hide in which keen birders can spend hours watching some of the region’s vibrant bird life.

The naturally ‘wild’ feeling is preserved within the camp with tall acacias and marula trees sharing the grounds with red bush willows.

The camp is a 4 kilometre or 10 minute drive from the Orpen gate.

Overnight Hides

The Sable and Shipandani hides in Kruger National Park double as sleepover hides where guests are provided with a nature experience unparalleled in any of the park’s other camps. The hides offer the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the nighttime activity of the African wilderness. With no electricity and no water, any luxuries will need to be brought by you and once you’ve settled in for the evening, there’s no leaving until dawn.

Sleeping units fold down from the walls, where they are bolted away during the day time hours, and basic boma/braai facilities are offered with no cutlery or crockery. Guests are expected to vacate the hide, atleast 30 minutes before gate opening times.

Sable

Sable Sleepover Hide, is a bird hide by day, and transforms into a primitive overnight dwelling by night.

where to stay in kruger national park
The boma area at Sable Sleepover Hide

The hide overlooks the Sable Dam where a plethora of animals gather to drink. Lion’s roar throughout the night and the grunt of hippos, which originate just meters away from you, ring out into the night.

Sable hide is situated approximately 10km from of Phalaborwa Gate.

Shipandani

Shipandani Sleepover Hide, is found 3 kilometres south of the Mopani Rest Camp, along the Tsendze River.

The hide transforms into overnight accommodation at dusk and allows a select few to experience the African wilderness under the cover of darkness.

Shipandani Sleepover Hide in Kruger National Park

Large buffalo herds and bull elephant bachelor groups are known to frequent the area, near to the sleeping area.

Shipandeni is most easily accessible from the Phalaborwa gate, from which it is a 70 kilometre or 3 hour drive.