Leopard (Panthera pardus) crossing road with tourists in jeep in background
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Kruger National Park

Top choice in South Africa

In terms of wildlife alone, Kruger is one of the world's greatest national parks. The diversity, density and sheer numbers of animals is almost unparalleled, and all of Africa's iconic safari species – elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino, buffalo, giraffe, hippo and zebra – live out their dramatic days here, along with a supporting cast of 137 other mammal species and more than 500 varieties of bird.

The landscape is on a grand scale, stretching over 19,485 sq km, and though less in your face than the wildlife, it certainly has the power to charm. Beautiful granite kopjes (hills) pepper the bushveld in the south, the Lebombo Mountains rise from the savannah in the east and tropical forests cut across the far north.

But what makes Kruger truly special is the access and opportunities it provides the visitor. A vast network of roads is there to explore on your own (incredibly), guided wildlife activities are everywhere and accommodation is both plentiful and great value.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby South Africa attractions

1. Red Rocks

10.11 MILES

Lions, giraffes, rhinos and elephants are often sighted at this spot on the Shingwedzi River. It's off the H1-6 on the S52.

2. Babalala Picnic Spot

18.56 MILES

One of Kruger's designated picnic spots. Between Shingwedzi and Punda Maria, in the park's far north. There's excellent birdwatching in the vicinity.