Kruger National Park Holiday – Unforgettable Family Bonding

We went to the Kruger National Park for a quick holiday and it was the most incredible family bonding experience. It was an adventure that we will all remember for a long time to come.

Kruger National Park holiday - unforgettable family bonding

My husband has been dreaming about taking our family to the Kruger National Park since our kids were born, so it is something that we have wanted to do for a very long time. Our kids are now 9 and 11 years old, an age where they will remember the trip and they can travel long distances without too much hassle.

Pestana Kruger Lodge

Our first day was a long day. We left home in Velddrif at o5h3o and drove to Cape Town airport where took a flight with Safair to OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg. Upon arriving in Joburg we hired a car from Europcar and drove to Pestana Kruger Lodge in Malelane, arriving at 16h30.

The Melalane gate to the Kruger National Park is only 600 metres from Pestana Kruger Lodge, making it the perfect overnight stop for us after our long trip before entering the park. We were delighted to see vervet monkeys within minutes of arriving at the accommodation. We stayed in a family chalet that was very comfortable and in a stunning setting surrounded by trees and next to a stream.

Pestana Kruger Lodge chalet

The first thing my kids did after booking in was put on their swimming costumes and head to the huge pool to cool off.

Pestana Kruger Lodge overlooks the Crocodile River and we were delighted to find that the restaurant offered amazing views of the river and there were spotlights and binoculars available to guests to search for wildlife day and night. My kids barely sat down to dinner, they spent their evening with the spotlights searching the river and spotted crocodiles and hippos.

In the morning we had a buffet breakfast at Pestana Kruger Lodge while watching the river and wildlife before we entered the Kruger National Park.

Pestana Kruger Lodge is a lovely place. The staff were friendly and professional, the food was top notch, and the facilities were amazing. It would have been nice to spend more time there.

Kruger Park Malelane gate

Kruger National Park – Skukuza Camp

On the second day of our trip we entered the Kruger National Park though the Malelane gate and spent until early afternoon exploring the park and searching for animals. The booking in time at Skukuza camp is 14h00 so we had plenty of time.

Skukuza Camp is situated in the southern part of Kruger National Park, it is the biggest camp with the most facilities and offers various accommodation options. We stayed in a safari tent and were please to find that our tent was right next to the fence. Every evening while we braaied a hyena paced the fence next to us which was very exciting.

Skukuza safari tent

On our third and fourth days we spent the morning in the park searching for animals and the afternoons we spent in the camp swimming and relaxing. We also went out late every afternoon for a quick drive to see if we could spot anything.

Our fifth day we travelled home, we left at 06h00 and got home at 19h00, so it was another long day of travelling.

During our stay we saw monkeys, baboons, hippos, waterbuck, impala, giraffe, elephants, zebras, buffalo, hyenas, leopard, lions, blue wildebeest, vultures, crocodiles, ostrich, a nyala, and a rhino, as well as many birds, lizards, mongoose, and other small creatures.

Elephant at Kruger Park

Highlights Of Our Trip

Our trip was incredible and if I had to write about it in detail this would be an insanely long blog post, so instead I’m going to share some of the highlights of our trip.

  • Watching the looks on my kids’ faces when the plane took off – it was their first time flying.
  • Seeing a leopard up a tree with a kill.
  • Having a hyena walk into the road in front of us and start shaking its head and making noises. Suddenly loads of hyenas came running out the bush, the first hyena was clearly the leader calling the rest and rounding them up.
  • A female lioness walked across the road and into the bush in front of us, when we watched her walking away we saw a lion in the bushes eating a buffalo. If the lioness didn’t cross right when we were there we would never have seen the lion.
  • Seeing all of the big 5 – the last of the big 5 we saw was a rhino and we saw it when we were leaving the park, 10 kms from the gate.
  • We bought a Kruger Park map book with maps of the park and camps, as well as an animal and bird checklist. My son was so into it and loved checking off things. If he saw a bird flying high in the sky (with no chance of seeing what it was even with binoculars) he would spend ages searching the checklist and mark off the bird he said it was. It was very cute.
  • Watching an elephant take a mud bath.
  • The squeals of dismay and laughter as nature took its course while we watching some baboons.
  • Laughing about the male vervet monkeys having blue testicles, in fact the vervet monkey is sometimes called “blue ball” which I never knew.
  • Watching my kids check the sightings board at every rest stop and camp to see what animals were spotted close by and add the animals we saw.
  • We had such fantastic bonding time as a family.

Watch my Youtube video for some awesome moments.

Tips For Visiting The Kruger National Park With Kids

Embarking on a safari adventure to Kruger National Park with your children is a memorable experience that can ignite their love for nature and wildlife. However, travelling with kids, especially in a wilderness environment, requires some extra planning and preparation. Here’s how to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and educational journey when visiting Kruger National Park with your little ones.

  1. Choose The Right Time Of Year

Selecting the best time to visit Kruger with kids is crucial. The dry winter months (May to September) are ideal as there’s less vegetation, making it easier to spot wildlife. These months are also low-risk for malaria, but consult your doctor about preventive measures before travelling.

  1. Plan Age-Appropriate Activities

Tailor your activities to your children’s age and interests. Younger kids might enjoy shorter game drives, while older ones can handle longer excursions. Consider guided bush walks for an educational experience and encourage wildlife identification games.

  1. Pack The Essentials

Make sure to pack all the necessary items for a comfortable and safe trip:

  • First Aid Kit: Include items for common ailments and any specific medications your children might need.
  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses are essential.
  • Insect Repellent: Protect against insect bites and malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
  • Binoculars and Cameras: Let your kids have their own pair of binoculars or a camera to engage them in wildlife spotting and photography.
  • Comfort Items: Bring familiar toys or blankets to help children feel secure in unfamiliar surroundings.
  1. Educate Your Kids

Before your trip, educate your children about the animals and the park. Read books or watch documentaries about African wildlife together. Knowledge about the animals they might encounter can make the experience even more exciting.

  1. Respect Wildlife Safety

Teach your kids about wildlife safety rules. Emphasise the importance of staying inside the vehicle during game drives and not disturbing animals.

Some of the picnic areas and rest stops in the park are not fenced in, be vigilant and make sure to keep your kids right at your side at all times.

Do not leave your kids unattended at any time even inside fenced camps. There have been rare occasions of animals such as hyenas managing to get through fences.

Giraffe at Kruger National Park

  1. Choose Kid-Friendly Accommodations

Kruger National Park offers various accommodation options. Opt for a family-friendly camp or lodge with amenities like swimming pools and play areas. This can be a great way for your children to unwind after a day of safari adventures.

  1. Pack Snacks And Water

Children can get hungry during game drives, so bring snacks and plenty of water. Pack a cooler with sandwiches, fruit, and healthy snacks to keep their energy levels up.

  1. Limit Screen Time

While it might be tempting to bring tablets or other electronic devices to entertain your kids, limit screen time. Encourage them to immerse themselves in the natural world around them instead.

  1. Plan Breaks

Long drives can be tiring for kids. Plan regular breaks for restroom visits, stretching, and snacks to keep them comfortable and happy. Ensure that your kids go to the bathroom at every stop since it is not possible to get out of your vehicle unless you are at a designated picnic area or rest stop.

  1. Be Flexible

Lastly, remain flexible in your plans. Kids can be unpredictable, and sometimes they might need a day of relaxation instead of another game drive. Be open to adjusting your itinerary to suit their needs.

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  1. Constance Herklaas

    thank you for the tips going to Kruger. love ❤️ it.

  2. I would love to take my girls there. my dad took us years ago. what a memorable experience

  3. Angelique Prinsloo

    what an awesome getaway!

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