The best time to visit the Kruger National Park is the dry season from May to October for the best game viewing and walking safari conditions. Vegetation is low and sparse at this time of year, making animals easier to spot and track, while the permanent water sources offer a rewarding safari experience in the Kruger.
Generally considered a year-round destination, choosing exactly when to go to the Kruger depends on what you want to experience. The Kruger has two distinct seasons, the dry winter from May to October, and the summer rainy season from November to April. However, every day in the Kruger National Park is a one-of-a-kind safari adventure.
Month by Month Guide for Travelling to the Kruger National Park:
Visiting the Kruger National Park from January to March
January is the height of the rainfall season in the Kruger Park. The days are hot and very humid with impressive thunderstorms occurring in the late afternoons. The wet weather makes the landscape colourful as the marula trees begin to bear fruit. This is a good time for birdwatchers to visit the park as lesser spotted eagles can be seen frequently.
The summer rains continue in February while the climate remains warm and humid. This is the breeding season for waterbuck and a great time to be experiencing Kruger National Park tours. Birding in the park is very popular in February as the migrant species have settled in the area, while the breeding birds are in full plumage.
March marks the end of the summer season in the Kruger Park and this is generally the last month of heavy rainfall. The vegetation in the park is dense which can make it a little more difficult to spot the animals at times, but with the expert guides on hand, tracking the wildlife will all be part of the safari experience while on a visit to the Kruger. A major highlight in March are the kudu and buffalo breeding seasons.
Travelling to the Kruger National Park in April & May
The best time to visit the Kruger National Park is at the beginning or end of the region's dry season, which begins in April. This seasonal shift causes a noticeable drop in temperature throughout the park. The wildlife can be somewhat difficult to spot but sightings of impala, wildebeest and warthog are common as it’s mating season in April for these species.
Autumn gives way to winter during May in the Kruger Park. The rain has ended but the autumn scenery starts to turn brown and leafless. The animals in the park begin to migrate to warmer areas and this is when elephants make their way from Zimbabwe and Mozambique to their winter grazing grounds in the north of the Kruger. It’s an ideal opportunity to witness these animals migrating in their impressive herds.
Visiting the Kruger National Park from June to August
June is both the coldest and driest month in the Kruger. Temperatures in the daytime are mild with low humidity, but the evenings do get rather cold. This is a time when the wildlife regularly congregates around permanent water sources, making wildlife sightings while on safari in the Kruger National Park a memorable experience. Because of the temperature drop, this is when the big cats, including the elusive leopard, become easier to spot.
July is one of the best times for game viewing in the Kruger National Park. The cooler weather and lower humidity make for pleasant weather. The north of the park receives fewer safari enthusiasts at this time of year as there is more wildlife activity in the south. The Sabie River is where to go in Kruger to see predators in action.
August is the middle of the dry season. Water sources for the animals are scarce but the best Kruger safari opportunities are in the southern regions of the park, where water is more readily available. August is a very comfortable time of year to visit the Kruger as there are fewer mosquitoes, little to no rain, temperatures are pleasantly warm in the day, and refreshingly cool in the evenings.
Travelling to the Kruger National Park in September & October
September and October often experience hot and humid conditions but concentrations of animals around water sources are at their highest. This period is often regarded as the best time for a safari in the Kruger National Park, particularly the southern and central regions. September marks the start of spring and October is usually the beginning of the rainfall season in the Kruger Park. It can get very hot in the day, with rainfall in the late evening. The grass starts to become greener and game viewing is still good as the bush is not too thick after the dry and dusty months.
Visiting the Kruger National Park during November & December
The summer rains arrive in full force from November onwards, peak in January and February, and come to an end around April. The Kruger is transformed into a beautiful, thriving green landscape and it makes for superb photography. November is officially the start of the Green Season. Game viewing is still good, with many young summer-born animals around. It's also the best time to visit the Kruger for birdwatching as well as safari-and-beach holiday combinations.
December this is the height of summer. Hot humid days usually end with spectacular thunderstorms in the early evening. We recommend consulting a medical practitioner for advice about malaria if you plan to visit the Kruger during the summer. The risk of malaria is low, but the region does lie within the malarial belt. If you want to avoid the crowds, we would further advise avoiding the southern/central Kruger during the long December and January school holidays – rather go to the far north of the park or the Kruger's private reserves and concessions, for luxury lodges in the Kruger National Park region.
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