Wilder by Far and wild logo

Best time to visit Kruger National Park, South Africa.

A month by month guide to the best time to visit Kruger National Park

Lucie

Lucie

Africa Specalist
Published on

29 Jan 2024

Updated on

01 Feb 2024

Best Time to Visit Kruger

Summary


The Dry Season runs from May through to September:

  • This is a great time for wildlife viewing as the vegetation is sparse, and animals tend to gather around water sources.
  • It’s cooler so more comfortable for safaris, especially in the middle of the day.
  • It’s the lowest risk period for malaria.
  • It's a busy time so the park can be more crowded, and booking well in advance is a good idea.

The Wet Season runs from October to April:

  • The greenery is lush and there are lots of young animals.
  • Birdwatching is particularly good as migratory birds are present.
  • The temperatures are hotter, with higher humidity, so less comfortable for some.
  • Occasionally some roads may be impassable due to heavy rains and flooding.
  • This is also the high-risk period for malaria, so precautions are necessary.
Passerine birds Kruger National Park South Africa
Blue breasted Cordonbleu, Village Weavers and Red-billed Quelea bathing in waterhole, Kruger National Park
Hamerkop bird Kruger National Park South Africa
Hammerkop bird, Kruger National Park.

January & February


Although both months fall in the wet season there are still plenty of good reasons to visit Kruger.

Abundant Birdlife: This is a great time for birdwatching in Kruger. Many migratory bird species have arrived, adding to the park's already diverse bird population. You can spot colourful birds like bee-eaters, European Rollers, and various raptors including Wahlberg’s Eagle and Steppe Eagles.

Green and Lush Landscape: Due to the recent rains, the park is lush and green, the flowers are in bloom and the vegetation at its peak. This makes for stunning scenery and great photo opportunities.

Baby Animals: Many animals give birth during the wet season, so you have a chance to see young animals, including adorable baby elephants, lions, and leggy new born impalas.

Less Crowded: Compared to the dry season, these months see fewer visitors, which means you may have a more tranquil and intimate safari experience without too many other vehicles around.

Photographic Opportunities: The soft, diffused light during overcast days can be ideal for photography. The lush greenery and colourful birds provide excellent subjects for photographers.

Lower Accommodation Rates: Generally accommodation prices are slightly lower from mid-January through February, making your trip more budget-friendly.

However, there are some minor ‘cons’ to keep in mind for a visit during the rainy season:

Rain: January is part of the wet season, so be prepared for occasional rain showers and thunderstorms. Some roads may be impassable due to flooding.

Malaria Risk: The wet season is also the high-risk period for malaria in the Kruger region, so you should take necessary precautions.

Enquire Today
Baby elephant Kruger National Park
Baby elephant, Kruger National Park

March & April


In March and April Kruger transitions from the wet to the dry season and offers a unique set of highlights and experiences. Here is what you can expect from a visit to Kruger at this time of year:

Changing Landscape: You'll start to see signs of drying vegetation, which can create a beautiful mix of greenery and the first hints of autumn colours.

Lower Malaria Risk: March marks the beginning of the low-risk period for malaria in the Kruger region. Precautions are still advisable, but the risk is lower than in wetter months.

Wildlife Watching: Wildlife viewing can be rewarding as animals are still active, and the vegetation is not as dense as it will be in the dry season.

Fewer Crowds: March and April (apart from Easter Holidays) are still quieter months in terms of tourist numbers compared to the peak months of June to August. You can enjoy game drives with fewer crowds and more solitude in the wilderness.

Predator Activity: Predators are still active in March and April, and you might have the opportunity to witness exciting predator-prey interactions as animals gather around remaining water sources.

Mother and baby Impala Kruger National Park
Mother and baby Impala, Kruger National Park
Kudu Kruger National P Ark South Africa
Kudu, Kruger National Park

May & June


This is an excellent time to visit Kruger National Park, with superb wildlife viewing, pleasant weather, and fewer crowds. Here are some highlights to look forward to during a visit at this time of year:

Optimal Wildlife Viewing: May and June are considered some of the best months for wildlife viewing in the Kruger area. The dry season is in full swing, vegetation is becoming sparse, and animals are drawn to the remaining water sources, making them easier to spot. You have a higher chance of encountering the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhinoceros) and other iconic African wildlife at this time of year. Predators are highly active during this period, providing opportunities to witness thrilling predator-prey interactions.

Migration of Herbivores: This time is the beginning of the annual migration of herbivores, particularly impalas and zebras, as they move toward the riverine areas in search of water. This migration can attract predators like lions and cheetahs, leading to exciting wildlife sightings.

Comfortable Weather: May & June offer mild temperatures, making it a comfortable time to explore the park. Days are warm, but not scorching, and evenings can be cool, especially in the southern part of the park.

Leopard Kruger National Park South Africa
Leopard Kruger National Park

July & August


These are the peak months for wildlife viewing and safari experiences (and visitor numbers!) in the Kruger area due to the dry season and its associated highlights.

Predator Activity: With wildlife congregating around limited water sources, predators are highly active during this time. You may witness thrilling predator-prey interactions, including lion and leopard sightings.

Photographic Opportunities: The dry landscapes, clear skies, and excellent lighting conditions during July and August create perfect opportunities for photography. The contrast between the golden savannah and wildlife makes for stunning shots.

Comfortable Weather: July and August offer pleasant daytime temperatures, making it ideal for daytime safaris. While it's cooler than the scorching months to come, it's not too cold, ensuring a comfortable safari experience.

Male Lion Kruger National Park South Africa
Male Lion, Kruger National Park.
Leopard resting Kruger National Park South Africa
Leopard resting, Kruger National Park.

September


Wildlife visibility: September marks the end of the dry season in Kruger National Park, and it's a transitional period leading into spring. During this time, water sources become scarcer, causing wildlife to congregate around the remaining waterholes. This concentration of animals makes for excellent game viewing opportunities. You're more likely to see the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino) and other wildlife species as they come to quench their thirst, providing some of the best wildlife encounters of the year.

Additionally, the lack of dense vegetation due to the dry season makes it easier to spot animals, enhancing your chances of witnessing various species, including predators, in action.

Fewer Crowds: While September is a popular time to visit, it's not as crowded as the peak months of July and August. You can still enjoy a relatively quieter safari experience with fewer vehicles around.

Enquire Today
Buffalo Kruger National Park South Africa
Buffalo, Kruger National Park

October & November


These months herald the arrival of spring in the Kruger:

Baby Animals: The herbivores give birth at the onset of the rainy season and you may have the opportunity to see cute baby animals, including impalas, wildebeests, and zebras. This makes for great photo opportunities too.

Birdwatching: October & November are good months for birdwatching in Kruger. Resident bird species are active, and there are still numerous migratory birds to be seen.

Photographic Opportunities: The changing landscapes, lush greenery, and wildlife interactions provide excellent opportunities for photography. The bushveld begins to bloom with vibrant spring blossoms in October, adding to the visual appeal of the park. The landscape is lush and green, creating beautiful scenery. You can capture images of the contrast between the young animals, vibrant foliage, and other wildlife.

Fewer Crowds: October and November are typically less crowded than the peak months of July and August, making it a more peaceful time to visit with fewer vehicles around.

Bee Eater Kruger National Park
The charming Bee Eater bird, Kruger National Park.
Elephant Kruger National Park
Elephant in Kruger National Park

December


December in Kruger National Park is the beginning of summer and the Green season. Here’s what you can expect from a visit at this time of year:

Lush Greenery: December marks the peak of the rainy season, and as a result, the landscape becomes lush and vibrant. The bushveld is covered in green foliage, creating beautiful scenery and a dramatic contrast with the wildlife.

Birdwatching: December is an excellent month for birdwatching. The park is alive with bird activity. Weaver birds are busy building their nests, Migratory bird species have returned to the park, and you can observe a wide variety of colourful birds, including eagles, vultures, and waterfowl.

Baby Animals: The birthing season continues in December, and you can still see wobbly legged young animals, including impalas, wildebeests, and zebras.

Photographic Opportunities: The lush green landscapes and vibrant birdlife provide excellent opportunities for photography.

Yellow Billed hornbill Kruger National Park
Yellow Billed Hornbill Kruger National Park

Summary


Kruger National Park is an incredible destination offering unique safari experiences year-round. While each season has its highlights, there are a few key factors to consider when planning your visit. The optimal time for game viewing is during the Dry Season from May to September when wildlife congregates around sparse water sources. For lush scenery and newborn animals, visit during the Wet Season between November and March. Pay attention to the crowds - July and August are the busy peak months. And don't forget to take precautions against malaria, especially during the wet summer months when risk is highest.

Whenever you choose to go, Kruger's outstanding wildlife and diverse ecosystems will amaze you. As one of Africa's premier safari parks, you simply can't go wrong with a trip to this natural wonderland. Just be sure to plan and research the best season to meet your interests. With careful preparation, your time in Kruger will undoubtedly be an unforgettable adventure exploring wild Africa at its best.

Enquire Today
Zebra Kruger National Park South Africa
Rhino Kruger National Park South Africa

Wondering when to visit? Take a look at this guide on the First Time Visitors Guide to Kruger

Take a look at our Luxury Kruger and Mozambique Honeymoon

Looking for some more inspiration? Take a look at our best safari holidays ideas, our favourite family safaris, our big five safari guide or our top African safari honeymoon suggestions.

Speak to one of our experts today.

Start planning your next holiday.

  • Alistair

    Alistair

    Managing Director

  • Ruth

    Ruth

    Africa, Indian Ocean, and Caribbean Specialist

Call an expert on

01768 603 715

Far & Wild Customer Reviews

See what our customers have to say about us...

Read all reviews

A dream to visit Mum's birth place!

Christine travelled to St Helena Holidays and South Africa in December 2023 on a trip organised by .

I've already recommended Far and Wild to a couple of friends

Paula travelled to South Africa in December 2023 on a trip organised by Alistair.

100% value for money

Adam travelled to Kenya in January 2024 on a trip organised by Ruth.

It was SO NICE to have someone else do it for me.

Cathy travelled to Tanzania and Zanzibar in December 2023 on a trip organised by Alistair.

I didn't realise my high expectations could be so easily exceeded

Hannah and Elaine travelled to Kenya in November 2023 on a trip organised by .

Adventure of a Lifetime in Kenya

Maria travelled to Masai Mara Safari in October 2023 on a trip organised by Ben.

Plan with an expert Plan with an expert

Have a look at our original holiday experiences and then contact us with your brief, or call 01768 603 715

A tailor-made itinerary just for you A tailor-made itinerary just for you

Our experts will send you a detailed holiday itinerary specified to your desires. It's our service promise to you.

Value guarantee Value guarantee

Tailor-made doesn't mean expensive! Ask about our price promise and book with financial security.

Looking for more inspiration?

Read about unique holiday ideas on our blog

Show more articles