Kruger with the kids: How to make the most of this popular day trip

Going to the Kruger National Park (KNP) for a self-drive ‘safari’ break is without a doubt one of the quintessential South African family holiday destinations and one that will leave many great memories in its wake.

So as the school holidays loom, day visitors to Kruger should note that the park usually institutes a visitor access quota over the peak holiday periods.

This day visitor quota is a management tool to help maintain the carrying capacity of the park. Visitors will be able to book up to 80% of day visitor quota per gate, via SANParks Reservations offices and online at

Day visitors can choose and book a time slot prior to their arrival from one of the following three time slots, pre-booked day visitors will get preference over non-booked day visitors at the gate: 

Time slot 1: 06:00 to 08:00 
Time slot 2: 08:00 to 10:00
Time slot 3: 10:00 onwards

A photo posted by Claudia (@ccla_diau) on

ALSO SEE:  The complete guide to a photo safari in the Kruger National Park

- Day Visitor bookings are subject to a non-refundable booking fee of R36 per adult and R18 per child.

- Day Visitors who have booked are required to pay conservation fees or use a valid Wild Card to enter the Park - Valid from 1 November 2016 to 31 October 2017

South African Citizens and Residents (with ID):
R76 per person, per day
R38 per child , per day

SADC Nationals (with passport):
R152 per person, per day
R76 per child, per day

Standard Conservation Fee (Foreign Visitors):
R304 per adult, per day 
R152 per child, per day

KNP has ten entrance gates i.e. Pafuri, Punda Maria, Phalaborwa, Giriyondo, Orpen, Paul Kruger, Phabeni, Numbi, Malelane and Crocodile Bridge - Visitors should also take note of the following important information: 

- In order to expedite the admission process, on busy days in particular, day visitors are requested to pay for conservation fees in advance or ensure that they have valid Wild Card membership.

- Guests planning to use Wild Cards are requested to ensure membership is valid before arrival and this can best be done online at

- The number and profile of persons (adults and children) on the reservation and actual persons arriving should correspond.

- All guests may be required to identify themselves upon admission (SA driver’s license, identity document or passport).

- Due to existing contractual arrangements with Open Safari Vehicles (OSVs), they are regarded as booked for all Day Visitor admissions. 

- Gate quotas will be applied and non-booked guests could be denied entry.

- Guests are encouraged to continuously provide feedback on their experience to

- Visitors are advised to read their permits which they will receive at the gates to make sure of rules and regulations. Visitors can report any rules and regulations infringement which they witness, to the Emergency Call Centre numbers 013 735 4325 or 013 735 0197 or 076 801 9679.

Here are a few ways you can make sure you and your family get the most out of the experience:

If you’re heading off there with your kids for the first time, you may be worried about keeping them entertained – especially during long game drives where animal sightings might be few and far between. Try a few of these...

Game-ify game drives

The exciting thing about a Kruger holiday is that you never know what you may spot while on a game drive. Some days you might come across a leopard crossing the road, while other days even the impalas seem to be hiding out somewhere.

Curb frustrations by bringing an element of fun into the exercise. Apart from keeping a list of all the species you spot and having a daily prize for the one who managed to spot the most, you can also have a treasure hunt of sorts. Draw up a list of a few things you KNOW you will come across – think common bird and tree species, the names of watering holes, points of interest on your chosen route - and have little rewards ready every time someone spots one.

Not only will the game element keep your children entertained, it will also teach them so much about our precious natural heritage, which they will probably tend to remember more easily than any text book excerpt.

Stock up on snacks, go slow on drinks

While you should probably consider keeping your game drives short to match your kids’ attention spans, you may sometimes end up cruising for a little longer than expected. Which could lead to very unhappy, hangry (hungry + angry) children. So, make sure you have some healthy and delicious snacks – nuts, biltong and dried fruit are always winners.

But, let’s just quickly talk about drinks. Look, you’re going to need a supply of water in the car, especially if you’re there during summer months, but you’re going to have to ration it like a major general, in order to avoid any pit stop emergencies. As you probably know, disembarking from your vehicle is illegal throughout the park, apart from demarcated areas and toilets are not exactly a dime a dozen.

Also make sure everyone takes a bathroom break whenever possible.

Keep cool

Once again this is mainly something to consider during mid-summer months, as temperatures can soar up to 45 degrees in the shade.

Be sure your kids are dressed appropriately – light and loose-fitting is always the way to go. Have their swimming gear handy, as most of the rest camps and some of the picnic spots have swimming pools… and they are definitely going to want to jump in.

Finally, blast the aircon for a while after getting into the car and then alternate aircon with open windows.

Allow them to snap some pics

If you’re not keen on them using your expensive SLR or smartphone, let them snap away with your old aim and shoot digital camera. You might be surprised at the perspectives they have and could even plant the seed for a future passion. 

Introduce them to a game ranger

Each camp has a few resident rangers, some of which would take guests on paid game drives throughout the day. Even if you don’t join the drive, take your kids to say hi to the ranger before they leave. These guys are usually really friendly and have a wealth of knowledge, so even suggest each of the kids come up with one question to ask!

What tips would you add? Tell us in the comment section below or send us your thoughts to

What to read next on Traveller24:

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Two Kruger Rangers arrested for alleged poaching

School holiday family fun in Joburg

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