Sitting on the banks of the Olifants River, Mpala Safari Lodge is a privileged location for exploring South Africa’s biggest game reserve.

So what can you expect to see and when is the best time to visit? Find out all you need to know, and pick up a few fun facts in our essential guide.


What is it?

Established in 1898, Kruger National Park is a state-owned nature reserve unrivalled in the diversity of its fauna and flora. Belonging to the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, the park is designated as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.


What to see?

It’s the dawn of a new day. Dewdrops glitter on the fresh smelling earth. There’s a calming stillness as the sun rises over the bushland – its early morning glow reflecting off the water as the animals begin to stir. The mist clears from the horizon and the adventure begins. What will you see and what will you hear?

If it’s the big five you’re after, Kruger National Park won’t disappoint and you certainly won’t be alone! Part of a huge ecosystem with an amazing variety of wildlife, Kruger National Park is home to literally thousands of elephants, rhinos, leopards, lions, zebras, giraffes, impala, blue wildebeests and African buffalo.

In fact, with 147 species the park houses more species of large mammals than any other African game reserve. Add to that the 114 species of reptile, including 3000 crocodiles, and 517 species of birds and you start to get an impression of the magnitude of the park.


Where is it?

Stretching 360 km (220mi) north to south, the Kruger National Park at 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi) is the size of a small country! It’s located in the northeast of South Africa in the eastern part of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. Several private nature reserves join with the Kruger Park and together form the Greater Kruger National Park.

Mpala Safari lodge is located in Balule nature Reserve on the west side of the Kruger Park. There are no fences between the private reserves and the Kruger so the animals are free to move across their borders.


When to visit?

The Kruger Park has a sunny sub-tropical climate. Most of the year it’s above 25º Celsius (77º F) during the day, making it an ideal year-round destination. The dry winter season from May to September is an excellent time for wildlife viewing as the animals gather around the water.

The summer season from October to April gives way to lush, green scenery, new-born animals and exceptional bird viewing due to the presence of migratory birds.


Fun facts

– The Kruger National Park was proclaimed in 1894 by President Paul Kruger.

– The first motorist entered the park in 1927, and the entrance cost was just £1!

– The Dwarf Blue Butterfly is not the smallest species, but with a wingspan of only ½” (1.25cm), it is the smallest butterfly in the world.