Residents and travel operators are quick to sing the praises of Johannesburg and rattle off lists of activities for the potential tourists. In reality other than its history as a gold mining town and subsequent hub for anti-apartheid activism the city offers very little that major cities all over the world don’t. The number one reason most tourists fly into Johannesburg is to visit one of the many game reserves in the Northern provinces. The most popular of these is undoubtedly the world famous Kruger National Park in the Limpopo province. Situated about 500 km outside of Johannesburg it’s about a 6 to 7 hour drive from Johannesburg airport. If you choose to drive there yourself all car hire companies at Johannesburg international airport will be able to provide maps of how to get there.
The roads are tarred all the way and safe to drive during the day the route passes through the beautiful Limpopo province which makes having your own car worthwhile. As it will allow you to stop at your leisure along the route. It would probably be quite a daunting drive to do from Cape Town and would waste time if you were only on holiday for a short amount of time. The easiest way to see this gem of a game reserve would be to fly to Johannesburg. Organise beforehand with a car hire agency in Johannesburg to have a four by four booked, preferably with air conditioning. This type of car will make the drive more comfortable on some of the rougher roads once you enter the park and the ground clearance will give you the added benefit of a slightly elevated viewing position from which to see game.
The best time of year to visit the park is in winter as this is when most of the trees will have lost their leaves and the tall grass will have died away providing you with a much better chance of spotting the big five added to this is the fact than many of the specie will give birth in winter which means you have the opportunity of seeing an amazing event of nature.
The park boasts 147 species of mammals that range from the elegant giraffe to the lumbering elephants and all the big 5 in between. The park is a birdwatcher’s heaven with up to 517 species of birds to be found there, depending on the time of year. Included in this is the large number of birds of prey that use the park as there hunting grounds, the African fish eagle, the Tawny-eagle the Martial eagle and African hawk-eagle. This along with the magnificent accommodation that can be found at the park has made it one of the top tourist attractions in South Africa.
The best way to experience it splendour is from the comfort of your car rather than being bussed around. Organise a car to hire from Johannesburg and go on your own safari.