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Ondrej Prosicky
Ondrej Prosicky
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Lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos: be eye-to-eye with the Big Five in Kruger Park. A trip to South Africa doesn't seem complete without a safari in this famous game park, but the park offers a lot more. Here are five activities that will make it even more unforgettable.

World famous Kruger Park measures almost 20,000 km², making this one of the largest game reserves on the African continent. In 1926 the park was designated as the first protected nature reserve in South Africa, and Kruger is still one of the preferred destinations for nature lovers who wish to immerse themselves in the African wilderness. Here you may encounter the so-called Big Five – elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffalos – and also giraffes, zebras, antelopes, wildebeests and hundreds of bird species. For accommodations, visitors have a choice of dozens of camps and lodges. These also organize a variety of excursions.

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Guide your own safari

In Kruger Park you can also drive yourself without an all terrain vehicle or guide. The park boasts a road network especially designed to allow visitors to drive on their own. At the camps you will find maps that indicate where animals have been last spotted and if they were hunting or roaming. Plan your safari according to the rhythm of nature – most animals are most active around sunrise and sunset. In addition to bringing a good camera, don’t forget your common sense. Only get out of the car to stretch your legs or get a better view at the fenced in picnic sites or lookouts.

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JMx Images
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Diane Durongpisitkul
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Simon Eeman

Golf amidst the elephants

Golf is a popular sport in South Africa,and South Africans are among some of the world's top golfers. The country is teeming with golf courses in gorgeous locations. One of them is the Skukuza Golf Course, nestled in the heart of Kruger Park. Originally built as a leisure course for park staff, the golf course is now open to the general public. The course isn't fenced off, so you may cross paths with a hippo, impala or baboon. And where else can you combine a round of golf with a view of a herd of passing elephants?

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Simon Eeman

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Karl Burry

Hot-air balloon ride at sunset

Catch the first rays of sunlight as you rise slowly towards the pink-hued sky: a balloon ride at sunrise is one of the most beautiful ways to explore the African bush. As you float high above vast Kruger Park, you will see the Drakensbergen loom in the west and the green plain extending for miles. With some luck, you will spot herds of giraffes, gnus and other animals getting ready for another day in the wild.

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Trevor Ryan McCall-Peat

Hike through the wilderness

For those who would rather find adventure in a pair of hiking shoes can sign up for a hike on one of the Wilderness Trails. These multi-day hikes take you in a small group on foot through Kruger Park. Accommodations are in primitive wilderness camps so don't expect any luxury. You will be rewarded with an unforgettable experience filled with the sounds and smells that you would miss in a car safari. Although you will spot plenty of animals on this hike, this is not about checking off the Big Five, but about truly experiencing the real wilderness.

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Gary Blake / Alamy Stock Photo
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William T Smith

Star safari

The starry sky is at its most beautiful far from the inhabited world. Go on a nighttime safari in Kruger Park not to go wildlife spotting but to admire the star-filled sky. After sunset, star gazers drive out to an open spot to prepare a South African braai dinner. Then once the clear sky has gone pitch black and the stars are visible, the guides will use a telescope to point out some unique constellations and celestial bodies, such as the Southern Cross, Saturn and Jupiter. The guides will also tell you more about the meaning of the stars in the culture of the local San.

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