Kruger National Park Weather and Climate
General & Geography
The Kruger National Park in South Africa is the most famous and largest game reserve in the country. The approximately 20,000 square kilometer area runs through the Limpopo and Mpumalanga regions; it borders the neighboring state of Mozambique along the entire east side.
The extension from the southernmost to the northernmost point of the Kruger National Park is about 350 kilometers as the crow flies. Former President Paul Kruger originally founded the park under the name “Sabie Game Reserve” in 1898. It was not until 28 years later that the reserve was named a national park in honor of Kruger.
Today the Kruger National Park is a retreat for over 500 species of birds, more than 140 species of mammals and a wide range of reptiles, fish and amphibians.
Adjacent private protected areas such as Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Balule or Klaserie are counted under the term Greater Kruger Area in the total area of the Kruger Park. In the meantime, large areas of the fences have been removed, including to neighboring Mozambique (Limpopo National Park), in order to enable free movement of animals.
The Kruger National Park can either be reached by car from Johannesburg (around 5 hours’ drive) or, depending on the desired route, via the airports Skukuza, Nelspruit and Hoedspruit. Several luxury lodges have their own airstrips that bush flyers can use.
Climate in the Kruger National Park
The climate in the region around the Kruger National Park is mainly tropical. Basically, the seasons in the southern hemisphere are exactly the opposite of our conditions in Europe, but even in the African winter the Kruger National Park reaches pleasantly warm temperatures, especially during the day.
In general, it can be said that the climate in the Kruger National Park is sometimes very hot between mid- October and the beginning of March (summer in South Africa) and also records increased rainfall. The wettest months are December, January and February. This is also the time when the highest average temperatures in the region are measured.
The South African winter, however, brings with it a long dry season in the Kruger National Park. Especially in June, July and August, rain is an absolute exception. At night, the temperatures cool down to around 7 to 9 ° C at this travel time.
Most of the years in the Kruger National Park stay frost-free even in winter, during the day in winter temperatures of 26 to 28 degrees are the rule anyway. Statistically speaking, the first rain usually starts in October, although there have been repeated shifts and longer periods of drought in recent years.
When is the best time to visit Kruger Park Safaris?
We can safely call the Kruger National Park a year-round destination, as every season of the year in the park has its own special charm and excellent wildlife viewing is possible even during the rainy season. In addition, many animals then have offspring and the landscape is extremely attractive.
Still, it is true that during the dry season in winter, the animals often gather at the few remaining watering holes. In addition, the lack of vegetation also increases the general probability of animal sightings, as the now rather barren landscape allows you to look much deeper.
In addition, the rainy season also brings with it an increased risk of malaria. The months of May are therefore considered to be the best travel time for safaris in the Kruger National Park until October. Nevertheless, the transition months, especially March and April and, with some reservations, November, are also suitable months for travel.
Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine in Skukuza (Kruger National Park)
|Daytime temperature||34 ° C||34 ° C||32 ° C||30 ° C||29 ° C||27 ° C||26 ° C||28 ° C||29 ° C||31 ° C||32 ° C||32 ° C|
|Night temperature||23 ° C||22 ° C||20 ° C||17 ° C||12 ° C||8 ° C||8 ° C||11 ° C||14 ° C||17 ° C||19 ° C||22 ° C|
|Precipitation in mm||96||94||65||37||15||11||10||8||27||39||64||93|
|Hours of sunshine||8||8||8||7||8||8||9||9||8||7||7||7|
The annual average temperature in Skukuza is 23 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is January (28.3 ° C), coldest month of July with average values of 17 ° C.
The annual precipitation is 559 mm on 58 days with precipitation. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. There is no rainy season, i.e. months with more than 175 mm of precipitation. You cannot expect snow in any month in Skukuza.
As our climate table shows, July is the sunniest month with an average of 8.5 hours of sunshine per day. In the annual mean, the sun shines an average of 7.7 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.
The following major towns are nearby and have similar climates: Bushbuckridge, Nkomazi and Ressano Garcia.
Self-drive or guided safari?
Especially for safari newbies, it is advisable to use an experienced guide on their first visit to the Kruger National Park. So you can fully devote yourself to the beautiful landscape, admiring and photographing the many animals. In addition, you learn many interesting details about the varied flora and fauna.
All surrounding lodges and hotels, also outside the Kruger National Park, work together with safari providers and can usually organize half-day or full-day tours in open SUVs at very short notice. But self-drivers also usually get their money’s worth in Kruger Park.
There are some important basic rules to be observed here, in particular speed limits and the correct behavior in direct contact with large game. A four-wheel drive vehicle is not necessary, but a rental car with an elevated seating position (e.g. SUV) is definitely recommended.
The probability of particularly spectacular animal sightings is increased above all in one of the private concessions or private reserves. Here, the guides are also allowed to drive off the official paths, and animal sighting is not shared with a large number of other vehicles.
Kruger National Park weather in March, April and May
Average daily temperatures between 29 ° C and 32 ° C can be expected over the next three months. In Skukuza it gets warmest in March, but May is a bit cooler.
The expected rainfall is around 7 days in March, around 5 days in April and around 3 days in May.
In the period from March to May, the sun shines an average of 7 to 8 hours a day. The sunniest weather is in March in Skukuza, with a little less sun you will have to get by in April.