Situated roughly 260 miles northeast of Johannesburg, the nearly 5 million-acre Kruger National Park offers some of the best access to wild animals in Africa. The Big Five – buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions and rhinos – all reside here, as well as Nile crocodiles, hippos and rare birds like southern ground-hornbills and lappet-faced vultures. But this sprawling wildlife sanctuary is home to more than just animals. Giant baobab, fever and marula trees tower above the park's savanna, thornveld and woodland landscape. What's more, Kruger's Marula and Nxanatseni regions house the Albasini and Masorini ruins, where Portuguese colonists and members of the indigenous Ba-Phalaborwa ethnic group once traded metal products, beads, clothes and more.
A trip to Kruger will undoubtedly bring you as close to nature as possible. To make the most of your time, consider going on a game drive or a bush walk. Many stop near prime animal-viewing areas like Hippo Pool, the Kruger Tablets and the Red Rocks, where lions, hippos and birds regularly linger. Or, take a few days to camp and explore popular trails like Wolhuter and Olifants.