What to Pack for Kruger National Park

Situated in the northeast corner of South Africa close to the Mozambique border, Kruger National Park is the country's largest national park and a spectacle to behold.

Home to hundreds of animal species in addition to the "Big Five" (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalo), Kruger attracts more than a million visitors each year.  

If you're planning a trip, here are a few things you want to be sure to pack:

Good Binoculars

Don't cheap out on this one.  When a lion pride is pulling apart a wildebeest, you want to see this stuff up close.  Binoculars are sold at the parks but for an insane amount, so buy a high quality pair at home and pack those babies.  If you're bad at sharing with your travel partner, maybe pack two pair.

Go Girl

Ladies, there is nowhere to pee in Kruger, and I mean nowhere.  Yes, there are infrequent lookout spots with menacing signs about watching for lions, but those signs also warn you against making this pristine and precious national park your toilet.  I suggest you think about alternative pee methods if you can't hold it more than several hours at a time, the amount of time you'll need to drive (slowly) from one rest camp to the next.  If you're not familiar with this handy lady contraption, check out my post of must-have travel items for women.

Fire Starters and Charcoal

Grilled meats... yum.

Grilled meats... yum.

While every rest camp has a restaurant, the food isn't great in the park.  The bungalows, however, all have little grills or braais you can use, and I highly suggest this option.  You can also buy BBQ stuff in the park shops, but imagine everything inside like Disney World.  There's a major mark up.  Buy some basic grilling items before you head in, and you won't regret it.

Malaria Meds

Due to its location and lack of elevation, Kruger is a malaria risk zone.  We brought and took meds for the duration of our stay in the area and the 7 days following.

Guide to Animals of Africa

Like this majestic horned creature.  WHAT IS THIS?

Like this majestic horned creature.  WHAT IS THIS?

For two days, we called every antelope-looking thing an "Eland."  Yes, elands are a thing, but there are so many different species that we didn't know and couldn't identify because we stupidly didn't think to buy a basic guide with photographs or to preload something to our phones (as there is very little wifi access in the park).


Sitting at a watering hole waiting for an elephant to cruise by can get a little boring.  I suggest snacks to keep you fueled and occupied.  We went with cheese.

What'd I miss, guys?  What do you like to pack for animal watching expeditions?