Africa’s Kruger National Park is one of the most popular safari destinations in the world – a nature lover’s dream that boasts an impressive variety of animals and habitats.
Choosing the right affordable luxury bush camp in Kruger National Park is an important part of planning your trip because each area of the park is home to different animal species. Also, you have to choose what’s right for you, whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or traveling with family.
To see the wildlife we encountered in Kruger National Park, watch our South Africa Promo video.
Kruger National Park covers an area of about 2 million hectares and is rich not only in fauna and flora, but also a variety of accommodation types designed to suit every budget. If you’ve been dreaming of traveling to Africa and don’t want to sacrifice comfort in the bush, here are 5 affordable luxury bush camps in Kruger that I’ve personally experienced. One or more will certainly meet your requirements:
The Umkumbe Safari Lodge is situated in the wildlife reserve of Sabi Sands Game Reserve on the banks of the seasonal Sand River. It is a great destination for those who want to see the fascinating Big Five, as well as other hundreds of animal species. The lodge can accommodate up to 14 guests in 7 chalets/rooms. Four of the chalets are connected via an inter-leading door, being the ideal setting for families or a group of friends.
Six chalets come with en-suite bathrooms equipped with showers, while one chalet has a bath fitted with both a shower and a bathtub. Many of the chalets have a small veranda from where guests can admire the views of the Sand River. The main lodge area has a lounge area, a pool, an open air dining area and a bar.
Guests will be invited to take part in a variety of activities, each day beginning with an early morning safari game drive and ending with another game drive. The lodge offers also the possibility to enjoy night game drives and bush walks. WATCH VIDEO
How to get here: self drive from Johannesburg (about 6 hours) or by plane from Johannesburg to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit (about 1 hour) and by car to Umkumbe (about 2 hours) OR you could save driving time by flying into Skukuza Airport and reach the Umkumbe Safari Lodge in less than an hour by car.
The five chalets at Africa On Foot are set in the beautiful setting of Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, an area situated in the heart of the Kruger National Park. The location provides Big Five safaris and walking safaris, offering guests the chance to admire hippos, giraffes, zebras and a variety of birds. Africa On Foot also has night game drives and invites their guests to enjoy a variety of other fun outdoor activities.
Beside the five luxurious chalets, Africa On Foot offers visitors the possibility to stay in a tree house and sleep under the stars! Two chalets are designed for families, equipped with a double bed, twin beds and en-suite bathroom. The other three chalets have either a double bed or twin beds, an en-suite bathroom, and some have an outside shower.
The public area of the lodge has a comfortable lounge area, a library, a dining area and an outside boma area with a camp fire. Guests have also access to a swimming pool and deck chairs.
How to get here: by car from Johannesburg (about 6 hours); by plane from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Hoedspruit Airport or Nelspruit Airport and from there by car (30 minutes from Hoedspruit and 3 hours from Nelspruit) WATCH VIDEO
The Nthambo Tree Camp is one of my favorite affordable luxury bush camps in Kruger. It is managed by the Africa On Foot team so you can expect the same excellent services, wonderful activities and luxurious accommodation as the ones mentioned above.
The Nthambo Tree Camp is situated in the same Klaserie Private Nature Reserve and offers guests the chance to take part in day and night game drives, Big Five drive safaris and bush walks. Besides the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo, you will get to spot hippos, zebras, giraffes and other fascinating creatures, and also a variety of birds.
Nthambo Tree Camp invites guests to relax in one of the five chalets designed beautifully to accommodate two people. The common lodge area has an outdoor lounge and a dining area from where you can admire the plains, the small waterhole in front of camp and the silhouettes of the Drakensberg mountain range. The traditional boma is also present to complete the beautiful scenery.
This eco-friendly camp has five tree house solar-powered chalets, each of them accommodating up to two guests. The chalets are raised on wooden stilts, the walls are made from canvas tents and the roof is thatched. Each chalet comes with an en-suite bathroom and its own verandah that offers views of the plains and the mountains.
How to get here: by car from Johannesburg (about 6 hours); by plane from Johannesburg and Cape Town to Hoedspruit Airport or Nelspruit Airport and from there by car (30 minutes from Hoedspruit and 3 hours from Nelspruit).
Also located in Klaserie Game Reserve is nDzuti Safari Camp. Since the camp has no borders, animals are free to wander in and out of the property at their leisure, which means that there could be elephants, wildebeest, or zebra right outside your door!
nDzuti is the luxury bush camp in Kruger for those who prefer a boutique hotel atmosphere over a crowded resort. In fact, the camp only has four guestrooms complete with air conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. The house has a central common living space with a kitchen, as well as a swimming pool and patio area.
Meals are served outside on the patio by the fire pit, or in the dining room of the house. This intimate safari experience is an ideal retreat for honeymooners or for a big group to have the entire home for themselves, which comes out to approximately $1,155.72 per night with meals and two safaris (day and night) included. WATCH VIDEO
How to get here: There is a daily shuttle from OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg that leaves early in the morning and arrives at the Bush Pub near Enkulu Gate. The shuttle costs ZAR 650 per person one way and the hotel can collect you from there at ZAR 200 per person each way. The company running the shuttle is Ashton’s Tours. Please note this is a shuttle service and not a sightseeing tour. The shuttle takes about 6 -7 hours so when arranging flights, work on getting to OR Tambo at 5:30 PM.
The Nokana Safari Camp is located in the Blyde-Olifants Conservancy in Limpopo, situated just west of the Kruger National Park. It is a four-star eco-friendly safari camp that has six luxury canvas-tented units and two thatched chalets. Every guestroom features an en-suite bathroom and views of the surrounding bush landscape.
Like many camps, Nokana does not have fences, which means animals can roam freely through the area. It is common to see warthog, zebra, and antelope rummaging through the vegetation around camp throughout the day.
With a maximum occupancy of 20 people, Nokana is able to pamper guests with air-conditioning, toiletries, extra towels and blankets, free Wi-Fi in the main area, and a beautiful swimming pool to enjoy in between safaris.
The safaris at Nokana aren’t the norm. Instead, guests are taken on a new route each time they head out, whether is a full day in Kruger or a boat safari along the Olifants River. WATCH VIDEO
How to get here: The journey from Johannesburg can take around 6 hours, or up to 8 hours if guests take the scenic Panorama Route. Flying to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and taking a road transfer or self-drive through the beautiful Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces is also an option. To get to Nokana Safari Camp, guests can fly to Hoedspruit airport (Eastgate airport) and then take a road transfer to the lodge. The drive is on good, tar roads and takes about 30-40 minutes. Self driving guests can easily access the lodge in regular rental cars, but all game viewing and traversing in other reserves will be conducted from official Nokana game viewers.
Driving directions from Hoedspruit are as follows: take the R40 road towards Phalaborwa, then turn left onto the R530 towards Orighstad/Lydenburg. Continue along this very pleasant road and admire the landscape until you arrive at the Nokana Safari Lodge gate entrance on the left (about 15 minutes’ from the turn).
It is possible to find an affordable luxury bush camp in Kruger that gives you the excitement and serenity that you can only find in the African bush. These 5 just happened to be places I stayed and can personally recommend.