Your journey through South Africa is not complete without staying in a lodge in Kruger National Park. You’ll stay in a private reserve, and the lodges often offer incredible views of the park. From your room or the pool, you can gaze out over the savannah or a river, and with a bit of luck, an elephant may come to drink from the pool. That sounds like the ultimate South Africa experience, doesn’t it? Most lodges are very luxurious, and the prices can be alarmingly high, ranging from several thousand euros per night. Fortunately, there are also some beautiful lodges in Kruger National Park that are still reasonably affordable. We have researched and selected the lodges that offer the most beautiful experiences and value for your money.
A Lodge in Kruger National Park?
Kruger National Park consists of two parts: Kruger Park and the Greater Kruger. The Greater Kruger refers to all the private reserves within Kruger National Park. The animals can freely roam between Kruger Park and the Greater Kruger. In Kruger Park (the government-managed part), you’ll find mainly basic camps run by the government, while the lodges are located in the Greater Kruger. In a lodge, it’s important to feel like you’re sleeping in the heart of the bush, as nobody wants a view of another lodge, right? We’ve taken this into account when compiling these tips.
Location, location, location. This lodge is the most affordable on this list and is situated on the Olifants River, where crocodiles swim, elephants come to drink, and hippos take their evening walks. It’s an incredibly beautiful place with comfortable budget rooms and affordable villas. From the balcony, you’ll overlook the river, immersing yourself in the true African experience. It’s good to know that the entrance to Kruger Park is a 45-minute drive away.
Nearest Kruger Park entrance: Phalaborwa Gate & Orpen GateStarting from €80 per night
Rukiya Safari Camp
Rukiya Safari Camp is a fantastic lodge to stay at in Kruger National Park. You can choose between a luxurious safari tent with a view of the river or the bush. Both options are truly fantastic! There’s a wonderful pool for cooling off after a morning safari, and even from the pool, you can enjoy a beautiful view. In short, Rukiya Safari Camp is the perfect lodge to treat yourself (or surprise someone else) with affordable luxury.
Nearest Kruger Park entrance: Phalaborwa Gate & Orpen GateStarting from $260 per night
Lion Tree Top Lodge
This lodge has a very special story. The owner, West, was a ranger for many years and has always been passionate about animals. When he learned that a breeder had two white lion cubs and planned to raise them for later hunting at a high price, he bought and raised the cubs. By doing so, he saved their lives. However, because they were raised by humans from the age of 5 days, they cannot be released into the wild. In the following years, West developed a unique friendship with these lions, which had grown to weigh 200 kilograms. He would take them for walks twice a day on a large piece of land he had purchased. Unfortunately, during one of these morning walks in 2020, West was killed by one of the lions. It was a tragic ending to a remarkable friendship. West’s family aims to continue what he started, and you can still stay at this small-scale lodge with beautiful treehouse accommodations. In the evening, you can enjoy a delicious meal by the fire, and in the morning, you can spot animals from the comfort of your treehouse bathtub. We found this to be an unforgettable experience, and West taught us a lot about South Africa and the challenges its wildlife faces. Hopefully, his wife will now share these stories and provide that unique experience. We would love to hear about your recent stay here! If you want to fully enjoy the amazing experiences they offer, it is recommended to stay at least 2 nights.
Note: The lions have been relocated to a sanctuary elsewhere in South Africa following the accident and are no longer present at Lion Tree Top Lodge.
Nearest Kruger Park entrance: Phabeni Gate & Orpen GateStarting from $215 per night
Pezulu Tree House Lodge
Have you always wanted to sleep in a treehouse? Then Pezulu Tree House Lodge is perfect for you! At this lodge, you’ll sleep feet above the ground in a villa perched on stilts among the treetops. From your treehouse, you’ll have a view over the surrounding nature, and you can even hear the animals grazing below you while lying in bed. With this lodge, you’ll have a unique experience that you won’t quickly forget.
Nearest Kruger Park entrance: Phabeni Gate & Orpen GateStarting from $225 per night
Parsons Hilltop Safari Camp
This small-scale lodge offers the ultimate luxury experience. You can choose between a classic tent or a luxury tent, both of which provide privacy and amazing views of the surrounding nature. You can spot wild animals right from your veranda! The owners and staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. Parsons Hilltop Safari Camp is situated in the Greater Kruger and is openly connected to Kruger National Park. There are no fences around the camp, which makes the experience really authenthic. The Big Five will be on your doorstep!
Nearest Kruger Park entrance: Phalaborwa Gate & Orpen Gate
Starting from $370 per night (Includes breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Don’t hesitate too long!
While there are numerous lodges in Kruger National Park, only a few are truly good and reasonably priced. These lodges are often small-scale, so it’s essential to book in advance if you want to stay in a good and affordable lodge in the heart of nature. If possible, plan your trip to South Africa at least 6 months in advance and prioritize your visit to Kruger National Park. This way, after booking your flights, you can be sure of a remarkable overnight experience in Kruger National Park.