At Vicfalls.travel, we regularly get asked to make our recommendations as to which national parks a tourist should visit on a trip to Southern Africa. Thus we have decided to look at two of Southern Africa’s most popular game parks, Kruger National Park, based in Northern South Africa and Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest national park, in order to ascertain which is better for the average tourist. Here’s what we found.
Kruger National Park In recent years, Kruger has gotten a bit of a bad rap due to the excessive congestion on its roads, especially around fantastic animal sightings.
Hwange National Park In comparison, Hwange provides a feeling of isolation as you you sit there, taking in the wildlife. Its often just you, your guide and your camera.
Kruger National Park While both parks contain all members of the ‘Big 5’, Kruger does have a slight advantage over Hwange thanks to the myriad of other animals you may be offered the chance to see. Kruger lists their numbers at 507 bird species and 147 mammals species.
Hwange National Park – Hwange on the other hand boasts around 100 species of mammal and 400 species of birds. Some twitchers (avid bird watchers) claim better bird watching in Hwange, however there is no concrete proof of this.
Proximity to other attractions
Kruger National Park – Depending from which gate you depart, Kruger is in relative close proximity to some other well known attractions for tourists visiting Africa for the first time. These include the small landlocked country of Swaziland, known for its breath-taking scenery, and other national parks such as the Gonarezhou Transfrontier Park.
Hwange National Park – Two hours away from Hwange National Park lies one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls. Hwange is also in relative close distance to other fantastic game parks such as the Chobe National Park in Botswana and Lake Kariba.
Kruger National Park – Kruger can be reached by a number of smaller airports in the region. However, most travellers fly into Johannesberg’s OR Tambo airport, and can expect a +/- 3 ½ drive to the gates of Kruger.
Hwange National Park – The closet major airport to Hwange National Park is the Victoria Falls Airport, which is roughly roughly 2 ½ from the Hwange region.
In conclusion, we always suggest to our clients, especially those looking for an authentic safari experience, to chose Hwange National Park over Kruger if given the chance. This is because of its closeness to other major wildlife attractions, accessibility and lack of congested roads, especially during peak seasons and South African school holidays.