A big tusker making its way across a road in the Kruger National Park. Picture courtesy of Tafelberg

A big tusker making its way across a road in the Kruger National Park. Picture courtesy of Tafelberg

Kruger National Park is as big as many small countries. It can be daunting to plan a visit if you are not familiar with the park, its rest camps and its roads. Binoculars, gravel road & map: Your Kruger National Park Guide with stories by Frans Rautenbach is aimed at people who are not regulars and who do not know what to expect. It even tells you what clothes and food to pack! By Romi Boom

Where do you start if you are thinking about a visit to Kruger? Your main aim will be to see animals. The guide provides detailed scores for each of the rest camps in terms of atmosphere, natural beauty and game viewing. Once you have identified the camps where you would like to stay, you can swot up on the routes that are suggested for each day, including the hides and picnic spots en route. This way you should have a pretty good idea of where you will be driving.

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A very useful section in the book is called The Big Five Routes – these are the five routes where you have the best chance of seeing the Big Five. The Sabie River road comes out top of the pops, and the author provides alternative turnoffs and loops for your day’s drive. He also discusses his own personal favourite, based on five decades of Kruger visits: the Sweni-N’wanetsi road which starts and ends in Satara. “The S100,” he writes, “is one of the most beautiful roads in the game reserve, and one of the places where you see game virtually continuously.” So guess where I’m heading on my next visit to Kruger?

There’s a chapter on how to sight game, with plenty of tips. Another chapter covers various fun activities. There’s even a section on the roads you can travel to reach Kruger. Woven into the informative parts are anecdotes about the author’s own experiences. Kruger has enriched his life immeasurably, and his enthusiasm is infectious.

There are multiple suggested itineraries for three nights, five nights, seven nights and 10 night stays. Now all you need to do is decide how many days you have available. Good luck with your reservation!

Binoculars, gravel road & map: Your Kruger National Park Guide with stories is also available in Afrikaans, Verkyker, grondpad & kaart: Jou Krugerwildtuin Gids met stories. Frans Rautenbach. 2015. Tafelberg. R250.