The Ultimate Kruger National Park Self-Catering Packing List – Tried & Tested!
Packing for Kruger National Park has become an art. After going the very first time with almost nothing useful, I have come up with a detailed list of things you will need if you are staying at the self-catering rest camps.
The reason it is important to pack properly is that you are literally in the bush so you can’t just pop to Spar to get that one thing you forgot. There is a store at each camp that is fully stocked so if you do forget something, there is a chance they will have it but at a premium.
We spent an actual fortune the last time we stayed at Kruger National Park because we needed to buy so much. This time, the only thing we bought from the camp shop was ice and fridge magnets.
All fresh items such as meats and veg were bought in Hoedspruit before entering the park. We spent two nights at Mala Mala Private Game Reserve (check out our previous trip there here) before our Kruger National Park trip so needed to head to the shops in Hoedspruit before entering the park. If you are travelling to the Kruger straight from home, you can purchase all your food before leaving just make sure it stays in a cool place during the trip.
These are all the things we packed for four days and three nights. I have arranged it into categories to make life easier. We packed for two people so be sure to scale these recommendations to your needs.
For the Car
As most of your time will be spent in the car, it is important to keep the car stocked with items to make the day smooth as can be. This list will cover all bases.
- Your printed booking – This is essential, to be safe we always keep a printed copy of our bookings in the car (at all times!)
- Kruger Map – If you don’t have one, you can buy one at the gate or book shops near the park.
- A Pen, to check off the animals you spot in your Kruger Map book.
- Bird and mammal books, we did more bird watching this time around and it came in handy to have reference books on hand.
- First Aid Kit (See detailed list below)
- Medical Aid information
- Toilet Paper (I keep one roll per person)
- Hand sanitizer
- A hat
- Powerbank (Fully Charged)
- Camera, Lenses, Batteries and Charger
- Cooler Bag with Ice-Bricks to keep food and drinks chilled.
- Packet to keep rubbish – Littering in the park is so bad, be sure not to be one of those people!
- A towel, if it’s raining, this comes in handy to clean off shoes after taking a break at a rest point.
- An Umbrella (Just in case)
- Snacks!!! We made a habit of eating lunch and dinner from our purchases and breakfast at various stops. Snacks such as nuts, pretzels, popcorn and biltong came in handy to tie us over until dinner time.
For the Kitchen
This one is a hard one because last time we stayed at Oliphants rest camp and we had no crockery but this time we stayed at Shingwedzi and they supplied us with basic cutlery and crockery. When booking the room, it specifically stated that no utensils would be provided so I packed for us.
- Fire Lighters
- Wood or Charcoal
- Tin Opener
- Paper Plates
- Bottle Opener
- Dish soap
- Drying cloth
- Warm flask (For coffee on the road)
- Travel mugs
- Knife, Fork, Spoon, Teaspoon (for two people, adjust by your numbers)
- Cutting Knife
- Tongs for Braai
- Citronella Candle
The food will come down to your personal taste. We had three nights so I planned for steak and salad, homemade chicken sosaties with braai pie and lamb chops and boerewors with braai sandwiches.
As mentioned above, snacks are also important for while you are on drives. I bought mixed nuts, chutney flavoured corn kernels, biltong, mini cheese wheels, pretzels and popcorn.
The most important part of a Kruger morning drive is that first cup of coffee (or for me, tea). For Darroch, I brought with us a mini french press and delicious Rwandan coffee his mom gave us. No Kruger coffee is ever good unless it has a delicious amount of condensed milk.
- Condense Milk
- Small Longlife Milk
- WATER (take 5l per person)
- Steak and Chop Spice
- Salt & Pepper
- Snacks of your choice
For the Rooms
The rooms offer the basic amenities, bedding and towels as well as a little Kruger soap but if you are fussy like me, you may want to take your own towels and pillows. I struggle if I don’t have my satin pillow (snob-much???). These are the things worth having to make your stay comfortable.
A padlock is helpful, at Shingwedzi the fridge is in your room but at camps like Satara and Oliphants, the fridge is behind a cage on the patio which you can lock to stop monkeys and sticky fingers from rummaging through.
- Charging Cables
- Mosquito Repellant Spray or Ointment
- Two-point plug
- Torch and Spare Batteries
- Padlock (for the fridge)
First Aid Kit
Hopefully, you won’t need one but it is always safer to have on hand. I kid you not, we almost needed one and an emergency room! After leaving Mala Mala, I opened my bag to get dressed and found a big scary scorpion living in my shoes. That could easily have escalated into a dangerous encounter but thankfully my spider-senses kicked in.
A basic first aid kit won’t help you in a case like that but it can always come in handy regardless. This is what we kept in ours:
- Rubber Gloves
- Any prescription medications.
- Medicine for stomach ache
- Antacid – Rennies or Gaviscon
- No-drowse Antihistamine
- Mild Pain killer like Panado
- Antihistamine cream – for bites and itching
- Deep Heat – For that pain in your neck from looking at animals all-day
- Germolene/ Antiseptic ointment
- Antiseptic liquid (Dettol or Savlon)
- Assorted Plasters
- Elastic adhesive plaster roll
- Adhesive Tape
- Safety Pins
- Emergency Burn Dressing
- Roll of Bandage
- Cotton wool or pads
- Hygiene wipes
- Cotton Buds
- Eye Drops
If you ever get the chance to visit Kruger National Park, this list will be everything you need! It was perfect for us and covered us for three nights and four days.
When you go, enjoy every moment and remember, that even if you don’t get to see your dream sightings, you have the opportunity to watch mother nature in her most beautiful and natural form. Take care of her!
PS: If I am missing anything from this list, let me know and I will add it so I can pack the items next time.
With My Love,