I was planning on more images, but I think that page 16 is full.
So I will write about something that I think does not get the right consideration or proper open discussion. KNP vs KTP for different people.
Before I begin, I refer specifically to KNP when it is not flooding and KTP when conditions are favourable to a visit (roads not in flood). Also, I drive a mid-range SUV (manual CRV 2.4 petrol) and stay in chalets.
There is much said, to what I read anyhow, that KTP is the ultimate and best place to go, no question. But it is not that simple. It is amazing, for sure! The bird life is of a specialised region making it good for those looking for some specials and the flurry of raptors, from the cute pygmy falcon to the absurd looking Boeing of a lappet-faced vulture, keep even the least avid birder impressed. That said, KNP has amazing variety, more bird in total (it would appear) and many are of the colourful persuasion. Thus, birdingwise, I call it a tie.
In terms of animals, I enjoy seeing zebra, elephant, possibly rhino, buffalo and a host of other mammals. However, for predators, especially lions and cheetah, well, there is no comparison, KTP all the way! So here it is a personal choice, and I feel that both win if alternated (although if lions are your focus, this conclusions is moot).
In terms of crowds, I found the 2 similar, although I go exclusively out of holiday seasons. There was a surprising amount of traffic in KTP, especially around Nossob. I attribute this to the amount of desirable road (based both on road available and areas of the road most liked, for example, Nossob to Bedinkt stretch - always packed with vehicles). In the mornings, at Nossob the queue would dissipate and at 50 km/h rush to either Kwang or CQ, which is fine, I guess, but not when I was expecting a tranquil desert. Where there were major sightings (especially two of my lion sightings and the leopards) there were major traffic issues. In Kruger, this is much the same for the southern regions, but north of Satara I did not remember this issue. I could take many a drive and not see anyone for at least half an hour... That said, I expect traffic in KNP.
The road conditions, in my limited KTP experience, were similar - some KNP roads are also really rough or badly corrugated. Although, and dont hate me, sometimes I like a tar road, less looking at the road when you are the only person in the car, and more time looking for things at which to point a camera.
In terms of accommodation choice, sorry, KNP all the way. Well, unless you fork out for the wilderness camps in KTP which offer something special. But choice of levels and prices of accommodation makes it easier to have fancier parts of a trip balance with simpler parts to balance a trip budget, or use a cheaper few nights to make money available for a night drive. I did like the accommodation I had in KTP though. I just think that having the option to have a chalet with no private bathroom but rather requiring the use of an ablution block at nearly half the price makes sense to me. Maybe not to others. But it is nice to have options. So see this more as yeay for KNP than boo for KTP.
In terms of shops, KNP. Done. (Please do not see this as a negative criticism on KTP, the location and circumstances, especially of Nossob, make the simpler shop necessary. But it is like comparing two people running the 100 metres and thinking something odd of Bolt beating the u/14 colours meet second place guy - KNP just has the ability to have better shops. KTP does their best and a good job under the circumstances).
In terms of location, KNP wins. Let me explain. Were you to need a doctor, dentist, hospital, Honda garage, you know, it is easier if you are in KNP, the southern region especially.
Now for 3 big deciders - general feel and family compatibility and photography.
For variety and the number of really good images, KNP. For winning shots of predators, KTP. Birds and green backgrounds, KNP; new bird species and Autumn backgrounds, KTP. Landscapes, duh, KTP all the way, especially when there are some clouds. Startrails or night photography, KTP. So, here it depends on what you want. For the less serious, I would rather recommend KNP as you get to practice more and use the camera more. For someone looking for a shot he does not yet have or wants a good clean foreground and soft background far behind the subject (which will most likely be a lion), KTP. So I call this a tie. I like both.
For family, well, KNP I think. KTP can be hot, which if you are from the Boland, does not matter. KTP can be cold, which if you are from the Karoo or Secunda, does not matter. KTP can be boring - smaller kids may not like this, but boy, the excitement of seeing so many lions up close and their first cheetah (my SO is still hoping to see her first cheetah), perhaps worth the long duller hours. So it depends on your family, their age and interests and personalities. I, personally, do not like the idea of kids under 6 around the scorpions and snakes and super giant murderous killer malevolent evil wasps of KTP. Although, there are also mambas and mosquitoes in KNP. I would prefer KNP for the dangerous critters though, personal choice. The ground squirrels in camp with many points for KTP while Letaba's bushbuck wins something back for KNP, but the squirrels are so amazingly cute I would give it to them rather. So, until my little one can handle understanding that getting near a scorpion means an emergency drive of much speed to Upington, I go KNP in the winter and remain indoors from like 1900.
General feel, hmmm, all will say something subjective. I love KNP, always have, it is the original family holiday place for me. It is where I nurtured a love for taking pictures. KNP is holiday for me. KNP is also closer than KTP for most of SA people. But the unmistakeable silence and serenity of KTP is, well, KTP - English has yet to discover a word for it. Driving along at 30 in both, window down, 2 hours after sunrise: KNP is filled with anticipation of what will happen next; KTP, who cares, I am in KTP, this quite open calm land that is KTP. So for me, 2 out of 3 visits will be KTP, if just about me. There is just something about the dry heat mixed with the dunes mixed with the quiet mixed with nothing, lots of nothing, mixed with anticipation - the anticipation in KTP is for something mindblowing to happen next, or perhaps something really seemingly insignificant to catch your attention for that day whereas KNP is anticipation of what I will see next.
So I guess that is it. KTP is feeling. KNP is seeing. You choose. I will stick with 2 of 3 in KTP.
The idea of this long summary (prefer this to thesis) is that there is nothing wrong with being a KNP person in a world that seems to tout KTP. KTP is great if the weather is less of an issue, driving extreme distances (both to get there and in the park) is no worry, lower volume but higher value sightings are sought, no medical or other emergency needs nearby are of concern and if you like open areas with calendar vistas every 5 minutes. KNP is great if you are looking for less stress (knowing that if you forget tomatoes you can get; a dentist is an hour away), greater choices for accommodation types and costs, starting a bird list or have kids that like seeing lots of animals, even if it is just to tally the number of impala sightings on a day (I, on 1 trip to KNP, diarised EVERY sighting, with time of day, what was seen and how many, for EVERY sighting - kids like these things; guess I did it as i couldnt drive anyhow being like 12).
So choose your preferred one, but try both, then decide on a third visit. But dont let others convince you that one is so better than the other that only one is worth your leave. Btw, for the sake of brevity, haha, I did not include in the discussion places like Addo ENP, the Karoo NP and MZNP which are all seriously worth visiting.
Have a pleasant weekend and start checking availability at a new park for your next holiday.
_________________Moments by Mullineux PhotographyPhotographer, nature lover, birderFollow my solo KTP photographic and birding TRAVEL TALEPhotograph all moments of beauty not to forget, but treasure them in your heart to remember