There is plenty to see at any time of year in Kruger, but the character of the park certainly changes with the seasons, and so too does the wildlife experience. If you're flexible, then try to avoid South African school holidays in December, April and July, especially Christmas and Easter, when the park can feel very crowded and accommodation is hard to get. Bank holiday weekends can also be very busy, especially in the more accessible south of Kruger.
Wildlife viewing in the summer months of November to March can be challenging. It's hot and humid, often over 40C, and heavy rainstorms are not uncommon. Vegetation grows lush and thick, making it harder to see animals. Wildlife tends to be most active in the relative cool of early morning and late afternoon, so you need an early start, and with camp gates opening at 0430 in November, December and January, this can make for tiring days. The risk of malaria is also highest at this time. Yet for all these privations, this is our favourite time to visit. Many animals have their young now, there's lots of interesting behaviour to observe, and the lush green vegetation is very attractive. Dust levels are low, making for crisp, clear air, great for photography. Outside of the school holidays the park can feel empty of other tourists. And it's definitely the best time for twitchers, with many summer visitors swelling Kruger's bird list.
High temperatures and significant rainfall can persist right through the autumn months of March, April and May, but generally weather conditions are a little less draining. Many antelope species are rutting during this period, which makes for interesting viewing as males clash over breeding rights.
May to August is winter, a time of pleasantly warm days and sometimes chilly nights. As the park dries out vegetation thins, making for improved visibility of game. Animals begin to congregate around waterholes and near permanent rivers, making it easy to find plentiful sightings without having to drive long distances.
Spring, August to October, is many people's favourite season in Kruger. It's the driest time of years, so permanent water sources attract large numbers of animals, and the vegetation has died back. Days are pleasantly warm and dry, and the risk of malaria is minimal. Towards the end of Spring migrant birds start to arrive from East Africa, particularly in the north of Kruger. This is a popular time with overseas visitors. By the end of the dry season, before the first rains, the park can be very dusty and grey, and to our mind is not as attractive as at the height of the wet.