THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK IS THE LARGEST GAME RESERVE IN SOUTH AFRICA
The world-renowned Kruger National Park safaris offers a wildlife experience second to none (all inclusive safari holidays). At nearly 2 million hectares, the Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa, stretching 350km along the Mozambican border and is, on average, 60km wide. The Kruger National Park is unrivalled in its diversity of species and is a recognised leader in environmental management techniques and policies.
The Kruger National Park is home to an impressive number of species, has an amazing 16 different ecosystems, and ranks as a prime South Africa Big 5 safari viewing area. The Limpopo is the park’s northern-most river and the Crocodile forms it southern boundary, while the Sabie, Letaba, Olifants and Luvuvhu rivers provide the park’s interior with water. There are some seasonal rivers like the Shisa and Timbavati, which are usually dry during winter.
The Kruger National Park tends to be mostly grasslands, known in South Africa as bushveld, and woodlands (savannah), with occasional rocky outcrops. The Kruger National Park falls within a malaria area and all necessary precautions should be taken. Consult your general practitioner on medication before planning a visit. Access to the Kruger National Park safaris is easy by road or air. The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport at Nelspruit has daily flights from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. The airstrip at Skukuza is only a 20-minute drive from Skukuza Restcamp. Direct flights from Johannesburg to Skukuza land three times a day, with tourists joining thier Kruger Park safaris and open vehicle day drives in the Kruger National Park.
KRUGER PARK HISTORY
In 1869, a ‘gold rush’ exploded in the region causing the number of game in the Kruger National Park to decrease dramatically due to hunting and trading of animal horns and skins.
In 1884, President Paul Kruger proposed that boundaries in the region be defined as game reserves to protect the flora and fauna, but his revolutionary vision was met with much resistance.
The park was first proclaimed in 1898 as the Sabie Game Reserve and the area between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers was set aside as official reserves.
The Scottish-born James Stevenson-Hamilton was appointed the park’s first warden in 1902. Many accounts of the park’s early days can be found in the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library.
In 1926 the National Parks Act was proclaimed and with it the merging of the Sabie and Shingwedzi Games Reserves into the Kruger National Park.
KRUGER PARK NATURAL HISTORY
More than 300 archaeological sites of Stone Age man have been found in the Kruger National Park.
Cultural artifacts of Stone Age man have been found for the period 100,000 to 30,000 years ago.
There is ample evidence that prehistoric man – Homo erectus – roamed the Kruger National Park area between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago
Evidence of San (Bushman) and Iron Age people from about 1,500 years ago and numerous examples of San Art scattered throughout the Kruger National Park.
There are significant archaeological ruins at Thulamela and Masorini.
KRUGER PARK MAMMALS
The Kruger National Park safaris boasts the world’s greatest concentration and diversity of species. Nhongo Safaris® (all inclusive safari holidays) allows guests the opportunity to encounter all the classical African big game including Africa’s Big 5: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and black and white rhino. In addition there are also hippopotamus, giraffe, zebra, cheetah, warthog and many antelope species. The number of different animals in the Kruger National Park varies from year to year depending on climatic conditions.
KRUGER PARK BIRDS
The Kruger National Park has a list of more than 500 birds, some of which are not found anywhere else in an African big five safari. Rhino walking safaris offers tailor-made packages including a special birding safari. Birders can look forward to pursuing the Big 6: ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, pel’s fishing owl and the saddle-bill stork. In addition, hornbills, starlings, vultures, rollers, bee-eaters and shrikes make the Kruger National Park a prime birdwatching area. Raptor viewing is extremely rewarding with bateleur, martial, black-breasted snake, brown snake, african hawk, african fish and tawny eagles seen regularly. In summer birders can spot the wahlberg, steppe and lesser spotted.
KRUGER PARK VEGETATION
The Kruger National Park boasts 16 macro ecozones and, due to its vastness, it naturally has a tremendous botanic diversity. The northern half of the park, north of the Olifants River is predominantly mopane veld, while south of the Olifants, the ecozones are thornveld.
South of the Sabie river, located slightly north of Skukuza in the Kruger National Park, consists of mixed bushwillow and acacia veld with numerous riverbeds running through it. An interesting feature of this area is the sodic open plains. These open areas with short grass attract high concentrations of wildlife. They are caused by sodium leaching out of the soil and accumulating in these areas.
Enthusiastic ecotourists can identify a variety of plant species in the Kruger National Park. Varying climatic conditions impact on the type of vegetation within an ecosystem and this, in turn, affects the distribution and population densities of various animals. The Kruger National Park has over 1,986 plant species, of which 336 are trees, including the Kruger National Park safaris Big 5: baobab, fever tree, knobthorn, marula, and mopane.