Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa. It covers nearly 2 million hectares of protected areas. The Kruger National Park is the flagship of the country’s national parks and is known for its ultimate safari experience. To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere an area designated by the UNESCO as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve.
The Kruger National Park is not only known for its natural beauty, it is also known for its diverse and flourishing wildlife. It is home to a number of species including 147 mammals, 114 reptiles, 507 Bird Species and 34 Amphibians. Africa’s Big 5, lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos are frequently sighted. The African wild dogs, antelope, Springhare, Spotted Hyena, civets, zebra, baboons, and monkeys can also be found in Kruger.
Out of the 507 species of birds found at Kruger, 253 are residents, 117 non-breeding migrants, and 147 nomads. Some of the vast and diverse population of interesting birds are African Fish Eagle, Pennant-winged Nightjar, Croaking Cisticola, Pel’s Fishing-Owl, Fan-tailed Flycatcher (Grey Tit-flycatcher), Woodward’s Batis, Orange-winged (Golden-backed) Pytilia, Acacia Pied Barbet, Trumpeter Hornbills, Red-winged Starlings, Rufous-bellied Heron, White-backed night heron, White-fronted Plover, and White-crowned Lapwing (Plover).
Some of the reptiles found in Kruger are Nile Crocodile, Snakes, Leopard tortoise, Cape terrapin, giant plated lizard, Transvaal flat gecko, Turner’s thick toed gecko, Flap-necked chameleon, Eastern tiger snake, short footed burrowing skink, Barberton girdled lizard, Rock leguaan, Common African python, Cape wolf snake, common puffadder and black mamba.
Flora and Fauna
There are 336 Tree Species in the park. Plants life in the Kruger National Park consists of four main areas: Thorn trees and red bush-willow veld, Knob-thorn and marula veld, Red bush-willow and mopane veld and Shrub mopane veld. The thorn trees and red bush-willow veld lies between the western boundary and roughly the center of the park south of the Olifants River with a great number of red bush-willow, Acacia, and Marula trees. The Knob-thorn and marula veld provides the most important grazing-land in the south of the Olifants River. The Red bush-willow and mopane veld lie in the north of the Olifants River. The Shrub mopane covers almost the entire north-eastern part of the park.
Things to do in Kruger National park
For those who want to experience wildlife encounters, the private game lodges offer game drives. A game drive is a highlight to any day as guests venture out on the back of an off-road vehicle to the bush in hot pursuit of an up-close encounter with the animals. Game drives are conducted by experienced rangers who will impart to you their knowledge about the animals and the wild. Games drives can be morning drives, sunset drives, night drives and usually include a coffee break, breakfast or sundowners in the bush as part of the game drive experience.
Guests can also explore the Kruger National Park on foot. Guided bush walks are designed to enable the guests to take a much closer look at the ecosystem. It allows guests to see smaller details which cannot be seen during game drives. During bush walks, guests get to experience the excitement of tracking a rhino or elephant or lion on foot through the heat of the bush. Bush walks can last up to four hours and mostly conducted by the camps during morning or afternoon.
If game drives and bush walks are not enough, guests can go on adventures in Kruger’s wilderness trails. Some of the most incredible wilderness trails in Kruger National Park are Metsi-Metsi, Napi Wilderness Trail, Bushmans Wilderness Trail, Sweni Wilderness, Nyalaland, and Wolhuter. Guests will experience the wildness, remoteness, tranquility, and peace in the wilderness trails. The wilderness is perfect for small groups. It requires a certain level of fitness and stamina to survive days in the trails. Staying in a rustic, primitive camp and experiencing the African bush on foot for a few days is definitely an authentic wilderness experience.