The Kruger national park is situated in the Republic of South Africa; and it’s one of Africa’s most breathtaking wildlife sanctuaries. The reputation of the Kruger national park is so compelling and far-stretching; rendering it one of the world’s most cherished and highly visited wildlife sanctuaries. Established in 1898, this long-standing spectacular wildlife kingdom is the oldest of its type in Africa; and provides a powerful and unmatched safari experience. The Kruger national park is also the second oldest national park in the world.
The Kruger national park is situated north of Johannesburg, with the core park covering a surface area of about two million hectares, while the greater Kruger national park is approximately twice that surface area, including the unfenced private game reserves, such as the Sabi camps. This breathtaking wildlife sanctuary is situated on the territories of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, both provinces in the North-East of South Africa. From north to south, the park covers 360 kilometres, and 65 kilometres from East to West.
To the west and south of this wildlife sanctuary are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga; to the north is Zimbabwe and to the east lies Mozambique.
The North-East corner of the park is a convergent point for the nations of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Republic of South Africa. The Kruger national park is part of the Limpopo transfrontier park, which is a peace park that connects the Kruger national park with the Limpopo national park in Mozambique and the Gonarhezou national park in Zimbabwe.
The Kruger national Park is part of a Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area that the United Nationals Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), has designated an International man and biosphere reserve (the Biosphere).
In the North of the park is the Limpopo River, while in the south is the Crocodile River; both waterways serving as the park’s natural boundaries.
For the sake of convenience, the Kruger national park has been divided into three sections; comprising the following: “the circus”, (the southern section, from the Crocodile River to around Satara rest camp); "the zoo" (central section to Shingwedzi) and "the wilderness" (Shingwedzi to Punda Maria in the north).
The Kruger national park exhibits variation in attitude between 200m in the east and 840 m in the South-West. The hill called Khandzalive is the highest point in the park. From the west to the east, numerous rivers run across the park, amongst which are the Sabie, Olifants, Crocodile, Letabal, Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers.
The means by which visitors can get to the Kruger national is either by embarking on an approximately 5 hour drive from Johannesburg, or boarding a plane from Johannesburg that lands at the Kruger Mpumalanga airport. There, you can rent a car and drive into the park through one of its nine designated entrance points. If you have booked accommodation at one of the Kruger private lodges, then a transfer vehicle would pick you up from the airport.
The Kruger National Park has 21 rest camps, 2 private lodge concessions, and 15 designated private safari lodges. Camping in the park is quite popular amongst visitors, due to its low cost and freedom of access by anyone, without the need for special permission.
The Kruger national park has a Lowveld sub-tropical climatic type, with humid summers reaching a temperature of up to 38 °C. The rainy season normally covers September to May. The most appropriate time to visit the Kruger national park is during the dry winter season. During this time, vegetation becomes more sparse, rendering wildlife viewing much more easier; and also because, each morning and evening, animals converge at the waterholes to drink water. This convergence offers unassailable viewing opportunities for animals.
The vegetation in the Kruger national park comprises four principal plant types as follows: Thorn trees and Red bush-willow veld, Knob-thorn and Marula veld, Red bush-willow and Mopane veld and Shrub mopane veld.
The Kruger national park is incredibly wealthy in view of it population and diversity of wildlife as follows:
Wildlife include: African Buffalo, African wild dog, Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Burchell’s Zebra, Bushbuck, Cheetah, Common Eland, Giraffe, Greater Kudu, Hippopotamus, Lion, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Elephant, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Impala.
The big five: While in the Kruger national park, you would also be privileged to view the big fives animals, comprising the following: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.
Birds: There are 517 species of birds at the kruger national park, 253 of which are residents, 147 non-breeding migrants and 147 nomads. Due to the extensive natural territory of the Kruger national park, there are certain species of very big birds, which can only subsist in such a secured and well preserved ecological area.
Reptiles: There are about 114 reptiles in the Kruger national park, including black mamba and 3000 crocodiles.
Amphibians and Fish: Kruger national park has 33 species of amphibians and 55 species of fish.
Activities in the Kruger national park:
While visiting the Kruger national park, one can engage in any of a variety of activities including the following: Archeological site tours, Backpacking trail; Bush walks (guided, daily);Chill out in the rest camp, with cold drink and binoculars for excellent birding; Game drives (self-drive or guided);Golf (9-hole course at Skukuza, wild animals welcome);Mountain-bike rides, day or half-day out rides ;4x4 adventure routes; Multi-day 4x4 eco-trail; Night drive ;Waterhole-hide sleepouts;Wildlife movie shows at some of the larger camps during local school holidays; Wilderness walking trails (guided).
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