Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park Â– South AfricaÂ’s most famous Wildlife Reserve
Undoubtedly, the Kruger National Park and its abundant wildlife are a highlight attracting scores of international visitors to South Africa. The number of visitors who flock to this breathtakingly beautiful park is accordingly high: more than half a million visitors are recorded annually.
The National Park was founded as early as 1898 thanks to the foresight of the early president Paul Kruger. A former hunting ground, the area’s wildlife population had been greatly decimated before the region was proclaimed a national sanctuary expanding from the Sabi to the Crocodile River.
Thus, the survival of the ecosystem’s diverse wildlife was ensured and it has flourished in the past 100 years. In 1961, the enlarged park’s expanse was fenced-off to support the ongoing conservation efforts.
Nowadays, the Kruger National Park spans the expanse between the Crocodile River in the the South to the Limpopo Border River in the North. 350 kilometres long and 65 kilometres wide, it comprises an area of more than 20 000 square kilometres – approximately the size of Wales. 1 863 kilometres of roads navigate the rough terrain, 697 of which are paved.
Wildlife observation is best enjoyed in the dry winter (June to September), when the grass is low and the trees carry few leaves allowing for a clear and far view. The low precipitation draws the wildlife to the remaining waterholes for a drink in the morning and at night, where they can be observed perfectly from the open 4x4s.
Most lodges offer a range of exciting game drives, most commonly in open Landrovers and guided by experienced rangers enthusiastic to share their intimate knowledge of the highly diverse ecosystem.
A number of private game reserves are directly connected to the Kruger National Park and offer first-class safaris. Among these are the Sabi Sands Reserve (north-west of the Kruger Park), the Kapama and the Thornybush Game Reserve (south-west of the Kruger Park) to name just a few.
In these private sanctuaries no paved roads clash with the sensation of extreme remoteness. The game drives are entirely cross-country. Granting insight into yet another facet of the savannah’s wildlife population, the night safaris are a highlight not to be missed, introducing the visitor to the sights, sounds and smells of a night in the bush.
Guided safari hikes into the Kruger Park are a way of shifting small details into focus and experiencing the pristine nature at a much slower pace. Only the most experienced rangers accompany these excursions to keep you far from harm at all times.
At night, settle down to a traditional African boma: Dine under the star-filled, wide African sky around a crackling campfire, listening to the sounds of the wilderness – a wildly romantic and unforgettable experience!