One of the world’s top safari destinations, the Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s best places for viewing the famous Big Five – lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, elephant and rhino
In South Africa’s northeast, this wildlife sanctuary is the largest game reserve in the country and supports a high density of wild animals. Nearly 2 million hectares of land – stretching for 352 kilometres from north to south along the Mozambique border – is given over to an almost indescribable wilderness experience.
Certainly it ranks with the best in Africa and is the flagship of the country’s national parks. It now forms part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park – a 35 000km2 ‘peace park’ that links Kruger with game parks in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Fences are already coming down to allow game to freely roam historic migratory routes in much the way it would have in the time before human intervention.
This is the land of baobabs, fever trees, knob thorns, marula and mopane trees underneath which lurk the Big Five, the Little Five (buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle), the birding Big Six (ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, Pel’s fishing owl and saddle-bill stork) and 147 species of mammals, from giraffes to hyena and kudu to hippopotamus.
The best game viewing, especially for those with limited time, is experienced in the private game reserves located on Kruger’s southwestern border, such as the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The main reason for such rich game viewing is the free movement of animals between these private reserves and the Kruger Park – over 100 kilometres of fencing have been removed, ridding the area of artifical borders.
In these private reserves vehicles are permitted to leave the roads (unlike in Kruger Park itself) and the animals on the whole have become more relaxed around game viewing vehicles. The Kruger National Park itself is great for a self-drive game-viewing experience.
Kruger National Park