Kruger National Park
Located in the Limpopo province of South Africa, Kruger National park, is well known as one of Africa’s premiere wildlife viewing locations. It was first established as protected land in 1898, and officially became South Africa’s first national park in 1926. The park, which covers 19,485 square kilometres of land, is home to over 147 mammals, more than any other park in Africa, and over 517 species of birds. With so many mammals calling Kruger home, it is guaranteed to be a spectacular wildlife viewing location. Kruger is home to approximately 1500 lions, 17,000 elephants, 48,000 buffalo, and 1000 leopards, as well as black and white rhinos, making your chances of checking the Big Five off your list a very real possibility!! The park is also home to multiple packs of the endangered African wild dog, or painted dog, with only around 400 in all of South Africa, finding these beautiful dogs would be an amazing treat!!
When planning a trip to Kruger National Park there are countless options for you to choose from. The park offers everything from guided day trips, multi day safaris, family safaris, romantic getaway safaris, and is one of the few parks to offer self drive safaris, for those wishing to drive through the park on their own. Our recommendation is to skip the self drive option, unless you are very experienced with African parks and wildlife. Kruger is notorious for having wildlife conflict issues arise as a result of people choosing the self drive option. Many animals can become increasingly confrontational with tourists and vehicles when put in uncomfortable situations. Unfortunately, this is often due to the inexperience of self-guided tourists who often do not recognize when an animal is giving warning signs that they are uneasy with the behaviour or proximity of approaching tourists. Please remember, if you do a self drive tour, for your safety and the safety of the wildlife remain in your vehicle at a safe distance. We suggest choosing a knowledgeable guide, who knows the area and can read animal behaviour. These guides are there everyday, and tend to know where certain animals have a habit of congregating. They also try to keep in contact with one another, and can inform each other of any superb wildlife sightings. So if you are looking to see as many animals as possible, learn about them, and stay safe, then chose to go with a guide. When researching what guide services to use, always chose one who respects the wildlife and the park, and doesn’t push any limits with animals.
Kruger can be done as a day trip from many of the surrounding communities, but there are plenty of options to stay within the park. Kruger offers 21 rest camps, 2 private lodge concessions, and 15 private safari lodges of different comfort levels, so there truly is something for every budget! A visit to kruger can not only provide you with an unforgettable safari experience, but the money you spend is used for park development and maintenance and conservation initiatives. Anti poaching equipment, training and staffing of 650 rangers, alien plant control, population surveys and control, and work with the local communities to influence positive human-wildlife interactions, are all programs in place. From watching crocodiles, or herds of elephants in the Olifants and Sabie rivers, finding prides of lions lounging in the sun, observing ground hornbills wandering the park, and possibly even sighting a leopard sleeping in a tree, Kruger National park is an amazing wildlife tourism destination!!!