This is the largest national park in South Africa that stretches from the northern to the southern part of the country near the Mozambique border. The national park covers about 2 million hectares of land with countless wildlife species in different ecosystems and various plant and tree species. Kruger national park has a good climate that enable tourists to easily go for wildlife safari expeditions viewing various wildlife species like the big five (lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos and leopards), various vegetation species like shrubs, thorny trees, birds like hornbills, vultures, eagles, king fishers and many others. All these provide tourists on safaris with quality African wild life experiences.
Tourists in this massive national park can go for self-driven and guided game drive or by use of tour operators who provide their well trained and fully information equipped tour guides. There are various resting places in Kruger national park like camping sites, picnic sites, lodges and cottages all contributing to unforgettable tourist experience.
Kruger national park generally has a flat and gently sloping landscape comprising of different vegetation types. This large national park is however divided in to sub regions that include:
The Central Region
This covers about 30% of Kruger national park with grasses and scattered trees. This vegetation type greatly supports the parks major herbivores especially the buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, antelopes and many others. The herbivores attracts a number of predators- the lions that camouflage in the grasses and trees ready to hunt.
Half of Kruger national park’s lions can be viewed in this region as they commute over the landscape hunting and taking care of their young ones. Other major predators that can be seen in this region include the leopards, cheetahs and hyenas. The central region also has a number of resting places especially camp sites that enable tourists to relax before going for other wildlife expeditions in the park.
The Far Northern Region
This has unique wildlife especially the rare bird species and attractive feature of sand formed along the Luvuvhu river flood plains. There is an afro-Montane forest along the river banks as well that harbors various primates for example the Samango monkeys, beautiful birds, frogs, wild dogs, bush pigs and many other wild life species.
The northern region is somehow remote and is the best place to be visited by tourists who do not like crowds or those seeking solitude. Visiting this area gives tourists a chance to get close to the wild and listen to the sounds of nature without a lot of disturbances. There is a picnic site along the riverbanks that provides good sights of the various birds along.
The Northern Part
This is a semi arid area covering over 7,000 kilometers north of the Orange River. Though dry, there are some rivers that flow the area harboring many wildlife species. Almost half of the hippos in Kruger national park can be viewed in Letaba and Olifants rivers. There are also various bird species and mammals like elephants, bush back, impalas and bush pigs. The major herbivores (buffaloes, impalas) can be best viewed along the riverbanks as they drink water.
The Southern Region
This is where you find some of the rare tree species found nowhere else in Kruger national park. Examples include the coral trees, lavender fever berry, cape chestnut and many others. This region also has many rivers that are homes to aquatic wildlife and also act as water drinking places for the existing wildlife in this area. Crocodile River, Mbyamiti River, Sabie River are the major water bodies in the areas. The wildlife species that can be got here include giraffes, zebra, elephants, impalas and white rhinos (this is the part of Kruger national park with many white rhinos). Another major attraction in this part is Lebombo Mountains with its highest peak at Khandzalive.
Tourist Activities In Kruger National Park
This is the most practiced tourist activity in the national park all thanks to its large size and the various wildlife species it has to offer. For the adventurous tourists and those familiar with the park, self driven game drives can not be a bad idea however those who prefer guided game drives can get them as well through their tour operators.
The game drive trails are very clearly demarcated and the relatively short grasses enables tourists to clearly view the unique wildlife species. There are a number of campsites and pick nick sites where tourists can relax and grab a bite after a series of game drives.
This are usually done by tourists interested in viewing some of the smaller wildlife species in Kruger national park especially the butterflies, beetles, spiders, snakes and other insects in the park which cannot be seen while doing game drives. Bush walks also enable tracking of lions, elephants and rhinos. These are however made with the help of an armed game ranger to protect the tourists from any attacks from the dangerous wild animals.
These incredible bush walks take about 4 hours of trekking with various stopovers in the national parks major camping and picnic sites. Sun glasses and dust masks are advisable especially during the dry season when there is a lot of dust. Tourists are also advisable to carry their own snacks and water that will sustain them through out the entire trek.
Nature Walks And Wilderness Trails
Nature walks are very possible in Kruger national park for the tourists interested in feeling the African bushes and nature sounds. Tourists who take their time to explore Kruger national park on foot get a remarkable experience and also do some physical walking exercise. Tourists on nature walks get a chance to view many bird species and therefore carrying binoculars can never be a regrettable decision.
Wilderness trails in Kruger national park are some how longer than bush and nature walks. Wilderness trial safaris last for about 2- 3 days depending on the tourist’s preferences. Walks are made to some less visited wilderness areas in the national park with overnights in small thatched huts. The wildernesses trails are made at slower walking pace but however require physical fitness.
Accommodation Facilities In Kruger National Park
Being the largest national park Kruger has a number of accommodation facilities ranging from rest camps, lodges and overnight hides that are under management of the South African national parks board.
The lodges in the park offer standard luxurious accommodation services as well as guided wild safari expeditions in the national park. Some of the famous lodges include Buhala game lodge located on the banks of Crocodile River, jock safari lodge, Pestana Kruger lodge and many others. The lodges serve standard meals and also offer great views of the national park with various sightings of some major wild animals.