One of the largest game reserves on the African continent, Kruger National Park is located in northeastern South Africa and is spread between two provinces, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The park boasts an area of 7,523 square miles and was established in 1926. Kruger National Park is currently linked to the Gonarezhou Park of Zimbabwe and the Limpopo National Park of Mozambique under the internationally known Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. However, Kruger National Park is the historic star of this biosphere region and attracts visitors from all over the world with its wild sites.
The area of Kruger National Park was first established as a reserve in 1895 under the jurisdiction of the Transvaal Republic. It was noted simply as a Government Wildlife Park until it came to be referred to as the Sabie Game Reserve until 1926; at this point, it merged with area farms and neighboring Shingwedzi Game Reserve to become Kruger National Park. The reserves were initially formed to protect the dwindling numbers of game in the region. Earlier settlers had flocked to the area in search of gold or riches obtained from ivory and animal skins. Since the park’s early days, wardens were installed to patrol against poachers and a fence incorporating natural borders like the Crocodile River was constructed. Of course, the park’s past is ancient; the earliest traces of the Stone Age were found here 2.5 million years ago.
With its subtropical climate, the lands of Kruger National Park are essentially hot and humid. During the rainy season, most visitors avoid the park as the animals are invariably in hiding and there is a greater risk for contracting malaria. The winter season, however, is known for its more comfortable weather. As water becomes scarcer in the winter season, the water holes become more crowded with animals which makes for exciting viewing. The park boasts the Limpopo River as its northern border and the Crocodile River as its southern border. Other rivers flowing through the park’s landscape are the Sabie, Olifants, and Letaba Rivers. The Lebombo Mountains also form a natural boundary with the nation of Mozambique. The park contains various eco-zones filled with quintessential regional vegetation like baobab trees, mixed bush willow trees, and many types of shrubs and grasses at home in the savannah woodlands and grasslands.
Lions most famously roam the grounds of Kruger National Park; however, the reserve is renowned for its rich array of animal life. The park is home to animals like lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos (both white and black), wildebeests, cheetahs, African wild dogs, hyenas, jackals, baboons, impalas, cape buffalo, crocodiles, antelope, lungfish, black mambas, spitting cobras, and so much more! Even bull sharks have been found in its Limpopo River. The everyday struggle to survive in the African savannah is what draws so many tourists to this extraordinary national park.
Visiting Kruger National Park
The park boasts a wide range of accommodations from luxurious lodges to rustic camps. Visitors are able to choose from many safaris. Tours of the enchanting scenery or trips through lion country are just some of the options travelers to this enormous park can make. As one of the biggest national parks in the world, there is always something new to see on each visit.