In 1898, a small area between Sabie and Crocodile River was designated as a National Wild Animal Reserve, thus making the Kruger National Park Africa’s oldest animal sanctuary. It is 450 kilometres long and about 55 kilometres wide and is one of the largest animal parks in the world, with 147 animal species, over 500 bird varieties, and 114 different reptiles.
The Kruger Park is divided into three areas. While bush land and mopane trees form the northern half, the wide grass plains of the central region are home to a large number of wild animals. In the lush vegetation of the southern half, that consists mainly of acacia trees and bush land, is the preferred habitat of rhinos, hippos and many other wild animals.
The elephant, rhino, African buffalo, lion and leopard make up the so-called ‘Big Five’ of the Kruger National Park and in spite of its dry climate, there is an immense variety of plant life with a rich assortment of trees, bushes, grasses, ferns, climbers and herbaceous plants.
Located on the southern bank of the Sabie Rive, the Skukuza Camp is the park’s organizational centre and can accommodate over 1,000 visitors. In 1902, this location was the base camp for the co-founder of the Kruger National Park, Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton. The camp is situated on the ‘Lion Safari Road’, one of the five most favored routes for observing animals in the entire park. A well maintained road network connects the park’s 24 camps with the most interesting sights.
On the edge of the park’s winding sandy tracks, there is often a chance encounter with a prowling hyena. The road itself is popular with rhinos and many other creatures that appear to be determined to be photographed by anxious tourists!
The Kruger National Park that was once the Mecca of the Big Game Hunter is now an idyllic paradise of nature and a veritable Noah’s Ark for much of Africa’s wildlife.