Kruger National Park

An elephant stretches up to pluck a ripe marula fruit in the Kruger National Park.Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa.  To the west and south of the park are the two South African provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. The far north of the park is the wildest and most difficult area to access and because of this, it has alluring qualities for the real adventurer on a South Africa safari.

Kruger is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Where nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled diversity of life forms fuses with historical and archaeological sights this is real Africa. Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 1,982 species of plants, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals, including the Big Five.

Man's interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries - from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela - is apparent throughout the park. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the Kruger National Park and are conserved along with the park's natural assets. There are almost 254 known cultural heritage sites in the Kruger National Park, including nearly 130 recorded rock art sites.

The park was first proclaimed in 1898 as the Sabie Game Reserve by the then president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. He first proposed the need to protect the animals of the Lowveld in 1884, but his revolutionary vision took another 12 years to be realised when the area between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers was set aside for restricted hunting. The first motorists entered the park in 1927 for a fee of one pound.

With greater ecological co-operation across African borders, several countries bordering South Africa have agreed to take down some fences, and those between Kruger and Mozambique's Limpopo National Park and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou, have been demolished to create the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park. This unique political innovation is creating a colossal wilderness area.

In addition, adjacent to the park are a number of privately owned concessions, such as the Sabi Sands Reserve. There are no fences between the concessions and the Kruger Park which allows the animals an even greater range of movement. The private concessions closely limit the number of guests who stay at the lodges, ensuring their guests a more private game-viewing experience.

Sources: South Africa National Parks and