The first wildlife National Park in the world-Kruger Park
On 26 March 1898, President Paul Kruger signed a proclomation establishing a sanctuary for wild animals between Sabie and the Crocodile rivers. It was one the best days ever in terms of conservation. The first National park in the world was created by the USA at Yellowstone in 1872, but the Sabie Game Reserve ( later to be called the Kruger national park) was the first in Africa- a place where aninals and man had been fighting a war of extermination, this was mans first offer of friendship.
The most diverse eco system in the world
The Kruger Park covers an area of over 2,000,000 hectares. Thats 20,000 square kilometres. The park is home to 450 species of bird, 300 species of trees, 106 mammals, 50 fish varieties, 40 types of frog, 34 species, many types of lizards, tortoise and crocodile. it is also home to the notorious Big 5 ( lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant).The Kruger Park is considered one the most diverse eco system in the world. The park has 5 main botanical areas.The environment and natural food of each area determines the variety and density of wildlife within its bounderies. The largest area is also the hottest and most arid. This is the area north of the Olifants river extending as far as the Luvubu River. ( part of the limpopo river)
The vegetation of the Kruger Park
The vegatation is dominated by the medium sized mpoaner trees which seem untriubled by the poor alkaline soil and erratic rainfall of the region. Nature has ingeniously adapted the mopane to such conditions. When the heat becomes unbearable, the leaves fold along the mid-rib. This allows the rays of the sun to pass directly to the ground and moisture in the tree is thus conserved. Becasue of this, the tree casts no shadow for the wild animals, but absorbs minimum of heat for its survival. Its leave are aromatic, tasting and smelling of turpentine. But they are nutritious and loved by the amtelope and elephants.
The land of the Acacia and lion
The second largest area lies south of the Olifants River on the estern side of the park with the southern boundary on the crocodile river. This area is dominated by the Acacia trees. It has higher rainfall and more fertile soil than the north. Its sweet tasting grasses offer excellent grazing and supports a higher population of animals. It is home to the great herds of zebra, impala, wildebeest, giraffe and buffalo. which of course brings Mr. Lion and his meat eating friends. The Acacia trees of this region belong to a family of 700 species native to Africa. The name is of Greek origin meaning ‘thorny’. All of the species are noth valuable to man and wild animal alike. They have nutritous leaves and pods;the gum of certain species provides gum arabic used in glue;the wood is awseome for kindling. The thorns were even used on the old record players before diamonds. In Springtime ( September) the delightfully fragrant white and yellow acacia blossoms to provide an outstanding flowery show. The trees have an umbrella shape giving good shade to both campers and animals.
Animals of the Kruger Park
There is a total of about 250,000 aninals in the reserve. The most numerous is the impala with a population of about 100,000 mostkly found in the sweet grazing areas along the Sabie river. Thwe second most common animal species is the buffalo. More than 27,000 roam the eastern borders between Sabie and the Crocodile River. Some 9,000 zebra are scattered throughout the park. There are 7,000 wildebeest and 7,500 elephant. Among other game are 1,500 Kudu, 1000 Sable antelope, 4,000 giraffe, 5,00o warthog, 2,000 hippo, 300 Eland, 200 wilddog, 250 cheetah, 500 lion and an undisclosed number of rhino. There are also a host of forest and night dwellers that are just impossible to count from aerial surveys. These animals include hyena, squirrals, aardwolf, monkey, baboon, hares,bush pigs, duikers, mongoose, badgers, dassie, hedgehogs, civet, caracal, nyala and ninjas.
How far is the Kruger from Johannesburg?
if you are looking at joining a Kruger Park Safari, it would be best to set aside between 3 and 5 days to really get the most out of the experience. 1 day or even 2 days is just too short givent he distance that you would need to travel to get there. The distance from Johannesburg is between 450 and 600km depending on what part of the Kruger you are traveling to. Besides the distance, you should also take the road conditions and traffic into account. Sometimes a 400km drive can take up to 6 hours. There is the option of flying into either Nelspruit and hiring a car or Hoedspruit. This would save a lot of driving time.
The main camps of the Kruger
There are various camps within the Kruger park that offer accomodation. The top 6 options would include the following:
- Lower Sabie
The Kruger!!! A must see destination