Kruger National Park, KNP, Kruger. What makes this 19 485 square kilometer, 7 523 square mile ecosystem so startling and unique. This wilderness wonderland boasts one of the largest conservation areas in the world, the surface area of the Kruger National Park is larger than not just one but 7 different countries, yes! countries. Namely Qatar, Swaziland, Slovenia, Fiji, Kuwait, Lebanon and The Bahamas.
With a conservation area that colossal, surely it is not just a destination one decides to visit with only 5 animals in mind, the famous Big 5. The Kruger National Park is home to over 336 species of fauna and approximately 147 mammal species, and a whopping 490 bird species. The park is not only disparate in its fauna and flora but the various eco zones and topographical areas can be divided into an array of vegetation zones due to its mammoth size and surface area. Ubiquitous Mopane shrub blankets almost most of the area north of the mighty Olifants River. An area of the Kruger National Park which offers sanctuary to many Buffalo and Elephant, for those seeking out the more secretive critters the ever-elusive Speckled Emperor Moths are cassanovas of the Butterfly shaped Mopane leaves. Traversing to the east into the Rocky Mountains of the robust Lebombo Mountain Range, one may find themselves settling in for the night on steep sand river banks that plummet into the rushing rapids below that are dwellings to thousands of Tilapia. The park then extends into some of the more scenic locations of the Limpopo, the dense thickets that drape the Levhuvhu and Shingwedzi River systems. Sitting out the heat of the day beneath monstrous Nyala and Natal Mahogany trees, one is granted the opportunity to ogle the largest land antelope grazing gracefully, the Eland. If that by any chance is not enticing enough then surely the ever-dwindling population of Roan antelope which are concentrated in this area will surely grab your eye. However, if you deem yourself the type that enjoys a more humanly congregated vacation, then traveling almost 400km south will usher you into the heart of the Kruger National Park, Skukuza Rest Camp. The options for scenery and wildlife from here are truly indescribable, the Skukuza Rest Camp rooted on the banks of the Sabie River gives over night and day visiting guests an opportunity to lunch and dine in the presence of nature’s submarines, the endless echos of Hippo grunts and chants of Fish Eagles play at a chorus to your river side table. One is then presented with heading in a southerly direction, meandering and treading a path through massive out lays of granite scattered hillocks that are home to many spotted beauties the big and small from Leopard Tortoises to the agile tree climbers themselves the Leopards. The end reward is meeting the Kruger National Parks southern boundary the Crocodile River. This river system forms part of the 5 perennial river systems the Kruger National Park hosts. A favorite to many is the prolonged stretch of sand road that provides the possibility of seeing Africa’s painted wolves the African Wild Dog or if you’re up to speed you could be just lucky enough to witness lands fastest mammal the lanky Cheetah which prowl the plains above the banks of the Crocodile River.
Visiting the Kruger National Park can be experienced in an array of ways, the park is scattered with main rest camps that offer one a night in the luxury of air-conditioned river view homesteads. As well as rustic thatch covered bungalows and finally for those wanting to rest as close to mother nature as possible whilst still being in the security of the rest camp, there is the option to camp out. The Kruger National Park also offers 5 star fully catered packages when one is in need of some bush time pampering while still witnessing the raw beauty of Africa. Author info: By Mohammed Kathrada