KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
One of the largest and most iconic national parks in all of the world is located in Northeastern South Africa, you may have heard the name before – Kruger. It is here, in the land of nearly two million hectares, where an unrivalled diversity of wildlife coexists and world-renowned environmental policies are set. It maintains a well earned reputation during any visit throughout the year and remains South Africa’s flagship destination.
Big 5? Should be no problem spotting herds of elephant (in abundance) and buffalo, a rhino or two (often from a distance), a pack of lions, and with some determination (and luck) an elusive leopard. There is plenty more to see in addition to the big 5 as the park houses 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Needless to say, you won’t be driving in silence very long as wildlife unravels all around you, constantly changing and always exciting.
The park has nine main gates for visitors to enter and a large variety of accommodations including 21 rest camps and 15 designated private safari lodges. Amongst controversy, numerous chain restaurants were introduced to various camps, drastically taking away from the bush experience but increasing tourism convenience significantly. Lengthy sections of roads are paved throughout the park for simple vehicle navigation, which again benefits the visitor but detracts from the animal kingdom and alters their natural habitat. It is these man made alterations to the national park which detract from an authentic experience, and diminish an overall flawless safari.
Kruger has been a massive target for rhino poaching, a fight they seem to slowly be losing. In the first third of 2015 South Africa suffered the loss of 393 rhinos (an 18% increase from 2014), with over 70% being killed within Kruger. While rhino poaching is an issue all on it’s own, it is important to educate yourself about the threats these animals face on a daily basis and discover how you can play a role in their prosperous future.
If you are looking for a Safari destination that will fulfill all your expectations and perhaps surprise you with some unique animal encounters, then Kruger is an excellent choice. While popularity continues to increase and the park adjusts to tourism demands, it is easy to look at Kruger as the disneyland of safari parks. It is highly suggested you get on the road less travelled (literally) and avoid the paved interstate’s that occupy popular sections of the park. Simply remember to respect the animals, and the home they’ve allowed you to visit.
Have you been to Kruger? Share your experiences in the comments below.
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