Kruger Park Eco-system, Wildlife and Vegetation
Kruger Park's eco-system comprises of 5 zones, which attract different wildlife according to the vegetation and climate.The Kruger National Park is generally flat to gently undulating, with average height of 260 metres (853 feet) above sea level, with its most mountainous areas being along the eastern boundary, formed by the Lebombo Mountains.
Sixteen distinct landscapes detailed below, provide a multitude of habitats for the Kruger Park's inhabitants.
WeatherAs far as rainfall is concerned, the southern region receives the largest amount of rainfall while the central plains receive the least. The temperatures average from 30 C (86 F) in January (summer) to 23 C (73 F) in July (winter). Please be aware that the maximum temperature can reach 47 C (117 F) (January) and 35 C (95 F) (July).The average nightly temperature can range from 7-18 C (45-64 F) (January) and most certainly freezing in July. It is highly advisable to wear 'breathable' clothes to avoid heat exhaustion or stroke during the day, drink plenty of water and ensure that appropriate clothing is available in the often cold nights.
Vegetation ZonesThe varying climatic conditions impact on the type of vegetation in the ecosystem that can survive and flourish in each vegetation zone. This of course affects the distribution and population densities of the various animals - each type favouring some or other ecosystem environment.
Zone 1The area in the North of the Olifants River to the Limpopo River is a the hottest and most arid of regions in the Kruger National Park. The Ecosystem's vegetation is dominated by the medium-sized Mopane Tree. The Mopane tree is untroubled by the poor, alkaline soil and erratic rainfall of the region. Nature has sensibly adapted the Mopane for such conditions: when the heat becomes unbearable, the leaves fold along the mid-rib.
This allows rays of the sun to pass directly to the ground and moisture in the tree is thus preserved. The tree casts a poor shadow but absorbs a minimum of heat. Its leaves are aromatic, tasting and smelling of turpentine, but they are nutritious and enjoyed by Antelope and Elephant.