The Wildlife and Natural Beauty of Kruger Park
Female rhino with calf
The South African National Park; Kruger National Park is the largest safari park in South Africa and is home to the Big Five as well as all of the country's large carnivores and boasts the largest populations of a number of game species including White and Black Rhino, Savanna Buffalo and Savanna Elephant.
The massive expanse of the Kruger National Park is home to over 147 species of mammals, 114 reptile species, 51 snake species, 49 fish species and a massive 508 species of birds, a number unrivalled anyway else in South Africa. Home to the Big Five of the African animal kingdom, the Kruger National Park is South Africa's largest conservation area, covering an expanse of 19 455km2.
Due to the enormous expanse of the game reserve, some species of wildlife favour certain areas
where vegetation types differ. In the northern regions of the reserve visitors can expect to find Roan Antelope, Tsessebe, Common Eland and Savanna Elephant while in the southern and central regions visitors will usually find Plains Zebra, Impala, Southern Giraffe and Rhinoceros. Buffalo are mostly found in the northern and central reaches of the safari park. Hippopotami can be found almost all of the permanent rivers and large pools that have water year-round.
Large carnivores, including Leopard, Lion, Cheetah and Wild Dog can be found roaming throughout the entire game reserve but are most commonly found near to large populations of other game
. While both Black-backed Jackal and Side-striped Jackal are found in the region, Black-backed Jackal are the more commonly seen of the two. Bat-eared Foxes can be found north of the Letaba River in the open plains.
The Kruger National Park is home to all five of the primate species
found within South Africa but the most commonly seen of the species are Savanna Baboon and Vervet Monkeys. Nile crocodiles are regularly seen in the perennial rivers and on the banks of large pools and dams and visitors will also spot the small heads and backs of a number of different Terrapin species including Marsh and Black-bellied Hinged Terrapins popping up occasional in the water. Of the 51 snake species the most dangerous to humans are Black Mambas, Mozambique Spitting Cobras, Snouted Cobras, Puff Adders and Boomslang (Tree Snakes).
Bird-watching is a popular activity while staying in the Kruger National Park and the park-run rest camps and the viewpoints at the numerous water holes and dams offer excellent vantage points
from which to try to tick off a few sightings in your bird book. While the park offers good bird-watching throughout, the most prolific locations include the area in and around the Pretoriuskop camp, the Lower Sabie camp, the Punda Maria camp and the Shingwedzi camp.
There are a number of bird species found within Kruger that are more highly numberedin the reserve than anywhere else in South Africa. These species include; Martial Eagles, Kori Bustards, South gound Hornbills and Bateleurs. Out of the 6 species of Vultures found within the park, the most commonly seen are the Lappet-faced Vulture
, Hooded Vulture and the White-backed Vulture. In summer time bird-watchers will regularly see Wahlberg's Eagles soaring above their heads.