The Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa. It is roughly the same size as Israel or Wales, and covers some 20,000 square kilometres. It extends approximately 350 kilometres from north to south and approximately 60 kilometres from east to west. To the west and south of the Park are the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique.
The Kruger National Park is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (with a total area of 35 000 square kilometres). This peace park links the Kruger with Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.
Other areas of incorporation are Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, as well as the area between Kruger and Gonarezhou, the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa.
The Park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve.
The memorandum of understanding for the creation of the peace Park was signed on 10 November 2000 as the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Transfrontier Park. In October 2001 the name was changed to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
By the Fifth World Parks Congress held in Durban, South Africa in 2003 the treaty had yet to be ratified by Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Fences between the Parks have started to come down allowing the animals to take up their old migratory routes that were blocked before due to political boundaries.
On the October 4 2001 the first 40 (including 3 breeding herds) of a planned 1000 Elephant were translocated from the over-populated Kruger National Park to the war-ravaged Limpopo National Park. It took 2½ years to complete the translocation.
March 2004 saw the start of the construction of the Giriyondo Border Post between South Africa and Mozambique. The establishment of the Transfrontier Park is the first phase of creating a bigger Transfrontier conservation area measuring a staggering 99,800 km² (36,000 sq. mi.).
The creation of the Transfrontier Park is a milestone in terms of conservation, and cooperation between countries. However, this is merely the culmination of over a hundred year’s worth of work and debate, the history of which is worth further study. Indeed, the entire area of the Kruger National Park has a history that goes back to early man.
What we now know as the Kruger National Park has long been associated with wildlife, and as a reserve of groundbreaking research and management practices. Few however realise the rich cultural and historical importance of the Kruger National Park, and the surrounding Lowveld.
Within the boundaries of the Park, are more than 254 historical and cultural sites, with others still in need of exploration. The sites cover an immense period, starting from the Stone Age, and continuing into the 20th Century.