KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.
Kruger National Park is a South African National Park and one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,623 km2 (7,576 square mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 km (220 mi) from north to south and 65 km (40 mi) from east to west. The administrative headquarters are in Skukuza. Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in189, and it became South Africa’s first national park in 1926.
To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, respectively. To the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.
HISTORY OF KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.
After the proclamation of the Kruger National Park in 1918, the first three tourist cars entered the park in 1927, jumping to 180 cars in 1928 and 850 cars in 1929.
Warden James Stevenson-Hamilton retired on 30 April 1946, after 44 years as warden of the Kruger Park and its predecessor, the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve.
Stevenson-Hamilton was replaced as warden by Colonel J. A. B. Sandenbergh of the South African Air Force. During 1959, work commenced to completely fence the park’s boundaries. Work started on the southern boundary along the Crocodile River and in 1960 the western and northern boundaries were fenced, followed by the eastern boundary with Mozambique. The purpose of the fence was to curb the spread of diseases, facilitate border patrolling and inhibit the movement of poachers.
The Makuleke area in the northern part of the park was forcibly taken from the Makuleke people by the government in 1969 and about 1500 of them were relocated to land to the south so that their original tribal areas could be integrated into the greater Kruger National Park
In 1996 the Makuleke tribe submitted a land claim for 19,842 hectares (198.42 km2), namely the Pafuri or Makuleke region in the northernmost part of the park. The land was given back to the Makuleke people, however, they chose not to resettle on the land but to engage with the private sector to invest in tourism. This resulted in the building of several game lodges from which they earn royalties. In the late 1990s, the fences between the Kruger Park and Klaserie Game Reserve, Olifants Game Reserve and Balule Game Reserve were dropped and incorporated into the Greater Kruger Park with 400,000 hectares added to the Reserve. In 2002, Kruger National Park, Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique were incorporated into a peace park, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. In 2009, SANParks envisaged a four-star hotel northeast of Malelane on the bank of the Crocodile River, as part of a survival strategy to make the park less dependent on state subsidies. Eventually Radisson Blu was mandated to operate a 104-room safari resort starting 2019, which promises a smaller ecological footprint than that of prior, existing camps. The three-star, 128-room Skukuza Safari Lodge, to be completed by late 2018, was necessitated by the adjacent Nombolo Mdhluli conference center, opened in 2011, which draws guests arriving by charter flights or in tour busses. Former head of the park Salomon Joubert warned that these developments threaten the character, ethos and original objectives of the park, but minister of environmental affairs, Edna Molewa, deemed development of 0.3% of the park as acceptable. The park was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic on 25 March 2020. It was reopened on 8 June 2020.
LOCATION OF KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.
The park lies in the north-east of South Africa. In the eastern parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. Phalaborwa, Limpopo is the only town in southern Africa that borders the Kruger National Park. It’s one of the largest national parks in world with a total area of 19485 square kilometers (7523 square kilometers). The park is approximately 360 km (220) miles long, and has an average width of 65km about 40miles. At its widest point, the park is 90km(56miles) wide from east to west. To the north and south of the park two rivers, the Limpopo and the Crocodile respectively, act as its natural boundaries. To the east the Lebombo Mountains separate it from Mozambique. Its western boundary runs parallel with this range, roughly 65 km (40 mi) distant. The park varies in altitude between 200 m (660 feet) in the east and 840 m (2,760 feet) in the south-west near Berg-en-Dal. The highest point in the park is here, a hill called Khandzalive.
Animals in Kruger national park Several rivers run through the park from west to east, including the Sabie, Olifants, Crocodile, Letaba, Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers.
MAMMALS IN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.
All the big five game animals are found at Kruger National Park, which has more species of large mammals than any other African game reserve (at 147 species). There are webcams set up to observe the wildlife. The park stopped culling elephants in 1994 and tried translocating them, but by 2004 the population had increased to 11,670 elephants, by 2006 to approximately 13,500, by 2009 to 11,672, and by 2012 to 16,900. The park’s habitats may only be able to sustain about 8,000 elephants, though this is not entirely clear. Elephants do change plant growth and density in the park, and some species, such as wildebeests, clearly benefit from an increase in grasslands. The park started an attempt at using contraception in 1995, but has stopped that due to problems with delivering the contraceptives and upsetting the herd. The park has taken a firm stance against poaching of all animals especially the rhinoceros.
Kruger supports packs of the endangered African wild dog, of which there are thought to be only about 400 in the whole of South Africa.
A fairly uniform aggregate of bird species is present from the southern to central areas of the park, but a decline in diversity is noticeable in the mopane-dominated flats northwards of the Olifants.
Most species breed in summer, when rains sustain most vegetable and animal food, but the larger birds of prey conversely breed during the dry winter, when their prey is most exposed.
Out of the 517 species of birds found at Kruger, 253 are residents, 117 non-breeding migrants, and 147 nomads.
Constituting the southern Lowveld, the park’s avifaunal affinities are mainly with the tropical north. Some representatives of this group are the African open bill, hooded vulture, Dickinson’s kestrel, white-crowned lapwing, brown-necked parrot, Senegal Coucal, broad-billed roller, trumpeter hornbill, Böhm’s spinetail, tropical boubou, Meves’s starling and scarlet-chested sunbird. Some 30 water bird and wader species are dependent on the rivers or associated dams, Including the African fin foot, hite-backed night heron, white-crowned lapwing and water thick-knee. Other species are limited to riparian thicket or forest, including African goshawk, crested Guinea fowl, Natal spurfowl, Narina trogon, Pel’s fishing owl, bearded scrub robin, terrestrial brownbul and black-throated wattle-eye. This habitat is often reduced by drought or floods or the understpreyis opened up by elephant.
Some of the larger birds require large territories or are sensitive to habitat degradation. Six of these birds, which are by and large restricted to Kruger and other extensive conservation areas, have been assigned to a fanciful grouping called the “Big Six Birds”. They are the lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, saddle-billed stork, Kori bustard, ground hornbill and the reclusive Pel’s fishing owl, which is localized and seldom seen. The 2011 aerial survey found 22 martial eagle nest sites, the 2015 survey an additional 17, while the 2020 survey found 70 nest locations in all, though the activity of these has yet to be determined. There are 25 to 30 breeding pairs of saddle-billed stork in the park, besides a handful of non-breeding individual. In 2012 178 family groups of ground hornbills roamed the park and 78 nests were known, of which 50% were active. A 2013 study estimated that 904 pairs of white-backed vulture, 78 pairs of lappet-faced vulture and 60 pairs of white-headed vulture breed in the park
ACCOMMODATION AT KRUGER NATIONAL PARK IN SOUTH AFRICA.
Enjoy a rich game viewing experience without even leaving the camp
Abundant water bird viewing over Pioneer Dam
Mopani has a fascinating historical and archaeological interest
A unique ‘sleep-over’ game viewing hide
Game drives and bushwalks conducted by experienced guides and trackers
Completed in 1992, Mopani Camp is the newest of all the rest camp accommodation and lodging in Kruger National Park. Inside Mopani Camp indigenous vegetation has been left largely untouched, while newly planted trees have been laid out along the camp’s tarred roads.
Mopani Rest Camp takes its name from the mopane trees that are so prevalent on the surrounding plains. In autumn the butterfly-shaped leaves change to striking hues before falling off in September and October.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the thatched buildings, with their rock faced walls, and surrounding paving, blend into the bushveld environment. All the buildings are built from natural materials such as rough stone, wood and thatching-grass, which blends them in beautifully with the environment.
Hamilton’s tented lodge
Only six permanent tented suites create an exclusive experience for the victors of Hamilton’s Tented Camp. Accommodation reminiscent of the early 20th century paired with modern day amenities create a luxurious oasis in the African wilderness.
Shalati Train on the Bridge
This unique concept perfectly combines Africa’s most breath-taking natural splendor with exquisite luxury aboard a newly refurbished train. Permanently stationed on the historical Selati Bridge high above the Sabie River.
Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge
Guests stay in unique thatched suites that are beautifully decorated to mimic the rich cultural heritage of the Tsonga people, Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge seamlessly blends traditional tribal designs and earth tones with luxurious features.
Jack safari lodge
Reminiscent of the classic South African tale jack of the Bushveld this private concession in the Kruger park is a land for adventures. Perched above the surrounding wilderness and a wellness spa add a taste of luxury to your African adventure.