The Magic of Kruger National Park – One of Africa’s Largest National Parks
The Magic of Kruger National Park Safari. Brian Jackman once said “Everything in Africa bites, but the safari bug is worst of all”. This can be said for Kruger National Park Safari one of Africa’s largest National Parks and South Africa’s national symbol when it comes to wildlife and Safaris.
With a wide array of historical and heritages, monuments and areas this vast land do not disappoint when it comes to its experiences.
From its wildlife to scenery to landmarks and everything in between The Magic Kruger National Park is the ultimate experience for any want to be a traveler.
Named after Paul Kruger the President of the then Transvaal Republic, this National Park is located in the northeastern side of South Africa in the eastern parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces bordering Zimbabwe and Mozambique where it covers vast land the size of 19 485 km², about the size of the Israel country. Impressive for a country known for its trials and tribulation.
The Magic Kruger National Park is not just about the size but rather it is an area of natural untouched beauty that enables for exotic species to be found and also protected and preserved by keeping animals in their natural habitat free to roam and be wild.
So be wary and cautious when visiting these wild animals as they are wild animals and will behave as such, nature can only be observed not controlled.
Opened in 1926 on the 31st of May but established in 1898 as an area to protect wildlife and reduce hunting, this National Park has been identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as part of the Kruger Canyon Biosphere as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve, speaking highly on how much it has grown over the decades.
This achievement by this park marks its importance and renowned status amongst other national parks of the world.The Magic of Kruger National Park exceeds people’s expectations when visited due to its diverse wildlife.
Imagine the Big 5 waiting for you in the wild, in sub-tropical weather of the Kruger National Park where you never have to worry about the rain. This is the perfect area for one to gaze upon these beautiful animals. A perfect Safari in the Kruger National Park.
With 9 gates which can be used to get to the area, with airport landings and easy accessibility to this national park and with inside Park lodgings, Kruger National Park is the full package when it comes to offering a true African experience, no wonder no other can compete.
The BIG 5 Animals
Nombolo Mdhululi Kruger National Park like all other nature and wildlife reserves is known for its wildlife and safari.
The big 5 has really taken residents in this amazing national park, and they include the fierce lion, the large elephant, the strong rhino, the fast leopard and the powerful buffalo.
These keystone species create habitats for new animals and fertilize the grounds, which keep the park ever-changing and constantly full of new environments.
However, these are not the only species found in this monster of a park as animals such hippopotamus, zebras, Southern African giraffe, African painted dog, black-backed jackals, spotted hyena sand not to mention all the bird species in this area and those such as crocodiles can also be found in this park.
These amazing animals, of course, can be enjoyed through what is known as a Kruger National Park Safari or better yet a Kruger National Park game drive.
What is Safari?
Safari means an expedition to observe animals in their natural habitat and Kruger National Park is big on those.
From your open vehicle safaris to closed vehicle safaris, tonight game drives or normal day safari and so much more, Kruger National Park has what is suited for everybody who visits its lands.
What can be found at Kruger National Park?
So, what can be found at Kruger National Park is a question I am sure you have been asking yourself, and the answer is simple many things.
Though primarily known for its wildlife and nature and safaris, that is not all this national park is known for.
The Crooks Corner
Firstly, you can explore the Crooks Corner area which is a piece of land used from the 20th century by hunters, ivory smugglers, and so many other nomadic tribes to pass through from one country to another.
So not only will the Kruger National Park be offering one Safaris but rather it will also be offering a history tour which one can walk in, to also pass through one country through another.
The second sight or area of interest one can visit at Kruger National Park is Thulamela.
This Iron Age site is one that forms part of the Great Zimbabwe culture. The narrative on the Zimbabwe country is one that has been in the dark for a long time but a visit to Kruger National Park changes that and shines its light on the glory it possesses.
Located in the far North side of Kruger National Park, Thulamela speaks a lot on the history of the trade networks of the era where we learn a lot about the trading of gold and ivory just to mention a few.
Thulamela was an area of smaller chiefdoms that thrived during this time and this area would be one to really see during a Kruger National Park Safari. The next area to really see at Kruger National Park is Baobab Hill which truth be told speaks for itself.
If one has not had the privilege of ever escaping city life this area is the perfect place to get an experience that will open your eyes to the true beauty of nature.
Also finding its importance as a landmark for early trade routes the Baobab Hill is known as the ivory route mark and a stop between Soekmekaar and Pafuri that was used for goldmine recruits, an area filled with a lot of history.
They did say trees speak and this one tells a tale.
The Red Rocks area
The following area one must visit when at Kruger National Park is the Red Rocks area. The Red Rocks refer to the large sandstone slab exposed by the Shingwedzi River about 15 kilometers southwest of the camp.
These speak very much so on the geographical history of South Africa. This area holds so many beautiful rocks that take up space and are a true sight to behold for any tourist.
The Shilowa Mountains
The next step that one should also visit at Kruger National Park is the Shilowa Mountains.
It is said by Dag Hammarskjold that one should never measure the height of a mountain until you reach the top, then you will see how low it was and this can be said for these mountains.
Located in the Mopani district municipality the Shilowa Mountains hold history from the 1200s where one can also visit the Shilowa heritage sites as well as Mopani Camp.
Masorini is the next stop which one would recommend for one to visit. This Kruger National Park stone village is just the place to visit so one can take a trip on how it was during the Stone Age.
Masorini offers a glimpse of an organized economy that existed before the arrival of European settlers in South Africa.
This place really captures how South Africa could have possibly progressed if not for the European invaders during this time.
Besides the site, its self-one can also take a look at all the artifacts found in this area and be transported into the lifestyle of this village during the Stone Age.
Rabelais’ hut is the next stop on one’s Kruger National Park outing, simply for its beauty and history.
This place speaks for itself and does not need further elaboration. Kruger National Park is not only about history and culture and wildlife but also about education as well as furthering one’s mind.
The Skukuza Memorial Library and Museum
The Skukuza Memorial Library and Museum is a site just for that. Holding thousands of books amongst many other things this place is definitely a must-see.
Named after the first warden of the Kruger National Park then Sabi Nature Reserve, James Stevenson-Hamilton nicknamed Skukuza this warden had a hand in the Kruger National Park.
We see today and the library named after him would be an amazing place for one to spend their time in when at this National Park also in hopes that they will see the plaque of the founders of the Kruger National Park Paul Kruger, James Stevenson-Hamilton and Piet Grobler the minister of lands during the inspection of Kruger National Park.
Keeping in line with wardens and many important people of the Kruger National Park a ranger one should mention is Nombolo Mdhululi who the Kruger National Park Conference Centre is named after and where his statue can be found.
The Little Heroes Acre
An honorable site one should also visit and at the Kruger National Park is the Little Heroes Acre which is a burial ground in memory of the dogs who saved countless lives as in warning of danger.
For any dog lover, this is truly a beautiful scared area. Do come to pay your respects here.
The Jock of the Bushveld Plaque
Also, in line with our furry friends, one can also pay a visit to the Jock of the Bushveld Plaque where one can take a trip visiting all the sites in connection to the famous and brave Jock who was made famous by his companion Sir Percy Fitz Patrick whom together they overcame many obstacles with.
A book can also be purchased about this dog and his companion
The Albasini Ruins
The next area worth mentioning for one to visit when at Kruger National Park is the Albasini Ruins which are the ruins of the 19th-century trading post of the Portuguese trader Joao Albasini as one can already tell Kruger National Park is host to many historical events that have led to the South Africa of today.
The first tourist hut at Kruger National Park is standing today and one can go look at this 1930s hut and be in awe of the past.
The old Delagoa-Lydenburg wagon road
Another honorable site to visit at Kruger National Park is the old Delagoa-Lydenburg wagon road which was very important to the Boer people.
During the 19th century, most of the ports in South Africa were controlled by the British government hence why the Kruger National Park area was vital in the road it provided as a passageway to the Delagoa Bay which is now Maputo.
With that said taking a trip down this Kruger National Park site is a true experience for one interested in the Anglo-Boer wars or anything South Africa.
The rock paintings of South Africa
Other things worth mentioning one can see at Kruger National Park lie in the rock paintings of South Africa that are famous all over the world.
These paintings were painted by mostly the San people who were nomadic people and moved around a lot.
These rock paintings tell the stories of the San people and their relationship with nature, their way of life and so much more.
The Mitomeni Dam
Another area that is to be mentioned is the Mitomeni Dam which was the first dam built at Kruger National Park across the Mitomeni creek.
The De Leportes Windmill
The Kruger National Park is also big on nature or energy conservation since at this National Park has 2 windmill sites which speak on the nature of this park.
These windmills are the De Leportes Windmill which is used to pump water from boreholes as well as the Wolhunters windmill which was named after one of the first rangers of the Kruger National Park.
More fun facts about the Kruger National Park lie in the little historical notes it has when it comes to the world around us.
A pre-historic man called the Homo erectus and bushman within the Stone Age village
Take for example the fact that evidence of pre-historic man which is called the Homo erectus can be found at Kruger National Park.
Also, while on the note of pre-historic information one can find the evidence of the bushman within the Stone Age village at the Kruger National Park.
Archeology found at Kruger National Park is substantial and this on its own is enough reason to visit this Park.
The early traces of tourism can also be linked to Kruger National Park due to the fact that when this park was opened and with the closer investigation, tourism was found at places inside the Kruger National Park and even thereafter became a beacon for safari or nature tourism in that area.
For those who love flowers, trees and anything plant like Kruger National Park is the epicenter of that beauty.
Distinct bushveld regions
Characterized by four distinct bushveld regions these include the thorn trees and red bush-willow veld which hosts the following species such as the red bush-willow (Combretum apiculatum) and acacia species predominate while there are a great number of marula trees (Sclerocarya caffra).
The next bushveld region is the knob-thorn and marula veld which is found South of the Olifants River in the eastern half of the Park where species such as red grass (Themeda triandra), buffalo grass (Panicum maximum) , the knob-thorn (Acacia nigrescens), leadwood (Combretum imberbe) and marula (Sclerocarya caffra) trees are found.
The next region is one that belongs to the red bushwillow and mopane veld. This area lies in the western half of the Park, north of the Olifants River, where the two most prominent species here are the red bushwillow (Combretum apiculatum) and the mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane).
Lastly, the shrub mopane veld region is the one that follows. Shrub mopane covers almost the entire north-eastern part of the Park.
There are a number of smaller areas in the Park which carry distinctive vegetation such as Pretoriuskop where the sickle bush and the silver cluster-leaf (Terminalia sericea) are found.
The sand veld communities near Punda Maria are equally definitive, with a wide variety of unique species.
The next amazing thing at Kruger National Park is that species are in array and the bird species are no different. Home to 273 different species, the bird species add on to what is known as the big 6 of the Kruger National Park.
These species include the lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, saddle-billed stork, kori bustard, ground hornbill, and the reclusive Pel’s fishing owl.
Besides having magnificent bird species, the Kruger National Park has also created routes that are purely dedicated to seeing birdlife.
These routes include the Lowveld Mpumalanga Birding Route this popular birding route is located at the southern part of the and includes species such as the African scops-owl, bateleur, crested francolin, lilac-breasted roller, southern ground hornbill and white-crested helmet shrike while the rare birds include the martial eagle, Narina trogon and southern bald ibis. The next bird route is the Soutpansberg-Limpopo birding route.
This route can be found in the northern region of the Kruger National Park and is part of the Greater Limpopo birding route.
Punda Maria is known for sightings of the crowned hornbill, eastern (yellow-spotted) nicator and mosque swallow and is found at the Soutpansberg-Limpopo bird route and is bird sightseeing paradise.
The Mopani bush and woodland areas attract the Arnott’s chat, black coucal, little bittern, racket-tailed roller, and white-breasted cuckooshrike. The last bird route in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere birding route.
This route incorporates parts of northern Kruger National Park and big sections of the central region and sightings of bird life include the African barred owlet, collared (red-winged) pratincole, Pel’s fishing-owl, white-crowned lapwing (plover) and yellow-billed oxpecker.
Kruger National Park is a park that is big on what we call ecotourism. Ecotourism is tourism directed towards exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.
Due to the fact that rhino and elephant poaching amongst another kind of animal poaching has taken place at Kruger National Park has been a concern over the years. Rhino poaching has risen in recent years between 2004 and 2007 to 9000%.
This was concerning due to how these beautiful species are becoming extinct hence the need to protect these animals. Tourism is the biggest contributor to the funds used at Kruger National Park and these help in the conservation and protection of these species.
If visitations increase, it’s possible to fully fence the Kruger National Park area without having to compromise the animals in their natural habitat and the ability to walk around. Hence why one visitation to this area is crucial in order to protect these species especially the endangered ones. Again these brings out the Magic of Kruger National park as many parks do not pay attention to wildlife as Kruger National Park does.
So, when you visit this area you will see countless posters saying no hunting zone due to the fact that without these species Kruger National Park will seize to exist.
The most endangered species at the Kruger National Park is the white rhino. Already with two left Kruger National Park is doing everything it can to protect and preserve this area. Also, in that regard it’s not opposed to donations to help these endangered animals, so please do come in your numbers not just for your entertainment but rather for a well-rounded trip of enjoyment as well as saving an animal in need.
With all this jam-packed information about Kruger National Park, one is bound to be impressed through and through. This place is for everybody. The Magic of Kruger National park comes to life in many ways.
A place for kids who are recommended to take short safaris, for adults and even the older crowd. There is history and education and most important there is wildlife. All one needs to remember really when at Kruger National Park is to follow the rules for one’s safety, to take pictures, to have malaria protection on and most importantly to have fun.
In closing remember that “it is crooked wood that shows the best sculptor” at Kruger National Park the wood is crooked and it’s perfectly sculptured.
On our 15 Days South Africa Overland Tours, we get to experience the Magic of the Kruger National Park in Many ways. We get to encounter a full Day BIG 5 Kruger National Park Safari and also a chance to see the famous Sabie River located at the Banks of Skukuza Camp inside the Kruger National Park.