The Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the biggest game reserves not only in Africa, but the world. It covers a vast area of over 19 000 square km’s and is approximately 360 km’s in length (North to South) and roughly 65 km’s wide (from East to West).
Where is Kruger National Park Situated?
Kruger National Park is situated in the North Eastern part of South Africa and is surrounded by the 2 South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga and the countries of Zimbabwe (to the north of the park) and Mozambique (to the east of the park). Thanks to its positioning along these borders the Kruger Park is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. This park is made up of the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. It is also known as a peace park as it promotes unity between the 3 different African countries. The park is also part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere area that was identified by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve.
The History of the Park
1895 – 1926
Three years before the establishment of what was to become the Kruger National Park Jakob Louis van Wyk introduced a motion to create the game reserve in the Volksraad of the old South African Republic. This motion, introduced with the help of another Volksraad member called R. K. Loveday, was discussed and in September 1895 by a majority of one vote was passed. This resulted in the creation of the Sabi Game Reserve and ultimately became the Kruger National Park in 1926
1927 – 1958
The first three tourist cars entered the brand new Kruger National Park in 1927. This was followed by a sharp increase in vehicles and visitors over the next few years.
1959 – 1994
During 1959, work started on a fence that would ultimately fence the entire park in. The first stretch was laid along the southern boundary of the Crocodile River. This fence was completed and continually upgraded so as to not only afford protection from disease, but also to curb the movement of poachers and foreign refugees.
1994 – present
Since 1994 there have been a number of changes both in the statues and operation of the park. The most significant being the inclusion of the park into the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
The Biodiversity of the Park
The Kruger Park currently consists of 4 main vegetation areas:
• Thorn Trees and Red Bush-willow veld
• Knob-thorn and Marula Veld
• Red Bush-willow and Mopane Veld
• Shrub Mopane Veld
There are currently 517 species of birds found at Kruger, with 253 types being residents.
All the Big Five game animals are found at the Kruger National Park. It also has more species of large mammals than any other African Game Reserve including African Buffalo, African Wild Dogs, Rhinoceros, Zebra, Bushbuck, Cheetah, Giraffe, Kudu, Lions and Hippo’s.