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Kruger National Park




Wildlife South Africa
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Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,485 square kilometres 7,523 sq mi in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa, and extends 360 kilometres 220 mi from north to south and 65 kilometres 40 mi from east to west.

Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898, 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. In 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.

The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO as anInternational Man and Biosphere Reserve the Biosphere.The park has 9 main gates that allow entrance to the different camps.The park is the site of the popular eyewitness viral video Battle at Kruger.




Sabi Game Reserve 1898 - 1926

In 1895, Jakob Louis van Wyk introduced in the Volksraad of the old South African Republic, a motion to create the game reserve which would become the Kruger National Park.

That motion, introduced together with another Volksraad member by the name of R.K.Loveday, and accepted for discussion in September 1895 by a majority of one vote, resulted in the proclamation by Paul Kruger president of the Transvaal Republic, on 26 March 1898,of a Government Wildlife Park.This park would later be known as the Sabi Game Reserve and was expanded into the Kruger National Park in 1926.The park was initially created to control hunting and protect the diminished number of animals in the park.James Stevenson Hamilton became the first warden of the reserve in 1902.

The reserve was located in the southern one-third of the modern park. Shingwedzi Reserve, named after the Shingwedzi River and now in northern Kruger National Park, was proclaimed in 1903. In 1926, Sabie Game Reserve, the adjacent Shingwedzi Game Reserve, and farms were combined to create Kruger National Park.During 1923, the first large groups of tourists started visiting the Sabie Game Reserve, but only as part of the South African Railways' popular "Round in Nine" tours.

The tourist trains used the Selati railway line between Komatipoort on the Mozambican border and Tzaneen in Limpopo Province. The tour included an overnight stop at Sabie Bridge now Skukuza and a short walk, escorted by armed rangers, into the bush. It soon became a highlight of the tour and it gave valuable support for the campaign to proclaim the Sabie Game Reserve as a national park




1926 - 1946

After the proclamation of the Kruger National Park in 1926, 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 Game Reserve.


1946 - 1994

 
 
Plaque in the park. Now and then people do get killed, however this is extremely rare. He was replaced by Colonel J. A. B. Sandenburg of the South African Air Force. During 1959, work commenced to completely fence the park 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.

1994 - present

In 1996 the Makuleke tribe submitted a land claim for 19,842 hectares 198.42 km in the northern part of the Kruger National 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, thus resulting in the building of several game lodges.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


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 South Africa that borders the Kruger National Park. It is one of the largest national parks in the world, with an area of 19,485 square kilometres 7,523 sq mi The park is approximately 360 kilometres 220 mi long, and has an average width of 65 kilometres 40 mi. At its widest point, the park is 90 kilometres 56 mi 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 distant. The park varies in altitude between 200 m in the east and 840 m in the south-west near Berg-en-Dal. The highest point in the park is here, a hill called Khandzalive. Several rivers run through the park from west to east, including the Sabie, Olifants, Crocodile, Letaba, Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers.

 






The Kruger Park
Kruger National Park

The feeling of sitting around a Kruger Park camp fire while enjoying the African sunset has no description worthy of its beauty. In fact, when you’re so immersed in a crimson sky dancing with the tired sun, you forget that your world is governed by aspects such as time.

It is the moment when the animals of the day give way to the creatures of the night, and it’s a beautiful sight to see.To the left, you hear the roar of a great lion upsetting a small group of green pigeons nesting in a nearby tree. Disturbed from their nest they take flight and as you observe them stream past your view of the setting sun, you notice another majestic African beast in the distance. It extends its long trunk to a high branch in a tree and grabs a bunch of leaves. Once full, it rejoins its family of elephants on their journey. Its day-old calf stays close, unsure of whether or not it should mingle with other baby elephants.

You hear the chirping of a cricket hiding in the tall, dry grass to your right. The solo chirping gives rise to a choir of crickets that begin to sing in harmony with one another. The sound heralds the coming of the night; it is to the night what a rooster’s crow is to the dawn of day. A bizarre creature shoots past you, frantically flying back and forth as if confused. You notice it is not a bird as it comes back the second time.

The horseshoe bat dips down and grabs a cricket and hastily flies away:You can still see the descending outline of the sun as several stars appear and sparsely decorate the sky. The crimson appearance of the heavens transforms into a dark blue tint. The camp fire burns on and sets the tone for an intimate night to be spent in the African Bush. An antelope peers through the dense foliage to investigate your presence. It dashes away as soon as it notices you too are investigating its suspicious look. In the final hours of sunset you realise that you are in a world were life is not interrupted by sunsets or sunrises; you are at one with nature.


Kruger National Park 

Whether you’re on a luxurious tented camp safari or roughing it in the rugged outdoors, you’ll venture into the untamed wild to see the majestic creatures that draw thousands of tourists to Africa every year. Sadly, the African rhino population is under siege and, if things continue to progress the way they are, it’s a very real possibility that we won’t be able to view them in their natural habitat in the future.Lodges within the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Reserve, as well as a host of others, are all doing their part to ensure that security measures are put into place to combat the poaching war, with every small effort adding to the greater good. With that in mind, an event worth noting is the Footprints of Hope Walking Safari Challenge, an initiative by &Beyond safari lodges in association with Black Aces soccer star, Gordon Gilbert, and their expert rangers.Setting out on foot on December 29, the Footprints of Hope group aims to raise awareness by walking in the Kruger National Park, through Big Five territory, and sleeping in the wilderness. During their journey they’ll do educational drives in the surrounding areas, hoping to spread awareness and knowledge on the rhino and its significance in nature. They’ll also be educating people on &Beyond’s Life Skills programme, which aims to empower people to help themselves.While on your next tented camp safari or bush lodge holiday, make sure to take in the beauty of the rhino while on a game drive.




 Other activities in the Kruger National Park

The Kruger Park is well known for its unrivalled variety of fauna and flora and the uniquely African experience that Kruger Park tours offer nature lovers visiting South African shores. Game drives and bird watching are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to activity options in and around the park, however, and a host of fun filled activities await anyone willing to seek them out.How about a round of golf in the world’s largest protected game park? The Skukuza Golf Course is a magnificent nine hole, eight tee golf course on the outskirts of Skukuza restcamp.

During a round at the Hans Merensky golf course, it is common to see elephant, giraffe, warthog and various buck species crossing the rolling fairways. The Sabie River golf course is one of only four 18 hole courses in the beautiful Mmpumalanga lowveld area, and The Gary Player Leopard Creek golf course borders the picturesque Crocodile River and the Kruger Park; African golf at its best.The surrounding Mpumalanga province offers just about everything an adrenalin junkie could possibly ask for, and most of these are just a short drive from many of the Kruger Park camps.

Try white water rafting, ride some of the world’s most picturesque mountain biking trails or try your hand at quad biking with a guided tour across the majestic mountains.

The view from ground level is breathtaking in itself, but for an entirely new perspective on the beauty of the region, take a flight in a hot air balloon and ride the wind in silent serenity, or view the big five from a bird’s eye view in a microlight. Soar with the eagles and see how many species you can spot in a single flight.Luxurious accommodation, a huge variety of activities in and around the park and once in a lifetime game viewing on one of many Kruger Park tours, makes for innumerable possibilities for fun in the sun.


 Birdwatchers Paradise

Kruger National Park
South Africa’s world famous Kruger Park is a dream destination for nature lovers across the globe. Kruger Park tours offer a chance to see an unimaginable variety of wildlife in awe-inspiring abundance. For birdwatchers, the Kruger Park offers a unique opportunity to spot hundreds of bird species that move in and out of the area and live and nest in the various environments and eco-systems within the boundaries of the park.The Kruger Park is home, either permanently or as a warming summer vacation destination, to more than 500 species of bird. As all avid birdwatchers know, these species are not only found in the treetops and in the air. Many species live on the ground in dense bushes or near to a body of water. There are birds everywhere and a visit to the park offers a chance to tick off hundreds of species from your must-see list.Many birdwatchers in the park never have to leave their accommodation as many of the park’s bird species frequent the numerous Kruger Park camps, which are often constructed near to a body of water or another feature that attracts animals from the surrounding area. To catch a glimpse of some of the rarer and more elusive species though, guests should consider taking a specialised bird watching tour. These guided tours ferry visitors to prime bird watching locations and offer a chance to spot rare species like the trumpeter hornbill, cape parrot, tropical boubou, mashona hyliota and the mottled spinetail.Book your place on one of the many specialised Kruger Park tours available now for a completely unrivalled bird watching experience.



 Safari in South Africa

 If you are in to canoeing or like the idea of this sport then you would be happy to know that you can participate in this activity when you are in Africa. However, it is important that you realize that white water canoeing in this continent is not a simple job because the rivers in Africa are quite unmerciful. The most famous location to go canoeing in Africa is on Vaal River.If you are in for more adventure then may be you would like the idea of downhill mountain biking. All the adventurous people would have a great time for there are so many locations in Africa where they can carry out this sport. The De Hoop National Park and the Cape are the places that are popular for downhill mountain biking.Another sport which you can take up when you are in Africa is paragliding. You will find that there are numerous locations where you can go hand gliding or paragliding. You can have fun and adventure flying close to the ocean. Moreover, it would be cooler too when you fly close to the ocean. It would be recommended that you do not try paragliding in dry and arid locations for there would be too much heat, which many of us may not be able to tolerate.Sand boarding is another activity to look forward to when you are in Africa. Make sure that you take and use extra protection gears so that you do not harm yourself. Another activity which you can try is karoo biking.




 Kruger National Park

Bird watching is something that you can do in any country but if you want to have the ultimate bird watching experience then you should try bird watching on a Kruger Park Safari because it is considered as the best location for bird watching. You will find that the tourism industry in the Southern Africa is dedicated to provide the ultimate bird watching experience to all those tourists who love watching the birds.

Bird watching adventures combined with a Kruger Park Safari are for the serious bird watcher or observer.Apart from the Southern Africa, this activity is also well known on the eastern part of Africa. Even though the tourism industry, bird watching is located in the southern continent you will find that more bird species exist in Tanzania and Kenya eastern countries in Africa.

The eastern Africa claims to have as many as thirteen thousand bird species, which means that a trip to the eastern Africa for bird watching can give you the chance to see fifteen percent of the bird population in the world.

Of course, the Southern Africa may not have that many bird species but you will find around nine hundred and twenty species in the south.The countries which you can visit in Southern Africa for bird watching are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Swaziland and Botswana.

You will find that South Africa has numerous government sponsored reserves and national parks where you will find birds in abundance. If you are an avid bid watcher then you should not miss out the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the De Hoop Nature Reserve, West Coast National Park, Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, Ndumu Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.




 You can be sure to find large numbers of bird species if you visit these locations.If you are planning to go to east Africa for bird watching then perhaps you would like to consider going to Kenya, for you would find many bird species there. Kenya has a name for being one of the best countries in east Africa to have a large variety of bird species.

Some of the locations which you should check out in Kenya, for the purpose of bird watching are the Kakamego Forest Reserve, Mount Kenya National Park, Lake Bogoria,Lake Nakuru,Lake Baringo, Amboseli National Park and Aberdare National Park.

It is always wise to join a tour group so that you can visit all the important locations in Africa. As you must have heard, overlanding in Africa is the best way to explore and discover the continent so may be you should consider an overland trucking holiday if you do not mind living without comforts for a few weeks.


Kruger National Park 

The Kruger Park is popular due to its large and diverse population of animals, but the park is best known for the safaris that it offers. With approximately two million hectares of land to explore, this national park can offer you a pure African adventure and a Kruger Park safari that is custom made to your expectations and requirements.Kruger Park Safaris are some of the most sought after holidays in Africa and finding the one that suits your time, travelling party and budget perfectly is easy and absolutely essential.

The Kruger National Park offers a range of safaris, ensuring that everyone is given the opportunity to experience the wildlife and find the safari that is best suited to them. The most popular Kruger Park safari option is a fly in safari or scheduled tour with a tour operator, where game drives are hosted by professional trackers and Rangers who have a vast experience and knowledge of the Kruger park and its wildlife.






Kruger Park Safaris
 
Other safari’s can be found which focus on bird-watching, photography, finding the big 5, are designed for children, and which are disability friendly.A Kruger Park safari is one of the reasons why the Kruger Park has their good reputation. Every morning the gates of the parks open to allow locals and tourists staying in its surroundings towns and lodges to come into the park and experience it for a day or stay overnight in one of the Rest Camps. Many people who opt to stay in the park also use their own vehicles to go exploring – not only does this option give them the freedom of their own transportation and time schedule, but they can decide which areas of the park they would like to explore during their stay.

By having your own vehicle in the park another bonus is that you can choose to follow the crowds or go on your own adventure. Often when a great animal sighting is made, several vehicles flock around it to watch – by having your own vehicle you have the opportunity to go deeper into the bush to have your own private game viewing and make your own sightings.If you are staying in a lodge in the park or in its surrounding areas, game drives led by professional trackers and guides are an incredible way to experience a Kruger park safari. The benefits of this route of game viewing are immense, the most dominant being that you’ll have an experienced and knowledgeable guide to take you around the park and inform you about what you’re seeing and what you wouldn’t otherwise have noticed. You’ll have your own personal tracker to help you find the animals that you’re looking for and it’s likely that your vehicle will have a radio which informs you when a great sighting has been made so that you can go join others in seeing it.

If you are visiting the park with a specific motive, such as for photography, bird-watching or to help educate your children on wildlife and nature, you can find a safari that will aid you in this mission. If your Kruger Park Safari of choice is to drive your own vehicle then guide books and recommended schedules can be found online or at the park or your accommodations reception centres. If you are entering the park with high hopes of a specific sighting, a guided tour is most likely to be more beneficial than a self-driven Kruger park safari. Tour guides have a knowledge of where and how to find a bird or animal and know where the best photographs can be taken. Specially designed children safaris allow your children to participate in activities with other children, whilst learning about the environment and animals they are seeing.

This option gives parents the opportunity to go on longer game drives without their children getting bored or restless.If you are planning a Kruger Park Safari without a doubt you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs, expectations and schedule. Regardless of whether you’re staying in the park or outside of its gates in the surroundings villages, you will be able to enjoy the park and customise how you experience it. Whether you choose to drive your own vehicle in the park or to go on guided tours, your experience in the park will be thrilling and magical, leaving you satisfied and planning your next vacation there.









 1928 visit to Kruger

Kruger National Park
 
From the day Kruger’s gates opened to the public, people have fallen in love with the park, but there can be few people who can boast that their association with Kruger dates all the way back to 1928.

Lawrie Locke is one such person, and at the age of 95 his voice is filled with enthusiasm as he recollects his teenage visit to the Kruger National Park. In July 1928, Lawrie was a matric-year schoolboy at Parktown Boys High when he set off for Kruger with three of his friends.Their visit to the fledgling park was inspired by an unlikely source  the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team. The All Blacks had recently come on tour to South Africa, and had visited the park.

Learning of the visit through friends, the four teenagers decided to make the journey themselves, after the All Blacks paved the way.From data kept by the first warden of the Kruger National Park, James Stevenson-Hamilton, it is evident that Lawrie and his friends were among the first 200 visitors to the park and possibly in the first 100.Stevenson-Hamilton writes that in 1927 a grand total of three cars rolled through the only gate to the park  Pretoriuskop  but by cars entered the Park, a far cry from the million visitors the park currently gets each year.

The four friends travelled from Johannesburg in a Humber owned by George Stuart, father of Lawrie’s friend John. Lawrie’s other two companions were Peter Grant and Clive Lawrence.The journey was not without its difficulties, as Lawrie relates.

On the way down, at Witbank, the car’s charger conked in and the battery went flat. Luckily, a helpful mechanic in Witbank gave them a fully charged battery which he assured them would see them there and back provided they didn’t use the selfstarter, the lights, the hooter or any other electrically operated equipment. Luckily, the car could still be crank-started, so they continued their journey.

To get into the park, they had to be ferried across the river in a pont, as there was no suitable bridge.Lawrie says the park staff “made quite a fuss of us”, and that none other than the legendary Harry Wolhuter, “took us out, night and day, all round” and that “the way we were welcomed, you would think that we were royalty.” The group stayed in Kruger’s first accommodation, round concrete huts with a thatched roof.


The huts had no windows but there was a hole in the door which visitors could use to look for unwanted visitors before going outside.Ventilation was provided by an opening under the roof. Lawrie and his friends also went out on their own, and he describes it as “marvellous”, as they could drive wherever they wanted to go.

One day they spotted a pride of lions and drove off the road into a sandy patch to get up close and personal with the predators. Having looked their fill, they decided to move on. Lawrie was at the steering wheel, and mindful of the car’s lack of a charger, had left the motor running while they watched the lions.

However, when he put the car into reverse, the engine stalled in the thick sand.This was now a dilemma – the car could only be started if someone got out and cranked the engine, but they were surrounded by lions. Deciding that a loud noise might drive the animals off, the four teenagers simultaneously banged on the side of the doors of the Humber.




 “The lions lifted up their heads, thought ‘what a bunch of idiots’ and put their heads back down again.” Plan B was for them all to sing a rousing tune as loud as they could, and Lawrie remembers that they had a go at the Marseillaise, the French national anthem renowned for its vigour and stirring qualities.Lawrie says the lions were apparently unimpressed by the serenade, and seemingly did not change their opinion that the people in the car were “a bunch of idiots”. Having failed to inspire the lions into any activity, Lawrie remembered his mouth organ. Pulling it out, he put his head out of the window and began to play. This appeared to be too much for the lions, who, “stood up and walked away.” With some relief, “we dived out, cranked the engine and drove off.” With that adrenaline-stirring experience behind them, the four enjoyed the remainder of their stay in the park, and “in due course, we motored home.”Throughout the following decades Lawrie remained a frequent visitor to the park, enjoying many visits there with his family.

Although they sometimes stayed in park accommodation, Lawrie liked it best when they would string up the four corners of a canvas sail to nearby trees and camp under the simple protection it offered. He also fondly recollects that the park staff used to roast a leg of lamb for the family, and after a day’s outing they would return to wonderful aromas. Lawrie visited the park until well into his 80s, and he says that his three sons all still go with their families.Having recently suffered from a bad fall, “after 94 and a half wonderful years of health”, Lawrie now thinks he may be a bit too old to visit Kruger, but he says that if he expressed a desire, he is sure that his three “very attentive” sons would find a way to take him. Pretoriuskop reception in the early days of Kruger. This photograph is on dsplay in Pretoriuskop reception area.




 South African Safaris
Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand Game Reserve 
South Africa is a perfect destination for adventure where you can have your honeymoon or take your family for a holiday safari.

The infrastructure is perfect, providing a smooth and easy journey to the various lodges, park and game reserves. Lodges and camps are luxurious and will definitely meet most of your demands.

They are built inside or near game reserves where you can easily access the wild animals. As you drive and walk through the game parks, you will be accompanied by expert rangers who will lead you to different wildlife habitat as they explain and answer all your questions. There are also various private game park and game reserves to choose from.Kruger National Park in South Africa is a private game reserve with a variety of wild animals. These includes the big five (lion, buffalo, rhino, elephant and the leopard and other animals like zebras, cheetahs, hyenas and antelopes.

Luxurious lodges with excellent bathrooms and superb cuisine to provide game viewing are built inside the park. Self catering is provided in the park where you are allowed to come with your own food or you can choose to buy from the rest camp.

You can also have delicious meals from the lodge hotel which is served in a open dining room where you will enjoy the sun.Other game parks include the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Thorny Bush Private Game Reserve, Timbavati Private Game Reserve and Sabi Sands Game Reserve. All these game reserves have luxurious lodges built within or near the reserves so you can have complete enjoyment in your safari.


Some lodges and camps have shops, pharmacies, restaurants and medical services just to cater for all your needs and requirements. Public services for instance ATM and pay phones are also available.

This private game reserves are malaria free, therefore ideal for families with young children who can hardly take the medicine.
Botswana is also famous in wildlife safari in many parks such as Okavango Delta, Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Savuti Game Reserve, Chobe National Park and Moremi Game reserve.

The lodges are big and spacious enough to accommodate conference meetings privately. Apart from wildlife viewing, there are other activities involved such as golf, horse riding, hot balloon trips, elephant back safari, visiting the cheetah breeding project, spa treatment among others.

 

 

 

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