In 1884, president of the then Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger, suggested that the animals of the lowveld needed to be protected as their populations were being decimated by people lured to the region by the prospect of gold.
By 1898, the Sabie Game Reserve had been established, but the advent of the South Africa War, which raged across the country between 1899 and 1902, halted further progress on this front. After the war, efforts to protect the animals of the region resumed and a number of neighbouring areas were incorporated to form what is today known as the Kruger National Park.
Aside from Krugers abundance of wildlife, the park is also home to hundreds of recorded cultural heritage sites, including 130 rock art sites; more than 300 recorded archaeological sites, ranging from the early Stone Age to the Iron Age; and significant archaeological ruins.
Three cultural sites are currently open to the public including the Albasini Ruins (the remains of a 19th century trading post of the famous Portuguese trader, Joao Albasini); Masorini (a late Iron Age site); and Thulamela (a second late Iron Age site). The park recognises the importance of conserving these sites due to their cultural, spiritual and historical significance.
Kruger National Park is one of the largest national parks in the world and stretches 350 kilometres from the Crocodile River in the south to the Limpopo River in the north. Apart from the Crocodile River, five other waterways feed the reserve, including the Sabie, Oliphants, Letaba, Luvuvhu and Shingwedzi Rivers.
Although the park can be characterised by combinations of savannah, thornveld and woodland eco-zones, it comprises 16 macro eco-zones which fall into the categories of mopane bush (northern half) and thornveld (southern half).
The far north of the park is largely flat and arid, although there are several dense mopane groves in places. This area is regarded as the wildest area of the park. The northern area is characterised by the Lebombo Mountains in the east and a mixture of mopane scrub and taller trees, while the southern region is the most densely vegetated.
The Kruger National Park has hot, balmy summer days (from October to March) and warm, mild and dry winters (from April to September). Winter nights can get very cold, so warm clothing is necessary for evening activities.
Its sub-tropical climate heralds a summer rainfall pattern, which usually results in heavy afternoon thunderstorms. The annual rains transform the landscape into a lush, flowering wonderland, although the increased vegetation makes spotting the animals a little more difficult.
The best time to view game in Kruger is during the winter months, as foliage is sparse and animals are restricted to rivers and waterholes. Because it’s not as hot, game also tend to be more out in the open, as opposed to during summer when the heat of the day sends them into shaded areas. Generally speaking, game viewing is more productive in the early mornings and late afternoons.
Contact the Southern Africa Travel team today and start planning your luxury tailor made safari to the Kruger National Park.