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Kruger National Park

Map of South Africa

Where - The park is 380 km long and on average 60 km wide, covering nearly 2 million hectares. It borders on Mozambique in the east, on Zimbabwe in the north, and on the South African province of Mpumalanga in the west and south. The Kruger National Park is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques. The park is home to 336 species of trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 species of mammals.

Brief history - The Kruger National Park was preceded by the Sabi Game Reserve, established in 1898 by Paul Kruger, the president of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Repuliek, to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld. The Shingwedzi Game reserve was proclaimed in 1903. In 1926 the Sabi and Shingwedzi Game Reserves were joined to form the Kruger National Park. After many years of troubles with farmers, hunters and politicians the park acquired its current status.

Baobab tree near Punda Maria
Baobab tree in Punda Maria-Pafuri area.
Letaba near Letaba Rest Camp, Kruger National Park
View of the Letaba near Letaba Rest Camp.
Click on pictures for enlarged view.

Three areas - A major portion of the park is covered with mopane, a large shrublike tree. You'll find the most variation in the south and the far north of the park. The less accessible north remains a calm oasis in any season.

The southern Kruger Park supports some of the richest game concentrations in Africa; this in turn attracts the most people. The busiest road in the park links Skukuza to Lower Sabie Rest Camp, and is hence often referred to as 'Piccadilly Highway'.

The central area also features a wide variety of species, particularly around Satara Rest Camp. The central area is reputed to have the highest concentration of lions.

Most of the 7,500-odd resident elephants are found north of Olifants Rest Camp. In the dense mopane scrubland, however, even these huge animals may be difficult to spot. The northern part of the park is for real bush and bird lovers, not least because there are fewer people. As one travels farther north, the mopane is broken by the lush riverine vegetation of the Shingwedzi, the baobab-dotted sandveld, and finally, the tropical floodplains that lie between the Luvuvhu and Limpopo rivers.

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