Kruger National Park
About Kruger National Park:
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers 18,989 square kilometres (7,332 sq mi) and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west.
The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the "Biosphere").
History of Kruger National Park:
Sabi Game Reserve (1898 - 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, 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 the 30th April 1946, after 44 years as warden of the Kruger Park and its predecessor, the Sabi Game Reserve.
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 Apartheid South Africa 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 km2) in the northern park 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 the a peace park, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
Geography of Kruger National Park:
Climate of Kruger National Park:
The climate of the Kruger National Park and Lowveld is subtropical. Summer days are humid and hot with temperatures often soaring to above 38 °C (100 °F). The rainy season is from September until May. The dry winter season is the ideal time to visit this region for various reasons. There is less chance of contracting malaria and the days are milder. Viewing wildlife is more rewarding as the vegetation is more sparse and animals are drawn to the waterholes to drink every morning
Flora and fauna of Kruger Park:
Plant life in the park consists of four main areas:
This area lies between the western boundary and roughly the centre of the park south of the Olifants River. Combretums, such as the red bush-willow (Combretum apiculatum), and Acacia species predominate while there are a great number of marula trees (Sclerocarya caffra).The Acacias are dominant along the rivers and streams, the very dense Nwatimhiri bush along the Sabie River between Skukuza and Lower Sabie being a very good example.
South of the Olifants River in the eastern half of the park, this area provides the most important grazing-land. Species such as red grass (Themeda triandra) and buffalo grass (Panicum maximum) predominate while the knob-thorn (Acacia nigrescens), leadwood (Combretum imberbe) and marula (Sclerocarya caffra) are the main tree species.
This area lies in the western half of the park, north of the Olifants River. The two most prominent species here are the red bush-willow (Combretum apiculatum) and the mopane tree (Colophospernum mopane).
Shrub Mopane Veld:
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 sericae) are prominent. The sandveld communities near Punda Maria are equally definitive, with a wide variety of unique species.
Altogether it has roughly 1,982 species of plants.
Out of the 517 species of birds found at Kruger, 253 are residents, 117
non-breeding migrants, and 147 nomads.
All the Big Five game animals are found at Kruger National Park, which has more species of mammals than any other African Game Reserve (at 147 species). There are webcams set up to observe the wildlife.
The park stopped culling elephants in 1989 and tried translocating them, but by 2004 the population had increased to 11,670 elephants, by 2006 to approximately 13,500 and by 2009 to 11,672. The park's habitats can only sustain about 8,000 elephants. The park started using annual contraception in 1995, but has stopped that due to problems with delivering the contraceptives and upsetting the herds.
Kruger supports packs of the endangered African Wild Dog, of which there are thought to be only about 400 in the whole of South Africa.
Kruger National Park holds over 48 tons of ivory in storage. According to Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), it is allowed to sell 30 tons.
Following approval by CITES, 47 metric tons of stockpiled ivory from Kruger were auctioned on November 6, 2008. The sale fetched approximately US$6.7 million which will be used towards increasing anti-poaching activity. The average price for the 63 lots on auction was US$142/kg.
- African Buffalo 27,000
- Burchell's Zebra 17,797
- Elephant 11,672
- Blue Wildebeest 9,612
- Giraffe 5,114
- Hippopotamus 3,000
- Leopard 1,000
- Black Rhinoceros 350
- Cheetah 200
- African Wild Dog 350
- Bushbuck 500
- Waterbuck 5,000
- Impala 90,000
- Greater Kudu 5,798
- Lion 1,500
- Spotted Hyena 2,000
- White Rhinoceros 7,000 to 12,000
- Common Eland 300
Amphibians and fishes:
Thirty-three species of amphibians are found in the Park,as well as 50 fish species. A Zambesi shark, Carcharhinus leucas, also known as the bull shark, was caught at the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers in July 1950. Zambezi sharks tolerate fresh water and can travel far up rivers like the Limpopo.
Gates to the Kruger Park:
The Kruger Park has the following gates:
kruger park lodge:
- Camp Shawu near Crocodile Bridge Gate .
- Camp Shonga near Crocodile Bridge Gate .
- Hamiltons Tented Camp
- Hoyo Hoyo Tsonga Lodge
- Imbali Safari Lodge
- Jocks Safari Lodge & Spa
- Lukimbi Safari Lodge
- Pafuri Camp, near Pafuri Gate .
- Plains Camp
- Rhino Post Camp
- Shishangeni Lodge near Crocodile Bridge Gate .
- Singita Lebombo Lodge
- Singita Sweni Lodge
- The Outpost Lodge, near Pafuri Gate.
- Tinga Game Lodges