Useful facts about Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park is South Africa’s flagship wilderness area, and one of Africa’s most famous parks. For many safari tourists, Kruger is the top choice, with its abundance of wildlife, diversity of landscapes and excellent infrastructure and accommodation options. Want to learn more about this spectacular wilderness area? Here are some interesting facts about Kruger National Park.
Kruger National Park’s size
Stretching across two of South Africa’s provinces – Limpopo and Mpumalanga – Kruger is massive: 360 kilometres long, 65 kilometres at its widest and 2.5 million hectares or 19 500 square kilometres in total land area, making it one of Africa’s biggest parks and one of the world’s largest wilderness areas. For a sense of comparison, Kruger is the same size as Wales, nearly as big as Belgium and a third of the size of the Republic of Ireland.
Animals of Kruger
Most visitors to Kruger National Park are after the Big Five – lions, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo, which the park has in abundance: an estimated 2000 lions, 2000 leopards, 12 000 elephants, 10 000 rhino and 27 000 buffaloes are resident here. There are 114 species of reptile (including 3 000 Nile crocodiles), 147 mammal species and more than 500 species of birds. Six of these species belong to the “Big Six Birds”: lappet-faced vultures, martial eagles, saddle-billed storks, kori bustards and ground hornbills.
Kruger’s habitats and landscapes
Kruger is home to a number of different habitats: mountain bushveld, open savannah grassland, mopane woodlands, wooded savannah and sandveld with baobabs. Landscapes range from dramatic gorges to open grasslands, and rolling hills to tall granite koppies.
History of Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park was proclaimed by President Paul Kruger in 1894, established as the Sabi Game Reserve in 1898, and had its first warden in 1902. In 2002, Kruger National Park was joined up with Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe to form a giant peace park known as the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which spans a massive 35 000 square kilometres. There are plans to add other wilderness areas to the transfrontier park, which would eventually increase its size to nearly 100 000 square kilometres.
Kruger’s history goes back long before it was a park: the evidence of human occupation at the Thulamela iron age site is dated back to 1.5 million years. Throughout the park there are over 250 archaeological sites – including rock art sites – dating from the stone and iron ages where artefacts that are up to 100 000 years old have been found.
Kruger has 12 main rest camps, 5 bushveld camps, 2 bush lodges and 4 satellite camps run by the park and 15 private safari lodges.
Kruger visitor numbers
Kruger gets 1.4 million visitors a year, who visit the park through one of its 11 main gates – two of which are international gates between South Africa and Mozambique.
There are nine wilderness trails in Kruger – different routes that take hikers through the heart of wilderness areas that have been barely touched. Going on a wilderness trail – which takes several days – means you carry all your food for the multi-day trails and sleep outside under the stars: one of the best ways of experiencing Kruger, if you’re up for the adventure.
Kruger National Park’s anti-poaching unit is made up of 650 game rangers and a specialist dog unit.
Travel to Kruger
Kruger National Park is a fantastic safari option, whether you’re a first time safari traveller or an old hand. We’ve got loads of budget Kruger Park tours to choose from, ranging from a few days to a long tour that includes many other parks in southern and east Africa.