Advantages Fantastic place to see animals in their natural habitat
Disadvantages None at all
|Is it worth visiting?|
KRUGER NATIONAL PARKKRUGER HISTORY
It was as long ago as 1898 that the park was proclaimed as Sabie Game Reserve by the president of the Transvaal Republic of the time, Paul Kruger. He saw the need to protect the animals of the Lowveld and so the area between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers was set aside for restricted hunting. By the time this area became the Kruger National Park in 1926, the idea of wildlife as a tourist attraction was already established. The value of tourist dollar was also recognized and to encourage these visitors it was decided to build a main road through the park, with various secondary roads for game viewing.In 1928 the first three "rest huts" were built at Satara, Pretoriuskop and Skukuza . This was the start and gradually more accommodation was built, hot water provided for the visitors bathrooms, the camps were fenced and became larger providing more and more facilities such as swimming pools, restaurants and so on.
Kruger is in the north eastern area of South Africa to the west is Limpopo and to the south is Mpumalanga two South African provinces. In the north is Zimbabwe, and if you travel east you will come to Mozambique. HOW BIG IS THIS PARK?
WHERE IS KRUGER NATIONAL PARK?
This is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers 18,989 km2. It stretches 360 kilometres from north to south and 65 kilometres from east to west. Just to give you something familiar to compare this to, England is 130,395 km2 and Scotland is 80 234 km2.
It was also recently extended through cooperation with the Mozambique authorities. This expanse of land means that the park covers six different eco systems from Mopane scrub , mixed acacia thicket and Lebombo knobthorn-marula bushveld through to Baobab sandveld, woodland and riverine forest.This means that you have the opportunity to experience not only the amazing range of southern African landscapes, but also the different wildlife that inhabits each.
Kruger National Park is in a malaria area so if you go there you should consider taking malaria pills. If you are planning a trip then your local surgery in the UK will know which pills are recommended and what the possible side effects are. I have been very ill with Malaria tablets in the past so we asked which were the least likely to upset me as strangely they were the most expensive Malarone which are fairly new and meant to have fewer side effects other than a big hole in your wallet at £5 a pill. Obviously you also need to take other precautions like bug spray and covering up in the evening when mossies are around. If you are wanting more information about anti malarial drugs then I suggest you look at this site
South Africa being in the Southern hemisphere has their winter when we have our summer. The climate in this area is officially sub tropical which means that it never gets that cold. The best time to visit is supposed to be the dry winter season but we went in early February when it was hot but we had no rain. The vegetation was quite lush so it was harder to spot the animals but we still managed to see a lot. If you prefer cooler temperatures then head there in the winter.
You can do day trips into the park from outside but I would seriously suggest staying within the park. I would also suggest staying at a couple of rest camps in different parts of the park so that you get a chance to see a variety of animals and eco systems. We stayed at Lower Sabie and Skukuza which are quite a way apart and very different areas. There are private game lodges around the park area but I would seriously suggest staying at the official Rest camps as they are well designed, extremely comfortable and spread around the park in such a way as to give you a good look around.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
Sadly for those who like to lie around on holiday the animals in Kruger are early risers so the best time to see animals is early morning ( getting up while it is still dark at about 4.30) and late afternoon from about 4 o' clock onwards, although good sightings can be made any time of the day.
OKAY NOW TO THE ACTUAL ANIMAL SAFARIS
I have read that some people say that Kruger has become crowded and there are traffic jams when an anaimals is spotted. Well from my experience this is far from the truth. We passed the occasional car and sometimes there were two or three cars in the same spot but in realty we had many areas to ourselves so I think that is an exaggeration.
A lot of people having see the 'Lion King' expect little vegetation and crowds of animals but Kruger has quite thick vegetation and we tended to see animals as they crossed the road or if they were at the side of the road as if they went into the scrubby bush they disappeared really quickly as they are so well camouflaged. You would think a giraffe would stick ouyt like a sore thumb but they don't, you have to keep your eyes open and look for a movement or a change in shadows in order to spot the animals. Having said that we did come across a male lion lying in the road and his other three mates were lying or walking very close to the roadside which at this spot was quite grassy. He lay there for quite while and by the time he stretched and got up there were about five cars on either side of him waiting for him to move. Animals always have the right of way so you just wait.We saw herds of elephants splashing in the river not so far from us on a few occasions. Up close one very large herd crossing the road and one male looked straight at us, my husband had the car in reverse ready to move in case he didn't like us. Just close to the restaurant at Lower Sabie one large elephant was grazing just below us.
Hippos we saw in the hippo pool just outside Sabie rest camp. You only really saw their heads coming up and down as they walk around in the pool. Sometimes their huge mouths open as they yawn. Another day there were a large number wallowing in the river beside Lower Sabie restaurant which we watched while enjoying our lunch.Leopards are very tricky to spot , sorry about the word play, but once again we were so lucky as a mother with her cubs crossed the road in front of us and they disappeared from view only about three feet into the scrub. We were once again really close to her and her family which is very unusual.
Cheetahs are very rare to see as there are only about 200 in the whole of Kruger and we were not lucky enough to see any .
Zebras are herd animals and tend to like the grasier areas and we did see a number of there. They are so lovely and look so amazingly clean and healthy with chubby hind quarters.
Buffalo, we got in the middle of a huge herd with youngsters this was a little worrying at times but they just looked at us as we drove very slowly between them to get out.
Giraffes we saw quite a few of at different times around the park. They are so beautiful and look at you with such a superior air as they calmly wander across the road just in front of your car.
Something you are very likely to see are antelope, mainly the lovely impala, we didn't see any of the rugby player's name sake springbok though. We did see duiker, kudu, impalas and a dik dik too and they are really tricky to spot so that was quite a thrill.
If you would like to go on safari and drive yourself then Kruger in the park to visit. We saw so many animals and we spent about four days in the park at the two different rest camps. You can see the same sort fo animals in Kenya but I would not suggest a self drive holiday there for safety reasons. A lot of people talk about the dangers in South Africa but if you are sensible and take the normal precautions then it is a lovely safe country. If you plan to visit just to see Kruger then fly into Johannesburg. If you want to see more of the country then we spent just over two weeks driving from Cape Town to Kruger and saw so much on the way. Not once did we feel uneasy. We didn't drive at night as the roads can sometimes have the most horrendous potholes which are hard to see at night.I would thoroughly recommend this national park if you want to see animals in their natural environment. Safari reserves around Cape Town will only have imported game animals as they are not naturally found that far south. It depends on how you feel about seeing animals in their genuinely natural habitat. This is the most amazing place to see wild animals in their natural habitatI trust this has been useful to some of you and of interest to others. Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.
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