Kruger National Park
The world-renowned Kruger National Park is South Africa‘s best-known National Park. Areas of the park were first protected in 1898 and it became a national park in 1926. In the late 1990s, the fences between the Kruger Park and the Klaserie Game Reserve, Olifants Game Reserve and Balule Game Reserve were dropped and incorporated into the Greater Kruger Park with 400,000 hectares added to the Reserve. In 2002, Kruger National Park, Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe and Limpopo National Park in Mozambique were incorporated into a peace park named the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. The park is approximately 360 kilometres long and has an average width of 65 kilometres, while at its widest point, the park is 90 kilometres wide from east to west.
There are a variety of different ways to access the lodges in the Greater Kruger National Park, including by road for guests that are self-driving or with flights into the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport, Hoedspruit Airport or Phalaborwa Airport. Direct flights from Cape Town or Johannesburg into Skukuza Airport operate daily (ideal for lodges such as Lion Sands, Sabi Sabi, &Beyond Tengile, Mala Mala and Londolozi) while Federal Air offers a door to door service from their hangar at OR Tambo International to a variety of the lodges in the Sabi Sands and Timbavati with twice-daily shuttle flights.
The ease of accessing the Greater Kruger area means that a safari stay is easily combinable with other areas in South Africa including Cape Town and the Winelands, Johannesburg and KwaZulu Natal. Airlink also offers scheduled flights from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to Livingstone in Zambia and to Vilanculos in Mozambique (please check the flight schedules for days of operation) which makes for a wonderful Bush and Beach combination.
A quick summary of the highlights of the Kruger National Park include:
- Almost 2 million hectares of the unspoilt African bushveld
- Over 500 species of bird, some of which are not found anywhere else in South Africa – visitors can look out for the Big 6 of the bird world: the Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel’s Fishing-Owl and Ground Hornbill
- Home to five vegetation zones, each with their own special flair and diverse range of species
- All of Africa’s iconic safari species – elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino, buffalo, giraffe, hippo and zebra – thrive here and the Kruger National Park is home to over 12,000 elephants, 27,000 African Buffalo, 2,000 leopards and 2,800 lions. It’s also regarded as the best place in the world to see a leopard