The Kruger National Park is located within South Africa, falling over the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The Kruger National Park shares national borders with both Zimbabwe to the north of the park and Mozambique to the east.
Now that you know where the Kruger National Park is located, let’s take a look at a few facts about the Kruger Park you might not know, a brief history of the park, the size of the Kruger Park, how to get to Kruger from main South African centres, and the species of wildlife you can expect to see while on a guided Kruger National Park tour.
Kruger National Park Facts:
Contrary to popular belief, the Kruger National Park isn’t the largest game reserve on the African continent. However, with a surface area of around 20 000 square kilometres (around 7500 square miles), it certainly isn’t on the smaller end of the spectrum. This infographic shares a few more interesting Kruger Park facts, and they are listed below for reference.
- The first vehicles were permitted to enter the Kruger Park in 1927, for a fee of £1.
- The Kruger National Park was originally called the Sabi Game Reserve.
- Kruger Park measures 530 kilometres long and 60 kilometres wide.
- The Kruger National Park is about the size of Wales, and just smaller than Belgium.
- There are multiple sites (over 100) across the Kruger Park where actual bushman cave paintings are found.
- All five members of the Big Five can be seen and documented at the Kruger Park.
- Visitors can also find the Little Five, as well as the Birding Big Six, at the Kruger National Park.
- The fencing of Kruger Park only began in 1956, thirty years after it opened to the public.
Kruger National Park History:
In a highly-informative article titled A Brief History of the Kruger National Park we look at a timeline of events that make up this iconic park’s history. We’ve simplified this article into a visual infographic below, and added a summary timeline for reference.
Unchecked hunting in the region nearly decimates the indigenous animal life, driving species of all variety perilously close to extinction. Ironically, a hunter by the name of Abel Chapman brings the crisis to the government’s attention. In 1895 politician Jakob Louise van Wyk suggests a state-sanctioned preservation park, and the notion is passed by a margin of one single vote.
1898 to 1927:
The 26th of March 1898 is when Paul Kruger declares the region a state-controlled wilderness park, which was known then as the Sabi Game Reserve. Efforts to drive out poachers and create ‘roadways’ progress slowly, and the first tourists to enter the park arrive via train in 1926 (at which time the park is renamed the Kruger National Park). A year later, the first automobiles are permitted to drive through the park – for a fee of £1.
1927 to 1996:
Tourists arrive by their thousands each year, growing in number per annum, but the Kruger National Park is not completely enclosed – allowing poachers and hunters to enter unhindered. Work to border the park with fencing commences in 1959. During this time period the indigenous Makuleke people are forcefully moved from the north of the park to the southern region in order to free up space.
1996 to present:
In 1996 the surviving Makuleke people submit a land claim of 20 000 hectares, which is granted and returned to them. This tribal land is then opened up to private tourism investment, which contributes to the number of camp sites and permanent accommodation structures available. Just before the year 2000 fences separating the Kruger Park from the surrounding Klaserie, Olifants & Balule game reserves are dropped, adding an extra 400 000 hectares of land to the park.
How Big is the Kruger National Park?
The Kruger National Park covers an area of 19,485 square kilometres. The park is larger than quite a few countries, including Fiji (18,272km2), Jamaica (10,991km2), and Lebanon (10,452km2).
Kruger Park is quite expansive, falling over two South African provinces – namely Limpopo and Mpumalanga – and borders to other African countries, Zimbabwe to the north and Mozambique to the east.
Depending on how fast you go, and whether or not you stop at any point, it would take you more than five days to walk from one end of the Kruger Park to the other.
How to Get to the Kruger National Park:
Visiting the Kruger National Park anytime soon? Here’s how to get there from four major South African centres:
Johannesburg to Kruger Park:
Driving to the Kruger National Park? You can travel from Johannesburg to Nelspruit via the N4, then continue on to Hazelmere from which you will be able to easily make your way to the Kruger Park gate.
Alternatively, you can make use of shuttle services. There is a lovely shuttle service called Ashtons that will cost around R750.00 per person. Shuttles may be caught at the Oliver Tambo International airport, and can take you directly to the Kruger National Park.
Durban to Kruger Park:
Coming to Kruger from Durban? Drive to Barberton and through until you reach Saddleback Pass. This will provide you with a breath-taking view of the valleys below. When you enter Swaziland you should merge onto a well-developed road where you’ll see signs pointing you in the direction of your destination.
Want to see something different? From Durban drive to Winterton and then on to Dundee and continue through the rural parts of Zululand, where you will be able to view historical landmarks such as the Battle of Rourks Drift.
Merge onto the N2 until you enter Swaziland, head northwest by using the big bend; this will lead you out of Swaziland where you will drive along the Jeppes Peak, which should take you to the park.
Cape Town to Kruger Park:
Getting to the Kruger National park from Cape Town is an experience in itself, with a few options available:
Take the N1 towards Bloemfontein from Cape Town, which circles around Bloemfontein and through Winburg. You’ll pass Kroonstad and end up in Johannesburg South. You then get onto the N12 going east, which then merges with the N4 near Witbank. Continue until you see a sign for the R36. Take that turnoff, then travel along until the R36 turns into the R539. Take the N4 turnoff when prompted, which will deposit you at the southern gate of the Kruger National Park.
Alternatively, you can fly directly to Skukuza (within the Kruger Park) directly from Cape Town International Airport!
Wildlife in the Kruger National Park:
The Big Five:
Safari enthusiasts and animal lovers will be able to view this majestic animal in the Kruger national park.
Leopards are light skinned in color and have spots, leopards may also be dark in color, however their spots are lighter. These magnificent animals may reach speeds of 58 km/h. Their diet consists of ants, deer and bugs and other mammals. Leopards are solitary creatures and do not live in groups unlike other members of the cat family.
The king of the jungle may be found within the Kruger national park and is considered to be a main attraction.
Male lions have a prominent Maine which is how they are recognized. Lion prides consist of a few adult males, females and their cubs. The lioness hunt in groups ant prey on buck, deer and other ungulates. Lions are found within the bushy areas of the Park which mimics the Savannah Grasslands.
Tourists will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent gentle giants.
These amazing animals have characteristically long noses. There are two species of elephant the African and the Asian elephant
The African Buffalo features a shoulder height of between 1.0 metres and 1.7 metres, featuring a black pelt that appears almost blue in some lights.
These unpredictable bovines have very little in common with domestic cows, and have never been domesticated. Keep your distance when seeing these African animals, who will more than likely be found with an Oxpecker or two on their backs.
Looking for the opportunity to see one of the planet’s most endangered species in person? The Kruger National Park has both Black and White Rhinoceros groups throughout.
Rhino are large, thick-skinned herbivorous mammals naturally found with one or two horns on their noses. However, with poaching becoming more and more of an issue on the continent, both Black and White Rhino will often have their horns removed to dissuade poaching.
Members of the Cat Family:
These animals are relatively similar to the domestic cat, however when it comes to their natures, they are relatively reclusive animals.
This specie of the cat family is also fairly reclusive animals, they enjoy the savannah grasslands , however they also exist well in a rocky terrain they are also gifted climbers.
They thrive in environments where there is open space to run, they are able to reach land speeds of 112 km/h, they are mostly found alone, but they also do form groups.
They exist in mainly grassy parts of the park; their long necks make them easy to spot.
These canines may hunt in groups of up to 40, the back of the pack is characterized by the breeding pair.
They exist within the rocky hills of the and the impressive trees that surround the park.
They have poor eye sight and could potentially come close to guests.
These animals stay in groups of about 100, when they feel threatened, they may blow or snort.
They are seen in the thick bushes, in the small herds there is a small distinction when it comes to size and color between the males and family.
They enjoy tall grass environments these amazing animals are also able to swim, they emit a high-pitched whistle.