The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,633 square kilometres (7,580 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in north-eastern South Africa, and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west. The administrative headquarters are in Skukuza. Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic in 1898, and it became South Africa’s firstnational park in 1926. To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.
Adjacent to the Kruger Park are huge private game reserves like the famous Sabi Sands and Timbavati Private Game Reserves. These share unfenced borders with the Kruger Park and the whole area is known as the greater Kruger conservation area. It is here that you will find some of the most luxurious private game lodges, offering off-road game viewing in 4×4 safari vehicles, guided bush walks and night drives. The bush and animals are the same as in the rest of the Kruger Park, but the accommodation is different. In the public area of the Kruger Park, most of the accommodation consists of bungalows or “rondavels” in the various rest camps. Camping is also an option. You can drive yourself around or use a tour guide, but the vehicles are not allowed to go off-road in search of wildlife.
The Kruger National Park is renowned not only for its diversity of wildlife, but also for its conservation record. You can see the famed Big Five, but you’ll also be dazzled by hundreds of birds, ancient trees, mighty rivers and much, much more. Remember, it’s not only about the famed Big Five, but thousands of other animals such as the giraffe – surely the most elegant of all the bush animals. You will also encounter elephants galore – watch out for that tiny baby crossing the road – and herds of buffalo. There are so many different kinds of antelope your head will spin, fat crocodiles sunning themselves on sandbanks, hyenas mooching along, and, if you’re very lucky, a pack of wild dogs on the prowl.
The Kruger National Park enjoys a great year-round sunny climate and offers all kinds of activities, from guided game drives and bush walks with an armed ranger to three-night walking trails in deep wilderness areas.