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The Kruger National Park is the primary destination in South Africa for many tourists. Each year more than half a million visitors are registered.

Kruger National Park

Home of the big five

Map of the Kruger National Park, South Africa

Covering nearly 2 000 000 ha, the Kruger National Park is one of the world's most famous wildlife sanctuaries. The Kruger is an enormous nature reserve stretching three hundred and fifty kilometres along the Mozambican border and being sixty kilometres wide on average.

The National Park was opened in 1898 at the instigation of then-president Paul Kruger. After hunters had considerably decimated the originally rich game stock, all the land between the Sabie and the Crocodile Rivers was put under the protection of Nature Conservation to ensure the survival of the remaining animals. Only as recently as 1961 was the extended Kruger Park fenced in.

The park stretches from the Crocodile River in the south up to the Limpopo River, which is the international border in the north. Altogether it is 350 km long, 65 km wide and comprises an area of about 20,000 sq km.

Chief among the attractions are the Big Five - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard - but there is much more to discover. It is home to an amazing 147 mammal species, including several with a limited distribution elsewhere in South Africa - Lichtenstein's hartebeest, Sharpe's grysbok, roan and sable.

With over 500 species on record, the birdlife in the park is also prolific. More than 50 raptors, the purplecrested lourie, a variety of kingfishers, beeeaters, rollers, hornbills, starlings and sunbirds, to name a few, occur here.

The park, which is criss-crossed by a network of game-viewing roads covering hundreds of kilometers, is divided in three main areas:

Southern Kruger National Park

Bounded by the Crocodile and Sabie rivers in the south and north, the southern Kruger National Park comprises the historic Government Game reserve, proclaimed in 1898. Abundant wildlife, diverse vegetation and varied landscapes make it one of the park's most popular areas.

Antelopes in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

Central Kruger National Park

The central Kruger National Park, between the Sabie and Letaba rivers, is renowned for breeding herds of elephant and plains animals such as blue wildebeest and Burchell's zebra. Stalking the gazers and browsers are the predators, among them lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog.

Gnu in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

Northern Kruger National Park

The vegetation of the northern section of the Kruger National Park differs markedly from that of the central and southern areas. Dominant in the east is a vast expanse of mopane shrubveld and to the west the vegetation is characterised by mixed bushwillow and mopane veld. The area supports numerous breeding herds of elephant and is the favoured habitat of several rare animals. One of its main attractions, however, is its prolific birdlife, especially along the Luvuvhu River in the Pafuri area.

Elephants in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

One of the world's most famous wildlife sanctuaries