A date with the raw side of nature – Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park, the second-largest game reserve in Africa and the largest in South Africa, is South Africa’s first national park and was established in 1926. The Kruger national Park is the flagship of South African National Parks, spanning a whole 360km from North to South, and 65km from East to West. This serene park has the scenic beauty of Limpopo, situated to the west, Mpumalanga to the south and the country of Zimbabwe, to the North. The enormous park has nine entrance gates and is home to the famous Big Five, the Little Five and the birding Big Six, names given to groups of highly endangered and rare species of birds and animals, most of which can only be found at Kruger. Additionally, the park also houses to a range of unique fauna and flora.

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A historical snapshot of the glorious national park

The administrative headquarters building of Kruger National Park is located in Skukuza. A majority of the area of the park was first protected by the government of the  Republic of South African in 1898, where it eventually became the country’s first national park in 1926.

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The park was actually planned and created in an attempt to control merciless hunting and to protect the diminishing number of animals within the park. It was only until 1923 that the first large groups of tourists were able to visit the Sabie Game Reserve, but only as a part of the South African Railways’ famed “Round in Nine” tours. These specially made tourist trains used the Selati railway line between Komatipoort, situated on the Mozambican border and Tzaneen in the Limpopo Province.

In 2002, the areas of Kruger National Park, Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and even Limpopo National Park in Mozambique were all incorporated into one single peace park that is today known as the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

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A rendezvous to remember – get close to nature

The reserve is made up of a variety of exquisite locations which provide more than ample accommodation in the form of lodges, tent-based camps and even self-catering chalets. The park also sports a wide variety of tour options and safaris within the distinct and contrasting landscapes of the more than 19,000 square kilometer area of the park. Popular destinations within the confines of the park include Lower Sabie, Punda Maria and the famed Crocodile Bridge rest camp.

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The park is surrounded by an abundance of indigenous vegetation, where you can find excellent bird watching opportunities. Game spotting is the order of the day at the popular Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp. This particular camp is noted for its population of lions that hunt for prey in the area around the banks of the Crocodile River. Additionally, guests are often treated to a friendly atmosphere and enjoy excellent service from the management and their staff at the camp.Even at the time of booking, the staff is extremely helpful and accommodating.

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Kruger National Park is, in fact, internationally recognized as a world-class destination and is at the very top of any wildlife enthusiast’s list of places to visit before they die.

Accommodation

The Kruger National Park houses about 21 rest camps, 2 private lodge concessions, and up to 15 designated private safari lodges. The concessions, which are portions of land run and operated by private companies in partnership with local communities, outsource the operations of private lodges.

Where to stay – some suggestions

Consider staying at Pretoriuskop Camp, named after a nearby hill under which Voortrekker Willem Pretorius is buried. Pretoriuskop offers some of the most popular and oldest Kruger National Park accommodations, which provides guests with a sense of nostalgia as they are surrounded with the glimmer of the area’s past.

Emerging several hundred feet over the Oliphant’s river Bushveld, is the hilltop rest camp of Olifants, which provides an exhilarating experience of the area’s wildlife, varied flora and charming panoramic view.

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