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KRUGER NATIONAL PARK


Kruger National Park and the Greater Limpopo Trans-frontier Park
Arguably the most famous game reserve in all of Africa, Kruger National Park is a vast tract of land covering some 19,633 square kilometers/7,580 square miles in the northeast corner of South Africa. It spans the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, and runs along the national border with Mozambique. It is the ultimate safari destination for visitors to South Africa, offering day visits, overnight stays, self-drive safaris and guided game drives. Kruger has 12 main rest camps, 4 private camps, and 7 bush camps. There is roughly 3000km tourist roads, and a further 2000km service roads used by the park rangers. Even with all the infrastructure, 98% of KNP is unspoiled wilderness. 
Kruger National Park was first established as a wildlife refuge in 1898, when it was proclaimed as the Sabie Game Reserve by the president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. More recently, the Kruger became part of the Greater Limpopo Trans-frontier Park, an international collaboration that joins the park with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique; and the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe. A total area of 35 000 square km means that animals can now move freely across international borders as they would once have done thousands of years ago. 

Diversity
147 mammal species have been recorded within the park’s boundaries, in addition to countless reptiles, fish and amphibians. Amongst them are the Big Five – buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino (both black and white). Rare and endangered animals such as Cheetah, African wild dog, Black-footed cat and the Pangolin, also roam the park. 
The park is home to no fewer than 507 bird species, and 404 tree species.
POACHING is sadly a great threat to the KNP. Many large mammals, plants, birds, reptiles and amphibians are targeted by poachers, either for traditional practices, or, in the case of the Rhino and Pangolin, to export the Rhino horn and Pangolin scales for various reasons.
The efforts to combat poaching is steadily having a positive effect, but is difficult to control due to the magnitude of land that needs to be monitored. It is estimated that the Kruger Park and Greater Kruger region has suffered a 70% loss of Rhino's in recent years.
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GALLERY

Rich in history, beauty and ruggedness, the Drakensberg escarpment leaves much to the imagination when meandering through the striking scenery, with remnants of ox-wagons, warriors and a frantic gold rush, that has enriched the area with stories and legends.

The Drakensberg mountains are approximately 1000 km long, and the longest mountain range in South Africa. The northern range in the Mpumalanga province, known as the Drakensberg escarpment, is home to the beautiful Blyde River Canyon (blyde meaning joy), or Mothlatse Canyon (Mothlatse meaning the river that always flows), waterfalls, forests, rivers and an abundance of fauna and flora, which can be explored on many hikes, view sites and a multitude of activities. The highest peak being Mariepskop, at 1944m above sea level, and named after chief Marepe, of the Mapulana tribe, for his bravery in defeating the Swazi tribe on the top of Mariepskop.

Made up of sedimentary and volcanic rock, the mountain was formed by tectonic movement, yet the sedimentary rock formed by an inland sea millions of years ago. The Blyde River Canyon is the third deepest true canyon in the world, after the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, and the largest being the Grand Canyon in the United States of America. The Blyde River Canyon is considered to be the largest green canyon in the world, having it's own natural forests.

A 20 000 hectare nature reserve protects the diversity and uniqueness of the canyon, with even Fynbos flora in the mountain peaks, and one of the cleanest rivers in South Africa, the Blyde, filtered by wetlands, and feeding crystal clear pools of water within the range.

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SEASONAL FACTS


Summer (November – February)

The start of the rainy season provides for a most beautiful green scenery, wild flowers and herbs flourishing, and many beautiful migrant birds showing off their colours. A highlight is watching flocks of thousands of Red-billed queleas filling the sky. With temperatures soaring over 40 degrees Celsius, the summer is hot and humid, with millions of insects doing what they do best.
General game viewing can be very productive as temporary water catchments fill up and wild life is generally widespread. A highlight would certainly be thousands of new born Impala’s, wildebeest calves and warthog piglets. Although visibility is at times limited due to the lush vegetation, it is indeed a beautiful and colourful time to visit Kruger.


Autumn (March – April)

As water holes and rivers usually will be healthily filled by this time, the gradual cooling in temperature (but still reaches mid 30’s) makes for very pleasant weather and occasional rain. Yet again colours dance in the wind as the Flora starts changing, and preparing for the coming winter. Migratory birds start their journeys to other parts of the world.
Wildlife is generally still very widespread and adds to the adventure and excitement of seeing anything, anywhere, at any time. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets with clouded art are a definite highlight. The cooler temperatures is a factor in many animals being more active throughout the day.


Winter (May– August)

Cold mornings and evenings are blessed with beautiful, often cloudless warm days, with temperatures ranging between 5 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius. An occasional cold front could bring on some cold winds.
 But the cool mornings make for interesting game viewing as the animals often have more energy in the colder temperatures. Waterholes and rivers will start drying out by the end of winter which will start a gradual concentration of wildlife around water points. This makes for great game viewing and animal interaction around waterholes. The vegetation starts becoming sparser and drier, which makes visibility easier.


Spring (September – October)

Arguably the best season for ultimate game viewing around waterholes and on river banks. As many travellers yearn to witness predator/prey interactions, this is the best time to sit around water holes to watch and wait for things to happen. As animals start congregating around water points, the diversity of wildlife in one place can be astounding.
Migratory birds start arriving and fill the skies with colour once again.
Temperatures start rising towards the end of Spring, and the first rains could start quenching the dry arid landscape. September and October are at times the driest months in a year, and thus the wild life travel longer distances to find water.

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