KNP exceeds the size of several small countries and offers tourists an unforgettable journey into African wildlife. Find out why this park is so popular.
The popularity of the Kruger National Park (KNP) is undisputed throughout the world, which is why it is necessary to book a vacation here at least a year in advance. This year, KNP will be even busier than usual as the Soccer World Cup will host in South Africa in June. Here are some impressive facts about South African National Parks’ (SANParks) leading attraction and valuable information for visiting the park.
Exciting Facts About Kruger National Park
KNP was established in 1898 to conserve the wildlife of the South African Lowveld. The KNP covers nearly two million hectares and boasts as a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. The park has almost 242 cultural heritage sites, including an estimated 130 recorded rock art sites. Also, there is sufficient evidence that prehistoric people roamed the area between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago.
Tourists visiting the park can also expect to see a rich array of fauna and flora, including the following species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds, and 147 types of mammals. The Big Five forms part of the latter group and counts the lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard, and rhino among the more distinguished species. Perceiving the Big Five in a free day is possible but not always easy as these sought-after animals’ movements cannot be controlled.
If you are unsuccessful in viewing the Big Five, do not be disappointed, as many other species form part of the magnificent African experience. Visitors are also encouraged to search for the Little Five, which includes: Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise, Ant Lion, and Rhino Beetle. In terms of birdlife, there are the Birding Big Six, which include: Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Lappet-faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Pel’s Fishing Owl, and Saddle-bill Stork. The Baobab, Fever Tree, Knob Thorn, Marula, and Mopane count among the five trees to look out for.
KNP is interested in protecting precious fauna and flora and prides itself on conserving important historical and archaeological sights such as Bushman rock paintings and impressive archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela. Visitors interested in such cultural and natural features should enjoy the Letaba Elephant Museum, Jock of the Bushveld Route, Albasini Ruins, Maserini Ruins, and the Stevenson Hamilton Memorial Library.
Useful Information When Visiting the Kruger National Park
Visiting KNP will be a memorable experience at any time of the year. The winter months from April to September are regarded as the best time to view games when the vegetation becomes limited and animals are forced to drink water from rivers and water holes. During the winter months, the days are still warm, but the evenings are cool. From October to approximately the end of March, the park experiences a lot of rainfall, and the increased foliage makes it more challenging to view animals.
Remember that KNP is not a zoo but a park with wild animals. It might be asserting the obvious, but many persons forget to practice caution in the presence of these fascinating African animals. While viewing the game, remain inside a vehicle at all times. Be very careful when a troop of elephants wants to cross the road, especially if there are elephant calves. Give the animals ample room to move freely, and do not only think about taking close-up pictures in dangerous situations as it might be the last photo you will take. Opt instead for good binoculars to see everything.
Do not feed the animals below any situations. It might look cute if a monkey or baboon takes a banana from a tourist, but the reality paints a darker picture. When humans feed wild animals, they become lazy to search for their food, making them more dependent on humans. These animals tend to become aggressive, and in such cases, they have to be shot. Remember to take torchlight with you during the evenings as there are many dangerous spiders, snakes, and scorpions roaming the area.
Choosing KNP is an ideal location to experience the excitement of a safari vacation as you never know what you can encounter in the African wild. One of YouTube’s most popular videos of all time called the “Battle at Kruger,” has had more than 52 million views and depicts an incredible battle fought between buffalo and lion. Therefore, do not forget a camera and video camera as you could have the privilege of capturing something extraordinary in this African paradise.
Remember that KNP offers much more than just a typical African safari as there are numerous cultural and historical sights to be visited. Tourists advise visiting the vast South African National Park during the southern hemisphere’s winter months, which crosses from April to September. While exploring KNP, remember to be careful as being immersed in Africa’s wildlife can be very dangerous. Lastly, remember to take cameras and video cameras to capture an unforgettable holiday.