Spanning over 200,000 hectares or roughly 5 million acres and 19,485 square kilometers, of pure, raw natural beauty of untamed bush, the Kruger Park is undoubtedly the one park you don’t want to miss in your visit to South Africa. Proudly considered one of Africa’s top game reserves, the park is home to an unrivalled diversity of wildlife making it one of the world’s elite game-watching destinations with 145 mammal species and over 500 bird species residing in the park. As such, a visit to the park will undoubtedly be one you will see more animal species than you’ve ever seen! Let’s put this into perspective:
As I stated, there are approximately 145 mammal species in the park including the elephant, the black and white rhino, the giraffe, the hippopotamus, the buffalo, the zebra, the warthog and lots of antelope species. In particular, Kruger Park is home to the big 5, with 12,000 elephants, 1,500 lions, 1,000 leopards, 2,500 buffaloes and 5,000 rhinos. That’s not all:
Kruger Park provides habitat for 114 reptile species, 34 amphibian species, 49 fish species, 507 bird species and 148 mammal species. This is an incredible amount of animal species, with thousands upon thousands of animals co-existing and finding a balance of survival in Kruger Park. One thing sets Kruger Park apart from the rest; there is no other reserve, park or even place in the African continent that can boast of a higher number of leopard, cheetah, giraffe and zebra encounters!
Kruger Park is home to a large number of large carnivores. You already know of the lion, cheetah and leopard, as I mentioned those earlier. Besides these, Kruger Park is also home to the heavy spotted hyena and the ever elusive wild dog, a breed that is not too common on the African continent.
While you definitely have a lot to see during your visit to the park, looking out for specific animals will perhaps end up becoming more fulfilling. Some of the top animals you should look out for include the following:
With up to 1500 lion in the park, you can bet that there will be many opportunities to see or hear the king of the jungle. Notably, the lion is most common in the grasslands where there are large numbers of Zebra and wildebeest.
The leopards in Kruger Park are shy animals, and the only surefire way of seeing them is looking for them at night. This is because they hunt at night and hide in their lairs when daytime comes and the sun climbs. Even when they venture in the open ground during the day, it is incredibly difficult to catch sight of the tawny-yellow body that’s dotted with black rosette spots, as it perfectly blends into the surroundings.
The cheetah is easier to observe. With cheetahs, they have to compete for food with larger predators, like the lion and the heavier leopard, so they prefer open grasslands where they can use their speed to run down prey. Cheetahs are not growing at the best of rates in Kruger Park, as a result.
Elephants stroll everywhere in the park, and can be seen in groups of up to 30. Buffalo can move in herds of up to 200.
Crocodiles and hippos
Crocodiles and hippos are many in Kruger Park. There are also many antelope species in the park, with the impala being the main fixture here. There are about 120,000 impalas.
The waterbuck, reedbuck, sable, eland, hyena and Tsessebe are also present, as well as many other mammals.
As I already stated, the park has over 500 bird species some of which cannot be found in any other part of South Africa. With such a huge number of bird species, you can bet that the sightings will be countless. In particular, you should look out for the Bateleur, as well as the martial eagle (The martial eagle likes mountainous areas).
Kruger Park: A magnificent place for game viewing
The surest way to experience the magnificence of the park is to visit and experience it in person. It is one thing to see the animal species listed separately and a completely different thing to see them coexist nonchalantly among themselves.