The Kruger National Nature Reserve is one of the top attractions in South Africa for foreigners and locals. There are not many game parks on earth where one can mingle with such a wide variety of animals. The park spans 19,485 square kilometers and the landscape is made up of mountains, bush plains, and tropical forests. You have an excellent chance of finding all of the “Big 5”: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalos. Hundreds of other mammals make their home here, as do diverse bird species such as vultures, eagles, and storks.
Table of Contents
The park is a popular destination for tourists who want to go on safari and see the wildlife up close. There are a number of lodges, campsites, and other facilities within the park to accommodate visitors. The park is also home to a number of research and conservation programs, which work to protect and preserve the wildlife and natural habitat of the region.
Count the ways
Two popular ways to experience the game park are drives and walks. Thanks to strict conservation ethics, animals are quite used to the presence of people and can be found close to roads – and will often cross them – allowing vehicle occupants to see them up close. Occupants are not allowed to exit their vehicles and a strict speed limit is enforced to ensure drivers can stop in time when an animal crosses the road unexpectedly.
A walk is by far the best way to experience the animal paradise. All you need are comfortable shoes and a reasonable fitness level. Two or more rangers lead walks with weapons as protection. These walking parties are accommodated in remote camps that sleep from six people upwards. A typical day includes an early sunrise walk, brunch back at the camp, and a sunset walk followed by dinner. A strict protocol is followed with these walks – in single file behind the rangers, only whispering allowed, and no bright clothes to distract animals unnecessarily. Even an orange peel will not be left behind, in case of baboons start following humans on their walk.
Walking in Kruger National Game Park
Walking safaris are a popular activity in the Kruger National Park, as they allow visitors to get a closer look at the wildlife and experience the park in a more intimate way. Walking safaris are led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the park and its wildlife, and who can help visitors spot animals and learn about the ecosystem.
There are a few different options for walking safaris in the Kruger National Park. Some are self-guided, while others are guided by a professional. Self-guided walks are generally shorter and follow established trails, while guided walks can be longer and may involve off-trail hiking. It is important to note that walking safaris are generally not suitable for young children, and that visitors should be in good physical condition.
There are a few things to keep in mind when going on a walking safari in the Kruger National Park:
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes, and dress in lightweight, neutral-colored clothing.
- Stay with your guide at all times, and follow their instructions.
- Keep a safe distance from the wildlife, and do not approach or try to touch any animals.
- Be aware of your surroundings, and watch for any potential dangers.
- Stay hydrated, and bring plenty of water and snacks.
Overall, walking safaris are a unique and rewarding way to experience the Kruger National Park and its wildlife, and can provide visitors with a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the natural world.
A lion passed here ten minutes ago
Rangers tell fascinating stories about animals’ behavior, supported by tracks and droppings along the way. This first-hand presence among animals does not come close to any National Geographic program, which fails to convey the smells, occasional total silence, and excellent climate of this game park. Nothing compares to walking within meters of a lioness and her cubs, watching a giraffe reaching for the top of a tree, counting the stripes on a zebra, or feeling the rumble under your feet as a herd of buffalo starts moving.
One leaves the Kruger National Game Park with a sense of having visited another planet, where its occupants are respected and treated with the gloves they deserve.