Kruger National Park in South Africa
Kruger National Park is one of the largest reserves in the African continent and the largest in the Republic of South Africa. The park covers an area of approximately 19,623 square kilometers stretching in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in the northwestern region of the country and also extends 360 kilometers from north to south and then 65 kilometers from east to west. The administrative headquarters of the park are positioned in Skukuza.
The areas of Kruger National Park were first protected by the government of the Republic of South Africa in 1898 till it was proclaimed the country’s first national park in 1926. The park is bordered by Limpopo and Mpumalanga in the west and south respectively, Zimbabwe in the north and Mozambique in the east. It is also part of the Great Limpopo Trans frontier Park. This is a peace park that connects Kruger National Park with Gonarezhou National Park of Zimbabwe and then with Limpopo National Park of Mozambique. Kruger National park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere an area designated by the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve.
Situated in the north – east of South Africa in the eastern areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, Kruger national park is one of largest national parks in the world with an area of approximately 19,485 square kilometers. The park is encompassed by a variety of natural boundaries including the two rivers of Limpopo and Crocodile in the north and south respectively, Lebombo Mountains in the east and this separates it from Mozambique and then the western boundary of the park runs parallel with the distance of 65 kilometers. Also, several rivers run through the park from west to east including Crocodile, Letaba, Luvuvhu, Olifants, Sabie and Limpopo rivers.
Wildlife in the park
Kruger National Park records over 147 mammal species including all the big five African game animals. The park has got different webcams that are set up for easy view of the wildlife. Among the animals spotted in the park include the African buffalo, the common eland, bush buck, blue wildebeest, black rhinos, giraffes, greater kudu, hippos, ,mountain reedbucks, nyala, roan antelope, sable antelope, waterbuck, common warthog, African bush elephant, plain zebra, lions, cheetah, Nile crocodiles, leopards, spotted hyena, African wild dog, white rhinos, impala, hartebeest, and many others.
Other vertebrates in the park
Kruger national park is inhabited by over 126 reptile species including the African rock pythons, over 3,000 Nile crocodiles and black mambas. Also, the park hosts about 33 amphibian species as well as 50 fish species. This wildlife can be sighted in the water bodies of the park like river Limpopo and river Luvuvhu.
A numerous bird species is noticed in the park from different directions like southern to central and then a few in the northern of the Mopane flats. Most of the bird species breed in the summer when the rains sustain most of the vegetable and animal foods but the birds of prey breed during the dry winter when the preys are more exposed. Out of the 517 bird species recorded in the park, 253 are residents, 117 are non-breeding migrants and 147 are nomads. Among the birds include the African open bill, the hooded vulture, white crowned lapwing, brown necked parrot, Senegal coucal, broad billed roller, trumpeter hornbill, scarlet – chested sunbird, tropical boubou, Meves’ starling, Dickinson’s kestrel, and others. Since Kruger national park is encompasses a variety of rivers, it hosts some water birds which are about 30 in number. Among these include the African fin foot, the white – backed night heron, water thick – knee, white – crowned lapwing and others. Other birds in the park include the Pel’s fishing owl, crested guineafowl, Natal spur fowl, black throated wattle eye, terrestrial brownbul, Narina trogon, African goshawk, bearded scrub robin, and others.
Kruger national park is also a home to larger birds including the Big Six world birds. Among these include the Lappet faced vultures, the martial eagles, saddle billed stork, kori bustard, ground hornbill and the Pel’s fishing owl. A survey in 2013 estimated that the park hosts 904 pairs of white backed vulture, 78 pairs of lappet faced vulture, and 60 pairs of white headed vultures.