The People's Game Reserve
The Kruger National Park (KNP, or simply ‘Kruger’, for short) is the premier game reserve in South Africa. Even though the subcontinent is blessed with hundreds of beautiful and biologically diverse conservation areas, you still find that many people have a peculiar connection to Kruger as the greatest of them all.
The primacy of the Kruger National Park in our national consciousness is so strong that it even manifests itself in the subliminal vernacular of the local tourist. Thus, when a South African says that they are going to a game reserve for a holiday, they could be referring to any one of our fine national, provincial or private game parks. However, if they say that they are going to THE Game Reserve, odds are they are referring to Kruger.
Keystone of South Africa’s Tourism Industry
The international treasure that is the Kruger National Park had very humble beginnings. Its birth was exceedingly difficult and its origins were fraught with conflict. Most modern visitors simply aren’t aware that the Kruger was ever anything but the popular and much-loved national treasure it is today. Nevertheless, in the first few decades of the park’s existence, it came perilously close to being destroyed – several times.
Today’s Kruger National Park is a very different proposition. It boasts rest camps of every description, picnic spots, game drives, walking trails, an extensive public road network, a staff of thousands and over 1.5 million visitors annually. It is a vital economic driver in the region and a keystone of South Africa’s tourism industry.
By David Fleminger
Driving the length of the Kruger offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa. The park has incredibly diverse fauna and flora in South Africa and your 350-kilometre journey from south to north...more
There are literally hundreds of natural and cultural heritage sites within the Kruger National Park. However, many of these sites are unmarked or far from established tourist routes....more
It was near the base of Ship Mountain, in clear sight of today's Jock Safari Lodge, that he became the master of a mongrel runt he named Jock. Their adventures together are the subject of South Africa's best-loved children's book Jock of the Bushveld...more
During the 1890s, things grew chaotic in the Republic of the Transvaal (present day Mpumalanga). Since the discovery of gold, Johannesburg had been growing in leaps and bounds as people from all over the world flooded into the city in search of their fort...more
In the 1800s, game was seen as a commodity, to be exploited for commercial gain. In the early 1900s, attitudes became more romantic, thanks to the writings of various game rangers and naturalists...more
At Balule, a pontoon across the Olifants River was constructed. This floating platform carried vehicles across the wide watercourse from 1929 to 1937, when a permanent causeway was built a short distance upstream....more
The early days were tough on the warden and his first rangers. They and their wives, if they were married, lived in primitive conditions and spent most of their time in lonely outposts with disease and danger all around them....more
Clocking in at nearly 2 million hectares (or 20 000 square kilometres), the Kruger National Park is an internationally renowned wildlife sanctuary and one of South Africa’s top tourist attractions...more
In 1902, just after the end of the Second Anglo-Boer War, feisty Scotsman Colonel James Stevenson-Hamilton was sent to the Lowveld to run the Sabi Game Reserve. The idea of wildlife conservation had detractors...more
The first intake of rangers, for the newly formed Sabi Reserve, which later became the Kruger National Park, was assembled on an ad-hoc basis during the first few years of the park’s existence....more
There are many different Kruger National Parks; the bush speaks in a multitude of voices and therefore appeals to a diverse group of people....more
Be warned, the Kruger National Park can make people go crazy. The game reserve has a strange power which transforms normally mild-mannered accountants into binocular-bearing...more
As was the case throughout southern Africa, the first identifiable human civilisation to live in the Kruger National Park was the Bushmen (or San), who emerged as a distinct culture around 20 000 years ago....more
When the Sabi Reserve was proclaimed at the turn of the twentieth century, it was decided that the protected area should be cleared of all permanent human habitation....more
In 1890, while the Eastern Railway Line was being built, a member of the Volksraad introduced a petition from the Soutpansberg district requesting the construction of a branch line from Komatipoort to the rich farmlands of the north-eastern Transvaal....more
Kruger is South Africa’s most iconic reserve. It’s a pristine wilderness that’s practically a country in itself. Kruger National Park is simply enormous. It comprises nearly two-million hectares of South African bush...more