Kruger National Park
The world-renowned Kruger National Park offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in the world. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 5 million acres is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.
Truly the flagship of the South African national parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Man’s interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries – from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela – is very evident in the Kruger National Park. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the Kruger National Park and are conserved along with the park’s natural assets.
In 1898 President Paul Kruger proclaimed the area between the Crocodile and Sabie Rivers as the Sabie Reserve because hunters and soldiers who fought in the Anglo-Boer had wiped out the Lowveld’s huge herds of game. Major James Stevenson-Hamilton was appointed the first warden. He was a short, quick-tempered Scotsman and was given the African name “skukuza” meaning “he who turns things upside down”. He waged constant war against poachers and was responsible for expanding the Kruger Park, incurring the wrath of local farmers who felt that the Reserve was a breeding ground for lions. Both domestic stock and people were often attacked.
The Kruger National Park was established in 1926. The surface area of Kruger National Park is 7,580 square miles (19,633 km²), roughly the size of Israel or Wales. In 1927, three cars entered the Park. Two years later there were 850 cars. Over the next 50 years, 150 000 people visited the Park annually. Today, 700 000 people visit the Park every year.