Posts Tagged ‘leopard’

South Africa: Getting Wild in Kruger National Park

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Topdeck’s business development manager Kate shares some memorable animal encounters at Kruger National Park, South Africa

The first time you see a giraffe roaming the African plane is an unforgettable experience.  As you drive through the bush the challenge to spot wildlife before anyone else is exciting and tense.

Growing up in South Africa I have been lucky enough to visit the Kruger National Park many times, each being just as spectacular as the last.

The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi) and extends 360 kilometres (220 mi) from north to south and 65 kilometres (40 mi) from east to west. To put these numbers into perspective, it is a similar size to Wales or Israel.

The park is home to Africa’s ‘Big 5′ - elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, lion and buffalo. It also has over 500 species of birds, 150 species of mammals (including some 12,000 elephants), 100 reptiles, 23,000 plant species and a variety of amphibians.

In short, it’s a truly amazing place that has Africa stamped all over it!

Being in the Kruger isn’t like being in a zoo by any means. As you drive along the tracks each turn takes you to a different experience.  Binoculars are a MUST and will make anyone who has forgotten theirs green with envy.

Because the animals are wild and free every time you go out on a drive you will see something new and just as awesome.

Those lucky enough to see a kill (as heartless as it may sound) really do experience the true awe of nature as it is meant to be. These animals are free to roam; they find their own food and are wild things.

One of my favourite memories from the Park is seeing two lionesses cross the track ahead of us and then proceed to walk by either side of our vehicle. With your heart racing it’s hard to believe that you have just been within a few metres of one of the most amazing animals and in the wild!

Another was seeing a herd of elephants crossing the road between our vehicle and another right through the gap.

This herd was a whole range of ages including little calves.  Seeing them link tails with trunks and cross the path was incredible and brought a whole new meaning to zebra crossing!

Kruger Park is a year round destination with each season bringing its own highlights so whatever time you decide to safari in the Kruger National Park you will not be disappointed!

The Park has a hot, sub-tropical climate and for most of the year it is hot during the day (above 25°C).

Game viewing can be at its best during the dry winter months (June- September), however the wet summer season brings full waterholes, lush bushveld, many new born wildlife and the summer migrant birds arrive.

We went out for morning and evening drives as these are the best times to spot the animals. There is nothing quite like an evening drive and spending time at a water hole watching the sun set and the animals drink the water.

No matter when you go and what you see, the Kruger National Park will be one of the best travel experiences you will ever have.

Africa is truly a magical destination so what are you waiting for?

Top Tips:

  • Take binoculars
  • Invest in a decent camera
  • Hats are essential for sun protection in those pop up safari vehicles
  • Bring layers for the morning drives as it can be chilly
  • Remember the animals are wild and you are in their environment

Visit Kruger National Park with Topdeck on one of these African Safaris: 31 Day South East Adventure, 25 Day Desert Tracker, 7 Day African Insight Northbound, 7 Day African Insight Southbound, 22 Day Zanzibar, Victoria Falls & Kruger, 25 Day South West Safari, 29 Day East African Explorer, and the 46 Day Ultimate African Adventure!