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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Kruger National Park - South Africa

On the 26th of March 1898, Paul Kruger, the president of the Transvaal Republic, signed a proclamation establishing a sanctuary for wild life between the Sabie and Crocodile rivers in order to control hunting and protect the diminished number of animals in the park. The first national park in the world had been created by the Americans at the Yellowstone in 1872, but the Sabie Game Reserve (the original name of the Kruger National Park) was the first in Africa.

The park is considered one of the largest national parks in the world, occupying almost 20.000 km2 of the eastern Transvaal in Southern Africa. It is approximately 360 km long and has an average width of 65 km. This area contains various species of birds, plants, fish, frogs, snakes, reptiles, tortoises, numerous crocodiles and mammals. A large amount of mammals inhabits various divisions of the park. The most common animal species is the impala, and the second most common is the African Buffalo. Among other game scattered throughout the park are African Hunting Dogs, Black Rhinoceros, White Rhinoceros, Burch ell’s Zebras, Bushbucks, Cheetahs, Common Eland, Giraffes, Greater Kudus, Hippopotamus, Lions, Leopards, Spotted Hyenas, Elephants, Waterbucks, Blue Wildebeest and many others.
The Kruger National Park has a subtropical climate, the summer days are usually humid and hot with temperatures often increasing to above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The dry winter season is the ideal time to visit this region for various reasons. There is not as much risk of becoming affected by malaria and the days are calmer. Viewing wildlife is more satisfying as the vegetation is sparser and animals are attracted to the waterholes to drink every morning and evening. I guess that each month has its own character though, with innumerable fascinating things to do and see.

The Kruger National Park is a game reserve that will always be regarded as a prototype of the wild life sanctuaries in Africa. Comparisons with other reserves are inevitable, and some reserves will be praised as better, bigger, wilder, more varied in their animal populations, but the Kruger National Park sets a formidable standard. Other parks may, indeed have natural assets which the Kruger Park lacks, but its scenery, plants and animals, will always ensure that it has a unique place among the world’s game reserves.

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