Kruger National Park and Surrounds
The Kruger National Park is renowned worldwide and with good cause. It is the largest game reserve in South Africa. It covers 18,989 square km and extends 350 km from north to south and 60 km from east to west. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique.
The Kruger Park boasts a staggering diversity of flora and fauna: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. All the Big Five(Lion, Buffalo, Leopard, Elephant and Rhinoceros) game animals are found at Kruger National Park, which has more species of mammals than any other African Game Reserve. The park is divided into six eco-systems: Baobab sandveld, Mopane scrub, Lebombo knobthorn-marula bushveld, mixed acacia thicket, Combretum-silver clustered woodland on granite and riverine forest. Altogether it has 1,982 species of plants. The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organizations (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the "Biosphere").
A number of private game reserves were incorporated into the boundaries of the Kruger National Park in 1993. These reserves added an additional 200 000 hectares to, what is now know as, the Greater Kruger National Park. These reserves include The Sabi Sand, The Timbavati, The Klasserie, The Umbabat, The Balule and The Manyeleti reserves. Added to are the Thornybush and Kapama Reserves on the boundary of The Greater Kruger National Park. These areas are home to a number of private safari lodges, ranging from comfortable to exclusive.
The Greater Kruger National Park is a five to six-hour drive from Johannesburg. Although many visitors do drive to the park, there are also daily flights to several airports near Kruger and direct scheduled flights directly into the Private Reserves. Bus shuttles and coaches, as well as packaged tours, are also available.