Widely regarded as one of the best wildlife destinations in Africa, the Kruger National Park in South Africa is certain to make your experience an utter delight should you visit it. Lovers of nature, wildlife, archaeology, and even astronomy will find right here a phenomenal impression that will last for the rest of their lives. Imagine being in a place where earth, water, air, forest, and animals coexist and intermingle in a magnificent ecosystem.
A safari in one of Africa’s best-kept natural secrets is a perfect treat you can give yourself. Here are some of the features of this wonderful wildlife destination that you should see or experience. I’ll bet you, the sheer abundance and beauty of these natural treasures will never cease to amaze and delight you, even long after you have left.
Check out the must-see sights of the Kruger National Park, South Africa…
#1. The Big Five
The Kruger National Park’s cream of the crop of wildlife is the “Big Five,” a term reserved for the lion, leopard, elephant, African buffalo, and rhino. When you come across these majestic creatures, you will be awed.
A lion pride in the distance, camouflaging within the plains. A leopard high in the trees with its unmistakable spots. A herd of foraging elephants lumbering through the forest with pestle-like limbs, and you’ll remember the popular fable of the elephant and the blind men. You will be greeted by the sight of the African buffalo with their curved low-hanging horns and their big strong bodies and you will crave a thing about their strength; and, of course, the little oxpecker birds sitting on the buffalo, feeding off their parasites.
When you spot the rhinos, their horns intact, you will feel a sense of delight at the safety of these wondrous creatures that have been poached through the ages for their ivory. And the park has even more for your eyes – zebras, giraffes, antelopes, warthogs, hyenas, and many more.
#2. Walking safaris
Walking safaris are among the best-loved activities in the Kruger National Park. It is as physical as it is sociological, and even spiritual. Here, you will be taken by your guides on walks through the park as you enjoy the sight of more trees and wildlife. Be sure that your guides will tell you a thing or two about them.
Open your mind and heart to glean from the wealth of knowledge of these guides who have close ties with the forest and nature. As you brim over with delight at viewing the Big Five, your guides will inform you that the Kruger National Park has over 500 bird species and about 147 mammals. They will go on to reel off names as if from books of ornithology. And as a bird chirps and flies overhead, your guides will call its name and tell you a fun tale about it from folklore.
It is usual to break for game drives and catch as many more sights and scenes as you can. At night, you can explore night drives to experience what forest nightlife feels like. When it’s late and you are tired, you can retire for a sleep-out in a tent. And for stargazers, this can be a fun opportunity to sleep under the stars.
#3. Bushman rock paintings
Your guide will be happy to lead you to any of the over 150 sites of Bushman rock paintings mostly done by San hunter-gatherers of the late Stone Age. These finger paintings are said to have been done by pastoralists occupying the Limpopo valley from the start of the first millennium. A lot of these paintings are naturalistic; many of them depict hunters and hunting activities. Others are deeply spiritual and display elements of shamanic rituals and trance-like states. But when you stand before these rock paintings, just know that you are in front of art dating from 1500 to 3000 years old!
#4. Archaeological sites
A safari at the Kruger National Park won’t be complete without seeing some places of archaeological importance. Lovers of archaeology will be happy to pay homage to the Masorini Ruins and the Lethaba Elephant Hall. The Masorini Ruins are the remains of a village from the late Iron Age and were a settlement for the Sotho-speaking BaPhalaborwa tribe during the late 19th Century. Here, you will find the remains of furnaces and reconstructed furnaces that will offer you a window into the civilization of the Iron Age people.
On the other hand, the Lethaba Elephant Hall is a museum that memorializes a place known for having a large population of elephants. It is famous for being the home of a set of elephants with the largest tusks ever documented. The giant tusks of these elephants known as the Magnificent 7 are preserved in this museum. An exploration of the Kruger National Park will, no doubt, leave enthralling memories many years after you have left.
Featured image: @deon_wildlifephotography/Instagram
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A writer fascinated by humanity and diversity. He is the author of Do Not Say It’s Not Your Country.