Greater Kruger Region
Greater Kruger Region and Kruger Park
Kruger National Park, named after president Paul Kruger (1883 to 1900) was first proclaimed as a ‘no hunting’ zone in 1898, by the Transvaal Republic government, then was further announced as a National park in 1926, making it the oldest, not to mention one of the largest, parks in Africa. The park covers an area of approximately 2 million hectares and expands over the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in the north-eastern sector of South Africa. Kruger is known as the ‘people’s park’, catering for both, those looking for a budget-friendly holiday to those looking for a 5-star luxury stay. Kruger National Park is one of the most exclusive game-watching destinations in the world, with an extensive list of animals including large carnivores such as lion, leopard, wild dog and spotted hyena, 500 species of birds and a number of interesting reptiles that fill up Kruger National Park.
Due to the success of Kruger, run by the South African National Parks (SANparks), land surrounding Kruger, private reserves/ concessions surrounding Kruger National Park, expanded forming the The Greater Kruger National Park (GKNP) which covers 245000 hectares of wild reserve. Between Kruger and Greater Kruger, the fences are open overflowing the parks with more wildlife, allowing for more breeding, research and conservation as well more private reserves on the western side of Kruger, which generates more jobs and more money being put into the community and conservation. Some of the reserves making up the GKNP, include:
● 40 000 hectares - Balule
● 65 000 hectares - Sabi Sands
● 13 000 hectares - Kapama
● 60 000 hectares - Klaserie
● 3000 hectares - Manyeti
● 11000 hectares - ThornyBush
● 53000 hectares - Timbavati
The Greater Kruger Region borders the Kruger Park and day trips into the park are available, giving you the best of both worlds. Accommodation in the GKNP is exclusive, among which there are smaller camps with outstanding service and luxurious amenities. The reserve shares thousands of different plant varieties and all animal species with the famous Kruger National Park, the animals can freely move between the two, allowing guests from either parks, to witness sightings of a huge variety of animals on a larger scale.
One of the more popular private reserves is the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, a private concession and home to some of the world's leading lodges. The park's name comes from the Sabie River on its southern boundary and the Sand River flowing through it. The area of the reserve is 65,000 hectares (650 km2) and it shares a non-fenced boundary of 50.0 km (31.1 mi) with the Kruger National Park to its east. Some of the animals that roam the reserve are the lion, African bush elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros. Other animals that roam this reserve include the cheetah, hippopotamus, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, hyena, and Cape wild dog and many many more. Sabi Sand Game Reserve is home to 45 fish species, 500 bird species, 145 animal species, and 110 reptile species. Viewed as the home of the private safari, the reserve has two water sources the Sabi River and Sands River running through it. There are many superb lodges in the reserve that cater for all, honeymooners, wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, multigenerational lifetime family memories. The only disappointment you'll experience is going home. In Sabi Sands, vehicle numbers are limited, off-roading is allowed as the best sightings can often be off-road, and night drives are the highlight of any stay. Here, different rules govern the wild, bringing guests right up close to some of South Africa's most wondrous wildlife.
Of course, let’s not forget about the elite Timbavati Game Reserve, that also makes up a part of The Greater Kruger Region.
The Timbavati Game Reserve is located at the border line between Hoedspruit in Limpopo and Acornhoek in Mpumalanga, north of the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve on the western edge. The Timbavati reserve is pure, unspoiled South Africa. All forms of wildlife move freely between Kruger National Park and this reserve as there are no fences to hinder natural migration. This wondrous part of South Africa’s bushveld region is regarded as truly unspoiled and recognized as genuine wild land, as opposed to the “restored” and “restocked” lands commonly found elsewhere. Here too, you will find the “Big Five” and the area is home to more than 40 mammal species and 350 types of birds, including large raptor varieties and the famous white lions. Travellers become intrepid adventurers who have an opportunity to spot lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino on safe, expertly guided excursions. Luxury safari lodges and award-winning tented bush camps dot the reserve, offering a range of authentic experiences. While hyper local activities include game drives and night drives, bush walks, bird watching and overnight walking safaris, there are a wide variety of accessible daytime activities outside the Timbavati Game Reserve.