Africa has an allure like no other place on earth. It is a mysterious and undiscovered continent promising vast open spaces teeming with the largest collection of weird and wonderful wild animals found anywhere on the planet. Africa is a place of contrast, promising excitement and unpredictable adventure at every turn.
Safari in Africa is guaranteed to be an adventure trip of a lifetime, a chance to experience the staggering beauty of the landscapes and the creatures for yourself. This is one of the earths last wildernesses, where time slows down and you can feel what things were like before buildings and cars and schedules and deadlines. Safari was born in Africa over a century ago and the safari industry remains a booming business. With so much experience under its belt, the safari industry has many choices to offer the visitor.
Many people are afraid of roughing it in Africa. But with an organized safari these fears are ungrounded. Established safari destinations offer you all the adventure youd expect in Africa while still promising the comforts that we have become accustomed to at home. South Africa is one such destination.
For a perfect introduction to Africa, what better way to go on safari than in South Africa's foremost Game Reserve? Established over a century ago, the Kruger National Park leading safari destination. Situated in the northern reaches of South Africa, the Kruger Park offers the visitor an astounding variety of wildlife in an area that is comparable in size to the whole of Israel.
The Kruger Park lies on the border that South Africa shares with neighbor Mozambique, and it now forms part of a massive peace park that amalgamates the areas of Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe and the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. There are no internal borders in this massive 35,000 square kilometer Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park that allows wildlife to move freely on their ancient migration routes.
A Kruger Safari offers you the perfect introduction to African fauna and flora. The Kruger Park is home to an impressive number of species: 147 mammal species including the Big 5 (elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard), together with 336 types of tree, 49 classes of fish, 34 amphibian and 114 reptile species. 507 species of bird make the Kruger a popular birding safari destination too.
The aim of most tourists and safari guides is usually to see The Big 5. Hunters coined this term in days gone by to describe the five African game animals that were hardest to hunt on foot. These days the hunters are safari goers hoping to capture the animals on film, but the thrill of the chase remains the same . . . hear for yourself the thunderous roar of the lion, king of the beasts, watch the lumbering mass of a herd of African elephants or tread carefully around the famously cantankerous rhinoceros.
But there is more to see on a Kruger Safari than the Big 5. African wildlife comes in all shapes and forms, from the pyjama-striped zebra or comical bush pig, to the long necked giraffe, wallowing hippopotamus or a host of beautifully marked buck. There is an astounding variety of antelope in the Kruger Park, from the ever-present impala to the very rare tsessebe, sable and roan antelopes.
Those who enjoy a challenge should seek out the Little 5 on their Kruger Safari: buffalo weaver birds, untidiest nest makers in Africa, the curious mouse-like elephant shrew, the beautiful shell markings of the leopard tortoise, the dung loving rhino beetle with its rhinoceros-like horn or the elusive ant lions which dig funnel holes in sandy soil to trap ants and other delicacies.
Other rare sightings to make your Kruger Safari an experience of a lifetime include Africas most endangered predator, the wild dog, Africas fastest cat, the cheetah, and the entertaining antics of funny little creatures like the meerkats or ground squirrels. The Kruger Park also has a birding Big 6: ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, saddle-bill stork and the harder to spot Pels fishing owl
The Kruger Park covers a vast area that supports six distinct ecosystems, from scrub land to riverine forests and wide-open plains. Different animals prefer these different habitats, so there is much to see. The Kruger Park has a good infrastructure of roads which criss-cross the Park from north to south and east to west, which allows visitors the optimal chance of encountering the animals of their dreams. The Park also offers many choices of accommodation, from basic to luxury, so you can be sure that your Kruger Safari will be a comfortable one. There are 21 rest camps, as well as 7 private lodge concessions and 11 designated private safari lodges within the Kruger National Park boundaries.
Kruger Safari - When to Travel?
The Kruger National Park is open all year round, but the winter months (April to September) are the best time for a Kruger Safari. This is the dry season and the animals tend to congregate around the waterholes and rivers. The vegetation is also less dense making game spotting a little easier.
There are plenty of options for a Kruger Safari - self-drive or guided safaris that suit every budget. If you are new to Africa it is advisable to travel with a guide, as they are knowledgeable about how best to seek out the animals and can give you background information on the sights and sounds you encounter. Therefore it is advisable to discuss your options with a knowledgeable tour broker so they can advise you on the choices that best suit your interests and budget.
Quinn Magoo is an avid traveler who is passionate about Africa. When planning my travels I always refer to Uyaphi.com who are a wealth of information for travel in South and East Africa. http://www.uyaphi.com