The Kruger National Park: A Short Introduction
Royal Safaris has a unique approach to the Kruger safari experience.
While we give guests the option of doing the traditional safari, our breakfast trips to the Kruger will give you an unforgettable journey into one of the world’s most enduring and beloved nature conservations.
We see only the surface of the park; the complexity of the thousands of plants and animal species in the park is exceptionally complex. Visitors of all kinds will find something to love about the Kruger, and when like turns to love, it’s enough to bring guests back again and again.
The Kruger National Park is situated in the North-Eastern corner of South Africa and expands into neighbouring conservation areas in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The park is also surrounded by private nature reserves who have an open border agreement with the Kruger.
A huge space of untouched African wild, the Kruger National Park is a piece of time locked away and preserved for us to enjoy. The animals living here have lived the same lives for thousands of years, untroubled by humanity and its ever-changing nature. The moment you enter any of the gates, you can feel a shift in the atmosphere. Suddenly all of your day to day thoughts and the stresses that are ever present with modern living simply disappears and there is a sense of tranquillity. There is no sound of traffic or hooting cars; no shouts or loud music. And the parks very strict speed limit will force you to take it easy.
Bigger than Israel and about as big as Wales, it was the quick thinking of a group of men that led to the creation of the Kruger. The park has met challenges and has overcome impossible odds during the more than 100 years since its inception.
A Short History
The Kruger National Park is in many ways a symbol of love for nature. The Kruger was founded as a place where the area’s dwindling wildlife would have a sanctuary from hunters, who at the time were quickly destroying animal populations in their desire for trophies. At the time, those hunters could not have appreciated that the area in which they hunted was far more diverse than anything they could have possibly imagined. Perhaps, if they had known, they might have thought about their actions a little differently.
The park is named after Paul Kruger, the one time president of the Transvaal, but it took more than one man to establish the conservancy, and over the years it has taken a board of committed directors, planners and other officials to keep the legacy alive.
Originally, the Kruger Park was named the Sabie Game Reserve. At first, few guests were permitted entrance into the park as there was always a strong emphasis on limiting the number of people in allowed into this habitat. Paul Kruger, while a founder, had very little influence over what the park would become. The one person who had the most profound effect on what the Kruger would become is James Stevenson-Hamilton.
The Wisdom of a Warden
As the parks first caretaker, Stevenson-Hamilton was a warden for 44 years and turned the park into a “Great Lady”. Although at first, he was just as reluctant as the rest of the board to admit guests to the park, he would eventually see that the very survival of the park would depend on allowing people to be a part of the experience.
Just like most of the planning that has gone into the founding of the park, the process of making the park accessible to guests was one of careful planning. The thought was why have a place filled with animals if you would not be using the reserve as a place to educate? The Kruger would be a great place to teach people about the unique and beautiful animals.
Although faced with many opponents who would have happily seen the Kruger completely destroyed, Stevenson-Hamilton started promoting tourism and encouraging visitors. His approach earned him more supporters and soon the public was excited about having the opportunity to visit this previously off-limits location.
Finding the perfect balance of visitors would, and continues to be, key to the preservation of the Kruger. Allowing uncontrolled numbers into the park would upset the ecosystem to the point that it could be destroyed. To this day, the Kruger has a strict limit on the number of guests allowed entry.
The earliest visitors to the park were quite the adventurers! The accommodation was beyond rustic, and often the security around the camp would be the bare minimum. The huts had no windows, so you can only imagine the number of insects coming in!
Visitors to the park remained low until South Africa enjoyed a boom after the Second World War. After that, the park became extremely popular. Accommodation improved and became more abundant, and transport also became more accessible and more reliable. The Kruger National Park has been growing in leaps and bounds ever since.
Kruger Park Safaris
The single best way to explore this fantastic nature conservation park is by going on Kruger Park safaris. Trips to the Kruger in the company of experienced guides can give you the very best way to see and learn more about the park. At Royal Safaris we take a different approach to the Kruger Park safari. We have the conventional approach, which consists of day tours of the park consisting of morning and afternoon drives, and we have those special safaris that can be ideal for romantic getaways and those wanting to mark a special occasion.
These are some of our current safaris: