Safaris: Places to Explore

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Kruger National Park

There's no getting away from it, and it's worth repeating: visiting Kruger is likely to be one of the great experiences of your life. Founded in 1898 by Paul Kruger, president of what was then the Transvaal Republic, the park is a place to safari at your own pace, choosing from upscale private camps or simple campsites.

Kruger lies in the hot lowveld, a subtropical section of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces that abuts Mozambique. The park cuts a swath 80 km (50 mi) wide and 320 km (200 mi) long from Zimbabwe and the Limpopo River in the north to the Crocodile River in the south. It is divided into 16 macro ecozones, each supporting a great variety of plants, birds, and animals, including 145 mammal species and almost 500 species of birds, some of which are found nowhere elsewhere in South Africa.

Maps of Kruger are available at all the park gates and in the camp stores, and gas stations are at the park gates and at the major camps. Once in the park, observe the speed-limit signs carefully (there are speed traps): 50 kph (31 mph) on paved roads, 40 kph (25 mph) on dirt roads. Leave your vehicle only at designated picnic and viewing sites, and if you do come across animals on the road, allow them to pass before moving on. Sometimes you have to be very patient, especially if a breeding herd of elephants is blocking your way. Animals always have the right-of-way. Always be cautious. Kruger is not a zoo; you are entering the territory of wild animals, even though many may be habituated to the sights and sounds of vehicles.

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