From Botswana we moved on to Kruger National Park, in northeastern South Africa. Kruger is the largest national park in Africa, covering almost 20,000 square kilometers (220 miles long by 60 miles wide), and its inception dates to 1898, when the area was part of the Transvaal. Vegetation consists of dense scrub woodlands with just enough savanna to be attractive to a wide variety of grazers and browsers and their predators–lions, leopards, cheetahs, and African wild dogs, as well as several species of hawks, eagles, and vultures.
Touted as one of the few parks in which one can see the “big 5”, it attracts so many human visitors crowding the roadways to see the big game, it seems more like visiting a wild animal park in the U.S., instead of Africa.
The white part of its name is actually a corruption of “wide” which refers to its wide, square-lipped mouth. The rarer Black rhino is the same color as the white, but has a narrower mouth and usually stands with its head erect rather than down, like this one.
Kruger Park really is rich in wildlife, but I thought the crowds of humans zipping along the roads and congested traffic in hotspots detracted from the whole experience.
Outside the park one evening right at sunset, we spied a big male lion stalking a lone and limping Cape buffalo. It was getting too dark to see when we pulled away from that scene, but just as we rounded the next corner in the road, four lionesses passed right in front of our vehicle at a trot on their way to help with the kill. Now that is a memory of our time at Kruger that will stick with me.