Kruger National Park was first established as a wildlife refuge in 1898 when it was proclaimed as the Sabie Game Reserve by the president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. In 1926, the passing of the National Parks Act led to the merging of the Kruger with nearby Shingwedzi Game Reserve, creating South Africa’s very first national park. More recently, the Kruger became part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park, an international collaboration that joins the park with Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe.
As a result, animals can now move freely across international borders as they would have done for thousands of years.
The vast majority of people visit the Kruger to go on safari. You can drive your own car along the well-maintained tarred and gravel roads or book a guided game drive through any of the rest camps. Options for the latter include drives in the early morning, late afternoon, and at night. One of the best ways to experience the park in all its beauty is on foot, either with a guided walk at the camps or on one of the multi-day Wilderness Trails. Four-wheel drive enthusiasts can test their vehicles (and their mettle) on the park’s off-road trails, while mountain biking is offered at Olifants camp. Golfers can even tee off at Skukuza Golf Course, whose un-fenced green is frequently visited by hippo, impala, and warthog.
Kruger also has a fascinating human history, with evidence of people and their prehistoric ancestors living in the region for up to 500,000 years. More than 300 Stone Age archaeological sites have been discovered within the park, while other sites relating to the area’s Iron Age and San occupants also exist. In particular, the Kruger is known for its San rock art sites, of which there are approximately 130 on record. Sites of particular anthropological interest include the Albasini Ruins (the remains of a 19th-century Portuguese trading route), and the Iron Age settlements at Masorini and Thulamela.