Wildlife


Wildlife In The Kruger National Park

Rhino Walking Safaris

The Kruger National Park covers almost 2 million hectares of beautiful, unspoilt terrain and boasts the world’s greatest concentration and diversity of species. An impressive 147 mammal species inhabit this remarkable reserve. In addition it boasts 517 bird species, 49 fish, 34 amphibian, 114 reptile and 336 tree species.

Scattered through the Park are ancient archaeological sites and bushman paintings, and there are numerous activities on offer.

Before the Kruger Park was declared a national reserve in 1884 by President Paul Kruger, the game had almost been completely wiped out by hunters. Today the fascinating and varied Kruger Park wildlife includes everything from Aardvark to Zebra and includes such intriguing unrelated species such as baboons and baboon spiders.

Wilderness Concession

Rhino Walking Safaris is situated in a wilderness concession. Zoned wilderness areas are very few and far between. The most important factor is that they are not developed with road networks and have no off road driving – making them completely wild and unspoilt – a pristine wilderness area may not even have an aircraft fly over it; we are however a primitive wilderness area which allows for only very well managed and supervised recreational use and very strict conservation ethics. The animals in these areas are not habituated and there is no damage to nature. These areas are zoned in such a way either because they are fragile environments, contain rare species or simply because they are good grazing areas for game and so are the obvious choice to protect biodiversity for future generations. In our case it’s all three. It’s an excellent game grazing area, has sodic patches which make it fragile in terms of erosion, and have all of the following rare species seen intermittently:

  • Black Rhino
  • Sable Antelope (one of the biggest remaining herds in Kruger – if not the biggest, is seen drinking from time to time at our Sleep Outs waterhole)
  • Pangolin
  • Aardvark – rarely seen, but living on the eastern edge of our concession.
  • Ground Hornbill nesting site
  • Yellow Billed Ox Pecker – we are used as a research site for this bird which is very rarely found in the southern part of the Kruger Park (they were originally considered extinct in 1920) – a real gem for birders.

Fauna and Flora

The Kruger National Park boasts the world’s greatest concentration and diversity of species.

At Rhino Walking Safaris guests have the opportunity to experience all the classic African big game including the Big Five: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and black and white rhino. In addition there are also hippopotamus, giraffe, zebra, cheetah, warthog and many antelope species.

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Mammals

Below is a checklist of the most visual species:
Rare sightings **
Aardvark ** Aardwolf Antelope Roan Antelope Sable
Baboon Chacma Badger Honey Bat Epauletted, Peter’s Bat Epauletted, Wahlberg’s
Bat Free-tailed, Angolan Bat Free-tailed, Little Bat Tomb, Mauritian Buffalo
Bushbaby Lesser Bushbaby Thick-tailed Bushbuck Bushpig
Cane-rat Greater Caracal Cat Wild, African Cheetah
Civet Dassie Rock Dassie Rock Yellow-spotted Dog Wild
Duiker Common Duiker Red Eland ** Elephant African
Fox Bat-eared ** Genet Large-spotted Genet Small-spotted Giraffe
Grysbok Sharpe’s Hare Cape Hare Scrub Hare Red, Natal
Hartebeest Lichtenstein’s Hyena Spotted Hippopotamus Jackal Black-backed
Impala Klipspringer Jackal Side-striped Leopard
Kudu Mongoose Banded Lion Mongoose Grey, Large
Mongoose Dwarf Mongoose Selous’s Mongoose Meller’s Mongoose Water
Mongoose Slender Monkey Samango Mongoose White-tailed Mouse Multimammate, Natal
Monkey Vervet Oribi Nyala Pangolin **
Otter Clawless ** Porcupine Polecat Striped Reedbuck Mountain
Reedbuck Common Rhinoceros Black Rhebok Grey Serval
Rhinoceros White Squirrel Tree Springhare Suni **
Steenbok Warthog Tsessebe ** Wildebeest Blue
Waterbuck Zebra Burchell’s

The number of different animals varies from year to year depending on climatic conditions.

The following is an estimate based on the latest census:
** Due to rhino poaching we regret we are unable to disclose rhino figures
Black rhino ** Blue wildebeest 14 000 – 16 000 Buffalo 34 000
Burchell’s zebra 32 000 – 35 000 Cheetah 200 – 250 Eland 600
Elephant 15 870 Giraffe 5 000 – 7 000 Hippo 2 963
Hyaena 2 300 – 2 600 Impala 120 000 – 130 000 Kudu 4 500 – 6 000
Leopard 1500 Lion 2 400 – 2 700 Roan antelope 60
Sable antelope 500 Tsessebe 400 Waterbuck 2 000
White rhino ** Wild dog ± 260

Birds

Kruger has a list of more than 500 birds, some of which are not found anywhere else in South Africa. Tailor-made birding safaris are available from both Rhino Walking Safaris and Plains Camp. Birders can look forward to pursuing the Big Six: Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Lappet-faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Pel’s Fishing Owl and the Saddle-bill Stork.

In addition, Hornbills, Starlings, Vultures, Rollers, Bee-eaters and Shrikes make this a prime birdwatching area. Raptor viewing is extremely rewarding with Bateleur, Martial, Black-breasted Snake, Brown Snake, African Hawk, African Fish and Tawny Eagles seen regularly. In summer birders can spot the Wahlberg, Steppe and Lesser Spotted.

Vegetation

The Kruger National Park boasts 16 macro ecozones and, due to its vastness, it naturally has a tremendous botanic diversity. The northern half of the park, north of the Olifants River is predominantly mopane veld, while south of the Olifants, the ecozones are thornveld.

Rhino Walking Safaris, located slightly north of Skukuza in the Kruger National Park, consists of mixed Bushwillow and Acacia veld with numerous riverbeds running through it. An interesting feature of this area is the sodic open plains. These open areas with short grass attract high concentrations of wildlife. They are caused by sodium leaching out of the soil and accumulating in these areas.

Enthusiastic ecotourists can identify a variety of plant species in the park. Varying climatic conditions impact on the type of vegetation within an ecosystem and this, in turn, affects the distribution and population densities of various animals. The park has over 1,986 plant species, of which 336 are trees, including the Big Five: Baobab, Fever Tree, Knobthorn, Marula, and Mopane.

Baobab Red Bushwillow Common Cluster Fig Common Coral Tree
Delagoa Thorn Fever Tree Lowveld Fig Jackalberry
Knob Thorn Leadwood Natal Mahogany Marula
Monkey Orange Mopane Transvaal Mustard Tree Lala Palm
Raisin Bush Sausage Tree Tamboti Round-leafed Teak