#AfriTravel: Why Kruger is among the top national parks in Africa

2018-06-26 14:03 - Kavitha Pillay
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Visits to South Africa from international tourists are often incomplete without a trip to Kruger National Park – one of the country’s biggest natural attractions.

The 2-million-hectare park is home to the Big Five together with thousands of bird and animal species that roam freely. While platforms such as Latest Sightings share the mind-blowing interactions and ways of life of the Park’s animals, nothing beats seeing nature at its best for yourself while on a game drive or by foot.

SEE: What you need to know about visiting Kruger and CapeNature parks during school holidays

Apart from being a reserve for SA’s rich and abundant natural heritage, the park also has sites of historic and archaeological value such as the Albasini ruins which are the archaeological remains of a trading post built in 1845, 500-year-old Thulamela site, and a late Iron Age site called Masorini.

Managed by South African National Parks (SANParks), Kruger offers visitors authentic bush experiences. While luxury accommodation and game drives are available, explorers can be fully immersed in the raw wilderness of the Park by staying in rustic camps with only the bare essentials and opt for guided walking trails through the remote bush.

ALSO SEE: Kruger Quick Guide: A first-timer’s guide to SA's iconic wildlife destination

These experiences and attractions, among the marvel of nature itself, have earned the Park a nomination in the 2018 World Travel Awards in the category Africa’s Leading National Park. The Awards, which serves a hallmark of travel industry excellence, rewards the best facilities, businesses and destinations across sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries.

The public can vote for the nominees until midnight on 19 August 2018. The Africa and Indian Ocean segment of the Awards ceremony is set to take place in Durban, for the third time, on 6 October 2018.

ALSO SEE: SA cruise ports nominated for World Travel Award + get planning for 2018/2019 cruise season

Other nominees for Africa’s Leading National Park come from all corners of the continent and irrespective of which park wins the award, they all prove that Africa is abound with natural beauty and heritage that the world needs to see and experience.

Take a look at the nominated parks throughout Africa that prove why #AfriTravel should be high on your agenda.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Botswana does not believe in fencing in wild animals and has zero-tolerance for hunting – perhaps this is why it flourishes in an abundance of nature, making it the perfect escape for nature-lovers, and ideal for a bush-break.

MUST-SEE: #AfriTravel: Why Botswana is the ultimate getaway for nature lovers

Central Kalahari is the largest game reserve in Botswana, covering 52 800 square km. While it boasts rich wildlife, what also makes this reserve special is that it was originally developed in 1961 as a sanctuary for the San people to continue their traditional hunter-gatherer way of life without being influenced by the rest of the world.

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Etosha National Park, Namibia

Etosha National Park is dominated by a massive salt pan – which can actually be seen from space –that was formed around 1000 million years ago.

SEE: Quick guide to Namibia: Visa-free travel for South Africans

The pan rarely has water – which is supplied mostly from rainfall but quickly evaporates. Verges of the lake are covered with trees and grass, and together with springs providing water, attract abundant species of animals and birds which live around the pan.

Click here to book a 12-day Namibian adventure that includes a visit to Etosha National Park.

ALSO SEE: Spectacular Namibia: Adventuring along Skeleton Coast, Damaraland and Etosha

Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda

Uganda’s most isolated national park, Kidepo consists of varying landscapes from semi-arid valleys, savannah and mountain ranges.

It is home to over 77 mammal species and about 475 bird species which are best spotted in the dry season around the Narus Valley’s wetlands and pools.

MUST-SEE: Gorilla trekking: A dream come true

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

The annual wildebeest migration that sees over 1.5 million animals arriving in July and departing in November is a spectacle in its own right worth trekking to Kenya to witness.

If that’s not enough, some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 bird species make Masai Mara National Park their home – certainly cementing this park one of Africa’s wildlife havens.

ALSO SEE: LuxVentures in Kenya: Top 5 adventure travel experiences to try

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Be on the other side of the wildebeest migration at Serengeti National Park which welcomes the animals at the southern end of the Serengeti Ecosystem where they are expected to give birth to about 500 000 calves.

A bird-lover’s paradise, the park has over 518 identified bird species - some of which are Eurasian migrants from October to April. The Park boasts a high concentration of large mammals and is believed to be home to 2 500 lions.

A hot air balloon trip is one of the exciting ways to explore the vast landscape and its inhabitants, but visitors may also book guided tours to see wildlife, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Masai cultural village.

CHECK OUT: Getting up close to a hippo on a Tanzanian river