Meet Big Game Country
Mpumalanga has rightfully been dubbed “Big Game Country,” as it is home to the globally renowned Kruger National Park, plus a plethora of sanctuaries with an abundance of wildlife and birds, as well as some of the world’s best private game lodges. We highlight two of the wildlife adventures you have to experience at least once in your life.
Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves
Very few are not familiar with the Kruger National Park or the fact that is a choice destination for those who wish to see the Big 5 in their natural habitat. But with almost 19,000 square kilometres of an unrivalled diversity of life forms, Kruger National Park is so much more than that. We share a few fast facts about the park that you most probably don’t know.
• Attracts more than a million visitors every year.
• Home to more than 2000 plant species in multiple ecosystems.
• Contains artefacts of Stone Age humans dating up to 100,000 years ago.
• The park supports conservation of the critically endangered African wild dog.
• There is a 9-hole unfenced golf course at the Skukuza Rest Camp in the park.
• You can watch crocodiles while dining in one of its restaurants, Crocafellas
The park also has in excess of 500 bird species, including the “Big 6” which consists of:
i. Ground hornbill
ii. The Kori bustard
iii. Saddle-billed stork
iv. Martial eagle
v. Pel’s fishing owl
vi. Lappet-faced vulture.
The place of kings and the perfect place for eco-volunteers
Enkosini means “place of kings” and the Enkosini Wildlife Sanctuary creates a royal opportunity for self-funding eco-volunteers to get hands-on experience of establishing indigenous animals in the wild, at leading wildlife conservation programmes across South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. The following programmes form part of this initiative in South Africa:
• Bambela Wildlife Sanctuary
• Black Rhino Research Project
• CARE Baboon Sanctuary
• Penguin Conservation Centre
• Great White Shark Project
Then there is also the Lapolosa Wildnerness, a true wilderness and bushveld haven that is said to be one of the few magical unspoiled places left on earth, with no lights, no power lines, no telephone poles and no noise. Just nature, solar power, gas water heaters and an abundance of wildlife with several endangered species. Some unique features include:
• Home to a variety of the highly endangered Golden Mole and a flock of Southern Bald Ibis
• Sightings of unusually coloured leopards, including a black leopard and a red leopard.
Lapolosa Wilderness offers visitors a truly novel adventure and it also presents the rare opportunity to walk unharmed among the wildlife. The few wild animals that may potentially be dangerous, such as the giraffe, hartebeest and wildebeest, have been known to keep their distance from humans.