Uncovering Kruger National Park- William Mabasa

19 June 2015 by Katy Johnson

As head of PR and Communication William Mabasa is the media face of the Kruger National Park. A job he has been doing for 16 years and absolutely loves. When asked, he will tell you his job is more of a lifestyle than anything else, as he has always loved the Park so working here is a dream come true. 

As the Park’s media liaison William gets to work with every other department in the Park from the vets and the scientists to the rangers and the tourism department.  It also means he gets to see a lot more of Kruger than most, making him the ideal person to uncover the southern section of Kruger National Park.

What makes Kruger National Park so special?

For me it is the sense of the place, its ambience. Kruger has a tranquillity that is often lacking from modern day life. For me, the wildlife always brings about complete spirit regeneration, which is really special. The Southern section of the Park is a haven for rhinos and has the biggest population found anywhere in the world. We are very proud of this and are doing all we can to ensure they are protected. 

If we had one day, where would you take me in the Park on a game drive and why?

It would have to be the Lower Sabie and Berg-en-Dal area in the Southern Section of Kruger. As here we would have the highest possibility of seeing the “Big Five” animals within a short space of time. The area has an abundance of water due to the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers, making it perfect for game viewing. Especially during the dry winter months when the grass has died back and the animals have to come to the rivers to drink. 

I would end our day at Matekenyane, which is just south of Skukuza Rest Camp. It is a rock that has one of the best views in the Park. You are able to get out here, enjoy a sundowner and simply appreciate the beauty of Kruger.

Where is the best place to grab a bite to eat?

Outside the Park I would have to say Nelspruit. There is a really good variety of restaurants, serving food from all over the world. The standards are high and the service is always good, whichever you choose.

What are your top 5 places or attractions in Kruger?

As I mentioned previously Mathekenyane provides one of the best views in Kruger and would definitely be in of my top five for the Southern Section.

The Stevenson Hamilton Museum would be another. It is in Skukuza and is often over looked by tourists. It is definitely worth a visit as it gives you a real sense of the history of Kruger. There are some amazing stories from over the years and the Stevenson Hamilton Museum has brought these together and draws you into the experience. 

Mlondozi Picnic site has to be on the list. It is the perfect place to stop for lunch, enjoy the scenery, discuss the day’s sightings and plan your next activity. There are a number of picnic sites around Kruger but this is by far my favourite.

Nkumbe lookout point always gets me. As I gaze out over the pristine wilderness the sheer majesty of Kruger is awe inspiring. The animals look like little dots and at first you don’t see anything. Then when you accustom your eyes to the plains far below that stretch out to the distant horizon you start to pick out herds of antelope, elephants and if you are really lucky, lions roaming the plains below. It is “Wow!”, just remember your binoculars!

Finally, it would have to be the famed Big 5 of Kruger. They are what most tourists hope to see and who can blame them. Who doesn’t want to see a majestic lion, the large herds of buffalo, a huge bull elephant or a white rhino, not to forget a sighting of an elusive leopard.. The interesting thing is that when they leave it is often a completely different animal that has really captured their imagination. A wild dog sighting, elegant giraffe strolling through the bush or sunbathing hippos!

What makes Mpumalanga stand out from all the other Provinces?

Three things: the scenic beauty, the wildlife and the culture. Mpumalanga has the most diverse scenery, there are mountains, grasslands, riverine ecosystems, waterfalls, canyons, stone outcrops even the agricultural lands and plantations have their own different verdant beauty. Then there is the wildlife. This is Big 5 country, but we also have a staggering array of bird, insect, fish and amphibian life. Not to mention all the other mammal species that Kruger is famed for. Finally, there is the cultural history of the area. From San rock art, Gold Rush towns, Swazi influences, cultural villages to Jock of the Bushveld. Mpumalanga has a rich cultural history we all should be proud of.