South Africa Table Mountain

Kruger National Park wildlife,
a feast of African flora and fauna

It is the high level of diversity of plant and animal life that makes the Kruger National Park wildlife experience a feast for the eyes, ears and other senses.

One marvels at the frequent and sudden changes in landscape, vegetation, bird life and animal variety and density.

South Africa's bushveld and savannah regions are still home to large numbers of the mammals universally associated with Africa.

Since the early 1900s the Kruger National Park has been one of the few places where the unique wildlife of the African savanna's and forests has been able to survive.

Here you can see the best of South Africa's flora and fauna. Next to the Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino), this includes:

  • Over 150 species of mammals
  • The fastest land mammal
  • Over 520 bird species
  • Over 2000 plant species, including 456 tree and shrub species
  • Over 112 reptile species
  • Over 34 species of Amphibians
  • Over 49 species of fish
Sunset landscape in the Kruger National park - Kruger National Park wildlife
Sunset landscape in the Kruger National park - Kruger National Park wildlife

Current population of the Big Five in the Kruger National Park is estimated at;

  • 2,000 Lions
  • 11,760 Elephants
  • 25,150 Buffalos
  • 1,000 Leopards
  • 5,000 White Rhinos and 350 Black Rhinos
Portrait of the King of animals - Kruger National Park wildlife
Portrait of the King of animals - Kruger National Park wildlife

The fastest land mammal, the cheetah, is without doubt the fastest creature on land in the world, capable of speeds of up to 114 km/hr, and able to accelerate from 0 to 110 km/hr in only 3 seconds.

With a comparatively small population number of 200 in the Kruger National Park, the Cheetah is a vulnerable species. They can also be found in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape province and other game reserves in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and North West province.

Cheetahs in the Kruger Park - Kruger National Park wildlife
Cheetahs in the Kruger Park - Kruger National Park wildlife
copyright © South African tourism

Over 520 bird species, some of which are not to be found elsewhere in South Africa. Roughly half the number of bird species are summer migrants from Europe, Asia and elsewhere in Africa.

The best time for birding in the Kruger National Park is between October and March when all the migrants are in residence and food is plentiful. Most of the raptors found in Southern Africa occur in the Kruger National Park.

The far north of the Park (Pafuri and Punda Maria regions) is regarded as one of the birding mecca 's of the country, with many regional rarities to be found, yet birding throughout the entire park is excellent.

Vulture get-together - Kruger National Park wildlife
Vulture get-together - Kruger National Park wildlife
copyright © South African tourism

Over 2000 plant species, including 456 tree and shrub species, in a landscape that conjures up the image of a typical African savannah with its (often dry) grasses and more-or-less thickly scattered shrubs and thorn trees. The Kruger National Park is home to a spectacular array of plants, shrubs and trees of which some of the oldest trees in the world.

A few Baobab trees in the north of the Kruger National Park are believed to be over 3000 years old. The northern half of the park, north of the Olifants river is predominantly mopane veld, while the southern half below the Olifants river consists mostly of thorn veld.

The Park can further be divided into 6 eco-systems: Baobab sandveld, Mopane scrub, Lebombo Knobthorn-Marula bushveld, mixed Acacia thicket, Combretum-silver Cluster-leaf woodland on granite and riverine forest.

Old Baobab tree at sunset - Kruger National Park wildlife
Old Baobab tree at sunset - Kruger National Park wildlife
copyright © South African tourism

Over 112 reptile species, including Africa’s biggest snake, the non-venomous African Rock Python, which is considered vulnerable, because it is in demand in the traditional medicine market and amongst reptile collectors.

There are well over 100 types of snakes. While about half of them are non-venomous, others like the puff adder and the black mamba can be very deadly.

The Rock Python, Africa’s biggest snake - Kruger National Park wildlife
The Rock Python, Africa’s biggest snake - Kruger National Park wildlife

South Africa has one river-dwelling reptile that is, as much as any of the Big Five, a symbol of Africa, the Nile Crocodile. It still rules many stretches of river and estuary, lakes and pools. There is usually great curiosity and fear surrounding these reptiles.

Despite their slow appearance, Nile Crocodiles are top-level predators and very dangerous in their chosen environment. They have been seen attacking and killing lions.

Nile crocodile lazing in the sun - Kruger National Park wildlife
Nile Crocodile lazing in the sun - Kruger National Park wildlife
copyright © South African tourism

Over 34 species of Amphibians. The country's comparative dryness accounts for its fairly low amphibian count of 34 species. Apart from scientific value, Amphibians are generally not considered to be of great intrinsic or economic importance.

The African Bullfrog is one of the largest frogs in South Africa. It measures up to 9.5 inches (24 cm) and may weigh over two kilograms. It has a chubby body with a broad head, and has an olive-greenish coloured bumpy skin.

The African Tiger fish - Kruger National Park wildlife
The African Tiger fish - Kruger National Park wildlife

And finally, over 49 species of fish, including one of the rarest ones in the world, the Notobranchius Rachovi, which survives in mud when water holes dry up. The Tiger fish is well known for its vigorous fighting when caught by an angler.






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