Famous author and journalist Ernest Hemmingway once said, “I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy.”
The general consensus amongst those that have visited this mysterious and alluring continent has been one of positivity, beauty, reflection, and unforgettable sights and sounds. Africa has so many things to offer visitors, but the experience of finding oneself surrounded by African lions, elephants, reptiles, birds, and fish on a unique African safari journey will stay with you and your family long after the trip has concluded.
Once you arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa, and take in all that this buzzing city has to offer, you’ll find the world-famous Kruger National Park located just a short one hour flight or five-hour drive from Johannesburg— This park and all the experiences that it has to offer, is the flagship experience of the South Africa.
Sprawling more than 7,500 square miles in northeastern South Africa, Kruger National Park has been protected by the government of the South African Republic since 1898 and became the first National Park in all of Africa in 1926. This majestic wonder is home to an impressive number of plant and animal species, including 147 different mammals, 114 reptile species, and an astonishing 507 various birds.
Once inside Kruger National Park, you’ll find yourself safely within extreme close proximity of the amazing African wildlife, including the Big Five (elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards, and buffalo). Kruger employs a bevy of skillful and expert game rangers who will lead you on a journey of game viewing and even trail walking adventures that allow you to track these dynamic animals.
While your safari jeep will navigate through streams, rivers, and rugged country to see the mammals and reptiles gracing the earth, a quick look to the sky and trees will reveal the graceful and beautiful birds that call Kruger National Park home. With more than 500 species of fowl, safari participants, specifically bird enthusiasts, will find themselves in an unforgettable bird paradise. Adults and children alike will want to grab any object nearby that can take a photo to capture one of these species in action—particularly one of the many birds of prey that reside permanently in Kruger National Park.
In fact, worldwide there are 83 species of birds of prey (raptors) and a whopping 58 of them are commonly found within the confines of Kruger, including the park’s largest resident bird of prey, the Lappet-faced Vulture, which weighs over 20 pounds and sports a near 10-foot wingspan. If you’re willing to shift your gaze from the presence of lions and other members of the Big Five, you could find yourself with a glimpse of a raptor in full hunt formation. This exclusive group of fowl includes eagles, hawks, buzzards, falcons, vultures, and even the Strigiforme—a night hunter from the owl family that makes a living as a raptor!
Regardless of if your primary hopes include seeing mammals, reptiles, fish, or astonishing birds, one thing is certain, you’ll find yourself waking up on the morning of your safari with a smile and a childish enthusiasm for everything that Africa, and Kruger National Park, has to offer you and your family.