Kruger National Park Local Customs

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Most Recent Local Customs in Kruger National Park

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    Kruger National Park- a Brief History

    by lynnehamman Written Jul 28, 2009

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    The Kruger National Park has an extraordinary colourful history.

    François de Cuiper was the first explorer and led a Dutch East India Company expedition to the area . The expedition party was attacked and driven back by local tribes near Gomondwane.Later, around 1838, Voortrekkers (who were former Dutch settlers) trekked to the same region - led by Lous Trichardt and Hans van Rensburg. They were able to successfully establish outposts.

    Lured by the promises of gold, ivory and animal skins, hundreds of Europeans and farmers followed to the Lowveld. During this period, the animal population dwindled dramatically due to hunting parties.
    After being made aware of the situation regarding the diminishing animal population, President Paul Kruger succeeded in persuading the Transvaal parliament to establish a protected area for the wildlife in the Lowveld region.

    Sabie Game Reserve , bordered by the Crocodile River in the south, the Sabie River in the north, the Lebombo Mountains in the east and the Drakensberg Mountains in the west, which is now the southern part of the Kruger National Park, was established in 1898. These reserves would eventually expand into today's Kruger National Park.

    During the Boer War , further development of the reserve ended, but the British, after their victory, proceeded to develop the Sabie Game Reserve and instructed major James Stevenson-Hamilton in 1902 to protect the animals against hunters, ivory poachers and cattle farmers. The Park was opened to the public in 1927 for visitors to view animals and plant life in a protected natural enviroment.
    After the Anglo-Boer War, James Stevenson-Hamilton was appointed as the first park warden. He spent the next 40 years protecting his park. His contribution to the Kruger National Park's current existence is of course invaluable.

    In addition to his animal conservation, James Stevenson Hamilton was also responsible for acquiring great tracts of land for the reserve. After World War I, the Kruger National Park was protected by the government of South Africa and remains under the watchful eye of the government up to the present day.

    The very first ranger in the reserve was Paul Bester who made his residence in a rustic rondavel (hut) which is now the site of the headquarters camp, Skukuza. Documents concerning the History of the Kruger National Park can be viewed at the Skukuza Library.

    Half a million years ago, the first San stone age hunters roamed the plains in search of game. These original San and later bushmen have left intricate and colourful rock paintings in many parts of South Africa, and Kruger National Park contains over one hundred sites of these paintings. The rockpaintings mostly depict the wild variety of wildlife, abundant at the time.

    The Kruger National Park is a living monument to President Paul Kruger, the conservationists, and those who have upheld his vision of a protected wilderness reserve which will forever remind us of that which we are so dangerously close to losing.

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    CLIMATE OF THE PARK

    by DAO Written Jul 1, 2008

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    Kruger National Park enjoys a subtropical climate and is coolest during the winter months of June, July and August. This is also when it is the driest. The days are warm then and the evenings vary from very cool to freezing (0° C, 32° F). You need a range of clothing including warmer clothes for the evenings. I recommend combat-style trousers with zip off legs for all round use. Throw in a few light jackets and long sleeve shirts for diner.

    The great thing about visiting in the winter is that it’s a great time to see animals. There is a lot less vegetation to get in your way and animals go to the waterholes to drink in the mornings and afternoons because of the lack of rainfall. This makes it easy for you to see a lot of them in one place.

    Summer is a wet season with high temperatures. Highs of 40º C (104° F) or more, though the daytime average is about 30° C (86° F) and it cools to just below 20° C (68° F) at night. The rainy season usually starts in September and can last until as late as May.

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    Other members of the cat family: The Cheetah.

    by MarioPortugal Updated Mar 12, 2007

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    photo by Afonso Duarte
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    The Cheetah
    Acinonyx jubatus (H: 80 cm; 40 -60 kg).

    Cheetah need open areas to hunt, and can reach a speed of about 112 km/h. Although solitary, some males form small coalitions, and females are often seen with their young.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    Insect-eating birds: The Helmeted Guineafowl

    by MarioPortugal Written Feb 25, 2007

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    The Helmeted Guineafowl
    Numida meleagris (53 - 58 cm) 203

    These unique birds congregate in large large flocks. They move though the grass scratching the ground with their feet as they go, searching for seeds and insects. The loud alarm call "kek-kek-krrrrr" is a familiar call in the bushveld.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    Insect-eating birds: The Cape Glossy Starling

    by MarioPortugal Written Feb 25, 2007

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    The Cape Glossy Starling
    Lamprotornis nitens (22 cm) 764

    The starlings are gregarious and the species intermingle, often becoming very tame around camp. They can be a delight, performing aerobatics before roosting at night. They often perch in treetops, making a loud noise (a harsh, high-pitched croaking).

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    Common mammals: The Spotted Hyaena

    by MarioPortugal Updated Feb 25, 2007

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    photo by Afonso Duarte

    The Spotted Hyaena
    Crocuta crocuta (H: 70 -80 cm; 65 - 70 kg).

    Hyaena are social, living in clans, headed by a large matriarch. They are predominantly nocturnal and although renowned scavengers, are also highly effective predators. Their distinctive "whoooo-oop" call can be heard at night.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    Common mammals: The Chacma Baboon

    by MarioPortugal Written Feb 25, 2007

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    photo by Afonso Duarte

    The Chacma Baboon
    Papio ursinus (L: 1,35 m; 30 kg [M], 16 kg [F]).

    Baboons need rocky hills or tall trees for sleeping, finding refuge and posting sentries. They are omnivorous and band together to defend the troop. Even their arch-enemy, the leopard, usually waits to attack until after dark.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    Common mammals: The Warthog

    by MarioPortugal Updated Feb 25, 2007

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    photo by Afonso Duarte

    The Warthog
    Phacochoerus aethiopicus (H: 70 cm; 60 - 100 kg; tusks 12 cm [M], 3 cm [F]).

    Warthogs have poor eyesight and may approach quite close to visitors, rooting about on their knees. When disturbed, they spend a few seconds staring, then run off with tails held erect. They shelter at night in old aardvark holes.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    Common antelope: The Impala.

    by MarioPortugal Written Feb 25, 2007

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    The Impala
    Apyceros melampus (H: 90 cm; 45 kg).

    Impala browse and graze in herds of up to 100. When alarmed they "blow" or "snort", and confuse predators when they run with leaps of up to 3 m high and 11 m long. During mating (April and May), snorting and grunting of rutting males can be heard afar.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    Common mammals: The Zebra.

    by MarioPortugal Updated Feb 25, 2007

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    The Zebra
    Plains Zebra (Burchell's Zebra)

    Equus burchelli antiquorum (H: 1,3 m, 290 - 3400 kg).

    Zebra stripes serve to confuse predators as when the herd bunches together it appears as a single unit. They often mix with wildebeest or impala in open savannah or grassland where their sharp senses benefit the whole group against surprise attack.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    The Big Five - The Rhinocero

    by MarioPortugal Updated Feb 25, 2007

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    The Rhinoceros

    White Rhinoceros

    Ceratotherium simum (H: 1,8 m; 1.600 - 2.300 kg; record horn 1,58 m).

    The White Rhino, the larger of the two prehistoric-looking rhinos, has a square lip, adapted for grazing, so is found in open savannah. The calf always walks in front of the mother.

    *
    Black Rhinoceros

    Diceros bicornis (H: 1,8 - 2,0 m ; 800 - 1.100 kg; record horn 1,05 m).

    The Black Rhinowith is hook-lip used for browsing, is found in dense bush or thickets but seldom seen in Kruger. The calf follows behind the mother. It is slightly smaller and far more aggressive than the White Rhino

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    The Big Five - The Buffalo

    by MarioPortugal Updated Feb 25, 2007

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    photo by Afonso Duarte
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    The Buffalo
    Syncerus caffer (H: 1,6 m; 750 kg; record horn 1,29 m).

    Buffalo prefer the open savannah with tall, coarse grass. They live in herds of up to 500, although old, solitary bulls are often seen. These hot-tempered bulls can charge unexpectedly, and are therefore considered on of Africa's most dangerous species.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    The Big Five - The Leopard

    by MarioPortugal Updated Feb 25, 2007

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    The Leopard
    Pantera pardus (H: 70 - 80 cm; 40 -70 kg).

    The leopard is a solitary and secretive animal. It spends most of its day in hiding. It hunts at night by ambushing its prey, and lives in dense bush, forest or rocky areas

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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    The Big Five - The Elephant

    by MarioPortugal Updated Feb 25, 2007

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    The Elephant
    Loxodonta africana (H: 3,2 - 4,0 m [M], 2,5 - 3,4 [F]; 5.000 - 6.300 kg [M], 2.800 - 3.500 [F]; record tusk 102,3 kg.

    Elephants live in stable social units led by a matriarch. Mature bulls form bachelor groups or wander alone. They communicate over several kilometres using infrasonic sound. Generally peaceful animals, but when in musk, the bulls are more aggressive.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
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    The Big Five - The Lion

    by MarioPortugal Updated Feb 25, 2007

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    The Lion
    Panthera leo (H: 1 m; 180 - 230 kg [M]; 113 - 160 kg [F]).

    Lions are social animals that observe a strict hierarchy within the pride. Although lionesses do most of the hunting, males that are present feed first. When food is scarce, cubs cannot compete with adults and 80% may starve to death.

    in: The Kruger Map - Kruger National Park
    www.jacana.ca.za

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Kruger National Park Local Customs

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