What you can expect to see in the Kruger National Park.
umSisi House, and the Jock of the Bushveld Conservancy, are situated within easy driving access of three gates into the south-western section of the Kruger National Park. We therefore benefit from a similar diversity of plant and animal life within the conservancy. To date, 120 different type of bird have been spotted on the farm as well as an extraordinary array of insects, reptiles and a few of the smaller mammals species.
- 147 species of mammals including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) and the Cheetah - the fastest land mammal in the world
- 507 bird species
- Over 2000 plant species, including 336 tree species
- 114 reptile species
- 34 species of Amphibians
- 49 species of fish
Current populations of the Big Five in the Kruger National Park are estimated at;
- 1,500 Lions
- 12,000 Elephants
- 2,500 Buffalos
- 1,000 Leopards
- 5,000 White Rhinos and 350 Black Rhinos
It is the high diversity of plant and animal life that makes the Kruger National Park one of the best wildlife experiences in the world. However there are only 200 Cheetah remaining in the park and it has now reached vulnerable status on the IUCN Red Data list. Although sighting the 'Big Five' is something of a quest for many people when on safari there are plenty of other fascinating animals, birds and plants in the African bush.
The chance of seeing small herds of sable, eland and Lichtenstein's hartebeest make this part of the park a special destination. Black and white rhino, buffalo and elephant can be seen on the loop roads around Pretoriuskop camp. The numerous rocky outcrops should be searched for rock hyrax, klipspringer, oribi and red duiker (these two latter species though difficult to find are more or less restricted to this part of the Kruger National Park). A visit to the Mestel Dam can produce hippopotamus, while a stop at the Shitlhave Dam can produce reedbuck. On the carnivore front, wild dog are frequently recorded in the area and, despite the dense grass, so are cheetah. Spotted hyena and leopard should also be searched for.
For a checklist of all mammals, please download the attached PDF:
Birding in the Kruger
Kruger has a list of over 500 species some of which are not to be found elsewhere in South Africa. Hornbills, Starlings, Vultures, Rollers, Bee-eaters and Shrikes typify the ubiquitous avi-fauna and birders can look forward to pursuing the big 6 (Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel's Fishing-Owl and Ground Hornbill). 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. Eagles are common: Bateleur, Martial, Black-chested Snake, Brown Snake, African Hawk, African Fish and Tawny are all regularly seen, and in summer: Wahlberg's, Steppe, Lesser Spotted. The Park's numerous water points make for excellent birding, while the rest camps and picnic sites are exceptionally rewarding for birders. 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.
Unusual sightings in the area include the African Green Pigeon, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Retz's Helmet-shrike, Green-capped Eremomela, Brown-headed Parrot, Cutthroat Finch, Redheaded Weaver and several other sunbird species. Black Cuckoo (summer) and Gorgeous Bush Shrike can be heard calling from the dense bush surrounding Pretoriuskop camp. This is also the best area in the Park to see the Pennant-winged Nightjar, Black-bellied Bustard (Korhaan) and Red-collared Widow.
For either a condensed or comprehensive bird list, please download the attached PDF's:
And don't forget the:
- 114 reptile species including Africa's biggest snake, the non-venomous African Rock Python, which is considered vulnerable due to illegal poaching for the traditional medicine market, and South Africa's largest reptile the Nile Crocodile
- 34 amphibian species including the African Bullfrog which is one of the largest frogs in South Africa. It measures up to 9.5 inches (24 cm) and may weigh over two kilograms
- 49 fish species including the rare and peculiar seasonal fish, Notobranchius rachovi and Nothobranchius orthonotus. This 50 mm fish lives for only one season having laid its eggs in the mud of pans where they lie dormant until after sufficient rain when the water in the pan attains the correct osmotic pressure and the eggs hatch