The word “park” for many many conjure up civilized, groomed lawns, flowerbeds, and patches of dappled woods. But in Africa, game parks are wild swaths of raw nature, preserved both for biodiversity and so that humans can experience it in comparative safety. Kruger Park, a long, wide wedge of territory located in the far northeast of South Africa near the borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe, (and with good connections to cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg) is one of the largest of this mighty continent’s many game reserves, and last year marked the 90th anniversary of becoming this country’s first national park.
Furthermore, Kruger, named after a late-19th-century South African president, is still in many ways the gold standard for African game reserves, has has some 7,720 square miles (two million hectares) covering 16 ecosystems and a variety of safari camps and lodges (in addition, right alongside are several private game reserves such as Sabi Sabi, which are unfenced and practically indistinguishable from Kruger itself). More than a million people a year come to view its 600-plus wildlife species, which famously include the “Big Five” (buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, rhino) which can be spotted on 4×4 game drives or walking safaris.