There are more A-list animals to see in the Kruger that are unique and even endangered species. Find out more about these wildlife superstars that you could be getting up close and personal with on your game drives the next time you are visiting the Kruger National Park.
The Southern African lion
The Kruger National Park is home to some of the world’s most majestic animals, including lions. Lions are the apex predators of the park and can be seen on game drives. Because they are crepuscular wild animals, the best time to go on safari in the Kruger to see them is when they are most active at dusk and dawn. Lions are known to be social creatures and can be seen hunting and protecting their territory. Seeing a lion in its natural habitat is a truly awe-inspiring experience and a must for any Kruger National Park visitor.
The ground pangolin
The Ground pangolin is truly an unforgettable wild animal to see! It’s a shy and nocturnal creature found in the savanna grassland and mixed woodland landscapes of the Kruger National Park. They are covered in armour-like scales and curl up into a ball when threatened. They feed primarily on termites and ants, which they dig up with their strong front claws. Ground pangolins are threatened by poaching and habitat loss and are classified as vulnerable. In Kruger, they are best seen on night safaris, where their distinctive yellow eyes often reflect the light of the spotlight. Be sure to respect these animals and keep your distance!
The Kruger subspecies of cheetah
Did you know that the Kruger National Park has its very own subspecies of cheetah? Scientifically known as the Acinonyx jubatus krugeri, this subspecies of cheetah is only found in the Kruger National Park! This rare cheetah is considered to be one of the most genetically distinct populations of cheetahs in the world.
The Kruger cheetahs are known for their distinctive black “tear marks” that run from the corners of their eyes down to their mouths, which are thought to help them reduce glare from the sun while hunting. They are also larger and heavier than other subspecies of cheetahs, with males weighing up to 54 kg (120 pounds) and females weighing up to 45 kg (100 pounds).
The Kruger cheetahs are also known for their unique hunting strategy, which involves using teamwork to hunt larger prey such as wildebeest and zebras. This hunting strategy is thought to have developed as a result of the high densities of large herbivores found in the Kruger National Park. Imagine getting the chance to observe this thrilling animal behaviour for yourself on one of the Kruger national park tours!
Nyala is a medium-sized antelope found in southern and eastern Africa. It has a reddish-brown coat, with white stripes and spots on its side and legs. Males are larger than females and have prominent spiralled horns. Nyalas live in woodlands as well as savanna grasslands and are “browsers,” meaning they feed on leaves, shoots, buds, and fruit. They are active during the day and are most commonly seen in herds of up to 20. Nyalas are a popular animal to spot in the Kruger National Park and can be seen on guided tours or on your own game drives in their natural habitat.
The Saddle-billed stork
The Saddle-billed stork, specifically the Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis, is a large, striking bird that is found in sub-Saharan Africa. It is known for its distinctive, bright red bill that is topped with a black band, giving it the appearance of having a “saddle” on its bill. They can reach up to 150cm in height, have black plumage on their body and long legs. They are found in wetlands, swamps, and floodplains, where they feed on fish, frogs, and other aquatic animals.
When you’re on the lookout for wild animals in the Kruger, you are likely to spot saddle-billed storks perched on tall trees or termite mounds where they can easily see prey and survey their surroundings. They are known for their elaborate courtship displays, which include bill-clattering and wing-flapping.
This is just a little taste of the wild animals you can see in the Kruger national park! You can experience the exciting variety of wildlife watching for yourself and see leopards, elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, crocodiles, and so much more on your future safari lodge stay.