Among the nearly 150 species of mammals seen in the park are cheetah, leopard, lion, spotted hyena, wild dog, black and white rhino, blue wildebeest, buffalo, Burchell’s zebra, bushbuck, eland, elephant, giraffe, hippo, impala, kudu, mountain reedbuck, nyala, oribi, reedbuck, roan antelope, sable antelope, tsessebe, warthog and waterbuck.
The staggering 507 bird species include raptors, hefty-beaked hornbills, ostriches and countless colourful specimens. The birders’ “big six” are the saddle-billed stork, kori bustard, martial eagle, lappet-faced vulture, Pel’s fishing owl and ground hornbill.
Keep your eyes open and you’ll also see a variety of reptiles, amphibians and insects – most rewardingly in the grounds of the restcamps themselves: there’s always something to see up the trees, in the bushes or even inside your rondavel. If you spot a miniature ET-like reptile crawling upside down on the ceiling, don’t be tempted to kill it; it’s an insect-eating gecko and is doing you a good turn. If, however, you have a horror of insects or frogs, stay away from Kruger in the rainy season (Nov–March).
Common among the three-hundred-plus tree species are the baobab, cluster fig, knobthorn, Natal mahogany, monkey orange, raisin bush, tamboti, coral tree, fever tree, jackalberry, leadwood, marula, mopane, lala palm and sausage tree.