Kruger National Park Animals – All Creatures Great and Small

There are many Kruger National Park animals to see in the game reserve, from small creatures that scurry into the bush to the big famous animals that everyone’s heard of, like:

Then, all the way back down again to the little insects that crawl along the ground, playing their important part in the ecosystem, are creatures such as dung beetles, which are great at cleaning up after elephants!

Sighting Boards

If you’re looking for popular Kruger animals, like the big 5, look at the animal sighting boards at rest camps, gates and picnic spots. They’re notice boards showing a map of Kruger National Park.

Tourists and rangers pin the board where they’ve spotted Kruger National Park animals. If you see that an animal’s been in the area you’re travelling in, you can try going to the place where it was spotted and see if it’s still there.

Ready for Photos

ElephantTaking pictures, or even videos, of animals isn’t always easy. Sometimes when you’re just about to take a photo of the perfectly positioned animal that has eluded you so far, it turns away or disappears behind a tree.

The trick is to always have your camera switched on and ready so you don’t miss a good photo opportunity. If you’re camera has a sports mode, this can help too.

Animal Numbers

At the last estimate, which was taken in 2011, numbers of the big 5 animal species in Kruger National Park were:

 

For big animals, aerial surveys are done to come up with the estimates. It must be trickier to estimate how many of the smaller animals there are!

Night Animals

If you want to see animals at night, other than little animals in your rest camp, like bush babies, bats and geckos, you’ll need to go on a Kruger game tour.

On night tours, we’ve seen various nocturnal animals like owls, spring hares and servals, a kind of medium-sized cat. You might also come across other cats, like genets and civets.

It’s not just nocturnal animals that you could see. You might cross paths with animals that are also active in the day, but with different behaviour at night, such as hippos going for their cross-country strolls! They normally just wallow in the water all day long. You’d never see them out and about in the day time!

Poisonous Animals

Venomous animals in Kruger National Park are snakes, spiders and other creepy crawlies! You should be aware that they could be around rest camps.

It’s not something to generally worry about, but it’s a good idea to have a torch with you at night to watch your step.

We once saw a black mamba, one of the most poisonous snakes in South Africa, on the roadside on a night game drive.

Water Creatures

TerrapinThe image that comes to mind when we think of water animals in the game reserve is of hippos, but there are many others, such as:

Spend some time at watercourses to see what you can spot!

Drinking Spots

There are watering holes and dams throughout Kruger National Park where you can see all kinds of animals drinking from them. It’s fairly common to see birds, zebras, antelope, elephants and warthogs at them.

Some of the larger dams in the park to watch animals come and go by are:

 

Baby Animals

You’ll even see baby animals quite often, staying close to their mothers and in herds. They’re really cute! We’ve seen:

  • Warthog pigletBuffalo calves
  • Elephant calves
  • Impala calves
  • Kudu calves
  • Lion cubs
  • Rhino calves
  • Warthog piglets
  • Wildebeest calves
  • Zebra foals

Game spotting can take some patience. You might catch a glimpse of fur behind a tree and be craning your neck to see what it was. The animal might walk on and come into full view or it might just disappear and remain hidden. This is the nature of viewing Kruger National Park animals on safari.

Yellow-billed stork with frogIt can also be quite shocking watching predators in action, from lions on the hunt, to birds snacking on frogs. But this is life in the wild and it’s part of coming to Kruger National Park. You might find it your instinct to want to help an animal, but you know you can’t interfere with nature’s balance. You must stay in your car.

When you see animals close up, you’ll notice many of them have battle scars where they might have been hurt by a predator and were lucky enough to survive. If the Kruger National Park animals could talk, we’d love to hear their stories!