The Kruger National Park ecosystem is made up of not one, but six different ecosystems that spread across the park.
Each ecosystem depends on the type and age of the underlying rock. The rock in turn affects the type of topsoil that forms on the rocks.
Different types of topsoil support certain kinds of grasses, plants and trees. This greenery helps to prevent soil erosion. Ultimately, the vegetation leads to which herbivore animals eat the flora and which predators hunt those herbivores.
Don’t forget about the effects of wind either. It carves the shape of the landscape, such as wearing away rock to provide shelter and it carries the seeds of plants and grasses to new places to grow.
On top of this add rainfall, the rivers and the amount of water that stays in catchments like the small dams. Add to this the general Kruger National Park weather and climate. Hot humid days in summer and mild winter days with cool nights impact on what plants and animals will thrive in the area.
Add these all together and you get the main factors which contribute to the ecosystems in Kruger National Park.
The northern part of the park, above Olifants River, is mostly mopani veld which is a mixture of mopani trees growing above granite and basalt rock. South of this river, the ecosystem is mainly Lebombo knobthorn veld growing on dry volcanic rock ridges.
The four other ecosystems that exist in Kruger National Park are:
- Acacia thicket
- Baobab sandveld where the underlying rock is sandstone
- Combretum-silver clusterleaf woodland on granite rock
- Riverine forest where thick woods grow along riverbanks
Kruger National Park and ecotourism go together hand in hand. The variety in ecosystems supports the huge array of animals that thousands of people each year from all over the world come to see and enjoy.