Kruger National Park, South Africa
Lion Sands Game Reserve is the only private reserve to have a foot in both the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park.
Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa. It covers 18,989km2 (7,332mi2) and extends 350km (217mi) from north to south and 60 km (37mi) from east to west.
Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this National Park of nearly 2 million hectares is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms, and holds its place as a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies.
With more large mammal species than any other African game reserve, over 450 species of birds, and a vast plethora of reptiles, insects and smaller game, visitors are in for a real treat.
To the west and south of the Kruger National Park are the two South African provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. In the north is Zimbabwe, and to the east is Mozambique. It is now part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a peace park that links Kruger National Park with the Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and with the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, an area designated by the United Nations Education and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO) as an International Man and Biosphere Reserve (the “Biosphere”).
As one of the few private concessions within the reserve, Lion Sands Kruger National Park affords its guests with the amazing advantage of going off road to follow in the footsteps of leopard, track down a herd of elephant, or simply wait to see what finds them!
The concession covers 30 km / 18.6 miles of river frontage of the Sabie river and approximately 14 km / 8.6 miles of the Sand river and is home to a very large selection of fauna and flora. The concession falls under the conservation management of the Kruger National Park and this guarantees unsurpassed game viewing in a pristine natural environment.
The more recent history of the private concession of Tinga (technical name is the Jackelbessie concession) starts in 1994. On the 8th of April 1994 the four leaders who led South Africa into a democracy – Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, Mangosuthu Buthelezi and King Goodwill Zwelithini – had one of their final meetings to decide the future of South Africa in the shade of the Jackelbessie tree which is located in front of Tinga Legends lodge. The concession comprises of 5000 hectares / 12,300 acres in the most abundant game viewing areas of Kruger and boasts the highest leopard density in Africa. The concession is also home to a large population of the endangered black rhino and is the nesting site of the rare southern ground hornbill and saddle billed stork.
The Kruger National Park is divided into six eco-systems: Baobab sandveld, Mopane scrub, Lebombo knobthorn-marula bushveld, mixed acacia thicket, Combretum-silver clusterleaf woodland on granite and riverine forest. Altogether it has 1,982 species of plants.
There are almost 254 known cultural heritage sites in the Kruger National Park, including nearly 130 recorded rock art sites. There is ample evidence that prehistoric man (Homo erectus) roamed the area between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago. Cultural Stone Age artefacts have been found for the period 100,000 to 30,000 years ago. More than 300 archaeological sites of Stone Age man have been found. Evidence of Bushman Folk (San) and Iron Age people from about 1,500 years ago is in great evidence, with numerous examples of San Art scattered throughout the park. There are also many historical tales of the presence of Nguni people and European explorers and settlers in the Kruger area. There are significant archaeological ruins at Thulamela and Masorini which again can be visited before or after staying at Lion Sands.
The Tinyeleti Treehouse occupies an idyllic space on the bank of the Sabie River. This aquatic riverine environment brings with it a unique character of the wilderness and its inhabitants.