South Africa is the third most biologically diverse country in the world, thanks to its amazing geography and climate.
Kruger and the Blyde Canyon contain widely varied landscapes. Ascending from near sea level to over 2,000m above from east to west, you journey from scrub and savanna in to the fynbos floral system, rain forests, and climax grasslands on the top of the escarpment.
Lots of different rock types make soil to sustain a wide range of plants and animals. The great variety is thanks to local geology twisting and folding the earth to show lots of layers from different times.
Water is more abundant at the top, pulled down from the clouds by the mountains. Up in the escarpment, rainfall averages 3 metres each year, home to 140 species of plant, reptile, amphibian and invertebrate which you will only find here.
Down on the plains more than 1,500m below, there is one-eighth as much rainfall.
Water comes from ten perennial rivers. Two major rivers bound the Kruger, the Crocodile and Limpopo, whilst a third, the Olifants river, bisects it.
The change in height, rainfall and access to water creates a wide variety of ecological niches for flora and fauna to exploit. The total number of species here is greater than exists in entire countries elsewhere.
Mariepskop mountain alone contains contains over 2,000 plant species, more than the whole of the Kruger and far exceeding Table Mountain’s plant diversity
The area is home to three-quarters of South Africa’s bird species, including 80% of raptors and all of the vultures.
The Kruger area contains 72% of all mammal species found in South Africa.