Memorable moments in Kruger
Memorable moments in Kruger
Memorable moments in Kruger
Memorable moments in Kruger
Memorable moments in Kruger
Memorable moments in Kruger
Memorable moments in Kruger

The Kruger National Park is huge. It’s two million hectares, or 20,000km² and larger than some small countries. Is it Africa’s finest protected area? More than any other national park on the continent, it has probably contributed most to the conservation of Africa’s wild animals. Scott Ramsay reflects on the time he spent in Kruger as part of his Year in the Wild.

Kruger had its foundations in the Sabi Game Reserve in 1898 and was formally declared a national park in 1926. So for more than a hundred years, Kruger has played a very significant role for conservation on the continent.

Within the context of all the industrial and agricultural development in Africa, Kruger (and other national parks) could be seen by some as an archaic concept, a romantic notion that will eventually buckle under the weight of mankind’s incessant lust for capitalistic growth. However, I think a hundred years from now when people look back, they’ll consider today’s conservationists the most important heroes of the century.

Kruger is special: being here is a privilege, especially when I know that many people have to sit in traffic while I’m out looking for leopards to photograph. I’m in awe of this wild place. I started my journey in the south and made my way slowly north, to finish in the Pafuri region, on the border of Zimbabwe.

I’ve had some pretty incredible sightings. On a sunset drive with field guide Peter Zitha, we spotted a big male leopard on the side of the road, gnawing on an old impala carcass. We watched him for a few minutes, then he got a big fright, and bolted up the nearest tree … and out of the bushes came five marauding hyenas. We watched the imperious leopard perched in a thin, dainty tree, looking irked as he stared contemptuously at the hyenas below him. After half an hour or so, we left the scene, to let the leopard and hyenas sort things out for themselves.

Leopard by Scott Ramsay

The look of a seriously irritated leopard. I’d be too, if I’d had my dinner stolen by five hyenas. Picture by Scott Ramsay