The Trees of Kruger National Park

We its comes to literature about the Kruger National Park there is often reference to the “Lowveld”. So what exactly is the Lowveld in South Africa and whats the reference to the Kruger ?
As defined the Lowveld is a low-lying region between two specific mountain ranges, the Northern Drakensberg range that lies on its western side and the Lebombo Mountain ranges on the eastern side that borders South Africa and Mozambique. This narrow strip starts at the top of the Swaziland border in the south and heads north all the way up to the Limpopo River which borders South Africa and Zimbabwe. The altitudes of the region range between 150 to 900 meters above sea level. 
The Lowveld is a summer rainfall region that receives between 200 and a 1000 mm of rain per year. The rain decreases from west to east and from south to north of the region. Summers in the Lowveld are hot and with temperatures in the Kruger National Park reaching high 40 degrees celsius. The winters are mild with few areas reciting frost. Winter days can reach 27 degrees celsius and have a low or 0 to 5 degrees celsius. 
About 130 million years ago the Lowveld region of South Africa, that includes the Kruger National Park, was formed through continental plate shifts that caused topographical tilting and subsequent erosion. The outcomes of this informed the underlying geological layers and the visible topography of the region. All of these shifts and changes have comprehensively changed this landscape and the present day geological features are the underlying basis of todays habitats and eco-zones across the lowveld region and most importantly the Kruger National Park. The geology of the region is simplified down to granite gneiss/schist on the western side coming down from the Northern Drakensberg plateau and heading east the soils change to Basalt and clays before reforming into the Rhyolites that make up the Eastern Lebombo Mountains. This change is notable by the way that the Lowveld savanna flattens out from the Granite Inselbergs on the West to the open grassland plains of the East. This has a direct effect on the nutrient values of the soils with Granite creating more “acidic soils” that are nutrient depleted and the Basalt Clay soils being nutrient dense and known as “sweet soils”. The changes have near dramatic effect on the distribution of trees through out the region which decorate the savanna system of the Kruger National Park.
Trees of the Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Parks bio-diversity is unrivalled and with such vast wilderness areas it offers the traveller endless opportunities to explore and find new species. The Kruger National Park is divided into 16 different Macro-Ecozones supporting 336 different Tree species in the Kruger National Park. There are some species of Trees in Kruger National Park that are well distributed and prominent across the Park. These species we have named the Big 8 Trees of Kruger and where ever you travel in Kruger travellers have a very good chance of seeing atlas one or more in the surrounding area. These include :


The Big 8 Trees of Kruger National Park

Apple Leaf Tree Kruger Park


Jackalberry Tree Kruger National Park


Leadwood Tree Kruger Park


Knob Thorn Acacia Kruger Park

Knob Thorn

Marula Tree Kruger Park


Mopane Trees Kruger Park


Silver Cluster Leaf Kruger Park Tree

Silver Cluster Leaf

Red Bushwillow Tree

Red Bushwillow



The Kruger National Park is home to a wide variety of trees, with over 330 species recorded in the park. These trees are a vital part of the park's ecosystem, providing habitat and food for a wide range of animals. Here is a detailed overview of some of the most common trees found in the Kruger National Park:

  1. Baobab (Adansonia digitata) - This iconic tree is one of the most recognizable trees in Africa, known for its distinctive shape and massive size. Baobabs can grow up to 25 meters tall and can live for over 1,000 years.

  2. Marula (Sclerocarya birrea) - This tree is known for its sweet and juicy fruit, which is a favorite food of elephants and other animals. The marula tree is also an important cultural symbol in many African communities.

  3. Leadwood (Combretum imberbe) - This tree is known for its extremely dense and hard wood, which is resistant to termite damage. The leadwood tree can live for up to 1,000 years and is an important source of food for elephants.

  4. Fever Tree (Acacia xanthophloea) - This tree is easily recognized by its bright yellow bark and is a common sight along rivers and wetlands in the park. The fever tree is so named because early European settlers believed that it caused fevers.

  5. Knobthorn (Senegalia nigrescens) - This tree is known for its distinctive, knobby bark and is an important food source for giraffes and other browsing animals.

  6. Jackalberry (Diospyros mespiliformis) - This tree is known for its dense, dark wood and is an important source of food for many animals, including elephants, monkeys, and birds.

  7. Sausage Tree (Kigelia africana) - This tree is named for its large, sausage-shaped fruit and is an important source of food for many animals. The sausage tree is also used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.

  8. Tamboti (Spirostachys africana) - This tree is known for its highly toxic sap, which can cause severe skin irritation and even blindness. Despite its toxicity, the tamboti tree is an important source of food for many animals, including elephants and baboons.

  9. Lowveld Cluster Leaf (Terminalia sericea) - This tree is a common sight in the park and is known for its rough, scaly bark and dense foliage. The lowveld cluster leaf is an important food source for many animals, including elephants and kudu.

  10. Weeping Boer Bean (Schotia brachypetala) - This tree is known for its beautiful pink and red flowers, which bloom in spring and summer. The weeping boer bean is an important food source for many animals, including baboons and vervet monkeys.

These are just a few examples of the many different trees that can be found in the Kruger National Park. The park is home to a wide variety of tree species, each with its own unique characteristics and ecological role.



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