Relationships large mammals, scenery, additional determinants and wildlife tourism in Kruger National Park, South Africa

Wildlife tourism is an important cultural ecosystem service, benefiting regional economies and biodiversity conservation. Many wildlife tourism destinations remain below their visitor and income capacities. Management strategies are needed that increase visitor satisfaction and a destination's reputation to attract more visitors. Wildlife tourism can be directly linked to biodiversity, but might also be directly and indirectly influenced by other factors, such as landscape features or infrastructure. We investigated the relationships between visitor numbers and biodiversity, along with other factors, in a major wildlife tourism destination using structural equation modeling and additionally assessed visitors' expectations and viewing preferences. We simultaneously recorded large mammal and visitor data along 78 road transects in Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa, and conducted interviews with visitors. We also collected data on vegetation cover, visibility, landscape features and infrastructure. We found high visitor numbers at transects with high sighting probabilities of large predators, while other factors, e.g. ungulate densities or infrastructure, were only weakly associated with visitor numbers. Consistently, interview results suggested that seeing wildlife was the main reason for visiting the park, and large predators, especially lions and leopards, ranked highest among the visitors' wildlife preferences. Our results demonstrate that wildlife tourists in KNP are primarily attracted to large predators. To meet visitor expectations and to increase visitor numbers, park management should focus on the conservation of natural savannah ecosystems with large predator and prey populations. With such an ecosystem-based management, biodiversity conservation can be successful while securing wildlife tourism and its revenues.

Download Metadata as EML

Data and Resources

This dataset has no data

Additional Info

Field Value
Geographic coverage
Geographic description Southern part of Kruger National Park, South Africa
Bounding coordinates
North: -24.9503
West: 31.6056
East: 31.6056
South: -24.9503
Temporal coverage
Time period
Begin: June 1, 2012
End: August 1, 2012
Other info
Last Updated December 17, 2020, 15:47 (UTC)
Created December 17, 2020, 15:47 (UTC)

Responsible parties

Name Claudia Gruenewald
Organization affiliations
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)


Name Claudia Gruenewald
Organization affiliations
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)

Associated party
Name Claudia Gruenewald

Associated party
Name Katrin Böhning-Gaese

Research data management planning

Data will be stored at (long-term archived) Information still missing

Link to this dataset: