Well done on starting this thread. I agree - way too much attention is given to the predators and not enough to the beautiful buck we have in the KNP.
In my 10 odd years associated with the KNP (five as an employee), I have seen sable a mere eight times (for Jose and W@H
). Four of these sitings were near Pretoriuskop (once on the Madhlabantu Adventure Trail, twice from the H1-1 and once from an aircraft when I helped out with the census), once at Talamati (resulting in the photograph I now use as an avatar) and twice in the region of N'wanetsi (the first was about eight years ago, the second and third was last weekend
). Any sighting of these beautiful animals is great and should be enjoyed thoroughly.
I have only seen this beautiful creature three times! Once on the road to Giriyondo, once in the breeding camp north of Shingwedzi (you drive past this facility if you do the Northern Plains Adventure Trail) and once just south of Mopani. My SO and I left Mopani heading for Phalaborwa and saw a lone bull just before the H14 turn off. He crossed the road in front of us and walked into the Mopanie, in less than a second he was gone and my camera was still waiting patiently on my lap ...
Once, near Pretoriuskop. Very far away though so perhaps this animal should go into my never seen list.
Twice. Once near Pretoriuskop and the other time north of Letaba.
Stax of times, too numerous to count. Easiest to see them is near Punda Maria, where on one game drive around the Mahoney Loop I must have seen about seven or eight different groups. I have also seen them on the "river road" (between Phabeni and Kruger gates), near Nkuhlu Picnic Spot, in and around Skukuza, on the H4-2 just outside Croc Bridge (three beautiful bulls), from Shingwedzi camp itself, near Crooks Corner, Pafuri etc etc.
Three times. Once on the Mahoney Loop near Punda Maria (although we must have seen about three or four different animals), on the Dzundzwini loop (funny story - I was hosting a journalist from Getaway magazine and she said "STEENBUCK" as I said "GRYSBUCK" - spent the next few minutes telling her the difference
) and last weekend near N'wanetsi.
Again too numerous to mention. Have seen both major herds (Pretoriuskop - about 18 animals and Mopani - about 12 animals), both on more than one occassion and the "strange" lone one that hangs out at the intersection where the main road between Pafuri and Shingwedzi T-junctions with the road to Punda.
I have never seen Eland in the KNP, although I know they exist from reports.
So you see, regarding the rare antelope species, they are definitely still in the park but they are difficult to find. Even staff members battle to see them regularly. On this thread, there are enough clues to increase your chances of seeing them.