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Kruger in February

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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matbe
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Northern Kruger in February

Unread postby matbe » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:08 pm

Last February we visited Kruger for the first time, mainly staying in the south and mid areas, from Lower Sabie to Letaba.
It was a fantastic experience, and in our 9 days we were lucky to see all the game we could wish to see, maybe the one slight downside was the fact that being late summer the long grass and vegetation made game viewing difficult in some areas.
We are now thinking of returning to Kruger this February visiting the area north of Letaba, staying at Mopani, Shingwedzi and exploring up to the far north of the park.
We would really appreciate any information and advice on what to expect in this part of Kruger in February, I know it is much dryer in this area of the park, and the game may less prevalent.
Would we see any predators such as Lion and Hyena, also what kind of weather could we expect in February.
Many thanks
Martyn & Linda (UK)

Joao

Re: Northern Kruger in February

Unread postby Joao » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:17 pm

Hallo matbe

One thing that you can be sure of is that it is going to be very hot. February is maybe the hottest time of the year in that region.

Well to comment a little on the game viewing you can certainly expect to see the predators and much more. The northern region is perfect habitat for big tusker elephants.

Some of the most beautiful places in the park is situated in the north. The Mpongolo route north of Shingwedzi is one of the most beautiful drives in all of Kruger. The red rocks route is also great and then there is the route down the Kanniedood dam which is great.

At the Pafuri picnic spot you will see what real Kruger beauty looks like. It is brilliant and great for bird watching.

In my opinion you will enjoy it just as much as the south.

Bring lots of sunscreen and enjoy the hottest part of the day in the swimming pools.

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Re: Northern Kruger in February

Unread postby Elsa » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:00 pm

Hi Martyn & Linda,
we have been going to the north in late Feb/early March for the past 3 years and will be doing so again next year.
And to be honest we have not experienced the very hot weather we always expected, possibly just very lucky as I am sure it can and does get incredibly hot on a norm.
We had lots of days where it was overcast with light drizzle or a nice thunder storm in the evening which does help keep the temps down.
In fact if I read my trip reports where we recorded the temps in the morning and again several times during the day it was surprisingly moderate.
As for animals, we have seen Lions on every occasion, Leopard once, no Cheetah, lots of big tuskers, Roan Antelope, Eland, Sharpes Grybok, and the highlight of all was the 2 little Caracal Kittens we had all to ourselves for over 20 minutes on the Mahonie Loop.
The birdlife is also very prolific.
But we just love the scenery as described by Joao.
I would advocate getting accommodation with aircon just in case the heat does strike.
Also if you do have the very hot weather make sure you have plenty of liquid in the car to keep hydrated.
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Re: Northern Kruger in February

Unread postby Chacma » Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:22 pm

The camp manager at Bataleur said February was the most uncomfortable time of the year up there, but of course there is no pool there. Having said that, we have just returned from a two week trip up north and we experienced a 44 degee day at Mopani in October, so anything is possible - the beauty of the unexpected is what makes the KNP what it is!

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Re: Northern Kruger in February

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:03 pm

A warm welcome to you Chacma, I see that it is your first post. :D

Matbe, February is extremely hot. The scenery is the best draw card in February.

In terms of the north, it does not have the same distribution of sweet veld that is present in the south. This means that there is a completely different spread of antelope. It does not have the same consentration of grazers that enjoy eating off the sweet grasses. This also means that there is less opportunity for a high consentration of predators.

As has been mentioned, the main attraction to the north is the prolific bird life and the rarer antelope species. Sightings do tend to be harder to come by though.

My most enjoyable time in the north has been around the months when it is dry and the animals are attracted to the rivers.

I seldom recommend the north unless I know that people are avid birders, or they are happy with the rugged, often stark landscape. It is possible to travel for hours through Mopani without seeing much at all.
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Re: Northern Kruger in February

Unread postby cheetah2111 » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:50 pm

The mopani tree's will form a green forest In February in the North and game spotting will be very difficult.
It will also be hotter than South and Central.
Not to mention, there is naturally less game in the North :wink:
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Re: Northern Kruger in February

Unread postby tent dweller » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:36 am

I think February in the north will be really very hot. Our favourite time to visit the north is June/July and then it is chilly in the early mornings and late afternoon but during the day it is really very hot BUT on the other hand if someone had to offer me a trip in February to the north I would go because there is no place on earth like the Kruger :) :lol: :clap: :dance: :thumbs_up:
PRETORIUSKOP 20 - 21 December 2015
TAMBOTI 22 - 24 December 2015
OLIFANTS 25 - 27 December 2015 (with a view)
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MOPANI 01 - 03 January 2016 (with a view)
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Re: Northern Kruger in February

Unread postby onewithnature » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:12 am

Matbe, welcome to the awesome Kruger National Park and to these forums. :dance: :dance: :dance:

February will be hot (high 30's to 40+), especially in Shingwedzi and Punda Maria, However, if you take suitable precautions, and don't have any medical conditions that are negatively impacted by the consequences of high ambient temperatures, I could see little reason not to go! Parts of the north do get high rainfall, and it will be lush and fertile in most parts in Feb.

I have heard it stated many times in theory that game viewing is difficult in the summer months, but honestly, in practice I have not had a problem in this department!

I have seen dozens of sightings of leopard and lion around Shingwedzi and Punda Maria, and the chances for leopard around the Levubhu is very good. Cheetah is more scarce, but I have also seen some of the smaller cats. In addition, the scenery and stillness (less traffic and the quietness of the mopane veld) is a revelation. Also, I actually prefer the Park when it is green and lush for to me that is real Africa at its best. Summer is bird time, and you will find a profusion of birds in the north (and especially the far north) that are not seen anywhere else in Kruger.

In my opinion, it all depends what you are focusing on when you visit, and the techniques you use for looking for game. Make your choice when and where to go, but whatever you do, Matbe, visit Kruger soon!
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Re: Northern Kruger in February

Unread postby Sundowner » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:32 am

Welcome to the forum Matbe!

I stayed in Phalaborwa for 25 years, and can honestly say that February is going to be hot, BUT you always have accommodation available with airconditioners.
Most of your time will most probably be spent inside the car driving, so just make sure (if you can) to get an airconditioner if you rent a car, or if your own car does not have an aircon, my advise would be to get a sealable (GLAD) plastic bag.
What you could do then is wet a cloth at night, put it in the freezer and when you go out in the day leave it in the plastic bag. When the heat gets too much, this little cold cloth will turn out to be your best friend, especially around the neck..... you'll feel much better. Just my 2 cents :wink:

As far as the viewing goes, up north is your best chance to see Eland which is not common in the South. You are going to find lots of Ellies!!

Shingwedzi for me is the better camp for viewing up north, especially the S50 that runs along the river towards Kanniedood dam. I have found lion, hyena, leopard and a serval in that area. It pays to slow down and take your time....

As said before by other forumites, the North + summer = BIRDS. I am sure they will keep you busy enough when the game viewing gets a bit quiet. :wink:


Enjoy your trip! :thumbs_up:
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Re: Kruger in February

Unread postby Leaping Lizards » Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:33 am

Hi there all

It seems like this thread is mostly about the north.

I would like to know what is the Lower Sabie and Satara area like in February.

We have been coming to Kruger every September for 7 years. Friends have asked us to join them touring the Lowveld, which will include a few nights in KNP, this coming February.

What are the South and Central areas like in February with regards to sightings, weather veld etc?

thanks and regards
September - Orpen, Talamati and Satara :P

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Re: Kruger in February

Unread postby Elsa » Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:09 pm

Not that much different from the north L/Lizards.
The bush is very lush, long grass but because of the abundance of game in the area, sightings are usually very good, but due to the amount of water available, one just has to keep eyes peeled and be alert.
Birding is wonderful as it is all over the park in Summer.
We will also be in the park in Feb next year. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Kruger in February

Unread postby Leaping Lizards » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:47 am

Thank you Elsa.

Will we need a higher vehicle, or is a sedan ok?
September - Orpen, Talamati and Satara :P

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Re: Kruger in February

Unread postby Elsa » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:44 am

Plenty of sedans about then but a higher clearance vehicle would be some advantage but not strictly necessary.
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Re: Kruger in February

Unread postby suebfly » Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:13 am

Is February a particularly bad month for insects & flying goggas? They don't "bug" me but I just need to know if I should take lots of citronella candles. I just need to know if it is considered to be any worse than late December/early January. I have been told that Feb is the worst time so would be interested to know other Mites experiences

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Re: Kruger in February

Unread postby Elsa » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:38 am

Not sure if its the worst time Sue but certainly right in high season for mozzies and goggas so do take all the precautions you can.
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