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 Post subject: Re: What do you do in Kruger when it Rain?
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:52 pm 
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Hi :D and :thumbs_up: , Bennievis !

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 Post subject: Re: What do you do in Kruger when it Rain?
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:00 pm 
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I love just sitting on the stoep, watching the rain. I find it calming.

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 Post subject: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:07 pm 
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Today we (2 adults) are preparing to pack for our 1st trip (LS,Sku,Satara) to SA (in 5 days). I decided to check the weather, since we were told that the weather can be unpredictable in Sept. I have no idea of how light or heavy it rains in SA (could be sprinkles to heavy down pour?)
From the forecast, it appears we will encounter "the rains" while in the park.

Does the rain & overcast conditions impact animal behavior?
- We were planning to check out the various water holes/dams etc. along the way on whatever routes we drove (after a look at camp boards, talk to people).
1) Does rain effect the animals need to visit the water holes?
2) Does the early morning & late evening as "best times for game driving" still hold true, even if it is overcast/raining?

- We read a lot of comments about lions etc on the roads early in the morning (especially in the winter). In particular, at Satara we were hoping to see this there. I read they do this because the roads provide warmth.
3) Are early morning roadside lion encounters less likely when it is raining?

- If indeed we do encounter heavy rains, we will keep our rental sedan off of the gravel/dirt roads. There are a couple of gravel roads that we are hoping to check out (S28, S137 etc.).
4) Maybe a silly question: Is it worth it to drive around during heavy rains or just stay in camp.
5) If we encounter a totally miserable day, what would you recommend as an alternative to a self drive game drive?

- For the open vehicle game drives, just in case we get wet, we have packed rain cover (ponchos) and plastic bags for wet clothes.
6) We have pre-paid for sunset game drives at all 3 camps. Do they still go out at the appointed time, regardless of the weather?

- According to recent postings, bug/mossie activity has been low/non-existant. We have packed Deet, Meds & plan to purchase spray at the park.
7) Does this activity significantly increase, once the rains begin?

Sorry for the long post. Our excitement and anticipation is building (started planning 9 months ago). :dance: Just trying to find out what we can do to make the best of it, if we do not find ideal weather.


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:33 pm 
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In my experience, rain can be a mixed blessing.
On the positive side, cats don't like walking in wet grass, and to avoid it, often walk along the road. I have had some wonderful lion sightings during or shortly after rain.
On the negative side, watching bedraggled, miserable looking antelope isn't fun either.
I tend to go out for the drive, but if the rain gets too heavy, then I head back to camp.

With a few exceptions, I tend to stick to tar roads anyway. But if the rain makes sand roads impassable, SANP officials will close off the sand roads with chain barriers.

You will be in Kruger in mid September. This is spring, and prolonged, heavy rain is unlikely.


Last edited by yoda on Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:34 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi CTM7943

So glad you are on your way to Kruger!
Firstly, September is usually hot and dry in the bush of South Africa, with lots of animal activity at waterholes.
If you check weather stations like yr.no and check Skukuza -- for the next 10 days there is NO cloud cover, NO rain predicted, only SUNNY, HOT weather, as in 35 degrees Celsius most days...

Which means... get up early when the gates open to see predators (in active mode), since lions don't like moving around (too much) in the heat, and rather rest in a shady spot... can't say the same for cheetahs or leopards, they walk around any time of day to hunt etc.

You should see LOTS of animals drinking at waterholes or rivers, from early morning, and later in the afternoon again...

If it rains a lot -- most animals don't come to waterholes to drink since there is water everywhere for a few days -- same experience in Hwange NP in Zimbabwe 2 years ago -- hardly any elephants for 2 days during and after rains, but once it dried up, saw up to 700 elephants at a waterhole in one afternoon!

You are coming an awfully long way to see animals -- look for them even if it rains! During heavy downpours most animals huddle under bushes for shelter, but predators will be much more active on rainy, overcast days than on boiling hot sunny days... so keep looking! You see fascinating things in the rain -- tortoises come to drink puddles on the tar road -- the rain never lasts that long, and when it clears up, you will see stunning scenes with dark stormy clouds and golden sunlight breaking through etc.!

Most gravel roads in Kruger are just that -- solid gravel! With an ordinary sedan vehicle you can comfortably drive on them during or after normal showers. When it rains heavily, Sanparks officials will close roads that are too slippery or dangerous, so just go for it! If you get stuck, every second vehicle is a SUV or 4x4, so somebody will help you out of trouble. The dirt roads that are worst in the rain, are cotton soil, usually black earth (mostly in the north in the Mopani country).

September would be one of the best times for mozzies -- very dry. The heat will bring existing ones out, but numbers usually only get high later in the wet months.

I don't know about night drives in the rain, but I guess that is highly unlikely -- our summer rains haven't really started in that part of the country.

Do let us know how your holiday trip went!

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

Ps. At Satara, we saw 2 cheetah brothers catch an impala on the tar road that leads to Nwanedzi picnic spot (H5?), and they are seen there regularly -- just check Latest Sightings Kruger Park on Facebook!

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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:15 am 
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yoda wrote:
On the positive side, cats don't like walking in wet grass, and to avoid it, often walk along the road.

Yoda, thanks for ths additional info. I didn't know that!

yoda wrote:
You will be in Kruger in mid September. This is spring, and prolonged, heavy rain is unlikely.

Thanks again for the additional insight

Freidrich
Sorry for the mis-information, we will be in SA in 5 days.
However, we will not be in KNP until Thur, Sept 18th - 24th.
Some additional insight - I was in the process of beginning to pack, thus why I checked the weather (long term forecast for Skukuza Airport). Which showed rain on 3 of the 4 sites I checked :cry:
I think I may be a little sensitive to the rain, because we just had a torential deluge (6 inches) yesterday in Arizona, with flooding :big_eyes:
I will take one last look on Sunday, but most of all I just wanted to know what I can do to make the best of it, if rain should occur. I will check out the weather site you recommended.

Friedrich von Hörsten wrote:
You are coming an awfully long way to see animals -- look for them even if it rains!

I agree, we are definitely going for the animals -- just wondering what adjustments I need to make to possibly increase my chances, if I don't get to experience the sunny weather that I see in everyone's photos.

Friedrich von Hörsten wrote:
Most gravel roads in Kruger are just that -- solid gravel! With an ordinary sedan vehicle you can comfortably drive on them during or after normal showers.

Good to know that I will probably be able to drive our sedan on the side roads. I guess I am a little confused, in every photo that I have seen the side roads look like sand/dirt. And I wondered why they were called gravel roads? Maybe they were all up north?

Does anyone know about the sanparks sunset drives? Do those happen, even if it happens to rain?


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:06 am 
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Wow, ctm, the time is almost here. 8)

September can have rains, but they are seldom heavy and should not affect your game viewing much at all. The wind might be more of an issue. Animals tend not to like wind as they cannot hear predators.

I would say that if no substantial rain has fallen, it is good to go a look at water hole and dams. The rain is seldom heavy, or long if at all in September.

I seldom have issues on what we call gravel roads. Yes, they are dirt, but regularly graded and maintained. A few can be a bit corrugated, but it should not hinder your game viewing. Some of our best roads, the S100, S28 and S39 are gravel.

It is possible to book sunset drives and wait to see what happens. I doubt that there will need to be cancellations this time of the year. The early rains are often afternoon showers with thunder and lightning. Most of the floods and heavy rains have happen later in the rainy season. A word of warning, never take warm weather for granted. Dress warmly for sunset or night drives. It can be extremely unpleasant if you are under dressed and there is a significant drop in temperature.

Sometimes there will be distant rolls of thunder and a build up of humidity, but no rain. This quite common before the rain actually sets in. I often experience this in September/October. Bring swimming gear.

One last word, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:05 am 
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MM thanks for the additional info,
Meandering Mouse wrote:
It is possible to book sunset drives and wait to see what happens.

We have already pre-paid for a sunset drive at each of the camps. so, I guess we will have to go with the flow :whistle:
Yes, we have packed some layers and trousers, to keep warm for those open vehicle drives.

It is almost time to go. Already having dreams about driving around in the park and seeing the animals.

Almost 6" yesterday and it rained again today, unfortunately for some - there was flooding & power outages. I think I need to borrow some rain repellent 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:34 am 
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ctm7943,

You will have the time of your life no matter the weather. We have seen some amazing things in the rain. If you are bringing expensive cameras, I would suggest a rain coat for them as your lens may be hanging a bit out the window. We always take a couple of OP/TECH Rainsleeves, which are not much thicker than a plastic bag but have little strings to pull and they fit pretty snugly. Don't take up much room at all and they're $7 for 2. You can get fancy expensive camera covers, but I have found these to be fine in a light rain. (You can get thru Amazon fast).

Have a wonderful trip!


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:08 am 
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Meerkats,
I had not thought about protection for my camera, especially for the open vehicle drives. The sleeves are a great idea. I checked Amazon, yes $7, but in order to receive them in time will cost $42 :big_eyes:
I will check a couple of local stores.
Thanks for the tip.


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:17 am 
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Location: Sandton (Concrete Jungle)
ctm7943 we had our ‘open vehicle drives’ cancelled/postponed due to afternoon showers at Satara. But it was heavy December showers. I doubt you will have that type of rainfall during September.

As for what to do during the day if it rains? We take relaxing long slow drives and go sit at a picnic site or bird hide and all we do it sit there, listening to the rain fall, thunder rolling, reading a book, snack out of a picnic basket……..also, there is few to no other people hanging around the picnic sites when it rains.

when it rains we go hang out at the following spots...............
Lower Sabie – Nkulu Picnic spot (H4-1 Tar Road) or Nkumbe Look Out point (H1-3 Tar Road)
From Satara – N’Wanetsi Picnic spot Look out (S100 Dirt road) or Sweni Hide about 5km away or my favourite….Ratelpan Hide (North of Timbavati Picnic Spot on S39 Dirt road)
Once we were sitting there whilst it was raining and got treated to a leopard female showing herself, slowly making her way quietly amongst the under brush.........
Skekuza – Lake Panic…………..always

As far as animal sightings in the rain is concern, seems that the large herbivores carry on as normal, and we had quit a few good sightings of leopards and wild dogs in the road around Lower Sabie.
Lions never look too happy in the rainy weather :tongue:

The other plus I've seen in the rainy weather is that some nocturnal animals tend to be a little bit more active a little earlier than usual..........and the dirt roads, is not all that dusty :tongue:
(But always drive exstra slow on the wet roads)

Whether it rain or not I'm sure you will have a great time in Kruger

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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:28 pm 
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This past December, there was heavy rain one night, our last night. It had stopped by the morning, so I went out. Saw some lions on the road not far from camp.
But it then started pouring again. Could hardly see out the windows, so headed back to camp, packed up the car, and then headed down to Melalane, most of it in a light drizzle. Saw a few sodden buffalo, but not much else.
Was a shame that our last drive was so unproductive.
But had some brilliant sightings over the whole holiday, so can't complain.


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:55 pm 
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Firstly, enjoy your upcoming trip, rain or shine you will enjoy :D

Secondly, dont place too much faith in weather predictions as a week from now you will very possibly see a different picture.

Thirdly, speaking from experience, the rains around September October are mostly in the form of thunderstorms that build up in the late afternoon/early evening but can also carry on right through the night into the next day, although not that common. They are mostly short lived. These storms are usually accompanyed by strom wind storms which sometimes dont bring rain at all. (Hot updrafts in the afternoon heat).

Either way you should have a great time. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:28 pm 
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Have a great trip, fellow Arizonan!

Great advice on here already, so I'd only echo to go out early, stay sharp, and enjoy whatever KNP and the weather deliver. Have a fantastic trip!

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 Post subject: Re: Weather Impacts on Game Viewing
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:57 pm 
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RemiE,
I love the suggestion to just hang out at a picnic site, hide or lake/dam. :D

Thanks you all for the advice & tips.

Stark, the sun is back, the rains are gone :clap:


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