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 Post subject: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:22 pm
Posts: 46
Hello all,

I'm posting from the middle of my annual kruger holiday. This is night 6 of 13. From the start it's been hot as hell. Day temperatures reached 30C from early morning and often proceeded to just over 40C (based on my car's read out)! Today it was cloudy with soft drizzle for most of the day. I moved from lower sabie to sable bird hide to olifants.

Game viewing during my stay this year has been really disappointing. Only 4 mediocre lion sightings, one quick glance at a hyaena and no leopard, no cheetah, no wild dogs. During the same trip last year I saw lots and lots of lion, leopard and wild dog. Maybe it's the weather.

This is not a trip report though:-)

I need some help!

After my great success last year with the big cats I developed an appetite for Africa's secret critters. During two weekend trips to Kruger last year, I was lucky enough to see Civet and Genet. I also had an "encounter" with a Badger inside Satara camp. These are all three separate stories though. My question is, how do I satisfy my appetite for seeing these special creatures?

With "secret critters/creatures" I refer specifically to Civet, Serval, Genet, Caracal, bush baby, badger to name most. The only plan I have is to walk around camp and along the fence and night with powerful flashlight and just.... look for them. Not much of a plan I know,

Do you have any advice for me? If it helps, I'll be at Olifants and Satara for the remainder of my stay.

Many many thanks in advance. Best wishes from Kruger. :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:48 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:30 pm
Posts: 316
Location: Toronto, Canada
Award: Sighting of the Year - Predator (2012)
Honey Badger is a frequent visitor to Satara. When we were there in September, it came by every night before 9 pm. The gate closes @ 6 pm in September, and most people start their braiis shortly thereafter.

We were staying in the huts - "A" circle, but I'm pretty sure it went to all the circles and probably the camping area also.

As for the others, Good Luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:59 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:22 pm
Posts: 46
Thank you Timbits!

I'm moving from Olifants to Satara day after tomorrow. Will spend five nights there - I will be looking around for it until I find it!

I was quite surprised by your post though: I'm a regular at Satara but I've never seen or heard of a badger being a regular visitor. I can't wait though - I'm sure the badger and I will meet again this week!

As for the others, will let you know what I find. Sure I will need some advice from other forum-mites though :-)

Thanks again


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:44 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2012 8:30 pm
Posts: 316
Location: Toronto, Canada
Award: Sighting of the Year - Predator (2012)
Sorry, forgot to mention that an African Wild Cat was also a regular visitor at Satara in September. It would usually come around before the Honey Badger.

It may have been a case of the AWC starting in "A" circle and the HB starting in "F" circle :whistle: :whistle:


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:26 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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We had the honey badger and the AWC both at Satara doing the rounds after dark.
We also see genet on every visit - usually just doing as you plan; walking around with the torch after dark! Although at Tamboti the camp genet there came and sat with us on our deck each night for a little while no doubt hoping for scaps (in vain!). There was a civet on the INSIDE of the camp at Lower Sabie last September patrolling the fence behind the safari tents. We set a camera trap and now have dozens of pics of him. I think they were trying to catch him in a large cage trap to release outside. But otherwise have only seen civet on a night drive.

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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:22 pm
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Thank you!

I saw a Civet at lower sabie last year two. I sat on the deck with my spotlight around 23:00. It was moving around just outside camp in that veld between the deck and the river. I saw three Genet inside Berg-en-Dal camp around August last year.

Last night though, no luck. I have quite a few nights left - hope the plan pays off soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 7:38 pm 
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The only advice I can give is to get up and get out early and especially when it is wet. In November we had sightings of 4 honey badgers, 1 civet and 2 porcupines. none of them in the camps, all out in the open on coolish, wet days. You could also try a night drive.

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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:22 pm
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Thanks Saraf, at the moment it is cool (almost cold) and wet in kruger. Let me see if that works.

Thanks again


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 10:22 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Location: Lausanne (Switzerland)
there is, at least, 2 Honey Badger at Satara... they put down the rubbish bin...and then come under the car to eat what they found... even plastic bag :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 12:18 am 
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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 5:25 pm
Posts: 144
Location: Pretoria, South-Africa
Hi pantoffelslipper, for the African Wild Cat at Satara try the parking area next to the shop as well as behind the shop from around 21:00. You should see it, looks like a normal domesticated cat. Looking in front of the restaurant and then walking to the left behind the shop to the parking area every night will almost certainly give you an AWC sighting in Satara if you"re going to be there for a few nights. Good luck!!


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 8:37 am 
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Ok honey badger: check yay!


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 10:11 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Most of the "secret critters" as you call them :) are active at night.
So try going on a night drive.


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 11:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:25 pm
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Civet at the steps to the stoep of my tent at Tamboti and honey badgers knocking over bins in the middle of the night; African Wildcat at Satara walking around inside entrance at gate-opening time; thick-tailed bushbabies leaping around the campsite at Skukuza; Verreaux's eagle-owl flying into nearby tree at Shingwedzi; tree squirrel baby sitting on arm of camping chair at Tsendze and barred owls visiting for the insects after dark...


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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:58 pm 
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Location: Durban pinetown
barred owls are so cute :big_eyes:

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 Post subject: Re: Viewing secret critters
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:29 pm
Posts: 244
Location: Constantia Kloof, JHB
PantoffelSlippers wrote:
Game viewing during my stay this year has been really disappointing. Only 4 mediocre lion sightings, one quick glance at a hyaena and no leopard, no cheetah, no wild dogs. During the same trip last year I saw lots and lots of lion, leopard and wild dog. Maybe it's the weather.


I know what you mean. We were there for two weeks in December until early Jan and found it to be the worst for sightings the past 5 years or so. In terms of the big sightings we had 2 lion sightings, no leopard, no cheetah, 1 hyena and 1 wild dog ear in the distance. Even elephant was scarce.

Eventually we just stayed in camp most of the time and enjoyed the birdlife and so on.

The AWC in Satara is there almost every night right in the camp site. Other than that, shining a torch at night, especially later at night when its more quiet, is your best option. We have seen most of them like that. In Satara a few months ago, I saw black backed jackal, AWC, serval and lion within the space of 30 mins from my caravan.

Good luck


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