Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 4 of 6
 [ 78 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Game Spotting/Travelling in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:48 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:40 pm
Posts: 272
- If a leopard either about to cross the road or having just crossed the road suddenly goes to ground, don't drive to the point where you last saw it. Rather back off 30 meters and wait, when its ready, it will come out again.
- If you are the last car to leave a sighting that is still there (eg.a sleeping lion, leopard in a tree), make a note of the mileage, flag down the next approaching car and give them the exact distance to the sighting. This is good kudos and these things have a way of coming back to reward you.
- If the sighting was not still there, do not flag down the next approaching car - nobody wants to hear about the leopard they just missed.
- There is never nothing to see. The sooner you embrace birding, insecting, treeing, rocking, etc, the more fulfilling your experience.
- At an elephant sighting, give them their space and always make sure you have a forward escape route in case of a charge. This often means driving slightly ahead of the sighting and looking back.
- At a getout point (eg.hide, lookout), if you are the only car there, first switch off your engine, look and listen for 5 minutes before getting out.
- At a crowded sighting where its clear no-one is actually seeing anything, drive ahead of the pack for 30 meters and stop. That's normally where the animal re-appears. If it doesn't, gesticulate wildly and pretend to take photographs anyway; it drives the waiting pack bonkers.
- Keep binoculars and camera within easy reach in the car, if not around your neck.

_________________
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:16 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2006 4:01 pm
Posts: 548
Location: 10,000 miles from where I'd like to be
Drive slow. The slower you drive, the more you'll see. I usually drive between 20-25 km's per hour.

Don't look for a specific animal, look for movement. As you're driving along rivers and dry riverbeds, make sure to pull into any overlooks. Sometimes you'll get to a waterhole and it will appear as if nothing is there. Stop for a minute and wait. I once stopped at the Nkaya Pan and saw only a giraffe drinking at the waterhole. After watching the giraffe for a moment, we spotted several lion laying in the shade.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:39 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:38 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Sydney and southern Africa
When you're looking for animals try forcing yourself to scan the bush from right to left, instead of left to right.

This is a trick I was taught in the army.

We learn to read from left to right, so when we're scanning our eyes tend to move in that direction.

If you force yourself to scan from right to left your eyes and brain are working harder (so the theory goes) and you;'re more likely to pick up movement or irregularities you might have missed.

Try it. I find it works sometimes.

Tony

(and as for Satara itself, get up early and head down the S100. You'll rarely be disappointed)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:06 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Posts: 12738
Location: meandering between senility and menopause
FAC Member (2013)
Ossendryver :D I can pick up on your excitement.

I often go to Kruger alone, so I have to rely on other tactics. One pair of eyes driving a car can be pretty useless at time. I tend to pack a big flask of coffee and stop at waterholes and interesting looking places. I have often been very lucky, as I have seen animals that I would never have seen just driving down the road.

Some of those have been: a Lion coming to slake his thirst at a deserted waterhole near Maroela. I wondered why the area was so dead and devoid of life and was about to drive off after finishing my coffee. I was the only witness to this magnificent animal.

Beautiful African Green Pigeons when stopping to look at the Olifants river.

Ground Hornbills killing a snake after stopping at a remote watehole.

I left a "park off" place once to return to camp, only to see an African Rock Python had started to cross the road close to me.

Elephant playing in the water close to Gardenia hide. It was very special because there was obviously some deep family communication beween them, a deep rumbling that I might have missed with a casual road side stopping.

Then there are the birds giving warning. On our last trip, we heard some Guinea Fowl making a terrible racket. The one was sitting in a tree looking very distessed. Other birds were joining in the alarm chorus.
Unfortunately we were on our way out and could not wait to see what the cause might have been, but I am fairly certain that it was a cat of sorts or a snake.

_________________
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:04 am 
Offline
Honorary Virtual Ranger
Honorary Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:42 pm
Posts: 17943
Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
Let your periferal vision do the work. It's very good at it, and sees things your normal vision misses, especially movement.
The flick of a tail, a branch moving, things like that you can pick up. And then just stop, and wait a bit. It's often false alarm, but those times it isn't...

But don't go looking for the outlines/colours of say a lion! You'll maybe see a lion, but may disregard the pattern of a leopard is it's not brownish.

Good luck!

_________________
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:36 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:25 pm
Posts: 315
Location: Centurion
Very good tips here. I would just like to stress the importance of what Carolynn said regarding "put the engine off". Many people stop at a sighting and don't put the cars engine off. The engine noise and exhaust fumes irritates animals and will cause them to rather move off. Diesel vehicles are particularly noisy. So, switch off the engine, look, listen and enjoy. :thumbs_up:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:24 am 
Offline
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon May 19, 2008 4:30 pm
Posts: 2605
Location: Helderberg
I have found that newcomers to the bush tend to look at trees and bushes, while military training taught me to look through trees and bushes. Its whats inside or behind or below that you are looking for.

I hope this makes sense :roll:

_________________
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 1:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:10 pm
Posts: 252
Location: Cumbria UK
Don't know how useful this will be but it helped me...I tend to wear sunglasses in bright weather but I found not wearing them and getting to good hat instead really helped me see animals more often. I think it was that the brown tint of the shades gave the animals extra camouflage!!
Gemma x

_________________
When I'm not in the Park, I'm thinking of it...
Bittersweet Return to Paradise TR - Aug 2011


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:34 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:02 am
Posts: 3593
Location: Perth, Western Australia
As others have said:

Look through the bush, not at it.
Don't wear polarising sunglasses - a lot of vehicle windows have a some form of polarisation and you can get a cross polarisation effect occurring which "blinds" you.
Look for movement, and,
Take your time.

_________________
“ Every year elephants were becoming scarcer and wilder south of the Zambezi, so that it had become impossible to make a living by hunting at all. ” FC Selous 1881


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:47 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Funniest/Best Forumite Name (2013)
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:38 pm
Posts: 9683
Location: In the shadow of Table Mountain
FAC Member (2012)
Some have been said before. Just shows they work.
1. Get out when the gates open and return when they close. Do other things around this, maybe at midday.
2. Look for water & drive near it.
3. Look in trees.
4. When you see something, do a 360 scan. Something that wants to eat it might be stalking.
5. When a buff herd crosses the road, wait 10 minutes for the lions. (Learnt this one recently and hope to do it in 3 weeks!)
6. Keep clear of mum & baby big & hairy.
7. Buy a bird book and enjoy it more. I have seen more leopards since looking for birds.
8. Look for traffic jams - the cats are there.

_________________
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:10 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 4:49 pm
Posts: 706
Location: Busy planning my next trip
Stop and take note of the mood of herds (esp Impala, listen too for alarm snorts) instead of driving on past.

Are they relaxed and calm or are they nervous and alert. Be aware of any long held stares in one specific direction and try and see what they are looking so intensely at.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 1:18 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 4:49 pm
Posts: 706
Location: Busy planning my next trip
Scan the skies as well, a large number of circling vultures could indicate the presence of a kill.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: spotting tips
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:04 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:14 am
Posts: 11
Location: Bedfordview, South Africa
Slow down and if possible park to the side and out of the traffic movement at a bridge or river crossing. This has proved extremely successful for us. We spotted leopard in the river bed at Biyamiti Weir and another time spotted a movement across the river while crossing the Letaba river enroute to Phalaborwa from Shimuwini. At first I thought it was a saddle billed stork which turned out to be the tip of a tail of a leopard. Watched him approach the bridge and and actually stroll under the bridge and come out on the otherside. Had a family from Australia pull up alongside us while the leopard was still 30 metres away on the riverbank and even though we were telling them exactly where to look they didn't see it for at leadt 5 minutes before the twitch of a tail caught their eye.
Birdlife is also prolific around the water. Carmine bee eater, kingfishers and often one of the eagles or raptors. You need to just sit and listen and watch for movement.
Go early!!
Lesley


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tips for spotting leopard in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:38 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:10 pm
Posts: 252
Location: Cumbria UK
We've been really lucky in getting sightings of leopards - we saw 13 on our last trip. To be honest a lot of the time getting sightings is to do with getting tip offs as to where they have been seen recently. We are always at the gate well before it opens and often we have been given great tips about where people have seen things the day before etc. In fact those early morning conversations have led to great sightings and also some long standing friendships!!

The area around Satara has also been very good to us, especially around N'wanetsi. We saw 5 leopards in one day around there last August.

Another hint I have heard about and has paid off for my Dad is if someone says you've just missed a leopard - but it's gone. It's sometimes worth while hanging around for a bit as they can come back!!

A willingness to wait within sight of a kill for a long time will also often reward you with a sighting. We stayed in a layby by the side of the H4-1 for 6 hours last August and we rewarded by seeing a leopard cub playing around the base of tree where the kill was. The cub was really playful and almost teasing us. We saw it several times over the hours and were eventually forced away by an overwhelming need to go to the loo!!!
Gemma

_________________
When I'm not in the Park, I'm thinking of it...
Bittersweet Return to Paradise TR - Aug 2011


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Tips for spotting leopard in Kruger
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:29 am 
Offline
Moderator
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Posts: 9583
Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa
I agree with 2 of the above postings,

Luck does play a big part, as do tip offs and also the tip about once you have viewed the Leopard, hang around for a while, we have had some of our best sightings of them the second time around, sit quietly and they often retrace their steps and reappear almost in the same place or a little further away but still viewable.

Some say early morning or evening is the best time but we had a super sighting in the middle of a scorching hot day in Feb!


Good Luck. :wink:

_________________
Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 78 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Mellory at 17:45:51 Submitted by Aristocat at 21:34:19 Submitted by Michelle_K at 22:50:55 Submitted by ritad at 23:12:45