I use to be a guide in Kruger Park from August 2000 to November 2007 working for n private OSV Company based in Hazyview. Doing about 200 days plus a year to Kruger I have decided to share my experiences and views with the rest of you. Maybe it will help some off you to have better luck in Future visiting the park and giving some views of how we as guides that is not based on n permanent inside the park, see things and heard of things that can be interesting to you. This will not be book as I am no writer but rather something to share with you. This topic will be about where I have seen the most game, Discussing most of the roads, interesting things I came across, and the views of public versus guide.
Before I start just a quick back ground of myself when I was introduce to Kruger and where I work from most in my Guided career………I was introduce to Kruger at very small age before I could remember and never since have been alive, not being same times in a year to Kruger. Having Kruger crazy parents, they have made sure that we visited the park at least 2 times a year spending normally 2 to 10 days at n time in the park. So needless to say before I started Guiding I have slept in all main camps including Maroela camping site, Balule and Tamboti tented camp, never had the chance to sleep over at one of the bush or private camps, but since guiding have been to most of them, and have driven 95% of all the roads in the park. So when started guiding it have been very easy for me as I almost knew the park like the back of my hands, but be leave me since guiding you see Kruger in a Different way and experience it different.
Now a days I am working in Iraq in n U.S. Army camp Building power lines, but that is n different story and hope fully be back next year June guiding again and do what I loved doing. I will try to right at least 2 times a week apiece of my experiences starting with the animals where I have seen the most of, were the best place for me was , and how much, best time of the year, and ratings a month under our guides of a certain animal. I will also try to upload some pics. Have a lot of them but only had camera with me the last 3 years when I was guiding. I hope you find it interesting and that I don’t bore you. Let me start with the Big one……….Mr. LEOPARD
The big question always is where I Can find one and with road are the best one to drive to see one, and the answer is………… As we guides always say you don’t find a leopard it finds you and any where any time. This is the one creature that amuse as the most as there is never a time or place or even a thing that a leopard can’t do. As books always say the best time is at night or early morning and normally in thick areas and along rivers, that never use to be the case for me as I have seen them all over Kruger, in the middle of the day at 40C, open areas with no tree, and even far away from water as can be. Hear is same fixtures of my sightings of the years.
Most leopards seen in a day - - 8(This was only in 2 sightings, the first being of 2 young cubs about 6months old on the Nwatamiri road 1km down from the S114 on the right hand side of the road playing on the rocks, and be leave it or not (and till today I still don’t and the other guides that witness it) 6 together that afternoon at the 2 water reservoirs on the Numbi gate Pk road. It was of a female leopard with 4 cubs (yes I said it FOUR) of about 12 month old playing in the grass. 10 min later n Full grown male arrived that the mother wasn’t happy about. He went laying 10m from them and just watches them. Needless to say this was the first and only time any of our guides ever seen them. This was also the most leopards I have seen together……6 of them
Road most seen on—Eloff Street or that as we guides called it as being the busiest road in the park (Skukuza lower Sabie road)
Biggest animal seeing catch—Impala. There was on 2 causes where n big male brought down 2 full grown Female kudu in the PK area, but didn’t see the axels hunt only the feeding of it. Some of the other guides saw the whole action.
Biggest animal seeing eating of---Giraffe. Old male giraffe died on the S3 in 2005 and there where a young male leopard feeding from the carcass and even sleeping on top of it in the middle of the day.
Best sighting---difficult as I have seen many amaching things from these animals. Must say I have seen 7 complete hunts from these animals, 4 in Kruger and 3 in the Sabi Sands, and this stands normally out. 2 of these hunts in Kruger was when I was guiding and the other 2 when I was in South Africa in December of this year on leave, I drove from Croc bridge to Phabeni Gate and just before Nkuhlu picnic spot find n male that could n baby impala right next to our vehicle in the open and 1 hour later another just before Skukuza on one of the loops going to the left as you drive towards Skukuza. Watch it for about 45 min before it axsule caught and impala male. Also a sighting that I never forget was in December 2002 in the middle of the day at 12h45 at 41C find a mating pair that came out and mated on the tar road (Berg en Dal tar road 2km from the H3) How they could walk on that hot surface and mate on it I don’t know but they did. Must also say seeing 6 together is probably the cherry on the cake!!
Best month for Me—October. As n guide we normally se most leopards in September October average 15 a month. For me October 2006 I have seen a total of 32. That same year for September and October I have seen 52!!!
Longest time not seeing one--- 3 weeks. In January 2007 I have seen only 2 and neither of good sightings as they just ran across the road and deeper in the grass.
Best places to see one for me. Eloff Street if you really want to see one drive that road up and down 3 or 4 times. That was normally the place to find them. Other places that where good for me, Around Berg en dal, the Diospane road (Phabeni gate road), the water gat road (sorry don’t have n map with me so can’t give you the road nr. This is just the name as our guides called it. It is the first gravel road on your right hand side as you drive from the Kruger gate road towards Phabeni gate 5,5km from Kruger gate road)Around Shingwedzi have always also been good to me especially driving down to Kanniedood. Been there one time with the parents and drove down to kannie dood and had 4 different sightings on that stretch. Further on you can almost see them any were.
That is my leopard story of Kruger hope you find it interesting will try some time this week to right about my rhino experiences…..See if I can upload some of my photos
My TR:The " Great 8" in one trip to Kruger(+2 nights extra) Been More than 3000+ Days in Kruger and counting!!
Have slept more than 350+ night in Kruger and more coming!!