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Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

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Mars
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Sunset and night drives in Kruger

Unread postby Mars » Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:38 pm

After reading another post I would like to add this (not sure if someone wrote something like this already)

The whole idea of the sunset/night drive is to see what the bush is like when it gets dark after the camp gates are closed.

To see what goes on in the bush when you can't see it without going on such a drive. There is a few things to keep in mind which may also make your drive more pleasant.

Don't go on the drive expecting to see a kill or the big 5 etc then you go for the wrong reasons and chances are you are going to be disappointed. If you go on these drive for the experience of it and to see the bush at sunset/night and enjoy the night then you will enjoy it.

If you see things like lions, leopard kill etc you are lucky but that is not what the reason for the drive is. According to my own experience on these drive (have been on many at different camps) there is a few things to know/keep in mind.

You might learn something on the drive by asking/listening to the driver. (have heard that some drivers say things like a male lion always eats first where evidence show that its not ''always'' the case) apart from small things generally these drivers I believe field guides have a good knowledge of the bush and the animals and might teach you some interesting facts.

Some of them are really nice and ''people friendly''. A few things there are spotlight at the back of the truck and its the person who chooses that seat that is responsible for shining the light when it starts to get dark. I have seen people shining everywhere they are not supposed to. You are supposed to search for reflecting animal eyes by scanning the terrain left right and left again as the animal might look at you for that split second. Also on the ground near (not on the tar road) and far and occationaly in trees. Any person that sees an animal is supposed to say stop in an audible voice so that the driver can hear you.

When you approach dangerous animals dont make sudden movements, scream, talk loudly etc you might provoke an attack or scare the animal away. Follow the drivers instructions at all times and even in summer just for incase take something warm a jacket or something... And remember to visit the toilet before the drive as those +- 3 hours can get long if you really need a toilet...

If these general lines are followed Im sure most people will have a more pleasant drive and there wont be complaints afterwards like the drivers dont give good enough instructions on the spotlights etc like there have been before.

Ive also seen that a quick "...there is spotlights at the back use them to shine for eyes...'' dont always work as the people dont shine right or dont shine at all

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Re: Sunset Drives Vs Night Drives

Unread postby G@mespotter » Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:40 pm

Hi there,

FIRST of all: WELCOME to this forum!!

I would ALWAYS recommend a sunset drive. First of all, there is nothing more beautiful than taking time to actually observe the African sunset (2 mins). Secondly, a sunset drive gives one the oppurtunity to enjoy both 'daylight' photographs of the drive, which is often problematic with a night drive. lastly, with kids, a nightdrive starts late and is a hour shorter :lol:

Both Satara and Lower-Sabie area's are perfect for such a drives, although my personal preference is Satara, with its high denisty of cats and easy spotting terrain.

As for the walks, the late afternoon walks are IMHO better in winter (eg. June/July), as you start in midday heat or just thereafter, which means in summer time it can be quite hot. A morning walk is quite early, BUT you have the oppurtunity to start and end with a nice and still bearable temprature :D I'd advise a morning walk!

You can book it by emailing SANParks, with the given specified dates etc. Enjoy particularly the walk, I have done one in July at Lower-Sabie, and it was simply wonderful!!

Im am so :mrgreen:
Tambotie 20 July, Shipandane Birdhide 21 July, Mphongolo Backpack Trail 22 -25 July, Tzendze 26 July, and Greater Limpopo National Park 27 -29 July :D

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Re: Sunset Drives Vs Night Drives

Unread postby oddesy » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:53 am

The sunset drive and night drives are both equally enjoyable.I think that night drives are special as you have the opportunity to see alot of nocturnal animals that are not normally seen during the day, eventhough it is alot more difficult to get good pics on the night drive.

The sunset drive is longer and you still have light for a while, so taking pics is easier. but in my experience we have seen more of the nocturnal animals on a night drive than a sunset drive. BOTH are really good at satara , so which ever one you choose will be an experience!! :D
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Re: Kruger morning walks - what to take

Unread postby Timepilot » Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:47 am

BB, I'll agree with the other posters here. Like Imberbe I tend to wear long trousers but I also use short gaiters over the end to stop unwanteds getting into my boots.

Bino's a must and definitely water. I use a medium sized bum bag with water bottle pouches on the side which also contains my first aid kit, and other bits and bobs that might come in handy.

My last walks in KNP were in June and the mornings were a bit nippy to start off with. The first ones I wore a light jumper under my shirt which I then took of and stowed in the bum bag, but later I changed to a light weight vest jacket and just rugged up for the drive out to the kick off point. This kept me warm enough at the start and I could then open it later on.

I spend a bit of time out in the bush here and some of the hunters run around in camo gear but I've found that light browns / khakis / olive / greens do as effective a job as any camo gear. Whites and brights a definite no no.
“ 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

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Re: Mornign vs night drives

Unread postby ecojunkie » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:52 pm

Welcome to the forum and beware of addiction!

I actually think morning drives are great! The animals have been busy overnight, and are going 'home' to rest and so are more relaxed - and sometimes well fed! If there has been a kill you may find the culprits still feeding or defending their prize.

It also seems that the animals are less wary of the vehicle as they have not had a whole day of being chased away from the roads by speeding vehicles and people hanging out of windows, etc.....

The birds are waking up and calling....

It is a lovely time of day.
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Re: Mornign vs night drives

Unread postby ecojunkie » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:15 pm

I think that is a popular misconception and explains why they are not so well booked up. In fact the drive goes out about an hour before the gates open, so you get out in the park when others cannot, and it is still dark so you see the night animals.

The morning walk, on the other hand, goes later as it has to be light enough to walk safely when you get to the starting point.
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Re: Morning vs night drives

Unread postby Betelgeuse » Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:17 pm

Hi all!
FYI: This is from the "night drive vs, sunset drive" thread so please read it in that light; just thought Saskia summarised the differences very well.

SaskiaT wrote:Dear Readers

The evening drives in the south of the park are 3 hours. Only one drive is offered, which is usually from 5-8 pm, known as night drives.

From Satara upwards, 2 evening drives are offered. The Sunset drive which is usually 4-7pm and the night drive which is usually 8-10pm.

Please note that each camp may vary slightly with departure times so you will need to confirm with the camp's reception desk first.

In the north, the Sunset drive is the better one. The duration is longer and more animals are generally seen.

Saskia Taylor
Letaba Field Guide


At Punda Maria, the morning drives aren't as popular which is in line with what EcoJunckie stated. I love morning walks though!!
I agree with gerharddb: it depends on what you're looking for, but you should try different activities!
Just remember that the Park is quite diverse.

Happy sightings
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Re: Morning or evening game drive and in which camp?

Unread postby DuQues » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:30 pm

They do indeed pick you up at Balule. For walks as well.
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Re: Times

Unread postby Imberbe » Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:38 pm

Hi Biggsy ... and welcome. :D

The Sunset drives usually leave approx. an hour before sunset and takes three hours. So depending on the time of year you should be home by 8 or so.

So you could be in bed by 9 / 10.

The walk leave from camp approx. 6 (again depending on the time of year).

So yes, quite possible to do both.

Some camps offer a night drive that departs after the sunset drive has returned. This may become a bit late ... depending on how much sleep you need.

The morning drives depart an hour before camp gate opening times, so that may be around 5am or earlier. :wink:
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Re: Game drives and guided walks

Unread postby Imberbe » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:32 pm

The sunset drive starts an hour before dark and finishes approx. two hours after, so it includes a night drive component ... the best of both worlds! :wink:
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sunet drive for disable visitor

Unread postby fee » Thu Nov 26, 2009 9:54 pm

Is it possible that a disabled person is able to go on a sunset drive. I am not sure whether anyone is allowed in the front of the vehicle with the ranger. My dad is 81 (a stroke patient) and taking him for his second visit to KP in Dec. If its not possible, then I would explain this to him. We are a big group going and would hate him to be turned away. Any suggestions for me.

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Re: sunet drive for disable visitor

Unread postby Scouter » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:59 am

On both the sunset drives and the morning drive we took in Lower Sabie in the last 2 years there were people sitting in the front seat with the ranger - on the morning drive it was a young un-accompanied boy whom his mother dropped off with the ranger and then left, so hopefully it won't be a problem with your dad .....
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Re: sunet drive for disable visitor

Unread postby ecojunkie » Fri Nov 27, 2009 7:43 pm

In the 10-seater it is fairly easy to get in the front seat - in the big truck, which you would need for your party it is almost impossible to get in the front unless you are fairly agile - and it would be difficult to try to help someone in too! However the back is easy to get into as the step lowers to almost ground level, and then there are 2 more steps.
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Re: sunset/night drives

Unread postby ecojunkie » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:54 am

Timing also depends on the situation of the camp.

Here at Malelane camp we do a sunset drive which starts at 1700 throughout the year because we get a lot of outside bookings (pick up at the gate) and changing the time according to season creates problems. When I helped out at Croc Bridge they did change the time of the sunset drive to try and get an hour of light and 2 hours dark - and there were times when folk coming from outside missed the drive because they thought it was later - or arrived early and then had problems back at their lodge having arranged dinner for their expected time back!

The camps that do both sunset and night drives will also normally have fixed times because the same vehicle are needed for both drives (sometimes the same guide too).

So the answer is - it depends on the camp and circumstances! The website cannot deal with small changes all the time so will advertise the average. If you want specific details contact the camp concerned and ask to speak to the duty manager, or even better, the head guide.
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Have you read the entrance permit? Do you KNOW the Conditions of Entry?

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Night drives punda maria

Unread postby garrow » Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:30 pm

I will be going to the kruger in a week's time. Can anyone advise me if punda has both the sunset and the night drive or only one of the two


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