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Tips on where/how to spot wildlife.

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Elsa
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Cheetah and Wildog

Unread postby Elsa » Wed Aug 10, 2005 9:40 pm

We have seen Cheetah on the S28 right down in the South and again on the same road but further north near the top, a lovely sighting, perfectly posing on a fallen tree.
Wild dog up near H1-1, but a couple of years ago now, regrettably not recently.
But as always drive slowly and keep your eyes peeled is the name of the game, they can be almost anywhere.....the right place at the right time.
Good luck and happy viewing.

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Unread postby bwana » Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:30 pm

Cheetah and Wild Dog, like Leopards, are all about the right place at the right time and heaps of luck.
We saw Cheetah on road from Lower Sabie to Tshokwane, the one that runs parallel to Muntshe mountain.
No luck with Wild Dogs, yet, but there were some seen near Croc Bridge and Malelane in June.
It seems they are most often seen right up north and right down south - places were lions are not that numerous.
I've been told that the Bume road has produced many wild dog sightings, but in June the road was burnt badly,
Travel as much as possible and as slowly as you can - that's the best advice I can give.
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Freda
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Unread postby Freda » Fri Aug 12, 2005 5:31 pm

I've been lucky with cheetah on the H5 and S114, found this one on two different trips, second time he was lying in the burnt veld:-
Image

A tip is to check the top of the signposts to see if it being used as a toilet and if so keep your eyes peeled for the culprit. :redface:

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Re: Best Camps for Animals

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Oct 03, 2005 2:20 pm

BunduBoi wrote:Lets get an opinion going here

What is the best camp for game viewing (mammals)?
The best camp for birding?


Depends on what you want to see. I have great sightings of different mammal species all over the Park.

As for birds, the whole Park provides different species. Here again it depends on what you want to see. Punda is very good for birding, but places like Pafuri and Berg-en-dal are awesome too. Pafuri has many rarities to see, because of the limpopo river being a great attraction and beacon to many migratory birds from Moz and Zim and even further north from Eurasia.

Satara is great for raptors. Pkop for several grassland birds and Olifants, Lower Sabie and Letaba for water birds.

I also rate lake panic as one of the best birding spots in the Park!

Tell us what animals and birds more specifically and you'll get the best spots. :wink:
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Oct 03, 2005 2:46 pm

BunduBoi wrote:Thanx WTM,

1. Best place for herbivores
2. Carnivores
3. Raptors
4. Grass Birds
5. Thicket/woodland Birds
6. Best river/hide for spottings in general


1. The plains east of the H10 are good for big herds of zeb and Blue wildebeest.
So was the plains btween afsaal and Pkop in March 2005. They do migrate within the Park so it will be difficult to tell where they are now.
Buff loves the Sabie river areas it seems. There are also plnty in the BnD area and on the Mahonie loop around Punda. Orpen to Satara is also a good place to spot buff.
2. Lower Sabie and Satara. Pkop has also been very good to me in this sense. Letaba I rate as excellent leopard country. Skukuza is also good for leopard.
The Ngotso dam was always great for lion and cheetah.
3. Satara is probably the best. The H10 is also good.
4. Pkop and Orpen Satara road.
5. Punda Maria, BnD and even Shingwedzi.
6. Lake Panic, by a long shot like I said before. Rivers? All rivers that contains water are good for birding. More so for storks when the levels are lower. Sunset dam is great for water birding.

You can even break it down into animals. I.e where is the best place to find leopard or saddle-billed stork.
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Oct 04, 2005 10:43 am

BnD's Matjulu dam is a great place to look for waterbirds.
On a quick search you will be likely to find black crake, african jacana, green-backed heron, three-banded plovers and many other waders which I really found difficult to id. There are also sometimes up to 4 different kingfishers to be seen.
Brown-hooded and Striped although not actual fishers, but insect eaters are fairly common.
As Bert mentioned, the resident fish eagles are always around.
It is also one place to see the 747, although I have not been so privileged.

Kurrichane thrush, white-bellied Sunbird, Collared Sunbird(especially near the kiddies jungle gym) and Natal francolin frequents the camp together with some woodpeckers like the cardinal.

On the Matjulu loop you might be lucky to see Verreaux eagle. Last summer an Elanora falcon was around, and who knows it might return this year. Also the rare Orange-winged Pytilia was seen at the dam last summer.

Brown-headed parrots are fairly common and so is Black-crowned and Brown-crowned Tchagras. Just east of BnD and Malelane was the only place where I have ever seen Senegal Lapwing. Gabar Goshawk and Augur Buzzard also seems to favour the area.

Also in summer, Red-backed Shrike and Lesser Grey Shrike are common around BnD.

On the night drives, you are likely to find in summer Square-tailed night jar, spotted-eagle owl and fiery-necked night jar.

Red-billed fire finches are always present and also look out for the green-backed camaroptera in the thick entangling bushes.
If there where rain, make sure to visit the Gardenia bird hide too.

BnD to me is truly a great birding spot!!
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Unread postby Stoffel » Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:44 pm

I formerly mentioned on this forum about my record-keeping of mammals in Kruger since 1987.
This is only personal records and definitely of no scientific or real statistical importance.
Many people will have had other experiences of certain areas than I had.
Take the S100 for instance - I never have been particularly lucky on that road, but other people regard it as their favourite road because of regular incredible sightings.
I nevertheless want to share some personal observations with those of you who are interested.
I will not commend on mammal species which I have rarely seen up till now (e.g. dassie, eland, Sharpe's Grysbok, honey badger, common reedbuck, caracal, serval, African wild cat and side-striped jackal).
I have seen all of the latter in the park, but only on one or two occasions and therefore cannot comment on good areas to find them.
I also do not report on Punda Maria as I have not explored the area yet (hope to do so during May 2006).

I travelled more than 9 200 km in the park since 1987.
Mammals seen are tried to be counted as accurately as possible.
To portray my personal experience regarding population density of game species per area, I express my figures as number of a specific kind of mammal per km travelled.
Based on my personal observations, I can recommend the undermentioned camps for different game species.
I only refer to main camps as I believe this is the camps most frequently used by members of this forum.
I only mention a camp (next to the various species) if the density for the specific mammal is 50+% higher in the concerned area when compared to the average for the park.
The best camp is always mentioned first, followed by order of merit:

ELEPHANT: Letaba; Olifants; Berg-en-Dal
WHITE RHINO: Crocodile Bridge; Berg-en-Dal; Lower Sabie
LION: Satara; Lower Sabie; Crocodile Bridge
LEOPARD: Orpen; Olifants
CHEETAH: Skukuza; Pretoriuskop; Crocodile Bridge
WILD DOG: Berg-en-Dal
SPOTTED HYAENA: Olifants; Satara; Letaba
HIPPO: Lower Sabie; Olifants; Letaba; Crocodile Bridge
GIRAFFE: Orpen; Satara
BUFFALO: Shingwedzi; Mopani; Orpen; Crocodile Bridge; Satara
ZEBRA: Satara; Lower Sabie; Crocodile Bridge
BLUE WILDEBEEST: Satara; Orpen
KUDU: Crocodile Bridge; Lower Sabie
NYALA: Shingwedzi; Lower Sabie; Skukuza
SABLE: Satara; Skukuza
TSESSEBE: Mopani; Letaba; Lower Sabie
WATERBUCK: Pretoriuskop; Satara; Orpen
BUSHBUCK: Lower Sabie; Skukuza
IMPALA: Crocodile Bridge; Orpen; Lower Sabie
DUIKER: Lower Sabie; Skukuza; Crocodile Bridge
KLIPSPRINGER: Berg-en-Dal; Shingwedzi; Skukuza
STEENBOK: Orpen; Skukuza
WARTHOG: Orpen; Crocodile Bridge; Lower Sabie
BLACK-BACKED JACKAL: Orpen; Mopani; Olifants
BABOON: Olifants
VERVET MONKEY: Shingwedzi; Lower Sabie; Skukuza; Crocodile Bridge
BANDED MONGOOSE: Skukuza
SLENDER MONGOOSE: Pretoriuskop; Crocodile Bridge; Lower Sabie; Skukuza; Berg-en-Dal
DWARF MONGOOSE: Crocodile Bridge; Lower Sabie; Orpen
SQUIRREL: Orpen; Shingwedzi; Olifants

I hope this information can assist people who do not know the park. But (and a very big 'but'), you may have a total different experience of certain areas than I had. As Wildtuinman always says: "Being at the right place at the right time".

However, if I only had a week to visit the park, and I want to see as much mammal species as possible, I will stay in the following camps:

Berg-en-Dal
Lower Sabie
Skukuza
Satara
Olifants

With a bit of luck on your side, you should probably have the change to tick off all the above-mentioned mammals.

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Unread postby cougar » Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:26 am

Image

Saw these 3 cheetahs last August on an early morning drive from Lower Sabie. I believe we were on the S29 (the "Muntshe Detour"--sound familiar? I can't find my more detailed map). These cheetahs were probably the #1 highlight of my trip.

Freda--I love the picture you took of the cheetah on the sign. I saw that before I visited KNP, and drove by each sign very slowly, hoping to see a cheetah on or around one of them.

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Re: Best camps to see Cheetah and Wild dog?

Unread postby G@mespotter » Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:08 pm

Hi the best camps for wilddog sightings are skukuza and berg en dal, stay arounf afsaal and you'll have a great chance of seeing them. Satara an orpen and the best camps to stay for viewing cheetha. Been in kruger 10 times now, and it is still facinating!!

Monne

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Best places/roads to spot predators

Unread postby jakoventer » Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:11 pm

The following results are based on the number of sightings posted under public sightings, therefore it will only give a good indication as to where best to view the predators.

I have made sure that no double sightings are present ( looked at time and date of photo etc ).

Lions - S100 or Crocodile Bridge
Leopard - Lower Sabie or Biyamiti or Timbavati
Cheetah - H3 or Transport Dam
Wild Dog - H3 or Crocodile Bridge

There are definately more places that they have been spotted, but these are the only posted sightings.

One strange thing I noticed is how little predators are sighted upward of Olifants. Are they just rare or are those people not posting or is there not much visitors as down south.
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Unread postby G@mespotter » Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:48 pm

Hi all,

I also certainly agree that it is all about right time right place, aswell as the season, (rainfall), the vegetation and the time of travelling

My modest opinion is the folowing

Elephant: Do we really need to dicuss it?? Simply Everywhere, (huge groups north)

Buffalo: Everywhere, but less around Olifants and Mopanie (again huge groups [300-400] north)

Rhino: The s110, around Pretoriuskop, and the whole length of the s3

Lion: s100,actually all roads in a 10km radius of Satara, s112-s114 up to Renosterkoppies

Leopard: all riverine areas, but my experience is that they occur in large numbers round Skukuza, and the H4-1 to Lower Sabie

Cheetah: Definitely the H7 from Orpen to Bobbejaankrans, especially EARLY in the moring, and sometimes Transport dam.

Wild Dog: Only saw them a few times [and heared and read others' opinions] , so difficult to say, but I would say the H4-2 from Crocodile Bridge up to Gomondwane waterhole, aswell as the S1 and the H3, especially around Afsaal picnic spot.

I think that when you are going for the predators, you should consentrate south, up to Balule. But if you are out for a overall bush experience, dont skip the north, its less trafficed, and more private.

Again this is my experience and modest opinion

Monné
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Unread postby Salva » Tue Apr 10, 2007 3:07 pm

For cheetah the H10, especially the mlondozi dam area, should be added!
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Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Wed Apr 11, 2007 7:00 am

Another factor to consider is the type of soil and grass.
Most grazers love the "soetveld", the sweetveld, which ends at about Olifants.

The lions love grazers and will follow this prey.
If you get an eco map when at Kruger, it is easy to pick up on the sweet veld areas.
Satara area, known for lions, is sweetveld.

Leopard and Wilddog are happy with Impies and smaller prey. These are both browsers and grazers and are found in sweetveld and bushveld.

I think it does correspond very closely to the sighting trends.

Naturally, then there is the exeption :wink:
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Unread postby jeffinlondon » Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:28 pm

There's no difference between the main and secondary roads as far as the game is concerned.
Every time you get behind the wheel it will be different. We always use a combination of red and yellow roads on our game drives.
In our experience, you're less likely to share a really good sighting with hoards of other vehicles on a secondary road, some of the main roads can get very congested.
For leopards, we have seen them twice on night drives from Lower Sabie.
The H4-1 between there and Skukuza is good for both leopards and lions but that's a case in point of a main road that is very busy.
Even if you're not lucky enough to see them on this trip, you will have a wonderful time. Enjoy!


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