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All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

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tent dweller
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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby tent dweller » Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:31 pm

We normally leave when the camp gates open, and return at about 5pm. We always stop at a picnic site, make breakfast (sometimes bacon/eggs etc or oats/rusks and tea). Some days we are really tired. Our next trip in July 2012,things are going to be different. We are going out early, stopping to make breakfast, drive a bit more, then return to camp, relax,snooze then we will go out again in the afternoon and return just before gate closing time :hmz: :hmz:
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Re: How Fast Do You Drive?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:26 pm

We have also found that 20-25 km is the ideal speed by which we should travel in Kruger. In our experience if a person drives faster than that a lot is missed along the way. We would rather go for shorter drives than try to do many km’s in one day.
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Re: How Fast Do You Drive?

Unread postby onewithnature » Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:10 pm

Definitely true, Grantmissy! :thumbs_up: Nobody can convince me that driving fast yields an equal number of sightings to driving slowly. :roll:

Dr. Phil, like Grantmissy, I've moved away from driving too far, as this results in us being too tired to enjoy Kruger to the full. However, sometimes a long, scenic trip is worthwhile - the problem with being too far from camp, though, is what happens when you see a truly special sighting and haven't the time to savour it?

K-4S, that's indeed strange: the ears of animals hurt his eyes!? :sup: But, sounds like he sees more than most. :dance:
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Re: How Fast Do You Drive?

Unread postby cheetah2111 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:54 am

The speed varies.
When I dive alone and I reach a dirt road, I literally drift forwards in first gear without touching the accelerator! Giving me enough time to look left and right. Extremely slowly when the bush is dense!

But with other passengers, 20-30 is fine :thumbs_up:
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Re: Max. distance day drive.

Unread postby onewithnature » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:20 am

The faster one drives, the more luck is involved in sightings because more and more gaps in the bush are missed. We drive at 15-30 km/h, depending on the thickness of the bush, so that we can see into every gap and up every interesting tree. Even when the bushveld forms great expanses of openness, as around Satara, animals can be deceptively camouflaged if the grass is even a little too high; there again, we keep speed down. And it works for us!

As an example from our last trip, last week, to Kruger, we were driving the entrance road from the outer park gate to Orpen, when a little car zoomed past us, both passengers swivelling heads furiously. Yet, despite us being about 300m behind them at the time, we saw two cheetah standing clearly in a clearing to the left, and not more than a 100m distant. The zooming car missed them. Another example from this trip was a car that passed us at speed and missed two hyaena walking in the open about 30m to the left, and on this same entrance road.

The best spotting for us by far - emphasis on the word spotting! - was at the unnamed bridge before Phelwana (closer to Satara). Driving 20km/h and soaking up the magic of the bushveld (it's NOT all about game sightings!), Siobain, my SO, who most definitely has got eagle vision, asserted "Stop!" She had spotted a leopard stand up on a branch, with an impala kill to the right. The kill, though hidden, would be seen by those driving slowly, those with good technique, and birders. Any faster and it would definitely have been missed. As it turned out, the Orpen-Satara road was pretty vibrant that morning, but everyone around had passed the spot without stopping. This included two game drives ahead of us. One, though, was savvy enough to see us and drifted over to ask what we'd seen. Within a minute, we had a pile-up of perhaps a dozen cars jockeying for space. Sadly for them, they could see the kill, but the young leopard female - whom we saw clearly - had already climbed down the branch and was dozing peacefully behind a thick clump of red grass next to the dry stream bed.

No-one can convince me that speed ensures better sightings. Slower actually translates into more bushveld covered by roving eyes because all the extra space in the gaps deeper into the bush is opened. When we travel quickly, the bush becomes more of a blur and even elephants, rhino, and giraffe, browsing next to the road, can be missed. Anything over 35 km/h for me is too quick!
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Re: Max. distance day drive.

Unread postby garrow » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:21 pm

I always plan circular routes in the morning between 110-120 Km long. Previously I used to plan 160 Km routes but it makes the day too long. I like to go back to camp and have a minimum of 3-4 hours break and then go out for an afternoon drive that is a circular route of between 50 and 60 kilometers

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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:22 am

Our preference is early morning drives. In November 2011 we were in Skukuza and it was very hot but we drove in the midday heat and we saw new born impala’s and an impressive herd of elephant from those loops against the river. Kruger can surprise any time of the day
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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby MarkusF » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:22 am

We usually leave at gate opening time (just depends on SO and the kids if they are ready in time) and return between 11:00 and 12:00 to the camp for relaxation at the swimming pool or a nap ect. We go out again for the last two hours before gate closing time.

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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby Brummie » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:52 am

A lot depends on the season.

'The Book' says that wildlife hunker down during the middle of the day... but we prefer to visit in winter (we don't do hot :roll: ) and have discovered that a lot of animals haven't read 'The Book. We had lots of good sightings in the middle of the day.

Horses for courses, if it's summer you may need to get out of the mid-day sun yourself (only mad dogs and Englishmen....). In winter the rules may change somewhat.
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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby Guzz » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:36 am

My Kruger routine:

Out the gate at 6h00. 2 hour drive to a picnic spot for breakfast. 2-3 hour drive back to camp for a siesta or few pages of a book. Then 3-6pm for the aftenoon action...

:thumbs_up:

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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby Shushin » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:59 pm

My recent routine was at the gate ready at 5.45am out and drive slowwwwwww heading for a breakfast spot. Then drove slowwwww till lunch time, then slowwwww again till 5.30 gates close. Out all day shower food bed pooped. Did this the 2 weeks in the park had some fantastic sightings and would not have done it any other way was awesome. :D
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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby Graham_5000 » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:23 pm

I like to cover ground and see various contrasted areas. This year I want to visit the Sweni hide from Tamboti, which is a bit of a long drive but it can be a whole day out perhaps? From Mopani another whole day out will include Red Rocks, Shingwedzi and the S50 back. All other days we plan to go out in the morning, back for lunch and then out in the evening again, apart from days when we move camps when we will probably just set off at 6am and drive till we arrive!

My slight problem with all day driving is that I like to do some exercise; a run, swim or a stiff walk. This year (our 2nd visit) we will try and find areas to stop, where we can stretch our legs a bit e.g. a camp with a little trail etc. We will also do a 10 hour hike around Blyde the day before Kruger, in order to prevent leg fidgetiness! If the wilderness trails were a little cheaper, then maybe we would do one of them too.
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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby iedman » Thu Jun 06, 2013 7:52 am

I drive all day, from the camp gates opening to approx. a minute before they close.

I do intersperse the driving with stops at rest camps to get a drink, stretch the legs, use the ablutions and of course look at sightings boards.

I also stop at any hides and lookouts on my route of the day just to stretch the legs and take in Kruger!

Some of my best Leopard sightings, including a female with very young cub, have happened around midday, between 12 and 2, so I will continue to keep up my usual routine.

It makes for long days and I am utterly exhausted by the end of 8 days, but totally worth it for me!

Back in July for my next Kruger fix!

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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby Mant » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:37 am

Hi,

What we do is sleep during the heat of the day and then go out at about 15:00pm because we found that there are no animals around during the heat of the day. They all are resting under trees and bushes.

Samantha

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Re: All day driving vs morning & late evening driving?

Unread postby Crested Val » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:50 am

Actually Mant, we have had some of our best sightings in the midday heat, including the elusive Cheetah I had spent four months "hunting down" last year to break my 3 year Cheetah drought!!! :whistle: :lol: :lol:
Though I agree, the law of averages probably agrees with you. :thumbs_up:

I think it is all down to personal preference, and as others have said, if you have kids you need to do what's best for them. :thumbs_up:

Also for those unlucky enough to only have a very short stay in the parks, they probably need to spend as much time as possible there. :dance:
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