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S39 - Timbavati Road

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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Unread post by Meg » Tue Feb 22, 2005 10:13 am

I love that road - not densely populated, but at least the lilac breasted rollers always put on a good showing :D.

I once got to the Timbavati tea room where the chaps managing the skottels told me that the day before they'd had lion chase down and kill a buffalo right in the river bed before them! I'm sure anyone there never forgot that experience.
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Unread post by craigsa » Tue Feb 22, 2005 10:24 am


I actully enjoy the S39 Leeubron road had excellent sightings, wild dog, numerous cheetah and lions. Its also sceneric with the river next to. Timbavati always a good place to stretch your legs
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Unread post by Katja » Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:00 pm

I like that road. It's very scenic and I had good giraffe, zebra, waterbuck and wildebeest sightings there.
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Unread post by Bushmad » Sun Nov 06, 2005 2:10 pm

Felt like reviving a rather old post. :)

As far as scenery goes this road ranks very high on my list!
The Southern section, between Timbavati p.s and H7 does seem somewhat sparse but I somehow get the feeling that it could offer a really interesting sighting, it has that "feeling", at least for me.

The Northern section, from T.P.S is excellent, we have always seen an abundance of herbivores along that road, the predators must surely be around, the entire road seems like prime leopard country and there have been Cheetah sightings fairly frequently. In July I had the enjoyment of spotting Lions with cubs from the Timbavati Picninc Site, they were walking in the riverbed.

All things considered, this road isnt as productive as some of the other roads in the Park but because of the relatively low levels of traffic, wonderful scenery and enough game and birdlife to keep me happy it ranks as one of my favourites.

P.S the S127 does seem empty...however the is very clear evidence of White Rhino towards Timbavati, cheetah are seen towards the other end.
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Unread post by arks » Sun Nov 06, 2005 4:48 pm

The S39 has been a very special road for me on past trips. In November 1984, driving north, I had a pair of ellie bulls desporting at a small water hole (have NO idea which one - shall I post a pic for possible ID?) and further on encountered lions with cubs, which I had all to myself for well over an hour 8) 8)

Finally had to move on in order to get to Olifants before the gates closed, but was further delayed by a breeding herd of ellies crossing the tar road (probably H1-4 ... this was my first trip to KNP and I wasn't taking notes, so am working things out from old pix :) ).

On my 1987 trip, I saw a cheetah on a kill along this road, the only cheetah I've ever seen in KNP. In July 2000, I saw very little, but parts of the road were (still) impassable in a small sedan, due to the floods, which was a disappointment as this has always been a memorable road for me. I'm looking forward to revisiting it in 2006 8)
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Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:14 pm

I enjoy the road, but not because of the sightings. Apart from ellies and a close herd of buffalo, I have not seen anything out of the ordinary.
My main reason for taking the road when ever possible, is because of the diversity of the eco systems.
I must admit though, I do not enjoy the bumpiness one bit.
I do not have a 4 by 4, so it can be most uncomfortable.
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Unread post by richardharris » Sun Nov 13, 2005 6:38 pm

If you are into birds, another good reason to go is that its one of the very few spots I have seen woollynecked stork. S39 north of Timbavati, looking down onto the Piet Grobler dam.

Odd really, as my birding book tells me they are most often seen on the eastern side of the park!


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Unread post by bert » Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:17 pm

Seen them this year on the s56, mphongolo loop

But agreed on the amazing scenery on the Timbavati. At when we have travelled it we hardly saw any cars.
And dont forget the big boabab near the Timbavati picnicspot

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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:18 pm

Saw lions on a kill 1km from Tim picnic site in June on s39, plus buffs, eles and a joker said a leopard ran in front of his car 5 km from TPS, with an impala in its gob. We were a few minutes behind.
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Unread post by Joao » Sun Nov 13, 2005 7:32 pm

This is a must drive road for me when I visit the park. Leeubron has been very good to me in the past. Saw my only eland in the TPS vicinity. The road north always some giraffe, buffalo and a rare sighting of a dead hyena next to the road a couple of years ago.

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Unread post by Johann » Mon Nov 14, 2005 7:54 am

On the northern section (I think it was anyway) of the S39 we counted 97 Giraffe in a one km stretch in June 05. Now THAT was a really awesome sight :!:
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Unread post by Chameleon » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:11 pm

I was also there June 05 and saw the giraffe. I did not count them but there was lots of them.

I also saw a Leopard between Goedegun and roodewal

The part south of the picnic spot was less productive.

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Unread post by Stoffel » Mon Nov 14, 2005 2:43 pm

I agree with opinions already expressed namely, the southern part of this route has never treated me very well regarding game sightings (but good bird life).

However, the northern section is IMO one of the better roads in the park. I reckon it to be a good road for lion and especially cheetah. Timbavati is also one of my favourite picnic spots.

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Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Mon Nov 14, 2005 3:05 pm

I do like the picnic spot. Also the sighting of one of the most magnificent trees just before the picnic area.
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Unread post by bucky » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:10 pm

The road is ok , the northern part is better , but i find the south has a lot of surprises in store .

After going to the kruger since i was about 3 months old ,
I saw my very first honey badger along that road at age 31 , on trip number who knows , which broke the honey badger ice for me , as I saw honey badger number 2 that evening at tamboti :D , What a celebration that night .

My folks saw serval with kittens playing next to the road on the southern part , and the noobs dont even carry a camera :? , im not to sure if I should accept this as a valid sighting or not 8)

But best thing is the baobab tree , as my grandparents always used to talk about it so fondly from there early day trips to the park in like the 1950's :shock: , i have all there old slides , and when i have a spare month to go through them all , maybe i will find 1 of them at the tree .

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