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Kruger in December

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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Re: Kruger in December

Unread post by SAGecko » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:08 pm

We've been on a Dad's 'n Boys trip to the Kruger for the last 7 years or so...

Some years have been seriously hot, and some just hot. And on one or two days it was freezing! Be prepared and always take a warm something.

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Re: Kruger in December

Unread post by SAGecko » Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:07 am

tent dweller wrote:SAGecko, over December 2013 it rained solidly for 3 days, not hard rain, just a light, soaking kind of rain. Before the rains started it was boiling hot and after the rain stopped it was boiling hot X2.

Ja, we did our Dads 'n Boys at Punda in 2013. Not the best weather to be honest. We were expecting a good hot week that far north. Instead we got rain and drizzle. We even had to put the heater on in the Vito while we were driving in the early morning.

This year we're doing Letaba from the 15th. Should be nice and sweaty :-)

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Re: Kruger in December

Unread post by Tessa G » Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:37 pm

December in the park is seriously hot, but hey, its Kruger and its a holiday. Just nothing else like it and being someone who doesn't take well to the heat, I still love it and always find ways around it.

When going out for a drive, always have plenty of ice cold drinks, wear cool, loose, open necked clothing and keep wet cloths in the cooler box, so if the heat starts getting to you, just put the cloth round your neck.

We always go out early for drives and back during the heat of the day to relax. Then at about 4ish we pack our cooler box again, go out on another drive and find a waterhole or river and enjoy the last few hours of the day before heading back to camp to light our evening fire. OOoooooh I am just getting goose bumps thinking of it. 50 days to go!!!

There is nothing like the iconic sound of the Woodland Kingfishers and Cuckoos as well as the variety of birds to enjoy. KNP in summer just has something so special about it. Been in the driers months, but found it so lacking in bird song and it felt like something was missing!! Not that we didnt have a wonderful time then as well :D

Give me Kruger ANYTIME!
Current TR: The Awakening of a Parched Kruger - Tessa & Dave Dec 2016/17
TR: Swathes of Colour at West Coast National Park
TR: 23 Days with Tessa & Dave - From Head to Tail DEC 2015

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Re: Kruger in December

Unread post by MarisN » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:53 pm

Has anyone been to the following Bush Camps in December:

1) Shimuwini
2) Sirheni

We have booked these for our trip Dec 2015 and just need to know a few things:

1) Is the fans sufficient to fight the heat in the units and do you have electricity the entire day to keep them running?
2) State of the fridges - are they well maintained to keep your items cold? Not talking about freezer just normal fridge as I know they have a communal freezer.
3) Sirheni - what is the water situation in front of the camp since the dam wall broke? Still any water around or should we rather change our booking?

Many Thanks

M :) :)
Dec 2015/Jan 2016:

17 - 20 Dec 2015 - Lower Sabie
20-21 Dec 2015 - Tamboti
21 - 24 Dec 2015 - Olifants
24 - 26 Dec 2015 - Letaba
26-28 Dec 2015 - Shimuwini
28 - 31 Dec 2015 - Mopani
31 Dec - 2 Jan - Letaba
2 - 3 Jan - Olifants

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Re: Kruger in December

Unread post by Elsa » Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:15 pm

M, the fans should be able to keep much of the heat at bay unless you are more heat sensitive and its over a very hot spell as can be in December.
I'm just trying to remember the hours that they switch off the power?
but do have a read through the topic Shimuwini Camp possibly it will be mentioned in there somewhere.

The fridges there do work very well, or did so when we last visited and kept the food icy cold, in fact it almost froze some of our provisions! :wink:

I believe there is not much water in front of Sirheni but from the comments Sirheni I wouldn't let it put you off! :thumbs_up:
and of course it can depend on how much rainfall there is before your visit.

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Christmas in the Kruger

Unread post by Busymum40 » Tue Oct 20, 2015 3:26 am

Hi folks!

Our family (myself, husband, 2 kids + my husband's Mom and Dad) have a trip to the Kruger coming up in December/ January - we have managed to book 4 weeks in the Park, starting at Biyamiti and finishing up at Punda Maria (all things being equal with the rains, of course!). We are desperately excited about spending Christmas and New Year in the Park, as it's the first time we've done so (not our first trip, though - we've racked up almost 100 nights there over the last few years! Some people go to Disneyland...we go to the Kruger! :P )

What I'm wondering is whether there are any ideas from folks who have spent Christmas there before about what to bring, particularly for kids? I've sorted presents and have managed to Ninja some Santa stuff, but we are coming from Perth, Western Australia, so luggage limits are a bit of a thing. We do fly Singapore Airlines, who are quite generous with their baggage allowances, but we are moving between a few camps over the 4 weeks (Biyamiti to Lower Sabie to Satara to Letaba to Shingwedzi to Sirheni to Punda), so don't want to be carting a lot of stuff around.

Do the rest camps do anything special over Christmas/ New Year? We've booked a bush braai out of Satara, but any ideas gratefully received!

Many thanks

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Re: Christmas in the Kruger

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:31 am

A very warm welcome to you Busymom40 :gflower: . What a wonderful trip you have planned.

I have been in Kruger a number of times over New Year. I have been there in early December, but never over Christmas. I have however seen the 'remainders of the day'. :wink: There does seem to be a special Christmas lunch in most of the larger camps.

Many of the larger camps try to have activities for the children throughout the holiday period. Keep watching the forum and you might pick up on what is happening over that period. Lower Sabie and Skukuza seemed to have daily children related activities. Mopani camp had special talks and bush exhibitions done by the Honorary Rangers.

I have seen special night drives advertised for New Year's Eve. I have tended to be in smaller camps where New Year was rather silent. The staff often have a party that evening, so you might hear singing from the staff village.

As far as keeping the children happy :hmz: I am not sure how old your children are. When my children were young, 'walkmans' were the thing. We made use of the Kruger shops and bought CD's or tapes of bush stories and music. It kept them quiet on long drives. These can be very boring for young children. We also bought books that they could stick pictures in. They were allowed to buy post cards of animals that they saw on the drives. If your children are old enough, a book on mammals makes it more fun to find out more about the sightings.

If they are old enough, a torch, binoculars and a camera might give hours of fun.

The swimming pools are life savers and wonderful to burn off some energy. I found an evening swim made for a better night's sleep.

Good luck and happy planning. :thumbs_up:
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Re: Christmas in the Kruger

Unread post by BushBaby_Shing » Tue Oct 20, 2015 8:03 am

Wow, 4 weeks in the Kruger Park is amazing.

I have spent Christmas and New Years in the Kruger Park mainly at Shingwedzi camp with my wife and 2 young boys. for Christmas Day I normally spent the day cooking a nice supper but for New Years Eve we normally have dinner at the restaurant which was normally a traditional African braai outside with the sounds of the wild. A truly awesome experience.

Depending on the age of your kids, a camera would be helpful to keep them busy, we also used to take portable DVD players so that the kids can buy wildlife DVD's and watch them when they get bored. The swimming pool is also always a winner amongst the kids and adults alike.

We will be in Skukuza in the beginning of January and I must say it is the best place in the world.

Have a great trip and I hope you get to see plenty of animals.
Skukuza with my children for a boys weekend - 6th January to the 10th January 2016 :dance: :dance: :thumbs_up:

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Re: Christmas in the Kruger

Unread post by DinkyBird » Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:47 pm

- Dalene

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Re: Christmas in the Kruger

Unread post by Elsa » Tue Oct 20, 2015 9:14 pm

Warm welcome to the forum Megan! :clap:

Another good topic to have a read through Things to do and see in camps in Kruger

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Re: Christmas in the Kruger

Unread post by Travelstory » Wed Oct 28, 2015 6:45 pm

Your trip sounds fantastic.

I would add inflatable pool toys as they would take up little room in your luggage and keep the kiddies happy on the hot days. I would also agree with a portable DVD player bringing along your favorite Christmas movies to add to the spirit. Another kiddie item might be a magnifying glass and bug book to keep them busy identifying bugs.

I have been in the park many Christmas holidays and the staff does try to make it special; especially for the kids.

Enjoy - I know it will be a Christmas your family will remember for years to come.

AKA Dana

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Re: Kruger in December

Unread post by Mfezi » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:10 am

I have only been once in the Kruger during December - December 2010. Was scorching hot during the day with thundershowers in the later afternoon / early evening. Just like Tessa G, I also went for a drive in the morning and then back during mid day and out again later afternoon. Worked well for me and still had fabulous sightings. Despite the heat, I will definitely do it again. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Kruger in December

Unread post by Kukama » Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:46 pm

I am in the process of planning a trip to South Africa in December 2017. This will be the third time I've been with my daughter (who will be 11 at the time of travel). We are planning to spend the majority of our time at a lodge in Hoedspruit where we've been before and which I've already booked, however we would also like to visit KNP this time as we haven't done this before.

Potential dates for the KNP visit are either 21st - 24th December (3 nights) or 2nd - 6th Jan 2018 (4 nights). As it is the holidays and therefore peak season, my question is whether you think there is any advantage (in terms of how busy the park is likely to be) to go before Christmas or after (or should I just do both?!).

We will be driving from JNB and if we go for the first set of dates my plan was to enter via Malelane gate and spend a night each at Berg en Dal, Lower Sabie and Orpen. If we did the second set of dates we would enter at Orpen gate and stay at Orpen for 1 night, LS for 2 nights and Berg en dal for 1 night. At another time of year I would have preferred to stay at the quieter bush camps however as it will be hot I've gone for camps with pools! I'm also hoping that staying at LS might maximise my chances of seeing a leopard which still eludes me after 2 previous visits to Botswana and two to South Africa! My daughter has a pangolin at the top of her wish list - I'm not sure who is more optimistic!

Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

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Re: Kruger in December

Unread post by cheetahlady » Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:53 pm

I have only once stayed in December - 28/12 to 2/1. We camped at Malelane and Satara. We did not find it very busy, but we did tend to stay off the main routes. You may be limited by the accommodation availability as the camps sell out very quickly. Whichever you decide, call (or stand in line) the day bookings open. Also consider Pretoriuskop, and even Skukuza (busy but great game viewing).
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Re: Kruger in December

Unread post by Elsa » Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:42 am

Warm welcome to the forum Kukama! :clap:

I would suggest you have a look at the Availability and see what is still available over those dates and at camps you might like to stay in.
Good idea to choose ones with pools as it will be very hot.
I'm not sure there will be too much difference with either set of dates you give, if you can do both then even better to give you a bigger spread of places to stay and overview of the park. 8)
Bit more chance of Leopard in the southern areas and for Pangolins try and book some guided night drives.
Good luck.

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