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Your best night in Kruger

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Your best night in Kruger

Unread post by TINY » Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:48 am

Hello to all :) .

Firstly, before i continue, i know that every night in kruger is special in one way or another :D , but there just has to be that one night that is so stigmatic that it will stay with you forever and ever :hmz: . I have had the privilege of having approximately 350 Kruger night's under my belt and it was really difficult to narrow it down to just 1. So i've bent the rules a little to describe 2 of my very stigmatic African Kruger night's. I've decided to do it alphabetically :) .


Sable Hide is a bird hide during the day which transforms into a very primitive dwelling by nightfall. Situated in the North of Kruger approx 55km from Letaba towards the Phalabhorwa gate.
you are in the middle of no mans land, it's a fenced off hide that sleeps 9. No water. No electricity. No guard or ranger. nearest help is @ Letaba :big_eyes:. All this overlooking the sable dam. Brilliant :dance:.
Not for the feint hearted :tongue:.

Arrived at the hide @ 17:30 and started to unpack the vehicle.
As we entered the hide we forgot all about the vehicle and the unpacking as we all just grabed our benches to view a mating pair of ellies in the dam.It was trully an awesome sight, then from the corner of my eye i spotted a single buffalo who wonderd down to have a last minuite drink before nightfall, not realizing that that was the pathfinder to a 500 strong heard. within 15 min the dam was swamped with buffalo.
About 5 min later a noise that will send any heard into a frenzy flee.
yup you got it, a Majestic Lion ROARRR!!!!. We could'nt see him but boy oh boy he must have been no more than 30 meters from us. we all sat in awe to witness the 500 strong heard stampede their way towards safer ground. The lion's ROARR sent pulsating shivers through our bodies whilst the hide vibrated :big_eyes: . To discribe it in one word (AWESOME). The ellies multiplied very quickly and before you knew it there must of been some 30 to 40 of them at the water. Some of them drinking and some of them bathing. The ellies and the lion stayed with us throughout our overnight stay @ Sable Hide. Got to see a Serval at around 23:00. It came down to have a quick drink and dissapeared. (WOW) :dance:
Unfortunately we did not get to see the lion, but i think it was for the better. Reason being that he kept us in suspense the entire night.
where is he? what's he gonna do? hehehe. then he gave us a last ROARR at 5:00 in the morning.
We then made some breakfast while watching a stretch of gireffe drinkink water. Sadly it was time to depart and move on. It is a night that i will never forget.
Many people have seen lion, wildogs, cheetah and leopard to name a few, at Sable hide. In May this year there was a kill @ sable hide.
Give it a try. worth it.

Gotta run. Second best night to follow shortly.
If you have a special Kruger night, than share it with us.
PLEASE :pray:.

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:43 am

It was at Biyamiti.... well mostly just outside.

I started organizing annual NP visits for our church in 2000 with a trip to Kgalagadi.
It was enjoyed so much that I was 'coerced' into organizing one to Kruger in 2001.
The night before we arrived at Biyamiti, a giraffe had died 1 km from camp just off the road and had been found by a leopard that had been chased off by a pride of about 13 lions.
This was great for me, because my 'customers' were happy at being able to see lions first every day.
On our third and last day there, we met at Nkuhlu for brunch, and 3 groups decided to do a loop via Tshokwane.
We had had some quite good sightings, including lions south of LS that put us under time pressure.
It was 18h00 as we turned into the Biyamiti road, 4 km to go, and the first time ever I was not going to make it in time.
When we got to the carcass site, the road was full of buffalo milling around and a bit agitated.
WooHoo! a godsend.
I immediately rang the camp and told them that we were stranded and couldn't get past the buffs.
What I didn't know was the staff member put out an APB, and soon we saw lights on the other side of the buffs.
For the next hour amazing scenes played out.
The lions tried, and succeeded in isolating a buff, but the herd charged and rescued it.
We had lions sneaking round our cars to try to outflank the buffs and suddenly the road would be full of lions and then buffs again.
It was regular chaos.
There were also opportunistic hyenas going for the carcass and being chased off.
At last the buffs retreated and the lions retired to the carcass and traffic could get through.
Some of our party were on the night ride and were watching from the other side of the drama.
Much later, a few of us were gathered discussing the events, and the camp manager, who is now a good friend, came to join us and informed me that there was a fine for being late.
This impressed the gallery, but he added that under the circumstances, he would waive it, seeing that all had been so royally entertained.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by simonb6 » Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:44 pm

Without doubt my best night in Kruger so far was the night that I spent on my own at Sable Dam.

Unfortunately I am blessed with a vivid imagination, and I think it must have been the nervous chattering of my teeth which scared away the residents as, apart from a herd of ellies who popped down for a sundowner at dusk, nobody - absolutely nobody - disturbed my night.

Never mind - the experience of being all on my own in the bush was absolutely magical :D

Thinking about it, there was one owl who must have been thoroughly fed up with me as I kept forgetting about it and caught it several times in the beam of my spotlight whilst vainly scanning the dam banks for visitors :(
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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by rusky » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:07 am

MY Best Night in Kruger ( copied from my TR Rusky's Kruger Ramble)

[i]“Oooonnnggghhh! Oooooonnnnngggghhhhhh! Oooonnggghhh! Oooonnnngggghhh! Ooonnggghhh1 ooonnngghh! Oonngghh! Oongh!” [/i]
LIONS, followed by
“Haaarrrr! Haaarrrrrhh! Haar! Haarrrr! Harrr! Hrrrr!”(I first thought) Hyena (but now know it’s Impala. Bucks protecting their territory)
Suddenly there’s something in my bed! No, not hyena. Maria! She’s cold too. We pull out extra blankets from the cupboard and cover the kids then hop in under the covers together in my single bed.
“I love Tamboti” she whispers
“Me too” I reply
“I don’t want to leave Tamboti” she continues.
“Haaarrrr! Haarrrr! Harrr! Hrrrr!” No, not me. Hyena!
“Should I check if I can get us another night here?” I offer.
There’s a pregnant pause.
“Nah! One night will not be enough. Let’s come back again” she says.
“Ooooonnngggghh! Ooonnnggghh! Ooonnggh!Oonngh!” No, not lions, ME.!
“When the kids are older and we can come alone, just you and me” she suggests.
“How about for our 50th birthday year – 2017” Me.
“Okay. It’s a deal” she agrees.
“Ooooonnngggghh! Ooonnnggghh! Ooonnggh!Oonngh!” No, not me, Lions!
“Haaarrrr! Haarrrr! Harrr! Hrrrr!” Yep, definitely me.

At 5am we go outside and light the braai and sit together as the forest awakens. The day is looking so much brighter already………for we are coming back to Kruger, again! Once the Bass has decided its set in triple strength concrete.

We’re definitely coming back! Yessssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!
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Rusky's Kruger Ramble Jun 08 - a 1st timers dream trip

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by TINY » Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:45 am

Here is the second night as i promised
Great stuff Rusky, Simonb 6.

Like i mentioned previously that all experiences in Kruger doesn't have to always include animals or for that matter the big five.
Lets keep in mind that a story can never reflect the true magnitude of an experience.
Those of you who appreciates Kruger for what it is will understand my next experience sincerely.

My other best Kruger night happened at Tamboti.
It was a normal summers evening.
Got to our camp @ 18:30 and as usual we had some fantastic sightings for the day.
We got to see two nomad lions approx 50 meters from the Tamboti gate, a leopard with kill on the S36 about 5KM before Muzandzeni picnic site, and two bull ellies fighting at Muzandzeni picnic site.
The first thing we did upon arrival @ Tamboti camp was lite the fire for our evening Braai (Barbeque).
What did we hear next? :big_eyes:.

Tssssss thats not a snake that's me putting some red meat on the hot braai grid :lol:.
After we had our fill, we sat around the fire reflecting on the days sightings underneath a clear and beautiful Africa Sky.
We marveled at the bright and shiny stars, something that we don't get to do back home for some reason or the other.

We then called it the night at 22:30 so we could have an early start the next morning.
We stayed in a luxury safari tent that had no airconditioner.
As i got inside the tent i rolled up the side screens and wished that we could get a natural breeze passing through the tent.

Then the moment that i will never forget.
A slight wind and a rumble from the sky.
The moon soon disappeared behind the cloud cover. Lightning and thunder brightened up the sky.
Then the heavens opened it's doors and showered Tamboti with some much needed rain.
This came as some relieve from the sweltering heat of the day.
The slight wind pushed the raindrops against the side screen creating a light spray on my face.
The smell of moist sand and rain together with the light spray on my face (AWESOME).
I thought of the others and got up to close the side screens. (DON'T YOU DARE)! were the words that i heard from the others.

Last edited by TINY on Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:23 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by InMyBlood » Mon Sep 29, 2008 1:16 pm

WOW Tiny! :D

You've just just brought back 2 very special memories for me, of 2 very similar experineces to your Tamboti one! Enjoyed the most amazing thunder storms, in tents too, at Tamboti & Skukuza. 2 Nights I'll definitley not forget!

Thanks for that!! :wink:
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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by davegrohl » Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:16 pm

Best night would have to be about 4 years ago.
Took my girlfriend to the Kruger, it was her first night in the kruger since she was 3 years old.

We were at Tamboti in one of the done-up tents.
After a great braai we headed for bed.
The tent 'blinds' were down and, as most of you know, its like there is no mesh, you can see straight out the 'windows' and door. Lying in bed we could see straight out onto the riverbed. It was full moon (or close).

shortly after we hit the lights, i heard the unmistakable rasping call of a leopard, which sounded like it was coming from between the fence and riverbed. i told my girlfriend what that sound was and she immediatly was eyes-wide-open!
A minute later the baboons roosting in one of the large trees on the bank next to the fence went beserk.
Not just the usual screams and howls... between the chaos we could hear them running through the bush (all this must have been 3/4 meteres from the fence). it was a mad panic.

after about 3 minutes of this, things settled down. Shortly after the chaos, we heard the leopard again.
My girlfriend asked if i thought the leopard might have caught one the baboons.
Seconds later a hyean's excitable chatter, squeal and whoop came blaring through our tent.
Heard a cat-fight (literally) with growls and snarls, from what was probably 15 meters away from us in our bed.

Not too sure, but i reckon a leopard might have caught a baboon and was discovered by a hyeana and most probably chased off.

Awesome experience :D

Next morning we left the camp as the gates opened and came across plus/minus 15-20 wild dogs fast asleep 1 km down the road.

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by leelee » Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:25 pm

You guys are bad, I'm suppose to work but I can not tear myself away from this forum. Reading about your nights almost makes my heart break with all the longing. One of my fav nights was a warm summer night in the brand new tents @ Punda. We had pizza the night before we left for the Park and took the leftovers with. The travelling was far and hot (38+degrees) and when we finally sat on our deck, fire going nicely, sunsetting, francolins greeting the night, pizza on the fire (njam) and bubbly in glass, it started to rain! A soft misty type of rain that was not uncomfortable to sit in. You could smell AFRICA at its best. All the little ones came out to enjoy, even a family of cane-rats. And best of all - grannies were babysitting and it was only hubby and I @ Punda before we went on one of our best trails ever: Nyalaland.
God, please bless our wilderness!


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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by saraf » Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:09 pm

I have had 2 magical night-time experiences that are hard to separate for the best. So you get both of them. I just hope I can express the feelings well enough to do them justice.

1. Summer's night drive from Mopani. Just the guide, me and SO in a small jeep. We didn't see much but we learned so much. About another person's way of life, both before he came to Kruger and his work in the park and his love and respect for the bush. And then the finale - all lights off and the bush at the sides of the vehicle was just lit up with millions of tiny white lights, like fairies dancing around.

2. Later the same trip in Lower Sabie. The end of the sunset drive. There was a storm brewing, the wind was quite fierce and we'd seen very little. It was quite dark when the guide stopped the vehicle and asked if he could show us something special. It would take about 5 minutes. We all agreed and we sat there in the dark with the engine and the lights off. To the left of the truck a storm was raging in the distance - we could see the lightning lighting up the sky but there was no sound of thunder just the most amazing light display that only nature can provide. Then the guide called softly to us to look to the right of the vehicle. A moonrise. The biggest, brightest, most gorgeous full moon I have ever seen, coming up over the horizon. There was no sound from anyone on the truck, we were all awestruck at the sight.
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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by ndloti » Mon Sep 29, 2008 3:56 pm

In 1991 I had the wonderful experience of a night braai at the exact spot where Tamboti now is . A herd of buffalo moved close by , really giving the sensation of wilderness .Then there was a fenced off enclosure around a small hut with a diesel engine to pump water for Orpen and Morula , exactly where the borehole at Tamboti now is .
It was a most unique experience for me , bearing in mind that not even open safari vehicles and day walks were yet allowed .
I later also had the priviledge of fishing and having a picnic (during the day) in the riverbed in the area before Tamboti was built .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by Panthera pardus » Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:49 pm

OH MAN!!! Your stories are all opening the floodgates of my KNP memories!!! Despite only having been three times to the park (Soon to be Four Next week :dance: :dance: ) my most memorable night was at Berg-en-Dal, walking down to the fence at about 11PM with a couple of good buddies, sitting on the bench next to the fence... and listening.....

The calmness only broken by the night sounds and smells which were UNBELIEVABLE!!!! We had our torches with us and frequently scanned the darkness in search of whatever found its way close to us....

No phones, no human noises, no cars or hooters... Just one with nature!! :D Then, the usual night sounds where shattered by an earpiecing WHOOOOOOP, WHOOOOOP, WHOOOOOOOOOP!!! :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

The call of the lone Hyena sent chills of excitement and primal fear running up and down our spines!!! We sprang to our feet simutaneously grabbing our torches, ever fearful that our quick paced breathing would scare the beast away...We scanned,not saying a word to each other, hopeful, longing to catch a glimpse of SOMETHING!! Then, as if to answer our unspoken prayer, we caught sight of a furtive shadow, loping through the thicket! :big_eyes:

Beam of lights knifed wildly through the darkness.. Each trying to catch the animal first! I dont recall who sighted the hyena, but as if on cue, it made its shadowy appearance like a wraith out of the darkness... :big_eyes: Its brown body a perfect blend against the thick backdrop! Our rays of light illuminating its eyes giving it a ghostly, terrible appearance... With dry mouths, we looked on as the hyena calmly made it way through the bush, and without warning or sign, it vanished into the night as thought it were never there... :(

We never saw it again, but heard its distinct WHOOP again some distance away this time, a long while later... We had by that time, sunk back down onto the bench, saying nothing. Each one of us making of the experience what we could!

I long for the park like you cannot believe....

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by Safrica » Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:07 am

Hi bushlovers!

i suppose my best night in kruger was in balule in 2005.

was my first night there... (it was also the first time my girlfriend was in south africa!)

we were sitting in front of our hut listening to the bush sounds at full moon! after sitting there in the dark, we got so adjusted to the weak darkness that it appeared to be very bright.

you could see the hyenas walk on the other side of the fence without a torch!
they were just a few steps away and it felt like there was nothing in between because you could hardly see the fence in the moonlight!

then several hyenas started rushing around, chasing each other and making their laughing and excitement noises - just next to the fence, it was so loud!

a few minutes later everything was quiet again... except for the usual bush sounds coming up - also a leopard "sawing" nearby!

can`t wait to my next stay in kruger - also booked in balule again!

greetings from cold germany

KNP-trip No. 8: 2014!
30 November: Pretoriuskop
1-2 December: Lower Sabie
3-4 December: Satara
5-6 December: Balule
7-8 December: Letaba
9-10 December: Tamboti

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by ndloti » Wed Oct 01, 2008 2:07 pm

This is about another one of my many best nights in Kruger .

At the end of a no entry road in the south there is a pan along a spruit with a double barelled name that drains into the Sabie river , and at the end of the road a leadwood tree on the edge of the pan with a platform in it about 4 or 5 metres above the ground .
We went up the ladder at sunset and made sure no unwanted animals were present , of course baboons had left a mess , there were also plenty of spider webs etc , but this is not in a tourist camp .
We heard hyena lapping water and others calling , not much else was heard untill there was the sound one would expect from an automatic swimming pool cleaner that was sucking air instead of water .
I lifted my head and looked down to see elephants had silently arrived and were drinking in the area underneath the platform , their backs scarcely a metre below us .
32 had arrived , so silently through the thorn thickets that neither of us had heard them untill they slurped the water . Alas , our movements disturbed them and they moved off .

This further underlines the fact we are just guests in their refuge , the wilderness , we should be quiet and respect their peace and tranquility and should consider ourselves to be exceptionally fortunate to be tolerated in their paradise .

Having been camping at Morula for a few days prior to the wilderness trail that I returned from that morning , I was allready very relaxed , the elephant experience was sufficient for me , I nodded off into a deep sleep .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by Scorpy » Fri Oct 03, 2008 3:28 pm

Great thread, TINY :clap: :thumbs_up:

Two stories spring to mind - both at Tamboti, which IMHO is absolutely the worst camp in Kruger (does that help, BushBaptist???)

1. One evening, after dinner and cleaning up the debris, the resident Honey Badger arrived for his dinner. He unceremoniously upended the bin and sought out all the best scraps, and then sauntered off into the bush. We could hear him munching for a while, then .... silence ..... An AWESOME sighting from about 10 metres away.

2. On a different occasion, at about 2:00am i felt the need to go and check out the river bed for a few minutes. After satisfying myself that all was well, i was halfway up the stairs to the tent when this male lion let out this deafening ROARRR!!! from no more than 40 metres behind me. I immediately became airborne and did not touch the deck before finding myself inside the tent. :shock: After the adrenaline rush started to subside, we went down to the fence but could not see the culprit. We left camp early and were chuffed to find our friend with his pride a couple of k's down the road. A great start to another day in paradise !!! 8)
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you'll always get what you always got.....

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Re: Your best night in KRUGER. !!!!!!!!!!

Unread post by nicolemeiring » Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:08 pm

Obviously you guys are not recommending Tamboti since it is so bad :wink: But I have booked to stay there in June and now I am really excited!

This will be my 10th visit to the Park but first to Tamboti (am I right to be this excited about Tamboti?)

We have been to Talamati the past 3 visits and it has fast become a favourite because it is away from the crowds. In July we had our best night ever in the Park at Talamati.It is an amazing camp.

We checked in quite late and decided to go back out for one last little sundowner outside the camp. (about 17h00) right outside the gate were 3 female lionesses stalking some Zebra. It was fantastic. Just as they were getting ready to go for it a herd of ellies chased them off (the way only the true king of the jungle can!) Any way 15 mins later they were back.

Eventually they had a Zebra in their sights but she managed to get away from them. After a short chase. By that time we had to drive the 30m or so to get into the camp gates. We spent the rest of the evening at the hide watching the lions trying to catch something but by then the game was up! Of course what made it even more scary was that the water hole that the lions were drinking from is right by the hide and the gate into Talamati. I kept checking behind me if one of them lionesses hadn't snuck in :tongue: . They were hiding in the bushes right in front of us waiting for something to become dinner. (I was just hoping it wasn’t me!) Anyway, eventually they moved off in search of something better.

It was a night to remember forever!

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