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Sighting Boards.

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by Dabchick » Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:28 am

The sightings boards should stay:

1. As moggiedog says - some of the "big cat spotters" to tend to rush off to where the sightings boards says people have seen lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog etc. leaving the other roads quieter and less travelled.

2. Probably 90% or more of people are serious about it and do put the markers where they believed they had the sightings. Some people may have some trouble translating "real distances" to "map distances" which is why the markers end up in "no-mans land", but one can still get a good idea of which road to travel to find that lion pride that was probably no more than 50 m from the road :lol:

3. It's just nice to see what other people have seen during the day.

Regarding your suggestion about the old way of waving people down and telling about sightings:
NO - definitely NO. Reason - I've never managed to find that "9 lions" or "male leopard" "right next to the road, 2 km from here" that "you can't miss" that I've been told about in this way. Two years ago I've made a vow never, ever to try and find a sighting that I've been told about in this way again - the frustration levels are just too high :x and it screws up ones planned route for the day in any case.

Also, part of the reason why I go the northern parts of the Kruger year after year is because I want to get away from people. I don't want to be waved down to have a chat. I have my friend / sister / mother / whoever with me that I can chat to if I wish, and the other 50 weeks of the year I spent more than enough time talking to other people - don't have to do it in the KNP as well. Maybe anti-social but that just the way I feel. I think it living in a busy city that has done this to me. This is also the reason that I don't do the yellow ribbon thing - if I could be sure that I won't be waved down for a chat, I'd have proudly displayed the yellow ribbon on my car, but frankly I just want peace and quiet when I'm in the KNP.


Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by LionWhisperer » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:25 pm

I love the Sighting Boards for many of the reasons mentioned. However, I never use these boards as a guideline to plan a trip at all. To me they more of a report card or trophy board. I love looking at what I missed on my drive, and what other people saw on the same route. Also, I love marking "trophy sightings"

I find that if I have a particularly good drive, I just want to express my excitement somehow, and the sighting boards also provide that release.

Also a great place to meet and greet and have a good chat with people.

Dabchick, I hear you, and for the same reason I avoid the South of the park. (We are avid Skukuza haters)

But we love meeting and chatting with the few like minded people in the quiet areas around Talamati and Lethaba.

I do hope that they stay a long time.

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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by bert » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:51 pm

LionWhisperer wrote: I do hope that they stay a long time.

they will :thumbs_up:
(Just being upgraded from paper and pins to metal and magnets)

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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by o-dog » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:28 pm

Im getting the feeling that some people think because an animal is seen on a sightings board that it should be there :twisted:

Come on!!! If some1 says there is a leopard 1km up the road in a tree how often has it dissapeared?? Ofocurse finding animals involves both luck and skill and just like any gambler knows, certain info can increase your odds. CHoose how you want to use the info and choose if you want to avoid areas because some people are going to 'chase' the sighting.

One thing for sure is 'sightings' reveal which areas are more productive during the course of a season and if you want to see lions for example go and follow the sightings because your odds are greater of finding lions in an area that they have been seen than driving a back road which has no waterholes and thick scrub but at the same time the advantage of fewer vehicles.
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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by penfold » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:00 pm

I think the boards have their place. I don't think they are 100% reliable but they give a reasonable guage on what is in the general vicinity.

Personally I preferred the old books which used to be at every camp, that was my first port of call after my morning drive & I got many a hot tip that way. For me it's not just about the "big stuff" that might be represented by a blue/ yellow/red pin. What if you see an African wild cat, a civet, a rock python etc, etc. Something which doesn't have a designated colour but might be a territorial animal that could possibly be seen in that area again, it would be good to be able to pass that info on & that is the beuty of the books. Also, if it's pride of 12 lions on a giraffe kill or a LIT with cub & an impala kill it's more likely to be there this afternoon than a leopard which did a streak across the road and disappeared in to the bush a rate of knots. You can't convey that kind of detail on the boards. :?

What you can't beat really though (other than coming across your own chance sighting of course), is by talking to people. That might be at the boards, out on the road, in the camp etc. :)

You are absolutely right about the wave and stop approach, I loved that and I hope passed on some good info as well as getting some excellent sightings as a result of these kindnesses. :D

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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by DASSIEDELIGHT » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:51 pm

Hi all,

I think the boards do have there place if only to give you a 'flavour' of what is around. Ofcourse they are not likely to be accurate because you may be able to pin a board but not pin the animal down too. Books at reception are also quite good (haven't seen these in KNP but used to in Etosha, Namibia). Yes they can also have silly entries made but in a way they provide a record looking back at not just this mornings or yesterdays sightings but beyond that which could be useful to park authorities studying habitat usage etc.
My SO and I always fly a YR (in fact more than one) because we want to meet like minded people. We have made some good friends this way! Also what's the harm in flagging people down to let them know of a great sighting you may have just seen. Most people are delighted :D

Happy sightings,
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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by yatiya » Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:25 pm

Everyone makes some good points. My tuppence:

1) The boards are fun to look at, nothing more. Anyone who thinks the leopard that was seen this morning is still going to be there, is either very new to the park, or very gullible...DO NOT plan your route based on the board!
2) Flagging cars down is a good idea. I personally make it a point to flag down the next car I see after seeing the pride of lions lying in the road, regardless of who it is, because I can't wait to tell SOMEONE!(except the annoying safari vehicles - more on that later!)
3) That being said, my experience with OTHER users of the KNP has not been very favourable. For some reason, people just don't seem willing to share nowadays. I don't want to turn this into a racial thing, but personal experience: car in front of me (maybe a hundred metres of so in front) gets flagged down (white people), I get driven past. I follow the guys in front to a pride of lions! Has happened a couple of times (not always with lions of course), but I don't make a big deal out of it, mainly because I'm not there to worry about nonsense like that, but to enjoy myself.
4) Safari vehicles seems to take it as a personal afront if you ask them what they've seen. Almost as if you're asking them for a free tour or something!
5) This is the first time I've heard about the yellow ribbon. Anyone care to elaborate?
6) I HATE SKUKUZA - leave it to the tourists! Prefer the North - Shingwedzi is my favourite camp by far. Once had pride of lions (minus the males) all to myself for an entire morning...

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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by boatmaker » Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:51 pm

Greetings all,

Some good points made by those for and against the boards.

I like them for all the reasons pointed out by those in favour of the board. Who cares if they are not that accurate - its still fun and entertaining for some, so does it really do any harm? (Perhaps a small warning should be put above them for those that are completely ignorant "Sightings are a guide only and may not guarentee sightings of actual animals at indicated location")

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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by wingman » Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:00 pm

Many people decry the sightings boards they give many others pleasure as a frequent park visitor Ive learnt to read the boards and accept kids do have their fun its part of growing up and visiting the park so be it, but the boards if compared yesterday to todays sightings will tell you the general area the cats are moving in and possible direction and on many a quiete cat day they have supplied hours of fun tracking down a possible sightings and often they are accurate you just need apply a bit of discretion to the distances as most people have little idea of the actual distance in relation to the boards. Leave the boards alone our whole family and friends all luv them and visit them at every stop. They certainly help rekindle the spirit on a hot long day and create much anticipation on sparse viewing day.

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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by Bushcraft » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:20 pm

The kids, wife and I love the sighting boards and even if it's old news it's still worth a look :whistle:

Accept them for what they are and leave old traditions alone :tongue:

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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by Riaanf31 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:40 pm

I must admit that this topic has been fun to read. The sightings boards add more good than bad to KNP and any camp that has them. They are like magnets and there are very view people who can't but help to sneak a peek before entering the camp shop before buying that afternoon ice cream or boerewors for the braai.

My vote is for them to stay. What better way to motivate a new visitor or a youngster than by letter them mark their first Lion, Leopard or Wild Dog on a sightings board. It just gets them hooked.

We all later learn to treat them as a very rough guide, but they add their own piece to the puzzle. And there is no other puzzle like a holiday in KNP.

Look out for the ribbon during the dates below.
To see a sunrise in KNP is to see magic.

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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by Delene D » Tue Oct 12, 2010 12:17 am

African Lynx - Interesting topic. I personally think the sightings boards should stay, for those who like them. Those who don't need not bother about them. I take note of the boards and met some very informative people around the boards - but generally animals don't stay in one spot and wait for you. A lot of people stopped us to tell us about some exciting sightings - but generally we found most ourselves and told others about them on the road and also pinned up on the boards.

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Re: Lets try again....Sighting Boards Demise

Unread post by cel » Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:34 am

Ha-ha, now this is interesting! :hmz:
Do agree that sometimes people don't know the difference between some animals...getting excited about the buffalo's, only to see a herd of bluewildebeest!!!! But still, the sightings board is exciting (with all its glitches!) and I for one can't wait to pin-up a leopard sighting and always have a chat with people, getting them to rush to their cars to see it too!
Needless to say, it would be wonderfull to have people stopping us on the road more-just to get the blood rushing.... :thumbs_up:
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Re: Sightings Boards

Unread post by Mauxie » Sat Nov 13, 2010 8:50 pm

Hi everyone,

I must say that I love the sightings boards.
Many of my best sightings have come from what I have seen posted on them.
The first thing I do when I get to a camp is to check the boards and then again before I leave the following morning.

Two years ago, I was fortunate to find a Lioness with cubs, after checking the board at Pretoriuskop.
Then this past September, 4 of the seven leopard sightings I had were from what I'd picked up from the sightings boards, as were the Wild Dog I saw near Nhanguleni on the S36.
I would probably not have taken that road, that particular day, had I not seen that they had been seen in that area.

I do agree that you will get idiots who will mess with them but I honestly feel that the majority of the sightings are legit.
I must say tho' that I was very sad to see that there were hardly any magnets left, on many of the boards, mainly in the south of the park and really hope that they are replaced soon.
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SKUKUZA 3rd & 4th
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Re: Sightings Boards

Unread post by fazekma » Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:46 am

I agree with Mauxie - we see 50% of our leopards, wild dogs and lions by checking the sighting boards. Yes, sometimes we get to the spot to find hyenas instead of wild dogs or we see nothing but generally the boards work.

Regarding Letaba there are 3 sighting boards: the shop, the elephant museum and at reception. We normally check all three as some people will only pin at one of them so by looking at three you get a better picture of animal sightings

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