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Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

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rothk
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Unread post by rothk » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:58 am

I think it also depends on the camp, what type of car you get for the drives. In Crocodile Bridge we had a 10 Seater, as they were only a few people booked on the drive. At Satara we had 2 20-Seater for the Sunset Drive because there have been a lot of booking.
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Unread post by DuQues » Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:57 pm

The morningdrive you can do yourself, so that one is out of the list of choices. :wink:
The morningwalk however is something you really should do. You get to see the little things, the spiders, the plants, chameleons, and maybe the big 5 as well if you are lucky. The guides are very knowledgable, and will tell you all they know. So ask them whatever comes in your mind, and don't think it's a silly question.
Sunset or nightdrive.... That's not a hard one for me, the nightdrive. You have far more change of seeing the noctural animals then.
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Unread post by arks » Thu Apr 26, 2007 2:04 pm

Walks and drives are quite different experiences, both rewarding!
My suggestions is that you do a walk and at least one drive.
Not all camps offer both sunset and night drives, but both sunset and night drives allow you the opportunity to experience the park after dark and the chance to see some nocturnal animals.
And morning drives leave before sunrise, so also give you a nocturnal experience.
Walks allow you to enjoy the smaller and more intimate things the park has to offer, so you'll learn about some plants and insects, and while walks are not focused on seeing big game, you never know what you might encounter.
And just the chance to be out walking in the bush — lots different from a get-out point or picnic spot — is magic!
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Unread post by arks » Fri Apr 27, 2007 4:46 am

You can book drives through central reservations, just email them with a list of which camps you'd like to book a drive.
If you tell us which camps you are staying at, other members can advise on which are best for drives.
I'd also hope you plan to do a morning walk at one of your camps.
The walk offers a very different sort of experience and is really not to be missed!
You're right in thinking that you don't want to overdo on drives, as you'll enjoy doing your own late afternoon drives as well and will also want to just enjoying relaxing in camp on some evenings.
Best is to have a balanced mix 8)
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Unread post by WeeBirdy » Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:21 am

I agree with everybody about night drives, sunset drives, and walks being a great way to see Kruger when the gates are closed.
And I also agree with the point about not overdoing the night drives--it's nice not to have to rush back to camp early every afternoon, and to get some leisurely braai-and-sundowner-time at camp.

But I also want to put in a good word for the morning drives.
As Arks pointed out, you do get to leave before the gates open and it's still dark enough for the nocturnal animals to be out.
Plus you get to see a spectacular sunrise! :P
We went on 2 morning drives last month, and had fantastic sightings on both: a pack of wild dogs (twice! :shock:) and 2 prides of lions, plus lots of great zebras, ellies, and giraffes (my favorites), a bushbaby, etc., etc.
Yes, the gates do open up early enough to see the sunrise on a self-drive, but being out in the morning before everyone else AND seeing nocturnal animals made the morning drives as exciting as the night drives.
If it's not too expensive and you have the time (meaning you still have some afternoons and nights of free time), I'd recommend doing one of everything--walk, morning drive, and night/sunset drive!

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Re: Night drives

Unread post by cybeR@NGER » Sat Aug 04, 2007 8:51 pm

wachinda wrote:Which is better to go on sunset or night drive.

I prefer sunset-drives too - to a certain extent. Both have their own merit, though.
On sunset-drives you get a bit of daylight and if you're at the right place (Letaba, for instance), the ranger will stop at an appropriate location for sundowners and sunset views. After that you still get about two hours of night-drive, so you get to see nocturnal animals.
Night-drives are totally night events that concentrate exclusively on nocturnal animals.
There is an age restriction on both drives, but I'm not sure what it is, right now. It's either 10 or 12, if I'm not mistaken.
Last edited by cybeR@NGER on Sat Aug 04, 2007 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post by Herman » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:39 pm

We've done both sunset and night drives on several occasions and I'd say I prefer the night drive ( starting at 8 pm as opposed to 5 pm - sunset drive ) for the simple reason that when you drive out at 5pm there are still cars out on the roads but on the proper night drive there aren't any regular visitors on the roads any more !
If you pay your R200 - or whatever it costs - you expect something out of the ordinary and you don't want to be on the road when normal day visitors are also still out there ?
Another reason is that the nocturnal animals don't always start moving around the moment the sun sets , but sometimes only a bit later, so the 8pm drive could be more rewarding than the 5pm drive ?

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Unread post by Imberbe » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:17 am

Sunset drives have some advantages. Many of the nocturnal animals actually become active at dusk already, and you will be able to see them before dark, often even having a better view than when spotting that same animal after dark.

Also, you do see more animals while it is still light outside, making the whole experience a better package.

Yes, if you are only interested in nocturnal animals, spending more time after dark is a good idea, and the night drive may be better. I have however found that a night drive can become very monotone, even when you do spot the odd nocturnal animal.

To me the silence of a sunset in the middle of the bush is just magic.

Night drive / sunset drive? Both are special and not to be missed!
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Sunset and night drives in Kruger

Unread post by Mars » Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:38 pm

After reading another post I would like to add this (not sure if someone wrote something like this already)

The whole idea of the sunset/night drive is to see what the bush is like when it gets dark after the camp gates are closed.

To see what goes on in the bush when you can't see it without going on such a drive. There is a few things to keep in mind which may also make your drive more pleasant.

Don't go on the drive expecting to see a kill or the big 5 etc then you go for the wrong reasons and chances are you are going to be disappointed. If you go on these drive for the experience of it and to see the bush at sunset/night and enjoy the night then you will enjoy it.

If you see things like lions, leopard kill etc you are lucky but that is not what the reason for the drive is. According to my own experience on these drive (have been on many at different camps) there is a few things to know/keep in mind.

You might learn something on the drive by asking/listening to the driver. (have heard that some drivers say things like a male lion always eats first where evidence show that its not ''always'' the case) apart from small things generally these drivers I believe field guides have a good knowledge of the bush and the animals and might teach you some interesting facts.

Some of them are really nice and ''people friendly''. A few things there are spotlight at the back of the truck and its the person who chooses that seat that is responsible for shining the light when it starts to get dark. I have seen people shining everywhere they are not supposed to. You are supposed to search for reflecting animal eyes by scanning the terrain left right and left again as the animal might look at you for that split second. Also on the ground near (not on the tar road) and far and occationaly in trees. Any person that sees an animal is supposed to say stop in an audible voice so that the driver can hear you.

When you approach dangerous animals dont make sudden movements, scream, talk loudly etc you might provoke an attack or scare the animal away. Follow the drivers instructions at all times and even in summer just for incase take something warm a jacket or something... And remember to visit the toilet before the drive as those +- 3 hours can get long if you really need a toilet...

If these general lines are followed Im sure most people will have a more pleasant drive and there wont be complaints afterwards like the drivers dont give good enough instructions on the spotlights etc like there have been before.

Ive also seen that a quick "...there is spotlights at the back use them to shine for eyes...'' dont always work as the people dont shine right or dont shine at all

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Re: Sunset Drives Vs Night Drives

Unread post by G@mespotter » Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:40 pm

Hi there,

FIRST of all: WELCOME to this forum!!

I would ALWAYS recommend a sunset drive. First of all, there is nothing more beautiful than taking time to actually observe the African sunset (2 mins). Secondly, a sunset drive gives one the oppurtunity to enjoy both 'daylight' photographs of the drive, which is often problematic with a night drive. lastly, with kids, a nightdrive starts late and is a hour shorter :lol:

Both Satara and Lower-Sabie area's are perfect for such a drives, although my personal preference is Satara, with its high denisty of cats and easy spotting terrain.

As for the walks, the late afternoon walks are IMHO better in winter (eg. June/July), as you start in midday heat or just thereafter, which means in summer time it can be quite hot. A morning walk is quite early, BUT you have the oppurtunity to start and end with a nice and still bearable temprature :D I'd advise a morning walk!

You can book it by emailing SANParks, with the given specified dates etc. Enjoy particularly the walk, I have done one in July at Lower-Sabie, and it was simply wonderful!!

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Re: Sunset Drives Vs Night Drives

Unread post by oddesy » Wed Oct 08, 2008 8:53 am

The sunset drive and night drives are both equally enjoyable.I think that night drives are special as you have the opportunity to see alot of nocturnal animals that are not normally seen during the day, eventhough it is alot more difficult to get good pics on the night drive.

The sunset drive is longer and you still have light for a while, so taking pics is easier. but in my experience we have seen more of the nocturnal animals on a night drive than a sunset drive. BOTH are really good at satara , so which ever one you choose will be an experience!! :D
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Re: Mornign vs night drives

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:52 pm

Welcome to the forum and beware of addiction!

I actually think morning drives are great! The animals have been busy overnight, and are going 'home' to rest and so are more relaxed - and sometimes well fed! If there has been a kill you may find the culprits still feeding or defending their prize.

It also seems that the animals are less wary of the vehicle as they have not had a whole day of being chased away from the roads by speeding vehicles and people hanging out of windows, etc.....

The birds are waking up and calling....

It is a lovely time of day.
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Re: Mornign vs night drives

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:15 pm

I think that is a popular misconception and explains why they are not so well booked up. In fact the drive goes out about an hour before the gates open, so you get out in the park when others cannot, and it is still dark so you see the night animals.

The morning walk, on the other hand, goes later as it has to be light enough to walk safely when you get to the starting point.
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Re: Morning vs night drives

Unread post by Betelgeuse » Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:17 pm

Hi all!
FYI: This is from the "night drive vs, sunset drive" thread so please read it in that light; just thought Saskia summarised the differences very well.

SaskiaT wrote:Dear Readers

The evening drives in the south of the park are 3 hours. Only one drive is offered, which is usually from 5-8 pm, known as night drives.

From Satara upwards, 2 evening drives are offered. The Sunset drive which is usually 4-7pm and the night drive which is usually 8-10pm.

Please note that each camp may vary slightly with departure times so you will need to confirm with the camp's reception desk first.

In the north, the Sunset drive is the better one. The duration is longer and more animals are generally seen.

Saskia Taylor
Letaba Field Guide


At Punda Maria, the morning drives aren't as popular which is in line with what EcoJunckie stated. I love morning walks though!!
I agree with gerharddb: it depends on what you're looking for, but you should try different activities!
Just remember that the Park is quite diverse.

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Re: Morning or evening game drive and in which camp?

Unread post by DuQues » Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:30 pm

They do indeed pick you up at Balule. For walks as well.
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