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Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
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Mads
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Re: Best camp to book evening gamedrive...?

Unread post by Mads » Tue May 21, 2013 7:27 pm

Hi Sander, I have done game drives at all the camps you are visiting. In my opinion, I will say you will have the biggest variety of aminal and bird species at Satara. I have done many drives there before and we had wonderful sightings.
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Re: Best camp to book evening gamedrive...?

Unread post by t-bal » Tue May 21, 2013 7:44 pm

Hallo Sander

I have been on a drive from Satara and it wasn’t a disappointment. Even though I got the feeling the guide was just looking for lions it still was very entertaining. Also Satara is prime cat countries so I personally would chose this camp and hope to see some cats in action.

Considering you would love to see a leopard I would recommend to go on your evening drive in the best leopard territory. Myself have seen the most leopards in the Skukuza/Lower Sabie area, so if I would be looking for leopards I would chose the evening drive at Skukuza. Saying that the Satara and Pretoriuskop areas are also good leopard country and I have been told Berg en Dal as well. Anyway your best chance to see the spotted one is probably in the south.

Have a great trip.
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Re: Best camp to book evening gamedrive...?

Unread post by bert » Tue May 21, 2013 8:57 pm

Hi Sander
Would recommend Satara or Lower Sabie
Seen my leopards near Berg en Dal , Lower Sabie and Skukuza

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Re: Best camp to book evening gamedrive...?

Unread post by Joubie » Wed May 22, 2013 1:31 pm

Hi Sander
During our previous June/July holiday we decided to do a sunset drive from Satara, we were hesitant at first because our previous two night drives from Shingwedzi were extremely quite.
We had the most amazing time and sightings. 1 Leopard walking next to the vehicle, 2 cheetahs also close to the vehicle, badger and an African wild kitten were the highlights of the drive.
This year we've booked a sunset drive from Lower Sabie during the holidays again.
I did the booking by phoning Central Reservations.

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Re: Best camp to book evening gamedrive...?

Unread post by vinkie » Thu May 23, 2013 10:41 pm

Sander wrote:What time do nightdrives leave? The time of departure is left blank in our booking confirmation.


Hi Sander,

The last time we went to Kruger and did a Night Drive we left camp after dinner time at about: 20H.00

Take a look at this part of the SANParks Website: Kruger Game Drives :wink:

Take a look here for the most recent Activity Tariffs

The rear side of the camp layout which you receive at the Reception when you pick up your key shows all the actual times and activities the Camp provides the visitors.
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Re: Sunset or night drive

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:19 am

I see you are visiting soon. At this time of year I would say do a night drive. The sunset drive will be about half daylight/half dark, but the night drive will be almost completely in darkness and you should get the night critters. Also with camp gates only closing at 6pm the sunset drive will have an hour or so with other cars still on the roads.

But it depends on the camp to some extent for timing - usually two and a half hours. The smaller camps, like Punda may start the night drive only after the sunset drive gets back (using the same vehicle), while the bigger camps will overlap.
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Re: Sunset or night drive

Unread post by Heksie » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:53 am

Hi wachinda :yaya:

I do prefer a sunset as I'm totally wasted after a days drive. And do like to get to the camp @ 20:00 instead of 22:00 so I can get some rest and have a few KPA's around a campfire before going to bed. Also it is a 3 hour drive where the nightdrive is a 2 hour drive.
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Re: Sunset or night drive

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:34 am

We always choose a sunset drive over night drive when available (eg in Augrabies they have only night drives). The sunset drives are longer - 3 hours instead of 2 - and we like to see the transition from day to night. I believe there's a higher chance of seeing crepuscular and nocturnal animals then. Also, as Heksie mentioned, you get back at a decent time.
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Re: Sunset or night drive

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:25 pm

Only the provided lights may be used.

These are deliberately not super-powerful as the animals' eyes may be damaged by too powerful lights. If everyone had their own lights the combined effect would be too much and chaotic!

The guide should explain how to use the lights. Basically - use them as a search-light, looking under bushes, into trees etc. Keep the light moving gently around rather than fixed in one position - but do not move it too fast or you make your eyes (and everyone else's) go funny!

Try to avoid shining for any length of time in an animal's eyes - it blinds them for a variable length of time so is ethically bad practice. Shine on their backs, or on the ground in front of them. The only time shining directly into eyes is OK is if one of the big cats is charging at the vehicle as it helps to ensure safely.......the animal cannot see what is behind the light! Remember that animals are much more sensitive to lights than we are (that is why they can walk about at night when we cannot) so if you cannot look into the light do not expect an animal to do so.

Try to avoid reflecting the light off the wing mirrors or windscreen - you want the driver to see where he/she is going!

Bright spotlights are for the hunting fraternity who want to stun the animal into standing still for their shots.
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Game Drives in Kruger

Unread post by holmesneg » Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:52 pm

Hi, we are a family of 2 adults and our 12 year old son visiting from the UK next April. We are visiting Kruger and have booked accommodation at the following camps:- Biyamiti 3 nights, Skukuza 1 night, Satara 1 night, Olifants 2 nights and Letaba 1 night.

We are keen birdwatchers and love seeing all kinds of wildlife rather than focusing on the big five - we are just as excited to see some of the more unusual creatures.

We're planning on driving ourselves around most of the time but would welcome any ideas on which game drives would be best for us. We're thinking of doing a combination of morning & evening drives but are not sure which are best at each camp. Also is it possible to go on any drives just as a family with a driver and guide, perhaps exploring some less visited areas of the park?

Any ideas would be much appreciated.

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Re: Game Drives in Kruger

Unread post by zivvy&muffin » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:27 pm

Welcome holmesneg.
You are starting at Biyamiti. Definitely book a sunset drive there when you check in, if you enjoy it then book another!
I rate the drives from Biyamiti as it is in the 10-seater (max) vehicle and you are already reasonably away from it all being based at Biyamiti. Even better, if you let the guide (or Duty Manager at Biyamiti) know you are keen on Birds I'm sure they'll find someone to bird-walk you round camp too.

With a family it is good to find your own balance between self-drive time, guided drive time and downtime.

For the rest of the trip I would not particularly recommend one place or guided drive over another. More important, I think, to plan for say 1 or 2 more drives and book them on the day when the instinct strikes (possibly weather dependent).

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Update on night drives / sunset drives on light shining etc

Unread post by Mars » Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:02 pm

I remember that a very long time ago we had a topic on night drives and sunset drives from camps were we had a discussion that rangers should take more time in explaining how to shine the lights as most guests shined the lights on the roof or road causing everyone not to see animals. I cant find it however.

We did a night drive at Satara about a week ago and I can't remember the name of the guide it was an indian guy working as an h- ranger from JHB. I really want to compliment him for his explanation. When we were sitting in the truck just before we left, he took a spotlight and demonstrated to the guests on how to shine the light. He said about 20 - 30 meters into the bush moving it from left to right and back again in 45 degree angles and to check for eyes and not shine directly into the eyes...

About 20 minutes into the drive he noticed that the guests weren't following his instructions stopped and re-explained once more, this time with much better effect.

We had a nice jackal sighting and sadly most guests on the truck got bored, fell asleep because of the bush silence that night. Me personally just enjoyed being out in the bush at night. Great ranger and great skills keep it up.

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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu Jan 02, 2014 1:37 pm

Welcome to the forum holmesneg.

Firstly if 5 of you tell the guide you are interested in birds, they will take that into consideration. Secondly as a ride proceeds, anyone who sees something asks the guide to "STOP!". Then the subject, bird or not, is highlighted & briefly diccussed.

Secondly, I would not do a morning drive. Sunrise drive yes, because you get out before anyone else.

Thirdly I would do a guided walk, for the experience, and the guides also are birder orientated, plus you will walk in an area away from the tourist road and they drive there.

Hope this is useful. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by vinkie » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:02 pm

Welcome to the forum holmesneg. 8)

I would also recommend a game drive from Satara.

We have been on numerous game drives in the Satara area and haven't been disappointed yet.

I would certainly do a Sunrise drive, two years ago we saw 6 Cheetahs on the S127 and this year we have seen 5 male Lions and 2 Cheetahs on the S100 and 1 Honey Badger on the S41 during a Sunrise drive


**edit** I recommended a morning drive but I meant a sunrise drive ** edit**
Last edited by vinkie on Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by Stark » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:58 pm

I've never tried a morning drive for that exact reason -- I can drive myself. :) I do enjoy the occasional evening and night drives, though. What you lose in self-sufficiency you gain in being out and about during some prime times. We've done a Satara evening drive each time we've stayed there.
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