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Best time to visit KNP - where and when

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Best time to visit KNP - where and when

Unread post by DotDan » Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:57 am

I have been to Kruger in all of the seasons. Every time I see something different and see something else.

Just a quick guideline:

Jun-Aug - Best game viewing time, animals tend to congregate close to waterholes. Bush is not thick which makes it easier to spot something.

Sep-Nov - Spring, First rains. New life, everything around seems alife and happy, bush is still not too thick so game viewing is good. Many animals give birth, or start mating.

Dec-Feb - Summer time is in full swing and bush and surroundings are lush and green. Tempratures can reach boiling point at midday. Best game viewing time are in the morning and afternoons when cooler tempratures allow animals to move around. Vegatation is thick and spotting game can be tricky at times.

Mar-May - End of Summer. Tempratures are still very hot during midday. Game viewing is eratic as animals are widely dispersed throughout the park. Vegatation is at its thickest which can make game viewing difficult at times. Last bit of thunderstorms come down before winter.

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Unread post by Foxy » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:00 pm

Don't forget school holidays which are April (Easter) and July, so if you should either of those periods you should make your reservations as soon as possible.

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Unread post by cambalala » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:05 pm

My 2 cents: We were last there in the last weeks of April, early May. Weather was stunning and the visibility was also good.
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Re: where to stay in summer? South or Middle of the Kruger

Unread post by Wild about cats » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:26 pm

The entire park is very productive in summer- if you want mammals, go south or central, for birds go north.
Note: The northern region is very remote and peaceful.
Its the perfect place to go if you want to escape all the day to day fuss.
Very quiet. J
However, the south are extremely productive regions, and lions and others big cats are spotted on a daily basis.
The temperature is a lot cooler than up north, especially in summer.
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Re: Trip to KNP in May

Unread post by Elsa » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:36 pm

We travel to Kruger every May/June and I can assure you the weather is usually very good at that time of the year, cool to cold nights and lovely warm to hot days with very little rain. :D
Game viewing is also good as the bush thins out and becomes browner.

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Crowded Kruger..

Unread post by hugo501 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:30 am

With my 1st ever trip to Kruger just about 1.5 months to go (the wait is killing me :wall: )
I am a bit concerned in that I chose the worst possible time to go.. December Holidays..

From what I have read on the forum it is very crowded at time of the year and and there's a lot of traffic..
We will be staying in Skukuza and was wondering if anybody has got any tips for me to beat / avoid the crowds?
Any quiet roads?
How early do we have to be waiting at the camp gates before they open to be in the 1st few cars?

We have booked a bush walk and a sunset game drive so I guess on those we will not have to be battling the crowds to get a good sighting..

Any help much appreciated..

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Re: Crowded Kruger..

Unread post by christo » Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:12 am

The nice part about december is that not everybody leave when the campgates open, so you frequently have less of a congestion on the roads than a July morning.

The other benefit is that the park gates open an hour later, giving you an hour headstart on the day visitors. The road to Phabeni gate is an example of a road I've had numerous leopard and lion sightings on up to the time the phabeni gate opens.

The gravel roads are good options, but defalte your tyres a little, as they were very corrugated recently.
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Re: Crowded Kruger..

Unread post by acekam » Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:02 am

Skukuza is both a lovely camp and situated in a game-rich area, so don't have any regrets about booking there.
I have stayed there a few times in December and the crowds are easily avoided, but you need to have a strategy.

1) Be at the gates when they open at 4:30 - you don't have to be first in the queue because you're going to take the road less travelled anyway.
Although it will seem like there are a lot of cars, less than 5% of the camp's visitors will be going out at that time.

2) Hover around the sightings board the evening before and find out what people have seen on their late afternoon drives and where.
This is important information because you will be avoiding those roads in the morning.
Everyone else will be rushing back there first thing in the morning to catch those mating lions because word gets around pretty quickly, but the said lions will be long gone, probably having moved to another road which you will have all to yourself.

3) If there are 20 cars in line when the gate opens, 18 of them will turn left out of Skukuza, then turn right onto the road to Lower Sabie.
That's the main route to avoid at that time.
Instead, I enjoy going over the low water bridge, along the Maroela Loop, then taking the Salitje dirt road to Mlondozi, followed by breakfast on the deck at Lower Sabie.
The drive back to Skukuza will have traffic, but its scenic and the animals will have gone to ground by that time anyway.

The other morning drive I like is to stop off at Lake Panic for a bit of tranquillity, then carry on towards Kruger Gate, but turn off just before onto the Sabie River Road, which has a wild feel to it and is excellent for birding and rhinos.

Not sure how many nights you're at Skukuza, but you can also avoid the early crowds by going south on the tar road, turning off onto the dirt road S114 and then onto the S21.
You will barely see another car on this road and it meets up eventually with the main Skukuza-Lower Sabie Road. However, there are no picnic spots or toilets with this option, so come stocked with breakfast and a strong bladder.

4) On late afternoon drives, the roads around Skukuza can be very crowded, so best bet is to hang out at a waterhole - Transport Dam, Renosterkoppies and Nwaswitshaka are good bets.

5) Within the camp during the day, avoid the fast food restaurant area at peak mealtimes.
However, the buffet breakfast is normally quite empty and is good value - ask to sit at one of the outside tables overlooking the river.

6) In the heat of the day, visit the Skukuza-Hamilton library - its nicely air-conditioned, has some interesting historical memorabilia, good books and rarely draws a crowd.
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Re: Finding the unusual - Kruger in August

Unread post by Imberbe » Tue Jan 20, 2009 11:52 pm

Hi Martyn

Welcome to the Forums!

A sunset drive start approx. one to one and a half hours before sunset, while a night drive start after dark. I do prefer the sunset drive since it tends to give better sightings of both diurnal, nocturnal and animals that are active at sunset. Many nocturnal animals are active way before dark, and sightings while it is still light can be very rewarding. Because of very limited sight during the night, night drives can sometimes become a bit boring. But then again ... you never know what you may find! :cam:

The drives are approx. 3 hours. So, by the time you return to camp the shops and restaurants would have closed. Eat before you leave!

Sightings boards are changed regularly by visitors, but are notoriously in accurate. Animals have feet after all ... :wink: (And guests short memories.)

There is the odd chance of finding an animal inside the camp, but that is limited. Some camps have resident animals such as Letaba's bush buck, and Skukuza have bush babies. The best option to find these types of animals are the sunset drives. You often see animals such as civet, genet and bush babies
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Re: Kruger National Park to visit Finland

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:10 pm

Welcome to the forum Jpi.

October/November is a great time to visit Kruger.
The rainy season has just started and the bush is getting greener without the thick growth.
There is not much surface water yet and so the animals are likely to be near the rivers & waterholes, plus the migrant birds are back.
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Re: KNP in early May

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:46 am

I love May, I think that it must be one of my favourite months.
There are many areas where the Autumn colours are still in evidence. It's a lovely time to take a drive through some of the Mopani land.

The bush puddles are dry, which means sightings are many at waterholes and dams.
The weather must be at its most perfect, for MM that is :wink: Not too cold at night and not too hot in the day.
In early May there might still be some rutting Impies around. That's enough to keep anyone awake and entertained.

I found that on my last May trip, the Park seemed to be frequented mainly by pensioners. That does tend to mean a lower noise level.. I would go again in May at the drop of a hat.
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Re: Kruger in August/ September

Unread post by Foxy » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:17 pm

Private schools have holidays during August which means you should still make reservations as soon as possible.

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Re: Kruger in August/ September

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:27 am

August and September offer good waterhole sightings.
I agree about making early bookings for August. It is the month of the Skukuza marathon plus it has a major public holiday.

It can be a bit windy, but I have not found that a bother. September is a period when birds are starting to return, so there are more bird sightings.
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Re: Weather conditions August?

Unread post by skywalker2251 » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:14 pm

Try this link.

Average monthly and seasonal temperatures in Kruger. ... erages.pdf

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March or May?

Unread post by reallyliving » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:30 pm


I am currently planning a trip to the KNP for 2010.
The general route has been planned and confirmed with the SO thanks to some tips from the forum.
Originally we thought May would be a good time to go due to the lower vegetation and less risk of malaria.
One thing we have thought of is whether our daughter will be able to use the pools in May - this has become a bit of an issue as she has been ill and hasn't been allowed in public pools for the past year (or the next six months).
We are going to spend our time in the centre of the park (Shimuwini, Mopani, Letaba, Satara and Tamboti).
Would we be better planning this trip for March when the temperatures are a bit higher?
Forget April - we are trying to avoid the Easter holidays for some reason ...

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