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Kruger in Winter.

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Kruger in Winter.

Unread post by Bundi » Thu May 20, 2010 12:10 pm

We all associate Kruger with being nice and warm even during the winter months, so I would like to know if anybody has ever experienced "real" cold in Kruger?

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Re: Coldest Kruger

Unread post by BunnyHugger » Thu May 20, 2010 12:56 pm

Bundi, I would have to say that "real cold" is both subjective and relative.
To someone who lives on the equator, Kruger would be relatively cold.
To someone who lives in Antarctica, it is very hot.

And then of course we get the subjective side of things.
To me real cold is riding a bicycle in minus 4 degrees C, or spending a night outside waiting for a lift in the middle of the Karoo, in the middle of winter in a very windy night.

The coldest I have ever been in KNP was probably during my 2007 trip.
It was June / July school hols and we stayed at Berg en Dal, Skukuza and Satara.
On our trip up to Satara, it was one of those cold windy days, with fine drizzle for much of the morning.
It was the only day I wore a track suit top the entire day.
That night, as I walked around camp in my track suit and flip-flops, my toes were so cold it made me stupid. (Too stupid to go put closed shoes on.) :slap:

Compared to JHB during the same time of year though, it is warm as toast.
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Re: Coldest Kruger

Unread post by Elsa » Thu May 20, 2010 2:01 pm

I think the coldest I experienced was one morning a few years back when we measured 3C in the South.
And coming from Dbn, that felt absolutely freezing to us! :whistle:
But I think when one feels it the most is on the back of an OSV during an early morning or night drive. :roll:

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Re: Coldest Kruger

Unread post by Foxy » Thu May 20, 2010 7:09 pm

We spent a week in the middle of Sept some years ago - first day was boiling hot, thereafter we froze even during the middle of the day.

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Re: Coldest Kruger

Unread post by RUMURUTI » Thu May 20, 2010 7:17 pm

August last year in Lower Sabie with 3° C at 06.30, 21°C at 11.30!
Punda Maria with 10° C at 06.30 and 36° C at 12.00!!
Even if I live in Europe 3° C is cooooold!!!
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Re: Coldest Kruger

Unread post by Gemma T » Thu May 20, 2010 9:28 pm

We had it pretty cold last July in Lower Sabie.
One morning our car thermometer told us it was minus 3degrees C outside as we were waiting for the gates to open in the morning.
My first buy in the camp was a scarf; I slept with it wrapped around my head!
Thankfully it got back to lovely warm temps by the time we made it to Satara at the start of August.
But -3 was no fun in a tent!! Bbbbrrrrrrrr!!!!!
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Re: Coldest Kruger

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld » Fri May 21, 2010 10:43 am

I did my first (and only so far) Wilderness trail a number of years ago (probably about 15 years ago) in July. Friends of ours drove up the morning before the trail and reported snow near the Belfast area (I think some roads may have even been closed).
Needless to say, we were bloody cold staying in the trail huts.
The bed sheets seemed more like ice sheets.
I remember using a 1.5 liter glass Coke bottle as a hot-water bottle :)
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Re: Coldest Kruger

Unread post by ndloti » Fri May 21, 2010 10:46 am

Have been in the bitingly cold wind with only a thin jersey as added insulation to short pants & shirt on wilderness trail in southern KNP during a cold front . I had spent a few days prior to this on another trail in KNP and had no prior knowledge of the occurences in the rest of the world , not even the weather report .
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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Kruger in winter - advice needed

Unread post by Sawaddeekha » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:32 am


I'm currently planning my 4th trip to South Africa ... and KNP !

It's going to be our first winter visit (arriving approx. 19 June and staying for 2 weeks).

We've never seen Kruger in winter, and we've never seen the North of Kruger, we've always stayed in the South (Berg en Dal, Satara, Skukuza).

My question is : is it worth going North, especially in winter? What can I expect to see ? I've heard that wildlife was more abundant in the South, is that true ?

For 1 week, would you recommend us to stay in the South or North ? I'm dreaming of Pafuri,
Phalaborwa and so on, but I don't know how it is there.

Also, we'll be staying in a tent. Is that a good idea ? What are the temperatures we can expect at night ?

Thanks all you experts for your advice :D

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Re: Kruger in winter - advice needed

Unread post by Sprocky » Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:39 am

Hi Sawaddeekha,

The northern section is good in winter. There is less game than in the south and less people as well.

Sightings during winter in the north are very good and you have a good chance of seeing the rare species of antelope that you don't easily find in the south.

PM on the way. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Kruger in winter - advice needed

Unread post by yvosti » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:14 pm

We go North every end of April, beginning of May and there is nothing to beat the North.
It is a lot quieter, if you see a pride of lions, you may well be the only car for 30 minutes or more.
You can expect large herds of buffalo, ellies by the dozen, jackals, hyena's, Eland, Roan Antelope, which is a rare sighting indeed.
We have seen lion on every trip, as well as some really amazing bird life,especially in the Parfuri area.
The big hunt is still on for the Pels fishing owl, but it is part of what keeps us going back each year.
The evenings and early mornings can be chilly, but a normal tracksuit top or jersey is sufficient.
It certainly does not get as cold as it does on the highveld.
Average about 15 degrees C.
I hope you have an awesome trip, it is certainly well worth the visit, also if you are going in at Phalaborwa, then be sure to visit Letaba and Shingwedzi.

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Re: Kruger in winter - advice needed

Unread post by Elsa » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:22 pm


I think going North in Kruger is a great idea summer or winter, and I am sure you will love the scenery, beautiful Baobab trees and as Sprocky said a chance to see the rarer antelopes that one does not get down South, not to mention some of the big tuskers who roam up there.
A stay in Punda Maria is a must, as is a visit to Crooks corner and Pafuri picnic site.

Another camp we enjoy is Mopani altho they don't have tents but hutted accommodation and some of it overlooking the scenic Pioneer Dam.

The nights can be a bit chilly but if you bring some warm socks and night clothes you should be fine especially coming from Belgium where you are more used to the cold.

Don't leave it too long to book as June is just around the corner and you might not be able to get exactly what you require and where.

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Re: Kruger in winter - advice needed

Unread post by Sawaddeekha » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:23 pm

Wow, thanks very much to all of you ! It looks awesome indeed.
And less cold than what I expected so that's excellent news :mrgreen:

All the best!

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Re: Kruger in winter - advice needed

Unread post by Bushbuddies » Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:44 pm

Sawaddeekha wrote:My question is : is it worth going North, especially in winter? What can I expect to see ?

This will be our first trip to the North for a LONG time, but we usually visit KNP in winter time.
The nights can get quite cold - and I would bring warm clothes and warm water bottles if you are camping.
But in the day the temperatures quickly shoot up to mid-high twenties - and it feels like summer.

I think everybody will agree that the South does have more wildlife.
And we love the South for that reason!
The reason why we will be doing the North this year:
Many people are in love with the North and we want to see why.
We like birding and apparently that's great in the North.
I've read many TR's set in the North - and it seems people still see lions and leopards - just not as frequently as in the South.
They ALSO see other animals that are rare in the South - antelope like Tsessebe, Eland, Roan, Suni etc.

So who knows... Maybe we'll bump into each other, and explore the North together!
:dance: First South to North KNP trip booked! :dance:
10-11 June 2017 - Lower Sabie
12-14 June 2017 - Talamati
15-17 June 2017 - Olifants
18-20 June 2017 - Mopani
21-22 June 2017 - Punda Maria
22-23 June 2017 - Pafuri Border Camp

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Winter Rivers

Unread post by Graham_5000 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:02 pm

Which rivers still have water in winter, and which ones dry up? I know it will vary from year to year, but there must be a trend?

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