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General advice needed

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
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Bush Baptist
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Top planning hints for your Kruger visit

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Sat Nov 08, 2008 2:44 pm

I so often give the same advice to first timers to Kruger.
Maybe this thread will be a repository for the best advice.

1. The most important.
Unless you have at least two weeks in the park, don't try to see it all.
Book 3 or 4 camps.
If you have 6 or less nights, book 2 camps.

2. Try to avoid just 1 night in a camp.
Spend at least 2 nights in each camp.
This is linked to no 3.

3. Try to spend the very early morning and last thing in the evening out in the park.
These are the best viewing times and often give great sightings.
You don't want to spend this time packing and unpacking because you have only 1 night in a camp.

4. Decide on your level of accommodation.
There are 4 levels.
Firstly, the luxury, for those who are prepared to spend the most.
The sponsored houses etc are more swish than most people's homes, with most mod cons, like microwave etc.
Next, the comfortable, like cottages, with most things you need.
Thirdly, budget, like huts, safari tents etc, with no utensils and NO ABLUTIONS OR KITCHENS.
You have to use the communal ones, which I have always found clean and acceptable, but you pay a lot less.
Lastly camping, where you take everything you need and use the communal facilities.
There are also trails etc.

5. Time of year.
Avoid school holidays if you do not HAVE to go then.
The park will be full.
Each month has its attractive features, so research this.

6. Security.
All the camps are fenced, most with electric fencing, to keep the big and hairy out.
Very occasionally something potentially dangerous gets in, but not often.
You are likely to see some antelope that have sought refuge, inside some camps, and at night, nocturnal species can be seen in some camps.

7. Decide on priorities of what you would like to see.
There are no guarantees, but certain areas are hot spots for species.
Browsing the forum is one way of getting a broad picture.

8. Broaden your view.
It is NOT just about the big 5.
You might see a great rarity and not know it.
Get to know the birds, trees and other things.
There is nothing in Kruger so sad as the mugus who just drive around looking for lions.

9. Bring reference books and preferably familiarize yourself with what you are looking for/at beforehand.

10. Expect the unexpected
You might have a great sighting within half an hour of arriving - or 100 metres from the exit gate.
Enjoy what Kruger serves up, she will not disappoint.
Do not try to dictate to her, just be alert to possibilities.

Hope this helps you as you prepare for your first visit to a very special place.
Last edited by Bush Baptist on Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:18 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: 10 Top planning hints for Kruger

Unread post by p@m » Sat Nov 08, 2008 6:56 pm

Well done BB :clap: :clap:

Add to that :

1 You do not need a 4X4 for Kruger -- a higher clearance vehicle is nice during seasons when the grass is long, but not a necessity.

2. You do not need a GPS -- the roads are well sign-posted and the maps obtainable from the gates and camp shops are more than adequate.

3. Most shops accept credit cards -- petrol is CASH only. (unless you're a Saffie with a garage card)

4. Read, digest and obey the rules printed on the back of your entrance permit -- just because someone else is doing it, it does not mean it's allowed.

5. You DO need binocs, camera, hat, sunblock and insect repellant.

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Re: 10 Top planning hints for Kruger

Unread post by Guinea Pig » Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:12 am

Get hold of a map of KNP way ahead of your planned trip.
You know which camps you're booked at and what time of year you'll be there, right?
I plan my routes weeks ahead of the trip using Trip reports and such on the forum.
Plan at the slowest speed possible it'll take so long to get from Point A to B.
Not 100% accurate but it works.
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Re: 10 Top planning hints for Kruger

Unread post by Richprins » Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:46 pm

If I may add one, especially for foreigners or relatively new tourists...

Should one be in Kruger between September and March, beware the heat!

Try to get an air conditioned bungalow and rental car!

It could make a Huge difference!

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Re: 10 Top planning hints for Kruger

Unread post by DuQues » Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:24 am

Don't try to cover huge distances! 25 km/h is about the speed you'll drive at, so use that for planning. Crocodile Bridge to Punda Maria is really out of the question, even Olifants is a long drive!

Don't forget that herds of elephants, or just 1 playful young bull can effectively block a road for a very long time, allow for that in your planning!

In the rainy season the gravel roads may be closed, allow for that in your planning.
Even allow for roads becoming impassable, which means you have to backtrack!

Want to do photography?
Get up early, and get into camp almost at the last moment, those are the Golden Hours!
But plan your drive that way as well!
Don't do the S100 early morning from Satara, you'll be driving into, not with, the light.
Rather head for Orpen from there.

Bring two, not one, cameras!
Dust, mechanical failure, software failure, dropping it, all can happen.
And with just 1 camera that means....

Remember you're on holidays, don't cram too much into your days...

In camps you can see / photograph a lot as well, often the little things you can't see from your car, like grasshoppers, or at night bushbabies.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

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Re: 10 Top planning hints for Kruger

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri Nov 28, 2008 5:25 am

Nice thread :thumbs_up: and good tips..

my little bit:

if you are going to do a night drive or early morning drive, dress warmly, very warmly, no matter what the weather.

keep hydrated at all times. Don't be tempted to think that beer will do the trick, trust me, it doesn't. :redface: I often freeze bottles of water or sports drinks and keep them in the car to defrost through the day.

I want to stress that cash is king in the Park. Always have some on hand. There can sometimes be power failures and credit cards are then useless.

never leave doors and windows open at look out points. Monkeys are often waiting for their chance to redistribute your wealth.
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Re: 10 Top planning hints for Kruger

Unread post by Xmantis » Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:46 am

We like driving with the windows open rather than having the aircon on.
So what we do is take a wet cloth and put it into a zip lock plastic packet, then freeze it overnight.
Put that into the cooler for when you're really feeling hot the next day.
It works wonders just behind the neck :)
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Re: return trip to kruger advice

Unread post by ndloti » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:25 pm

There is so much that can be said on the topic .

The north is a lot less populated than the south - both people and animal wise , but due to that it has a different "atmosphere" than the south , the vegetation is also so different - in most areas it consists of mopani veld which support less grazers , thus less of the plains animals .

In January it will be very hot indeed (this applies to the whole KNP) , and being the rainy season the animals will be distributed more widely than in the dryer season (May - Nov)

I hope this will be of assistance to you , you can expect much more advice from other forum members ...
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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Re: return trip to kruger advice

Unread post by Elsa » Wed Jul 08, 2009 5:40 pm

We go to Kruger more or less every May/June and again in Feb. and it will be very hot as has already been said, altho having said that we were very lucky this Feb/Mar as we had a lot of rain and cloudy days so if I recall correctly, our highest temp was only 38.5C.
We love summer as all the migrant birds are back and in full breeding plumage so lots to see in that department.
The park is looking good, lots of greenery and lovely flowers are abundant.
The camp/gate hours are open for longer. :D

The North of the park is not to be missed, we did it for the first time in years and absolutely loved it.
You might need to do your drives a little differently, out early in the mornings and then back in camp for the hottest part of the day and out again from 4pm.
Get a car with air-conditioning as well as your chalets.
So I would say go for it, sure you will not be disappointed. :D

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Re: kruger park roads

Unread post by saraf » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:30 pm

If you get to Lake Panic then take a trip up the road to the nursery and have a wander around the boardwalk.

The Voortrekker road from P'kop to Afsaal is very atmospheric and some good sightings have been had.
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Re: Advice on best routes from camp to camp!

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:48 am

I will just give a few of my favourites and you can see if they fit in with your schedule.

Firstly: you are in prime picnic site country. Stop in for your Buffalo pastry at Nkhulu picnic site and your venison rolls at Tshokwane. You will not be disappointed.

Some of the roads I enjoy:

This is between Malalane and Croc Bridge. Although "civilisation" is often visible from the road, the road meanders next to the Crocodile river and often gives lovely view sights. As you approach Croc Bridge, it can be like a zoo. Rhino are almost guaranteed on the road.

Known for Cheetah sightings. I have never seen a Cheetah, but I have seen Honey Badgers and Jackal.

In my mind the eco diversity on this road makes it one of the most interesting in the Park.
It also has the Nkumbe lookout point where you can experience the most stunning views.
I have often seen Lion on this road, always elephant and both grazers and browsers.

This is a road that meanders close to the Timbavati River.
If you go to Olifants, which I suggest you do, try this one out. Brett Hilton Barber, from "Exploring Kruger", rated is as one of the best roads in the Park.
I enjoy it as it crosses many eco zones. It also has the Timbavati picnic site, with the delinquent Bushbuck, Ratelpan hide, and Grobler dam.

This is a little loop off the main road between Tshokwane and Satara. It often hides Lions as they like to take siestas under the trees.

A recent discovery. A little used road, it runs close to Vutomi river and is just so enjoyable. It is not often used and so a peaceful drive is on the cards.
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Re: Advice on best routes from camp to camp!

Unread post by DinkyBird » Sat Sep 05, 2009 8:11 am

adventure99 wrote:Also from Satara is it advisable to head up to Olifants maybe have lunch there?


This will also give you an further exposure to different ecozones within the park.

While at Lower Sabie, try and spend the last half hour of the day (or longer) at Sunset Dam. There is always activity there.

While at Satara - I find a drive to the Sweni Bird hide always fruitful. I love the hide - and also the drive over the bridge close by and to park on the road that loops down to the river just next to the hide. I hope there is water there now after the winter season.
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Re: Advice on best routes from camp to camp!

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:18 pm

I have stopped many times at Mlondozi picnic site, but never for a picnic. It has such a lovely view that I try to visit the site for a pit-stop.

As I recall, you can hire a skottle and gas. There is also boiling water available. The ablutions have always been spotless when I have visited. There is no shop though, so you have to make sure that you have everything that you might need.
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Re: Best camps for reptiles - and other questions

Unread post by G@mespotter » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:42 pm

Quite a strange question, and thus a strange answer!

I believe there actually is no 'best camp for snake encounters' :lol:
It simply is @ the right time @ the right place. I have found that snakes are often found in camps before heavy thunder storms, as they seek some protection, they can feel such a storm is coming.

Also, they tend to hide in camps when the surrounding areas have been burned down by fires. Your chances will also be better is the 'wild' camps such as Tamboti. Having been in quite a few camps of Kruger, most of my encounters were in Berg-en-Dal in summer. Had a close call in Mopanie aswell :shock:

That beings said, try the summer months in Kruger, and hope for the best :thumbs_up: (I really have something with snakes, have almost every trip encoutered some snake in camp :shock: :dance: )
Last edited by G@mespotter on Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dropping off keys

Unread post by bert » Tue Oct 06, 2009 8:50 pm

All camps have the box on your left hand just before you leave the gate.
And you wont be the only one dropping them when the gate opens
Or you can just walk up to the box while waiting :wink:
can be done from the car

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