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Kruger Park December 2014 Self Drive and walking safari


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Hi all,


Recently I spent 10 days with my Dad on a self Drive safari in Kruger Park which included 3 nights on the Sweni walking trail which was fantastic.

Trip dates 01/12/14 to 10/12/2014

The trip itinary was as follows:

1 Night Bergendal

1 Night Lower Sabie

1 Night Skukuza

3 Night Sweni walking trail

3 Nights Satara

We could only get the 1 night to start off the trip at Lower Sabie and Skukuza because of full bookings , I usually like to spend at least 2 nights in one camp but it worked out ok and we planned our route's accordingly.

The cost of each chalet was approx $55.00 AUD per person (1100 rand per chalet) which was very reasonable I thought.

The Sweni walking trail cost from memory 4000 Rand per person which included pick up from Satara and taken to the Sweni camp and all meals included except alcohol and cool drinks.They supplied water, tea and coffee.

I will go into more detail on each camp as the report moves along.

DAY 1: Arrived at the Malelane gate at approx 4:00pm in the arvo and paid park fee's etc.

We then proceeded with the drive straight to Bergendal camp. Our first night was the only night it rained, quite heavily, therefore we did not get to have a braai.We made up for it after that and braai'd (BBQ) every night which we enjoyed over a couple of beers.

Each morning I had Dad up at 4:00am for a coffee and rusk and out the gate no later than 4:45am to get exploring.

In regards to my photo's I try my best but am very much a amateur.


Edited by Hads
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Hi @@Hads,


I'm looking forward to seeing more of this trip as I will be back to Kruger in June myself for a 10 day trip! Haven't been there since my first time in 2010 so I'm curious if I will love it as much as the first time. The walking trail must be very special... :)





Edited by MR1980
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Day 1: After booking into Bergandal we took a late afternoon drive up to the Matjula dam along the S110 loop.

One thing I enjoy about Kruger this time of year is the call of the Woodland Kingfisher, I must say it is my favourite bird in Southern Africa.

The drive was very enjoyable but the rain was getting heavier.

We saw several ( 5 ) white rhino's , 2 old dagga boys and general plains game, zebra, impala and giraffe.Once I work out how to download photo's again I will get some more posted.

Bergandal is a lovely camp with lots of shady tree's situated overlooking a nice dam area.

Pics of White Rhino and my Favourite Bushveld bird the Woodland kingfisher.



Edited by Hads
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DAY 2:

Alarm roared at 4:00am and dad and I crawled out of bed, we put the billy (kettle) on and made a quick coffee and had a rusk or 3 for breakfast.

Pretty excited to start our first full day of touring ourselves around Kruger park.

We headed off on the Matjulaa loop S110 route towards the S114 /S25 stopping at the Mlambabe hide for a look passing our Rhino's on the way. Due to the rain we could see animal spoor quite easily, we say some Leopard tracks ( well That's what I think it was due to the smaller size of print) but could did not see him in the area.

We saw general game along the way, giraffe, an elephant destroying a tree , a beautiful Martial eagle and some Cape Buffalo's.

Northwards we headed up the S114 until we got to the S23 and turned left and headed back towards Afsaal traders camp, luckily we had a few minutes with a leopard crossing the road, he was not hanging around but it was a nice sighting.










Edited by Hads
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Hi Michel,


I hope you will enjoy the trip report. The great thing about Kruger is the ability to self drive and plan your own day.

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Great experience. Lovely pics.

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Looks like a great trip. The tracks in the sand are especially clear. I'm really interested in the walking trail but also wouldn't mind seeing some photos of Skukuza when you get to it, if you have any of the camp itself handy (was there about eight years ago and I'm curious whether it looks any different). If not, that's okay, keep the wildlife photos coming, as they're excellent!

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Nice start to the TR, I am looking forward to the rest.


The tracks are most likely Hyena but could be jackal (not sure of the size). The cats don't show their nails (except for Cheetah) and have two indentations in the heel-pad.

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Looks like a great trip. The tracks in the sand are especially clear. I'm really interested in the walking trail but also wouldn't mind seeing some photos of Skukuza when you get to it, if you have any of the camp itself handy (was there about eight years ago and I'm curious whether it looks any different). If not, that's okay, keep the wildlife photos coming, as they're excellent!


Skukuza will look completely different to you, they have put up a whole lot of new buildings, re-arranged roads (now including a traffic circle) and are currently constructing new restaurants

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Hi Mark,


Will try put some photo's up of the campsite and accommodation. During daylight hours I think we spent about 10-12 hours out exploring. Skukuza is the largest of all the camps but we were lucky and had our bungalow overlooking the river which was nice.

All camps have a basic shop for provisions and sell books , clothing and souvenirs and of course cold beer.



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DAY 2 cont:

Dad and I had to be back by 9.30am in the morning at Bergendal to collect our WILD card , by purchasing this it saved us about $200.00 AUD in park fee's.

We collected our bags from our room and headed off to our next destination in Lower Sabie. We took the S25 route along the Crocodile river which is a nice drive on the southern edge of the park. We heard about wild dogs lazing around and kept our eye's peeled.

On the way to Lower Sabie we encountered a nice group of Bull elephants, a large herd of Buffalo and of course much general game.

My favourite summertime bird was of course singing his tune along the way - woodland kingfisher what a amazing looking bird.

The accommodation at Lower sabie was along the fence line overlooking the sabie river, we had a nice 3 bed bungalow with ensuite and kitchenette.

After checking in and relaxing for an hour or 2 we headed on our afternoon game drive down the H4-2 & back up the S28, we came across our first Lion which was a very old male that was on it's death bed near Duke's water hole. I thought it was going to pass away over night and on our drive to skukuza the following day we decided to venture past him again but he was gone.

The Sunset dam was the driest I have ever seen it, this area of the park needs some rain that is for sure. Plenty of birdlife and only 1 hippo in the dam and a few small crocs.

Sorry when adding photos they are somehow in reverse order - I need to adjust quickly.....

Coming next Day 3 Lower Sabie to Skukuza - stay tuned.









Edited by Hads
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Peter Connan, thanks for the heads up on the spoor. The size was about that of an adult human fist. I think you are on the money with the Hyena call then.



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Congratulations on those early starts! Nicer to see the dogs!

Edited by Atravelynn
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@@ice @Hads

Thanks for the info, sounds like some big changes have taken place. It was already so developed that I'm surprised more was added.


Kruger is great, though. Lovely batch of pictures and a good, clear dog sighting!

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Day 3: Lower Sabie to Skukuza - I had just finished writing my days report and my computer crashed ahhhhhhhhh!! :unsure:

Getting late and will try get back to the report in a day or 3.








Edited by Hads
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  • 3 weeks later...

The remainder of my Trip Report will Continue in about 1 week , been too busy at work sorry.

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  • 9 months later...

Back finally to complete at least photo upload.

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On the way to skukuza - hope this works.

I am pretty sure I got to see my first Black Rhino in the Wild - seems to have the hooked lip. He was skittish though and took off into the bush after a couple of minutes. Can someone confirm this is a Black Rhino?








Edited by Hads
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Ok I think I have things sorted out for posting correctly.

Apologies for not finishing of this trip report which is nearing 12 months ago I took my Dad back to Kruger.

This section of the report we travel from Lower Sabie to Skukuza. A lot of your common sightings and we got to see our first cat of the trip.

We did encounter a strange sighting of a Giraffe though which had a skin disease. I showed the rangers on our walking safari the photo's and they seem to think it may be a disease called Mange.

Here is a few photo's - seems to be a problem loading ..........








Edited by Hads
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@@Hads - those photos of the poor giraffe are extraordinary. There is actually a separate thread on this forum which discusses this disease - the warts are apparently caused by a member of the Papilloma virus



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@@Hads - I do also believe that your rhino is indeed a black rhino. The lip is the give away but if you compare it with you're earlier photos you will also notice three other distinguishing features - 1. The natural position of this rhino is to hold it's head up (as grazers white rhinos told to hold their heads towards the ground), 2. It has a comparatively smooth neck (the white rhino has a distinctive hump) and 3. It doesn't have a pronounced fold of skin at the top of its shoulders (you can see the skin fold on your early photos).


It looks like you had a fantastic trip! I'll be travelling to Kruger myself in a few weeks.


I hope the trip as half as successful as yours seems to have been.

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Skukuza is such a large and busy camp, however Dad and I were lucky enough to have a chalet directly overlooking the sabie river which was fantastic. We only had the one night here as I prefer the central part of the park around Satara and we had our walking safari to get to :P.

The afternoon drive was pretty casual and we saw general game, we visited the Lake panic hide ( 10 mins too late to see a leopard come down for a drink), S65 and down to the transport dam where the "battle of kruger" took place and back to camp via the s112/s114 roads.

The following morning once again I had dad up at 4.30am for a coffee and rusk on the road and we had some nice sightings of White Rhino and Ground Hornbill.

I can watch these birds for hours as I found them quite entertaining and gee that can make some strange noises.









Edited by Hads
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Hi imsa 84,

Thanks for your information about the giraffe skin disease and confirming the black rhino ID.

What is your itinary for Kruger?

Later in this trip report I will show the photo's of the white lion cub we saw near satara on the s100 eastern end of the road towards the S41. My in laws who farm in South Africa and love the kruger also saw the white lion cub 2 months later and is has been seen on kruger sightings several times, hopefully the little guy is still alive and doing well.


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Skukuza early morning drive photo's continued.

We got back to camp around 9.30am packed up and then headed towards satara via the H1-2 &H-3 for approx. 2:00pm pick up to head to the Sweni trail.








Edited by Hads
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The drive up to Satara from Skukuza was very enjoyable, even though it was around10:00am we did have some nice sightings. On the H1-2 near leeupan we came across 5 male lions (all fully manned) and 1 lioness about 50 metres from the road.

Most the males were laying down and there 1 pair mating. I found this strange with the number of big males in the group.

We also managed a glimpse of a Leopard under a tree and some nice Cape Buffalo's near Nkaya pan.

At Tshokwane rest site we had some brunch and had plenty of entertainment with the Vervet Monkeys - unfortunately over the years people have been feeding these guys and they are now a problem.


At Satara we met our guide's Jobe and ???? sorry I forgot the other guides name.

They gave our group of walkers ( 8 of us in total) a brief intro and we then boarded the safari vehicle and left Satara and headed to our campsite on the Sweni trail which is south of the Tar road H6.

Just south of Satara I did manage to spot, as I was sitting high up in the rear of the vehicle 3 Lionesses laying on the bank of the N'wanetsi stream in the shade, pretty lucky I thought as I was the only one to spot them, turned my head at the right time ;). Jobe was impressed with my spotting.

I will go into more details on my next post about the Sweni accommodation and camp site then how the walks went over the 3 days.









Edited by Hads
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