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June 2017 Kruger 10 day trip report


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At Nwanetsi we meet the elderly man from last night again, boys have started referring to him as cheetah uncle.


Great views from the picnic spot of this massive crocodile.



We drive on to Gudzani dam which is rather full and has the usual accompaniment of storks, egrets and this great sighting of giant kingfisher (sorry for the picture quality)



Wattled Starling



Mocking cliff chat ?





and a walk through this great buffalo herd  



We drive on to S100 and watch this elephant do a wheelie trying to reach the branches  (but no photos)



Great zebra sightings 




and back to satara for lunch and say hello to Mr. Satara..


One of the glossy starlings looks larger, but it is a bit larger apparently a Burchells starling



Post lunch plan is to drive on  H7.  


And we chance upon these huge ellies followed by a elephant herd further out.



Just wanted to post this comparison picture of Bull elephant, a female elephant and a young one.



Great bunch of queleas by satara, especially by satara.. swarms and swarms of them so poetic at sunlight.




As dusk approaches, babboon sentries take their position.



And something over head catches our eye and is this the spectacular sighting of the day, after the lions, cheetah family and the buffalo herd..

So we turn around to get a good look and start a traffic jam (oh well) what is satara without a good traffic jam

Martial eagles.    Power of eagle is in its talon..   and his talon speaks volumes. after some times he decides to swoop down on some francolins..



We catch up with our big elephant and the way he looks up makes us pause.




and he gives us a photo-op5a7f2bf9b29d3_IMG_9411(2).thumb.JPG.b41c716a45eae3034a3730598c31a838.JPG



Back to satara for the sunset drive



a large buffalo herd very close to satara...


Then these sleeping lion family (yup that is exactly what we saw)





Followed by precious 45 min spend with this leopard on the move.



at one point, this steenbok was so close by that we were hoping for a kill



but the fact that half the crowd is putting the spotlight on the steenbok, and the other half on the leopard made the kill an impossibility



This african wild cat and the thickknee the rest of the ride.





But what a day.   Lions, Cheetah, leopard, big ellies, Great birds  hyena, jackal  OMG.  Satara delivers again



Edited by RobK
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@RobK What a productive trip to the Kruger. Good to see your kids enjoyed it as well - we went with ours in 2006 and they had a good time. Only issue - what was with the idiots out of their cars at the lion sighting? It's not that long since there was an unfortunate incident in similar circumstances.  Anyway back to topic - thanks for the report and the pictures - neither at all ordinary.

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Isnt it amazing how people behave ?  not enough that they were out of the vehicle, they were very loud and one of them walked from one car to another. At that moment all the sleepy lions lifted their head up and were alert


And it was a great trip and i have two days more to report.. and it features rhinos, dog and lions, many lions.

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Today we leave Satara with a heavy heart.  What a great time we had here..


Todays plan is to drive few km each into H7, H6 and S100 before heading south to Lower Sabie and on to Biyamiti.


First step is to drive down to Nsemani dam on H7, as the lion family from last night could be still around.


Not much today than the herbivores, but the sightings app reports a big male walking on tar road towards Satara camp. So we head that way looking for it and so are another 10 cars..  fun time of anticipation leads to nothing so we head back to the elephant carcass.


The deadis still there in tact, but rapidly bloating, prompting my 8 yr old to ask, will it explode ? 


Couple of ostriches in their prime walk by as well as some jackals and hyena  and multitudes of vultures filling up the trees.


Our trip down H6 is mostly birds of various kinds inclulding this fantastic look at 2 southern ground hornbills


IMG_9524 (2).JPG

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On to the south, 


By Kumana we come across this massive herd of buffaloes crossing the road, seems never ending as they ccome from dam side, walk across the small pond and up the incline and on to the road. literally hundreds of them with calves.  Spectacular until an army truck with no patience comes by and honks the cars away and then honks and scatters the buffalos as well.






We move on and getting closer to Mazithi, we encounter one car parked by road side, we pause to look and move on, but then that is not right. so we double back and ask the couple who are stopped. and they   between the 2nd and 3rd small trees, there is a male lion lying down and sleeping. We look far and wide and cant see anything, then realize they are talking about like 30 ft away.   Here is what we saw in 30 minutes of scoping out.





Then another car comes by and we tell them the story and they say, well if you go to mazithi dam right now there are at least 3 lions there.. so off we go and find these three lazing lionesses lying down in the shade.






Moving on, encounter this huge tusker on the river down below, but he is obviously hurt and suffering a bad leg and badly limping away, a handsome elephant nonetheless.





Few Herbivores later we are tshokwane where everyone is on high alert for the local ruffians.



and a wildebeest  with low self esteem who has teemed up with impala herd




Quick coffee at the busy Tshokwane we head towards Kruger Tablets and this lizard and lapette faced vultures on a carcass.









Close to Leepan, this weathervane stork (above)  and a giraffe with two calves, probably just baby sitting.   Interestingly 15 days later there was a report of a lioness killing one baby giraffe at the same spot.. hopefully not this one, as we had a great time watching this one chasing butterflies.






At Orpen Dam, we watch this ellie walking across the pond where we expect to see hippos. and a walking crocodile... for a first





At Nkumbe lookout, kids spy on this grasshopper -- quite good looking



Breathtaking view far and wide of the open grasslands


Couple of bulls in the tree shade


And a great look at this brown snake eagle




Continue on through the mountains to see these 5 rhinos, where one of them has dozed off and the other 3 collectively and successfully getting him moving was quite something to see.  Enjoyed this sighting.




He gets up and gives a "what is the commotion about' look5a86347e050fa_IMG_9853(2).thumb.JPG.bb26fc42272ddb0965803e59b9c40312.JPG


That takes us to Lower Sabie, where we spot a hippo on the bridge  as well as a better look at giant  king fisher





Off towards Biyamiti and there is traffic hold up and there is a lone wild dog by itself on the road side.. Further inquiries on facebook page reveal that 2 dogs have peeled off from the pack of the area and the female is denning and male just hanging around as dogs cannot hunt on their own.

Great sighting nevertheless.



A bateleur and a great sunset takes us to Biyamiti






What a fantastic day.. With Lions, Rhinos, elephant, Buffalo herd,  hyenas, wild dog , ostrich and other great sightings.


Tomorrow we are on to the last full day of the safari and we dont have great distance to cover.   We are in the south and will it deliver the goods ?

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@RobK thanks for a very nice TR. Self driving in Kruger is fantastic.

Love your Martial Eagle pics.

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Last full day at Kruger. The plan today is to take an early morning road north on Biyamiti access road, till the weir and then turn south on to S114 all the way to Gardenia Hide and return to Biyamiti.  Pack and then move to Lower Sabie.


This being cat country, expectation is for Lion and leopard; But you never know what the day brings. 


Early morning coffee in we drive on and are not seeing much except for elephants, loads of them.   We stop at the lookout point overlooking the river and a gentleman apparently saw a pack of wilddogs last night at this spot.   


We move on and come up on our best Kudu sightings of the trip with a bachelor herd.




Almost reaching the weir, we see this famous hammerhop nest 



Followed by eye level view of these crocs doing what they do best.



Some dwarf mongoose,   and a great look at this steenbok as well as some herbivores including a rhino which didnt give us a picture opportunity





We turn towards Biyamiti near gardenia hide and driving along and the elderly gentleman coming over flags us down and says, if you go 200 yards quickly there are 12 lions which just crossed the road, they are coming from the river, so may go into the bushes soon. you will see them to your left.  I wanted to get out and give him a hug.. so we hurry along, and there they were.




At this point, the lioness looks up and walks up hill.. So she sees something we dont .. interesting. is there going to be a hunt as well




and lo and behold, out pops    2 male lions..   Growls and greetings later, they all settled down for some family time




this lioness watched us the entire time.




we return to Biyamiti,content and ready to check out..  Is that the highlight of the day ?  Hope there is much more follow


Check out complete, S25 provides more views. all the way to Hippo Pools..













Ride to Crocodile Bridge was amazing with game.   I think fatigue clicked in as there are more giraffes in this area than anywhere else and no one was clicking... 






Going towards Duke Dam, we are excited by these spurfowl, sightings were rare.. a family tell us; not much here, you might want to go towards Nkuhlu.. there is a 14 lion pride camped out there by the river.


Near  Duke Dam, saw these 2 warthogs. Kids promptly named them leopard and cheetah


Juvenile Harrier Hawk I am told..


reaching Lower Sabie, the barn owl at the restaurant entertains us all



Sunset dam. what an amazing location.   Picturesque..   



We drive on H4-1 going north..   There are a few cars stopped, we pulled along side another car and ask him, and he says in a very thick accent,  there is a lioness sleeping on the river bed.   So we drive forward, and there is the lioness..  but it doesnt make sense seeing a lioness by herself lounging like that in the open..




So we move forward, and the person who told us was being obstructed by some large bushes.  We keep counting..   ten, no eleven,,  i see fourteen, fifteen...  Final count was 18 lions including cubs.






This lioness is clearly unimpressed..  5a88fbe7173b5_IMG_0149(2).thumb.JPG.c121632132714f88c9a172e24854b23c.JPG


and we know why, when she stands up and there 3 cubs coming along with her5a88fbe886b2c_IMG_0150(2).thumb.JPG.e715f4916601d378e6e62396e4e583dc.JPG



As we are all busy counting and recounting and watching the lions, my 8 year old goes... Giraffe ..  i tell him, you see there are 18 lions there.. No way giraffe.   Just as he does he says.. Nope   I see a giraffe..  and dang he is right again.. in the backdrop of the 18 lions , there is a bull giraffe.



We drive forward a bit for even better views5a88fbec82fc6_IMG_0165(2).thumb.JPG.5a5bc494f629afaf6ef607f99253e07e.JPGIMG_0194.thumb.JPG.51406a268ec571c352220c38736edcca.JPG


and think aloud,,  we already saw 32 lions today, are we going to drive to Nkhulu for more lions or should we return and lounge around sunset dam.


Sunset dam it is 




Fantastic time.. as the sun sets. and out comes this elephant herd.  which are very restless.  they dont even wait for a drink.. just move on.  5a88fbfbb05af_IMG_0235(2).thumb.JPG.6e53c7cf90758a3b278bb3d12b400c6c.JPG


Leaving us to enjoy the last few minutes of sunlight left with these beautiful birds



But what a final day...   




Edited by RobK
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@RobK Fantastic trip report. Pangolin sighting is just mind boggling.

Could you throw some light on how you booked this trip i.e. Booking the rest camps, hiring rental car etc. Did some company in SA handle the logistics for you? How did you decide on which camps to stay etc?

Will appreciate  "Behind the scenes" info about your trip.




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Hello Vikram


All booking done by myself.  Camp reservations can be done at sanparks.org. Register yourselves and make reservations. Bookings open 11 months in advance, so some of the popular locations like Lower Sabie camp, go first day itself, especially the larger cottages.  All info on cottages/bungalows are at this website. including facilities, tariffs etc.


Car rental done online at Avis south africa website.


Which camps to stay. There are main rest camps (with on site restaurants) and bush camps (self catering - with great kitchens).  You need to familiarize yourselves with Kruger layout, it is rather large and decide how many days are you going to go for.

South Camps - BergNDal, Lower sabie, Skukuza, Pretoriuskop  have restaurants.     Biyamiti, Malelane, Crocodile Bridge do not have restaurants, but have bungalows/chalets with full kitchen facility.

Central camps - Satara, Olifants, Letaba have restaurants  Talamati, Orpen,  do not have restaurants,  Tamboti is a tented camp which does not have restaurant

North camps - Mopani, Shingwedzi  and northern camps,,   shimuwini, Boulders are self catering.


Depending on number of days you plan to go for, split between southern and central camps to start with. Dont overstretch by trying to cover the whole park, as you see more if you drive slowly.


There are some dedicated forum members who answer questions at TripAdvisor Kruger National park forum. You may post questions there as well.



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@RobK Lovely ending - must have been difficult to drive out of the gate!  @Vikram the Sanparks site also has a useful forum with quite and active Kruger section - good for up to date opinions and tips.

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Here is the final tally 


Lions 54

Cheetah 6

Leopard 3

Jackals 10

Hyena 20

Wild Dog 4

Pangolin 1

Tsetsebe  8

Rhinos 17 (all white)  I have to come back to look for Black Rhinos

Elephant, Zebra, Wildebeest, Impala, Waterbuck - Dozens if not hundreds

Reedbuck, steenbox

Martial Eagle - 4

Ground Hornbill - 12

Fish Eagle, Tawny Eagle, Bateleur, Brown Snake eagle, couple of other smaller eagles. , harrier hawk

Owls - Vereaux Eagle Owl, Scops, Barn

Kingfishers - Giant, Hooded, Pied, Malachite

Big Birds - Ostrich, Kori Bustard

Storks - Maribou, Saddle bill, Wooly neck, White, black 

Smaller birds - at least 20-30 different species


It will be very challenging to find another park to have this biodiversity where you can drive on your own and enjoy..  


Kruger just amazes me.  




Book early. Drive slow. and keep enough time to get back to camp, so you can avoid speeding, especially true for bushveld camps


Pretoriuskop – FF6D – Family Cottage

Well attended cottages by the fence. A Well looked after camp with all trees with identification. Friendliest guinea fowls. All cottage amenities up to date and available. Game was spotty. But others in the area saw cheetah and lions, but we did not.


Talamati – GC6 – Guest Cottage

Good camp, but extremely difficult to get to. S36 and S140,145 are certified spine rattlers. Game around the area is not very spectacular either. Cottages themselves are pretty good. They have a known baboon problem. The waterhole spotlight was not working the first night. But we spied on a elepant family who came for a drink. Great nightsky view.


Letaba – FQ6 – Guest Cottage

This was the best accommodation. Too expansive. My 8 year old wanted to buy that unit. Overlooking the river. The restaurant is doing ok but not the crowds that I had seen earlier. Elephant area. Unfortunately no cats.


Satara – 2 nights – GC6B – Guest Cottage

Good unit by design and layout but so many maintenance issues. Both washrooms had water issues in toilet. One of the showers was so set that if you stay too long in it, it will drill holes through you. Utensils missing a lot. And the reception staff were not very friendly.


Cat sightings are over the roof in the area. We spotted all 4 – lions, cheetah, leopard, wild cat - + hyena , jackal


Biyamiti – 1 night – NGC5V – Guest cottage

Being a bushveld camp, it was a workable unit but again wish it had better design. Staff were very helpful in getting us the extra mattress that we needed. Make sure you have extra time to reach the camp. It is a slow ride. Sightings wise, but eventually we saw a 12 lion pride. Others saw wild dogs and leopard in the area.


Lower Sabie – 1 night – FU4V – Family Cottage

Most efficient layout with river view. I wish I had two nights here but could not get that booking 11 months in advance. Restaurant is the only Mugg and Bean in the park currently and is busy. Unfortunately, there was much less game by the river. Spotted a barn owl in the restaurant ceiling.


Exited through paul kruger and drove to the panoramic route. Reached Graskop in less than two hours.

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Thanks for a great trip report, I enjoyed following along.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rereading your trip report as 2019 might see us following your footsteps in Kruger! Thanks for "behind the scene" information.

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Excellent report @RobK! Kruger is still one of my favourite safari destinations and I suppose you have seen it all, very lucky!! It may not be the best report as for story telling and photography as you mention yourself but your enthousiasm for the park more than makes up for this so it was a very nice read!!


All the best! 


Cheers, Michel

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  • 2 weeks later...
On ‎1‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 10:37 PM, RobK said:

This is my attempt at reminiscing the wonderful time I had at Kruger. 10 days of bliss , nothing but wildlife and some photography.  Why so late you ask, only because i stumbled to this wonderful forum for now.

This is my second trip to Kruger, my first one was in June 2017 with my elder son who was 12 at that time.  This trip, I had the company of my 2 boys, 15 and 8, my friend and his wife, as well as my sister and her 15 yr old boy.



2 nights at Pretoriouskop

2 nights at Talamati

2 nights at Letaba

2 nights at Satara

1 night at Biyamiti (only because we couldnt get 2 nights at Lower sabie)

1 night at Lower Sabie 



Self drive morning to evening.


No idea why i book the View bungalows, we are never there to enjoy the view.  :)  Any body else have that problem ?


Nice trip report, Rob!!!

Edited by zootenval
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  • 8 months later...
Dave Williams

A most enjoyable and enviable read.Thanks for sharing your adventures.

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