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Kruger Self Drive. September/October 2019

Dave Williams

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PS: I think the ‘steinbok’ in post 107 just above the Sharpe’s Grysbok is a Grey or Common Duiker, so if you have a ‘mammal list’ it may be an additional entry. 👍

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Dave Williams
12 hours ago, zimreef said:

Thanks for posting this trip report. We’re planning to do something similar this time next year, so great information and food for thought. Really nice writing style and some super photos.


I’m not a birder, but would hazard a guess at the mystery birds with the queleas as white-winged widowbirds in non-breeding plumage. Could be miles off the mark though. 😁



 Thanks for the suggestion and following the report. I have just another couple of days to add which hopefully will happen over next weekend. I have been watching the weather since we left  there three weeks ago and the rain has finally arrived in bucketloads!. The wet season has always been considered as starting in September/October from what I can gather but the last few years it seems to be getting later. I'd like to see the park in different conditions but not in too much rain. 

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I agree with the White-winged Widow.

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Dave Williams

Our overnight stop at Olifants had been fine, the lack of a kitchen not a problem for one night but the chalet was clean, tidy and functional. We had swopped three nights at Punda Maria in a Safari Tent for one on Olifants and two in Skukuza at a cost of only the equivalent of £10 so no major loss there. We'd wait to see what we were given at Skukuza but whatever it was to be it was too late to change our minds now! The good news I was to get another breakfast at Tshokwane, an opportunity to see a part of the park as yet unvisited, the south west corner, another opportunity to stop at Biyamiti Weir and a Wifi connection. The downside was my perception that Skukuza was Rest Camp hell, overcrowded and noisy. Ah well, the good outweighed the bad, it was only for 2 nights after all.

We set off from Olifants fairly early. The Vervet Monkeys were already forming raiding parties so I was careful about what I was putting in the car and leaving doors open too.


It was a nice drive southwards, we noticed that it was apparent there was more greenery evident , fresh shoots were appearing as a result of the recent rain, even though it had probably been fairly brief.

Swainson's Spurfowl

Somewhere north of Satara we came across a mini Lion jam. A solitary male fast asleep wasn't worth hanging around for in our opinion. Breakfast was calling!


I was thrilled at the prospect of revisiting the south but as we drove on I was more than aware that our  journey through the park was coming to an end.

I realised that there wouldn't be many more chances for seeing some species that had been so common I had been ignoring them!

Greater Kudu female

What if I hadn't actually got a decent shot already?


I decided to grab a few shots as we travelled and stopped for things I wouldn't have done in previous days.


I guess if there was one thing I was disappointed in,  from a photographic point of view anyway, it was the lack of action shots I had taken.


I have only myself to blame. If you hang around in one place long enough your chances increase. Maybe I'd spent too much time driving ? Maybe I should have spent more time at the waterholes?

There again, most waterholes were dry anyway. Anyway, it's food for thought if I return.

Having breakfasted in fine style, we continued on to Skukuza and once again were able to check in slightly early.

Skukuza Rest Camp

Our accommodation was functional! 

Skukuza Rest Camp

We had an outdoor kitchen area, but we'd already decided we would probably eat in the Cattle Baron Restaurant as it was highly praised by most who posted reports. As luck would have it we were almost next to the shop/restaurant complex so an easy walk of just a couple of minutes. The car park was jammed full as per usual but that we'd expected. Might be quieter later, and anyway we'd be going out again soon.

Our room itself was bit cramped

Skukuza Rest Camp

They squeeze three single beds in to a tiny space.

Skukuza Rest Camp

I'm not sure why, there can't be that many threesomes travelling together can there?

Anyway, although the chalet/rondel, call it what you may, was probably the scruffiest we stayed in, the kitchen area in particularly looked well worn, everything was still spotlessly clean.

We had a quick wander to check out our local surrounds and we were most impressed with the Riverview chalets, mind you when I looked at the prices later they were more expensive than a stay in a Bushveld camp  which I would prefer anyway. We checked out the Cattle Baron menu which looked pretty good, had a quick update on the wifi and then decided to go out and explore a little. 

Lake Panic and the bird hide is pretty close by so that's where we headed.

It was surprisingly full, well surprisingly to me anyway, standing room only for much of the time although we had got a seat straight away. The minute I got up to see what could be viewed from the far end of the hide someone had moved in to my seat so I had to move too!

In the afternoon, the sun is in the wrong direction for decent photography. 

African darter

There were a few things about,we even had a Crocodile right in front of us.

Nile Crocodile

There was enough to keep us watching for around 45 minutes I'd think. It was certainly cooler in the hide than it was in the car so it seemed the right choice but we didn't see too much that we hadn't already. Instead of driving on we returned to Skukuza, we'd be driving all day tomorrow.I had a plan!

By the time we got back to camp it had transformed! The car parks were virtually empty. Hardly a soul about. It was actually very nice!!!

I went and spent an hour or so catching up with the news on the internet. Our table was booked for dinner. All was good.

At the appointed hour we wandered the short distance to the restaurant to find it buzzing! It's only 40 or 50m away but from our chalet there was no disturbance whatsoever. It turned out our table was booked inside, they won't let you pre-book tables on the outside veranda, so we decided to wait until one became vacant which it did within a couple of minutes. There was a nice atmosphere in the packed eating area, everyone enjoying dinner under the stars. Despite the constant flow of new diners arriving no-one seemed to be waiting very long to be seated. We didn't wait long for our order to be taken either, drink orders were served almost instantly.

The meal was certainly more than adequate. Straight forward menu, well prepared and the service fantastic.

Full marks to the staff at Cattle Baron, I can see why so many people rate it so highly. We would certainly be eating there again the next evening.

Over dinner we finished our plan for the following day. Claire was up for it too, we'd leave at the crack of dawn, we'd check out an area to the west of us before heading to Biyamiti Weir, after there, and depending what was about, we'd follow some of the route we'd taken on our very first day. That had probably been the singularly best day for sighting we'd had yet. No cats perhaps but stunning views of Hyena, Rhino, Klipspringer, and best of all Wild Dog.

If I could just see some more of the Wild Dogs I'd be more than happy.

All would be revealed tomorrow!!



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Dave Williams

So, this was it. The last full day, a last big effort to see and take in as much as possible. Claire was fully supportive of getting out of the Skukuza gate as soon as possible and we must have been amongst the first to leave. We headed off down the tar H-11 before taking a left down the gravel S65.

The early morning light was lovely.


both Elephant, which are not that plentiful in the south, and Giraffe were seen along here.


but there was no sign of any of the cats...or dogs we were after. Arriving at the H1-1 tar road we were greeted to the scene of total destruction by fire. This went on for some distance, we went down to Transport Dam and it was the same there. There would be no herbivores around here, there was nothing to eat. We decided we'd not go any further towards Pretoriuskop but instead head towards the S114 , the road to Biyamiti Weir. We hadn't gone far when we spotted a pair of Spotted Hyena to the side of the road.

Spotted Hyena

It looked as if there might be a den here but there was no sign of youngsters.

Spotted Hyena

We flagged down a car coming in the opposite direction to tell them of our find and that they would need to move over to the wrong side of the road to see them. They in turn told us of another den at the junction of the two tar roads.H1-1 and H3.

Sure enough, one adult and one cub were out in view.

Spotted Hyena

The youngster appeared to have a lot more energy than the adult who was ignoring the request to play.The your one decided to amuse itself chewing on a stick!

Spotted Hyena

Suddenly there was an odd call and the young one bounded off and disappeared in to the den , a drain under the road.

We decided to take a slight diversion to the Matekenyane view point, a large rocky out crop that gives views of the surrounding plains.

A few snaps taken we headed back down towards the road but found a pack of Dwarf Mongoose out hunting so stopped for a few photos.

Dwarf Mongoose

Next up was the S112 gravel road , then the S114. Both would give us very little rewards but at least I added a new bird to my trip list. The rather attractive Violet-cheeked Waxbill.

Violet-cheeked Waxbil. lUraeginthus granatinus

Instead of continuing to Biyamiti we decided to make a breakfast stop at Afsaal. It was still early but the place was still busy, although nowhere near as busy as our visit almost a month ago. That of course was a national holiday. I wanted to try their roosterkoek again, see if it was good as first impressions had made.


The sweet chilli sauce is my addition and I have to admit, not the best on a breakfast roll, however, when it came down to the final judgement it wasn't as good as the Tshokwane offering!


If you happen to be passing they are both worth a visit though!

Off we went again, this time heading to Biyamiti via the H2-2. Although an H road it's actually a gravel one. 

I suddenly spotted some Lions just off the road.

Lion cub

They were fairly well hidden so getting a photo wasn't easy.

Lion cub

There were three cubs but no sign of any adults.

Another car arrived on the scene and stopped to see what we were photographing, however, they left the engine running and this obviously seemed to disturb the cubs who decided to move away

Lion cub

Annoying to have my sighting ruined but there you go. Not a lot you can do about it. I do wonder why some people leave their engines running continually, yes the aircon might be nice but they have the windows open too.

Anyway, that sighting was over. It was only when I looked at the photos when I got home I realised one of the cubs has had its tail bitten off by the looks of things. I wonder who was responsible and how that happened.

Lion cub

Arriving at the weir we crossed over then returned to put me on the right side for photography.

We were greeted by the sight of a Monitor Lizard coming over the wall.

Monitor Lizard

There wasn't much happening around the weir but it was noticeable the water had been running over the top and what had been a bone dry road on our last visit was now wet and muddy.

White-faced Whistling Duck

The resident Hippo was there along with a couple of White-faced Whistling Ducks.

White-faced Whistling Duck

Once again, the point of view opportunities was excellent and I was closer to this species than I have ever managed in the past. There was nothing else about so I suggested to Claire a major change of plan. My intention to stay at least an hour now forgotten we'd head for the S25 and go the whole length to H4-2 then north to Lower Sabie.

I was desperate to see some Wild Dogs if truth be known! I could return to the weir the following day on our way out of the park when heading back to Johannesberg.

Onwards we went. The south west of the park is the best place to see Rhino, it's not a secret but nevertheless sightings are meant to be kept vague. 

We found some in a pool near the side of the road.


They were so close I had to change lenses and for the first time in a month attach the 24-105mm on the camera!


It was a stunning experience to be within a few feet of these two magnificent animals chilling in a small pool!

A vehicle coming the opposite way stopped to tell me about a wild dog sighting they'd had. The pack was asleep under some bush around 15 kilometres away. There was every chance they would be there for some time. We followed the distance to the metre but no sign of the dogs. 

We drove on.

Another kilometre.

And another.

I was beginning to think our luck was out when we came across two parked cars.

They were there!!!

Wild Dog

The views were again obscured by twigs, branches bits of grass but now and again one would sit up.

Wild Dog

or even move position altogether.

Wild Dog

There were at least a dozen dogs scattered over the various shaded areas but pretty close to the road.

Wild Dog

I could have stayed there until they were ready to move but Claire was suffering from the heat, it was intense sat in a tin can with no aircon. The dogs would be there for a long time yet and we had to get back to Skukuza too.

Wild Dog

We left them to it, we were the only car there when we left but I flagged down a car coming the other way and gave them exact details of where to find them.

My wish had been granted though, I'd had a great Wild Dog sighting so even if I'd seen nothing else all day that would have been enough to make it an excellent day's work.

However, it wasn't all over yet. Some distance further on we came across a Martial Eagle at a waterhole.

Martial Eagle

It too was trying to cool down in the heat which was now in the forty something centigrade.

[Martial Eagle

We watched for a while, this magnificent bird wasn't the first of it's species we'd seen but it was by far the best views.

Just look to those talons!

Martial Eagle

The south had delivered yet again. I have only described our favourite sightings of the day but there were others too.

Red-billed Oxpecker

Oxpeckers are everywhere in the park but they make great subjects.

I started off our trip with my photo objectives being about the smaller animals not all about the cat family. Until the last day there was one species that had eluded me. Often seen briefly as they don't hang around, I had some "record shots" and this one isn't much better but at least I now had a Slender Mongoose in my portfolio!

Slender Mongoose

I still had one last objective though, and yes, it was one of the big cats!

We drove from the S25 north past Lower Sabie taking the H4-2 and H4-1 before getting to the H12 turn off. We'd been on the road well over 11 hours and driven 240 kilometres in the process but I asked Claire if she'd mind if we took a slight diversion.If you have followed my story you will know I had a close encounter with a Leopard on the S83 what seemed like weeks previously. I had made an attempt to see it again the previous day and failed so this was the last throw of the dice.

As always, Claire was happy to accommodate my request.

I was convinced it would be my lucky day but alas it turned out not to be.

I had to settle for a Steinbok!


Never mind, it had been a brilliant day. We headed back to camp. I dropped Claire off at our chalet then took the car to the fuel station to see if I could get the car washed. 

They closed in 15 minutes but as a favour agreed they would give the car the full works. I have to say they were brilliant. They transformed the interior of the car back to virtually showroom condition from it's previously filthy dusty state. Every nook and cranny of the exterior was gleaming again by the time they finished 35 minutes later. All for just 100 rand... just around £5.

I was so grateful I gave them 200 rand.

In return they thanked me profusely and told me I had made their day.

Left me feeling good too.

Anyway, once again we dined in the Cattle Baron restaurant, once again had a good meal with excellent service.

Over dinner I told Claire that I had decided now the car was clean I'd keep it that way. No gravel roads on the way out of the park.

"No Biyamiti Weir?" she asked.

"No" I replied.

"We'll do that again next time we visit!" I replied.

So that was the end of the journey really. The next day we drove out of the park without stopping arriving back in Johannesburg by mid afternoon for an overnight stop before flying home the next day.

It had been an epic journey by our standards.

We'd hit a low point a few days previously but I was extremely sad to be leaving the park when the time came to go home.

However, as has previously been said to us, you have to leave to be able to come back again!

And we will.

The End

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Whew! That was something! Thank you so much for your wonderfully complete account, all the little details, the photos, the whole blow-by-blow that made such satisfying reading! This is an excellent accomplishment which will help so many following you, as well as providing entertainment for the rest of us. Well done!

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A wonderful report Dave, superb photos. You had some great sightings and you describe the trip really well.

It sounds like you may return!

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Dave Williams

Well there has to be a postscript doesn't there?


As with all reports and reviews you have to be careful in what you read as the views are totally subjective. What one person likes, another could hate and vice versa.

The one thing I would recommend is to read as much as possible, ask questions before coming to a final decision about what suits you.

My trips are tailored to my budget which might be different to yours.

We had booked a journey and accommodation based on what we'd read. Until we got there we didn't know what we'd really get but overall I'd done a reasonable job. The only camp we'd been disappointed in was Shingwedzi and that wasn't that bad really.Others think it's marvellous. 

The weather is something you have to hope for, with climate change all over the world the norm can no longer be relied on. The time of year we chose we'd hoped it would be dry and sunny and for the most part it was. Too dry and too sunny!!!

I'd love to see the park after the rain, when rivers are flowing and everything is green but that said, game viewing would be more difficult so finding the right balance is down to luck as I'm sure in the space of a week or so the change could be dramatic between extremes.

Without a doubt, in my opinion the Bushveld Camps are the ones of choice for me. Small, intimate the ones we stayed in had better, more spacious accommodation than the main camps we experienced. Not everyone wants to self cater though so that needs consideration and planning. If budget is a consideration then there are cheaper options at the main camps. Using the camp sites are an option but unless you are a native South African, or at least have access to camping equipment much of the cost saving in a camp site might be lost in hire of equipment. Then in addition you have to weigh up what it's like using the camp site. I must admit I came away thinking it's not for me. The sites are unregulated, a neighbouring unit can be feet away from yours. One or two units might form a barrier to make the corner of the site their own private area. Then you have the facts that if you have a roof top tent every morning you have to put everything away before heading out on a drive and by the time you return you can find someone has moved on to your pitch no matter what you left behind ti indicate it was taken. No, not for me. I don't need the hassle.

From a catering point the camp shops have enough choice to keep you in provisions for a few days but for longer stays you need to have access to shops near the gate which to my knowledge are limited in number. 

As a foreigner to South Africa we were lucky to benefit from a favourable exchange rate. I had pre loaded my Revolut credit card before we left not knowing how much money I'd need and we returned home with a considerable amount of credit too. I guess we didn't have as many restaurant meals as I envisaged but that was our preferred choice, not a financial decision.

With hindsight perhaps I should have driven less, taken more time out during the hottest parts of the day but as a first time visitor I was keen to explore as much as possible and some of our best sightings came at the hottest part of the day too so you never can tell. You have to be prepared to work hard for your sightings. Sitting at home with my guide books and maps I had planned a journey that I estimated would be 5000kms from landing in Johannesberg , through the park from south to north and back to the airport for our journey home. Miraculously I clocked up 4993kms! How's that for guess work. What I totally over estimated was the cost of fuel. What I hadn't considered was the speed at which you drive makes fuel economy better than expected, that plus working on the basis of the car I rented achieving 30mpg where in actual fact it must have been a lot higher. Unfortunately for me the saving in fuel was partly lost in repair damage to the car but that was my fault of course.

Overall the holiday couldn't be considered inexpensive, there again we were away for a month, and by safari standards it was actually very cheap!

You could easily spend what we did in a month on a couple of days in a private lodge in one of the concessions. Each to their own, but I thought the level of comfort we had more than adequate. If I want luxury you can't beat being home no matter where you live and I really don't need three meals a day and stops to serve snacks mid morning and afternoon. I don't want to sit in a vehicle with several other people particularly either.. The odds are that their objectives will not match mine. Do I want my sightings put on a plate? Interesting point. A guide will know the places to go and your chances of seeing things will indeed increase, particularly as they are usually in communication and sharing with other guides. I remember my first sighting of a wild Rhino when we visited Namibia. Our day out was pretty expensive by my standards, perhaps £250 for the two of us. The trackers who were on foot found the Rhino and called in the vehicle we were in. I was in awe of seeing my first wild Rhino out in the bush but the pleasure was nothing compared to ones I have found for myself since. It's a decision only you can decide as to what your preferred choice is, self drive or guided ?

You can of course settle for a mix of both in Kruger. All the camps offer guided trips but in the end we didn't bother. There was nothing we needed a guide to find as , with patience we'd found everything we'd wanted to see.

The one thing I would say though is that life in the camp parks is low key. No need to have any smart clothes for dinner, particularly if you are self catering. The main camps provide laundry facilities too so that gives an option to travel lighter. I wore the same pair of shoes for the whole month, two other pairs were surplus to requirements. There again so was much of the clothing I'd taken, particularly wet weather clothing!!

Between Claire and myself we'd had 74 kilos of hand and hold baggage for our flights with Qatar, I'd insisted Claire took a sun lounger in case that's what she fancied doing when she got fed up of driving around the place. What I hadn't considered was it was actually too hot to lie in the sun! I took my Gitzo tripod and Wimberley head and used it just once to capture the photographs of the Lesser Bushbaby. Between those two items we could probably saved the best part of 20 kilos! Mind you I was really pleased with the Bush Baby shots!!

To anyone taking a similar trip to ours and besides the obvious the things I would consider essential to take or purchase outside the park would be an electric socket bank, a pan scourer, a floor cloth for cleaning the inside of the car when the dust gets so thick something needs to be done, eye drops for dust relief, scissors, can/bottle opener, a rechargeable torch preferably with a decent range of illumination to spot creatures at distance, a good supply of cool bags. UK supermarkets like Aldi sell large fold down ones which together with frozen bottles of water will suffice to transport your perishable food for sufficient time to get you from camp to camp. Last but not least, some luggage straps, you'll need four to protect both fridge and freezer compartments where you need to!

From a purely photographic point of view I took far more gear than I needed to. I could easily have shed 10 kilos in weight in addition to leaving the tripod at home. I didn't use my microphone or flash unit. My 24-105 lens was used once, the 70-200 only a couple of times. Having two camera bodies that take different sized batteries is a pain as you need two charging units but I do love both of the bodies so I'm prepared for that. Taking a notebook and external hard drive was very worth while, you can make sure you are doing the right things as you progress through the trip and if need be, try again if the opportunity presents itself. My infra red remote control is big and bulky, I used it once, again for the Bushbaby shots but with hindsight I could have used a hand held one without putting the subject off. I took a 2x teleconverter and that wasn't used either.

One thing I wish I'd taken but didn't was trail camera. There was so much wildlife within the camp it would have been interesting to see what passed by our chalet, especially at night! 

I had purchased a hardback book before we went, Kruger Self-Drive by van den berg. Nice book to look at but it weighs about a kilo and the recommendations on routes and their ratings didn't always match my appraisal. The map books on sale in every camp are considerably lighter and inexpensive and give as much detail as you need. I took my Saisol Bird guidebook  and one for mammals too. I could have managed without them but I was pleased I had them. Both my electronic Photographers guide book and the Robert's Bird app were largely unused.

I am lucky in as much as I am used to driving on the left hand side of the road and my own car has a manual gearbox. I have though driven on the right and had automatic cars when I have been on trips abroad. I would consider South Africa, and particularly the park in general, easy to adapt to no matter what you are used to.

And that's about all I can think of really. If anything remains unsaid and you think I might know feel free to ask.

Was a month too long?

In my opinion no!

Claire on the other hand doesn't want to entertain that length of stay again, photography isn't her passion after all. She has agreed to a return visit for up to two weeks though!We both loved the overall experience of seeing nature at first hand and relaxing evenings of sundowners and cooking on the braii 

I have already booked another  week in the one Bushveld camp I couldn't get in to, Biyamiti. If we stay anywhere else in the park is as yet undecided but it depends on what alternatives we can find that appeal to us both.

Is the south better than the north of the park?

I have to say we had more "quality" sightings on a daily basis in the south and didn't drive very far between sightings as a whole. The south wasn't as busy as I'd expected but again that could be the time of year we had chosen to visit. 

The north on the other hand had given us more big cat sightings than the south, given us sightings of huge Buffalo and Elephant herds but the birding everywhere hadn't come up to scratch compared to my expectations. On the whole there was less traffic on the roads too and the sightings jam of the south certainly didn't happen once.

I guess I really should have chosen to go at another time of year but as it worked well for us this time, that's when I'm going back.

The same time in 2020.

Bring it on!!




Edited by Dave Williams
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14 minutes ago, Dave Williams said:

Between Claire and myself we'd had 74 kilos of hand and hold baggage


I kindly ask you to remove this line before Zvezda reads it. My limit is 2 x 8-10 kilos of carry-on and max 25 kilos of hold (including the tripod and the ball head). 


Question re.vehicle: was it OK from the photography point, or would you prefer to have an SUV?

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Dave Williams

The luggage allowance was our total for the two of us Alex.The one you quote isn't that different.

As for vehicles, on balance I wish I'd had reversing sensors in whatever car I had chosen!!

Seriously though for rear seat photography the car we had was very good, however, we didn't tend to use it. I was happy to drive and Claire preferred to sit in the front with me. We spent so much time in the car together it would have felt strange talking over our shoulders  or vice versa for all of the time. Just occasionaly I was frustrated by her sat in my way or by me not having immediate access to my camera that was on the back seat but not often enough to warrant a change.

We both agreed a car with better suspension would have been a better ride on the corrugated gravel roads, some of which were petty rough. I also avoided some of the smaller loops for fear of getting stuck in the large ruts and holes that never get fixed from season to season. I think if it was wet an SUV with a high clearance would be essential too, we may well decide that will be our choice next time anyway.

The other benefit of our chosen vehicle not mentioned was luggage space , and, had it been fitted with a rear windscreen wiper, a view of the rear was far better than many current styled SUV's.

As far as camping is concerned, the cost of hiring a tented rooftop Hillux type vehicle is a non starter. They are so expensive I'd prefer to pay a little more and have fixed accommodation that needs no attention before leaving every morning.

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24 minutes ago, Dave Williams said:

The luggage allowance was our total for the two of us Alex.

Those 45 kilos is our total luggage, two persons. If possible I keep the main suitcase around 20 kilos.

I agree that camping in Kruger is not as interesting as it is in Etosha. But self-catering is easier. Thank you specially for details about all chalets you have been using. This will be very helpful when we will go to Kruger next time. Photography, as expected, is top notch.

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Well congratulations Dave on yet another excellent report!

I have thoroughly enjoyed following your journey. You seem to hit the balance perfectly with a detailed account of your escapades, what worked for you, what didn't, what you would do differently next time, a honest appraisal of your accommodation and not forgetting of course, your superb photographs. Also, being primarily a birder too, I greatly appreciate you not overlooking the flying stuff!

I look forward to your next trip, wherever that might be and I'll let you know how I get on birding in Goa, I've never been there in March before so hopefully I'll have something new to share.


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Thanks for sharing this @Dave Williams, a really enjoyable read with some nice photos as well! Lots of great information too, for people planning a similar trip. I've always discounted South Africa, but some of the recent reports make me think someday I'll have to go. Looking forward to your report from next year. :)

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thank you for sharing the trip with us. great information about the places you have been  and excellent photos of the wildlife you saw. 


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Lovely trip report!


Most of the really interesting birds in Kruger especially are migratory, and I think you were just a little bit too early for them. However, this time of year is probably the best possible for mammal sightings. Swings and roundabouts.


As for the suspension of the vehicle, there is a free modification you can do that sorts it out: just reduce your tire pressures when you enter the gate. Drop them down to 1.3 bar or so. That will kill most of the corrugations (and it's better for the roads too), and will not cause any tire damage at park speed limits, but do remember to inflate again before leaving the park.

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Dave Williams

Now you tell me Peter! Never thought of that but will next time. Thanks.

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our recent stay has overlepft with yours, between Oct 14th and Oct 25th we spent twelve nights in Crocodile Bridge, Lower Sabie, Skukuza and Satara. I didn't keep exact track but I am pretty sure that on average one our drives we covered 300 km, 200 in the morning and 100 in the afternoon. 


I have a totally different opinion regarding the guided drives operated by SanParks: for starters, they are darn cheap, even the 3 h drives cost little more than 20 €. Most importantly though (we almost exclusively book night drives) you can see the park pretty much all for yourself, without any traffic jams. Suffice to say, you are also bound to see animals you don't see usually during daytime hours, wild cats, genets, civets servals, to name but a few. 



those clips were obviously filmed nine years ago, both my equipment and my editing skills have since evolved but it should give those you might consider booking a night drive a rough idea

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@ice I hope we can hear more about your trip in your own trip report in due course. 


Looking forward to it. 


@Dave Williams I have thoroughly enjoyed this. Thanks for the ride along. 

Edited by wilddog
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Dave Williams

@iceNothing to do with price, which as you say is extremely reasonable, I did consider a night drive but decided that a 4.30am start was just too early for me. The evening drives go out at 4.30pm so it's 50-50 daylight and darkness on them too. We were lucky in as much as we had seen Civet and Genet in the camps and I did keep an eye on the reported sightings from these drives at several camps. I think White-tailed Mongoose was about the only species I noted that I hadn't seen myself. 

Personally, I'm not that keen on night time photography. I took shots of the Genets around our chalet but I didn't go and sit in the hides after dark, I know when we stayed at Talamati some people got to see the Leopard at the waterhole but I didn't feel as if I'd missed out. I suppose when you have been out all day there comes a time when enough is enough, time to relax and enjoy some down time.


Looking forward to hearing how you go on, and how your opinions of the park compere to mine. We all have differing views and it's good to hear opposing ones too.

I guess that we probably averaged half the driving you did, I did keep a daily record out of curiosity. My drives were nearly always most of the day ones with Claire and then maybe a short local one late afternoon on my own.

Edited by Dave Williams
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1 hour ago, Dave Williams said:

I did consider a night drive but decided that a 4.30am start was just too early for me. 


You mixed that up, a 4:30 am start is the morning drive. Night drives start at 8:00 pm / 20:00. 

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Dave Williams

I must admit I hadn't noticed the 20.00 departures, but as that wouldn't appeal to me personally it didn't matter.

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A splendid and informative report , thank you @Dave Williams   just a thought but we like to add somewhere where we can walk to our self drive sfaris just to break things up a bit-so for our kruger trip next May-admittingly not as long as yours- we are adding on a stay at a place on top of a mounain calld Leshiba 12 and then a place called Tomjachu-just to stretch our legs and for a bit of reasobaly priced luury! we have to agree that  pootling about ryin to find stuff is great fun!

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Dave Williams

@Towlersonsafari Both Claire and I missed the walking aspect of this holiday. A month of sitting in a car, then eating and drinking isn't good for you! You can go on guided walks but you need a letter from your doctor to say you are capable if you are over 65 and I didn't bother getting one.

You can of course wander around the camps but of the ones we visited they didn't offer much in the way of interesting walks.

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Very nice report, I enjoyed reading about the sightings, drives, the camps and other aspectcts o the trip, the photo quality is according to expected when one follows your BY.

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Great report thanks @Dave Williams I loved following along with you.

I also love the Bushveld camps, especially Shimuwini and Biyamiti.

Hopefully I am back in Kruger again in 12 months time.

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