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Kruger - The postman delivers


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Part 1 - Kruger report

Part 2 - Will be the Vic Falls and Bostwana report

I have just returned from another South African holiday, as you know my wife’s family all live in South Africa and we visit when we can. Since Covid we have been every year.

Kruger was on the plans again and one of my brother in laws (BIL) did all the bookings.

This Kruger trip was a big family affair, we had 15 of us in total spread across 4 cars.

It was a wonderful trip with all my wife’s family including her mum and dad and 2 x lots of sisters and there husbands with kids.

We travelled from 27th December to 5th January 2024, 9 nights in total.

1 night Skukuza ( we entered via Malelane gate on the 27th December)

4 Nights Satara

2 Nights Mopani

2 Nights Lower Sabie


Overall the sightings were fantastic and it was a great family holiday in KNP.

Apologies I have an issue with downloading the photo's and will sort that out soon and get into the report.


Edited by Hads
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That is what I call a teaser. And 4 nights at my favourite camp in Kruger , I bet you had some cat sightings :) 

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Very thrilling! Looking forward to your report!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been quite busy since returning from Africa and have struggled to get the photo's sorted out, my wife has jumped in and made a start.

Here are a few teaser pics to show you guys before I write the trip report and then do the Botswana report.

I'm sorry I have about another week or so before I will get stuck into the report.


























Edited by Hads
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We arrived late at Malelane gate on our arrival to Kruger, it was around 4.00pm.

The weather was overcast with a light drizzle of rain.

I was absolutely stoked to be back in Kruger and especially do it with all the family.

We were only a few km's up the road and there was a road block on a bridge crossing the Matjula river (H3 just south of the S114 turn off).

2 young male lions had killed a water buck - what a way to start the trip.

We had a brief sighting of 3 wild dog as well just north of Afsaal - nothing worthy of taking a decent photo as they were moving quickly.


My wife edited all our photo's on her I pad BUT for some reason when I go to down load on Safaritalk it just shows a black photo - not sure what is happening here - any tips anyone???









Lovely Bull Ele at Renosterpan


Hyena family near Afsaal





Edited by Hads
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A great way to start with 2 lions on a kill, but I have to ask, the lion below, is it Casper? I seen him twice in 2019  and 2022. Normally I don´t like the naming of specific animals, but there is just something spectacular about a white lion in the wild . And I can see that you saw yet another :) 



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Great photos, looking forward to this. The puffy with prey is special! 

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Good morning @JayRon, Thanks for following along.

Yes you are correct that is Caspar, I saw him on the H6 on my own early one morning.

I have also seen him as a cub in 2014 and last year 2023 as well. See the link to previous trip report.

We also saw a female lioness near Orpen gate (Birmingham pride maybe?)


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Good morning,@michael-ibk, the puff adder was a great sighting.

We had it too ourselves for awhile , once another car arrived it slowly slid off, that's when we left it to have it's meal in piece.

Thanks for following along :) 

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A few more photo's from our entry day.

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Edited by Hads
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DAY 2 - Each morning in Kruger my 2 boys and I started early.

Normal routine was to wake at 4am, get our coffee, hot chocolate and rusks and off we would go.

The other family members would head off a little later.

As Kruger had plenty of rain some of the dirt roads were closed.

He headed west along the S1 ,S4 and back along the S3.

We joined the others at Lake Panic Hide for some birding.

Hyena on the S1 - S65 Junction.

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Young Male Kudu

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Very relaxed near our car.

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Getting sleepy.

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Impala babies

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Water buck on the S4 Dirt road

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Wildebeest family S4

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Yellow billed kite

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Edited by Hads
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The S3 we had a beautiful drive - some nice birds and Male Kudu's.

In total there was 6 beautiful male Kudu's - 2 where play fighting, at times it got quite serious .

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One of my favourite photo's of the trip.

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My Eldest son took the malachite photos.

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Yours truly took these of the Squacco heron.

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Also one of my favourite photo's

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Lake Panic hide and Skukuza Golf course carpark 

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Pied KF

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Giant KF

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Water thick knee

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Yellow-billed hornbill - Mr Zazu trying to remove the windscreen wiper rubber at the Skukuza golf course car park

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Skukuza golf course car park

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Lovely ice cream stick 

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It's mine

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I think this bird is a Green backed Heron - also in Panic hide.

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After Lake Panic hide - we headed towards Tshokwane along the H1-2 for an early Lunch.

Ground hornbills are always a pleasure to watch.

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My youngest boy took the photo's of the brown hooded kingfisher, he loves all the Kingfisher family of birds.

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We were busy watching the kingfisher and we got a wonderful pleasant surprise of this female leopard.

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The sighting was only for 2-3 minutes but I got a couple of reasonable shots before she disappeared.

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And off she goes.......

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Juvenile Bateleur ??? 

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The rain starting to get heavier and it was getting quite dark.

After lunch we slowly made our way to Satara - our home for the next 4 nights.

We were lucky enough to catch a distant sighting of a Rhino (no photo's)

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Piggy family

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Handsome waterbuck.

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Hyena family near Kumana dam.

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A wet LBR.

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Leopard tortoise quenching it's thirst. 

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I didnt go for a game drive late in the afternoon due to the poor weather.

I caught up with one of mates very good friends who live in Satara, they both are honorary rangers doing volunteer work.

There camp site is on the perimeter of the Satara fence - they have many wonderful stories to tell of there life living in Satara.

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i always enjoy your trip reports @Hads and this one is no exception!

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Day 3 - The rain continued over night and all the dirt roads local to Satara are still closed, this does limit you alot when you are in Kruger as far as options go.

We decided to go check out Nsemani dam first and then back track and head North and go have a early lunch at Oliphants rest camp.

These photo's are around the Nsemani dam area, beautiful spot especially for an evening sundowner or coffee break.


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On this trip we saw plenty of Ground hornbill.

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Crowned lapwing?

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Black bellied Bustard

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Try to smile for the camera.....

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Is this better mum?

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Impala and Baboons road block

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Baboon with an Elvis hair style

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Edited by Hads
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Heading Northwards of Satara on the H1-4.

I checked the sightings board yesterday and Wild dogs had been seen around the S89. 

That's where we headed.

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Burchell's Coucall

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Relaxed Buffalo herd 

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More humans looking at us mum

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There were 4 nice Bull Ele's along the way.

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Another sighting of Ground Hornbills.

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Just south of the S147 turn off there was 2 nice Male lions - quite a distance from the road but you could see them nicely with Bino's.

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Kori Bustard

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Edited by Hads
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The lions were being lazy and we continued heading north, we stopped a car to tell them about the lions.

The car we stopped had just been on the S89 gravel road (yippee it was open) and seen a pack of Dogs relaxed quite close to the road, so off we went.

It is always great to share sightings with other self-drivers.

About 2km's down the S89 we spotted another 2 cars stopped with the dogs.

Wild dogs are my youngest son's favorite African animal, he was absolutely elated :) 

We would stay with the dogs for a good hour - there were 12 dogs is this pack.

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One was collared.

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My wife and Daughter and FIL and MIL arrived at the scene.

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My boy stuck his head out quickly for a family pic - I promise it was only for a few seconds.

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Edited by Hads
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We headed off to Oliphants for brunch - awesome views and a great meal was had.

Here are a few photo's of our trip back to Satara.

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We had to make a quick toilet stop so we headed into Balule camp ground.

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Nice breeding herd near the S90 turn off.

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Majestic Kudu

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Not sure what these birds are but there was plenty of them - wattled Starling??

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A few Km's north of Satara a few cars had stopped - there was a leopard deep in the bushes, we decided to keep going as it was hot and too many cars. We saw some spots.

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Edited by Hads
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Around 2 in the afternoon, more family members arrived from Pretoria.

They came through the Orpen gate and had fantastic sightings on the way in, 2 male lions on a buffalo kill, leopard in a tree plus a very distant Cheetah :). Not bad for only being in the park for an hour or 2.

We decided on our afternoon drive not to drive that far but head as far as the S36/S39 turn off's and back to Nsemani for a sundowner.

The dirt roads were still closed but the sun was coming out.

Near the S39 turn off we got a distant sighting of a cheetah.

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Lappet faced vulture or white hooded?

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White backed vulture's

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Nsemani dam hippo watching

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What a way to end a wonderful day in Kruger.

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Edited by Hads
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Day 4 - The cats are about today.

Same routine up at 4am with my 2 boys plus we had an extra passenger this morning, one of my nephews decided to brave the early morning start.

I wanted to take the S12/S40 dirt roads around Girivana and Nsemani dams but they were still closed, so we decided to head towards the Orpen gate and take the H7 tar road where my BIL and SIL did well on there entry yesterday.

It turned out to be very rewarding.

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Nsemani dam Impala - there were well over 100.

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Hyena on the early morning prowl.

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Nice young bull ele.

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We took a little dirt road off the H7 which overlooks the Timbavati river, as we come around a tight corner there was a leopard in the middle of the road looking at us, it then moved quickly away down a steep bank towards the river. One evidence shot with the camera only but still a very nice start to the morning. My nephew got a few shots on his I-Phone.

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Female Nyala's.

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Edited by Hads
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Continuing past the S106 turn off we came across 2 lovely male lions, probably the ones my BIL (Brother in law) and SIL (sister in law) saw yesterday.

We were pleasantly surprised as there were only about 3-4 cars.

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Scent marking.

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Lovely Pose.

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I think my youngest boy took these photo's. He wanted a close-up of a male lions face and take a photo to call his own :) 

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Edited by Hads
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We heard about a lion pride closer to Orpen gate, we left the 2 males who had gone flat.

To our surprise and excitement, it was another white lion, this time a white lioness in a pride of about 12 lions, (3 other females, 1 large male with a broken bottom jaw and 7 cubs).

This part of Kruger and also in the Timbavati section of KNP currently has about 3-4 white lions, which includes Caspar the male white lion who generally is found around the Satara region.

Here is an article about him.



Kruger the postman is really starting to deliver..........

As you can see she really stands out from the cubs and other female lionesses.


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Off she heads to some shade.

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I love the look of the lioness in this photo.

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Lovely pose by the cubs.

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Edited by Hads
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