Kruger Diary – December 2018

Hello and Happy New Year to all our readers and followers, we are happy to be back on the blog. We thought we would start the year off with a Kruger Diary of our December trip, hope you enjoy reading it.

Our December trip is booked at least a year in advance and we look forward to it the entire year, and our 2018 December trip was no different. 

We had booked four nights at Tamboti, two nights at Biyamiti and two nights at Lower Sabie. 

Josekhulu Male lion on the H3 in the Kruger National Park

We entered the park at Malelane Gate, and our first sighting of the trip was the Josekhulu male lions on the H3, we were lucky that one got up briefly, because both of them were laying under bushy thickets.

We saw the usual animals (alot of impala, kudu and elephant), just before Skukuza we saw a young male lion laying near the bush, we stopped at Skukuza before our long drive north to Tamboti. We remember this day being one of the hottest days, so spotting of any animals was scarce. 

We decided to relax after arriving at Tamboti, and when it started to cool down around four in the afternoon we set out for a drive around the H7, we did a loop by going on the S106 sand road, we had about 20 minutes before the gates closed and we saw three cheetahs together. 

Kruger Diary - December Trip, two cheetahs on the S106 in the kruger national park
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Kruger Trip December 2018, lioness on the S100 close to satara on the kruger national park

On the second day we woke up early and were on the road by 4:30AM, the H7 was very quiet most mornings, we made our way towards Satara so that we could then go on the S100, we found two lionesses here and despite it being hot very early in the morning they got up to walk to the other side of the road.

We were looking for the white lion but the only thing we saw when looking for him was one lion paw on the S41, and we aren’t even certain of it was a lion or a lioness. 

Our third day started great with some wild dogs on the H7, it was the first morning we saw animals on the road, it was still dark so we weren’t able to get any good photos, in the summer months the gates open early and close only at 18:30PM so it allowed us to head to Lower Sabie, and it was worth the long drive because on the H4-1 we saw a lot of cars stopped, and that can only mean a cat sighting. 

Kruger Trip December 2018, mating lions on the H4-1

It was a pair of mating lions, the lioness was also trying to make a kill, and after attempting to hunt down some impalas we lost visual of them. 

Kruger Trip December 2018

A lunch at lower Sable was well deserved, on our way back to Tamboti, just before Thsokwane someone stopped us to let us know there was lionesses on one of the small loops nearby. 

A great reason to stay at Tamboti is because of the night life around camp. While having dinner on our third night, at around 20:30PM we heard a commotion around the braai area, and it was the resident honey badger scavenging for food. You usually only see them around one in the morning but this one was clearly starving because he was roaming through everyone’s dustbins early in the evening.

Kruger Trip December 2018, honey badger inside Tamboti
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Kruger Trip December 2018, Buddy from Nkuhuma pride , on the H7

Our last day at Tamboti we went for a early morning drive and we finally got to see some lions on the road, this was Buddy from the Nkuhuma pride. At first we could only see the male lion and one lioness, but as it got lighter and the two lions started calling, more pride members joined them.

Kruger Trip December 2018

On our way back to camp we got to see a cheetah, the rest of the morning until late afternoon we decided to relax and enoy the pool at Orpen. Late afternoon we heard of a lion sighting between Orpen Gate and Orpen camp, we made our way over there and we stayed with the lion until almost gate closing time. 

Kruger Trip December 2018, red road male lion between orpen gate and orpen camp
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Red Road Male Lion

On our trip down to Biyamiti we saw our first leopard of the trip but it was very uncooperative because we could only see the back of him and his tail.

We met up with three lionesses on the S82 on the way to Biyamati, they were laying under bushes. We found two male lions by Mpondo Dam, but we could see them only through binoculars.

Kruger Trip December 2018 - Mantimhale male lion on the H4-1 near Lower sabie in the kruger national park
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Mantimhale Male Lion
Kruger Trip December 2018 - Josekhulu male lion

The following morning we found one of the Mantimhale males crossing the road on the H4-1, and on the way back to camp through Skukuza, we saw the darker maned Josekhulu male lion on H2-2. 

The day we were set to check in at Lower Sabie, the morning started off with a sighting of wild dogs on the S26.

Kruger Trip December 2018 - wild dogs on the S26 in the Kruger national park
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Kruger Trip December 2018 - lioness on the S30, Kruger national park

After the wild dog sighting we drove towards Skukuza and while driving we could see a male lion across the river on the H4-1, we thought we would get a better look on the S30, we managed to find the male lion and he had a lioness keeping him company.

Kruger Trip December 2018, lioness with cub on the H10 in the Kruger National Park

We left the lions on the S30 and carried onto the sand road until we got to the H10 where we saw a lioness with a single cub. 

It was still too early to check on so we made our way down towards Crocodile bridge but we decided to go on the sand roads. This is where we saw two male lions on the S137, one of the males got up to start scent marking. 

Kruger Trip December 2018 - male lion on the s137 by crocodile bridge, kruger national park
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After we checked in (and we were enjoying the air conditioned room) we saw online that the Mantimhale male lions had killed a buffalo close to Lower Sabie. We spent the afternoon with them.

The next day we woke up early and headed towards the Mantimhale lions in the hopes of seeing some hyenas stealing the kill from the lions but that didn’t happen we only saw the three males sleeping and some vultures. 

Kruger Trip December 2018
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We headed towards Skukuza and that’s where we saw two males on the H1-1 walking on the road. We headed back to camp early and while there we saw lionesses on the rocks by the Lubyelubye bridge. 

In the afternoon we did one of our favorites roads the S21, despite the road being very dry and the grass being dead we managed to spot one lioness and further down the road we found one male lion sleeping. 

Kruger Trip December 2018

After the S21, we drove down to the Crocodile Bridge and drove around the sand road, where we saw some elephants and buffalo’s, a car stopped us to let us know that there was a leopard on the S130 feeding on an impala on the ground.

Kruger Trip December 2018 Male Leopard on the S137, Crocodile Bridge, Kruger National Park
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After not seeing a leopard for a couple of days, we obviously rushed there, the leopard had just finished feeding and we got there he was cleaning his paws before deciding to move into the bush. 

Kruger Diary - December Trip

Our way out the park we used Malelane Gate, on the way there we found wild dogs on the road by the H1-2, after a stop at Skukuza we were sad but ready to head towards the gate when a leopard decided at that moment to cross the road on the H1-1.

Kruger Diary - December Trip, Leopard in the road on the H1-1, Kruger National Park
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Yet again we left the park happy and our memory cards full, and we are already trying to book our next trip.

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