This is our Kruger Diary from our September trip.
We headed to Kruger from the 22nd to the 25th of September, we entered the park at Malelane Gate, our first night we were booked into Tamboti, so we set out on our journey via the H3, when we had finally made it to Skukuza, our morning was full of sighting of general game, and the only big five we had seen included a big herds of elephants.
On our way towards Tshokwane we decided to head on the H4-1 towards the H12 bridge on the way there we finally saw our first cat sightings, it was a big pride who looked like they had just eaten, they were far so we decided to move on.
Not far from our first cat sighting we got to see one of the Mantimhale males, the last time we had seen this particular coalition was in 2016, they started spending most of their time in the private game reserves neighboring Kruger. We thought that we would be able to see all the males but we were lucky enough to see one with a lioness.
For a couple of days many people reported spotting leopard cubs, on our way there we decided to stop on the S85, and we saw another big lion pride, all these sightings weren’t the best, the lions were either far or where obstructed by bushes and branches.
We made it to the leopard cubs on the S36, there was already many cars parked waiting to get the perfect shot of the small cubs, after finding the perfect spot we parked out waiting for the cubs to move but we were lucky enough to see only one cub after it popped its head from behind a rock, after a while we decided to move on because we had a long drive up to Tamboti.
After a quick stop at Tshokwane, we were driving on the H4-3 when someone told us that there were lions in the thickets, but you could hardly see them. For the next 45km or so we didn’t see any animals, as Kruger is currently very dry and all the waterholes along the way are so dry, so it made the drive feel longer then it was actually, and it was also very hot, temperatures reaching highs of 38.
The next day we had to go back down south because we were booked into Skukuza, we wouldn’t have the chance to drive the S100, the famous lion road, we decide to try our luck that afternoon, and we were rewarded with sightings of the N’wanetsi males, it was very hot so the two males were mostly relaxing under the bushes.
We also saw another lion pride on the same road, not far from the two males, which we think is the pride that has been biting visitors tyre’s.
We were content with all our sightings for the day, we don’t usually get this lucky on our first day, but we finished our sighting with a magnificent sighting of the two Leeubron males, the last time we saw them was in December and they were on the S39 sand road but they must have moved to the H7 and taken over the Skybed territory. This was our only sighting for the day which the lions were up-close and nothing was hindering our view.
Our second day was very quiet compared to the first day, we set out back towards Skukuza, (we weren’t able to get 3 consecutive nights there), the only animal we had seen on the H7 and the H4-3 was impalas, eventually when we got to Mazithi Dam we found one lone male lion, after a few minutes he moved into the thickets and we could no longer see him.
When we arrived at Skukuza we decided to have breakfast and try the newly opened spa at Skukuza, (look out for our review coming soon), after checking into our unit at Skukuza, in the late afternoon we wanted to try our luck with the leopard cubs again, so we set out to spend the whole afternoon with them, and we were rewarded with the cutest sighting of the two cubs playing.
On our last full day in the park we headed towards Lower Sabie through the H4-1, and it was another day full of lion sightings to make up for the lack of them the day before, our first one was a lioness close to Nkuhulu picnic spot, afterwards we saw a young male lion with 2 lioness, they are known as the Nwatimiri pride, the male lion is easy to identify as he has a broken tail.
Straight afterwards we saw a mating pair near Lower Sabie, there were many cars at the sighting, to get a good spot which was unobstructed was hard, we left to go have breakfast at Lower Sabie.
After breakfast we saw 3 lionesses walking in the distance they walked for a good 1 kilometer, and we thought that they would attempt to hunt as they headed towards the water where the buffaloes were but they showed no interest in them and we eventually lost visual.
On our way back to Skukuza we went back on the H4-1, we saw one lioness on top of the Lubyelubye rocks, by this time it was very hot. We came across a huge traffic jam, according to some it was 2 leopards on the riverbed, we could only see one and the sighting was swarming with cars we couldn’t wait to get out of there.
Since we hadn’t stayed at Skukuza since 2015, we decided to go on a night drive, we weren’t expecting to see much as it was windy that night but we finished the night off with a a sighting of a big male lion.
We are always sad to leave on our last day, we had set to exit the park through Malelane gate, we were going to go down towards Crocodile bridge and then cut across the S25 sand road to get to the gate.
While watching some hyenas another car informed us that there was a leopard just before the Lubyelubye bridge, this would’ve been our first sighting of a leopard (cute leopard cubs excluded), happy with the sighting we moved off.
We headed towards the S28 hoping it was going to be less busy than the tar road, we were wrong, many cars and OSV (open safari vehicles) were on the road because the Shishangeni males were feeding on a buffalo, once we made it to the sightings, the two males visible were laying under thick bushes.
Before heading on the S25 we took a slight detour to the S26 and we were happy we did because we saw our second leopard for the day. Our leopard sightings were in trees and they were both not very far, the second leopard even came down the tree once it saw some impalas.
Just before we got to the H3 via the S25 we saw yet another leopard, this one was laying on-top of a rock and was very far, we always seem to see the most leopards on the last day.
We ultimately left the park, already excited for our December trip.