August 2018 - Kruger Trip Report
I havn’t been to the Kruger National Park since April 2017, because my wife and I had a baby girl, Peyton. She was born in November 2017, and soon after that, we planned to return to Kruger when she was 9 months old. That 9 months went by very quickly, and we found ourselves leaving Johannesburg destined for Satara. We prefer to camp, and usually do but until Peyton is about 2 years old, we’ll stay in the provided accommodation.
We arrived in a very dry Kruger on a heavily overcast day, and booked into Satara. We would stay for 8 nights.
Over the next 8 nights we didnt venture too far away from Satara, as the game viewing around this camp is excellent! The plains are rich in nutrition for the herbivores, and with that comes a very healthy population of predators.
We mainly drove the highly productive S100, and had some good game viewing here. We also drove the first 8-10km of the eastern section of the S126 which is fantastic because of the wide open plains and beautiful scenery along the Sweni River. We had wonderful Elephant sightings at the Sweni waterhole, and I took one of my favourite images of the trip here - a mud covered baby Elephant.
Nsemani dam to the west of Kruger was quite low, and provided for some good game viewing too. On a few occassions we drove up the S40 from Nsemani dam, passed Girivana dam and up to the Timbavati picnic spot, which moments after leaving from a short breakfast break one day, had a brilliant but brief sighting of a beautiful female Leopard.
Compared to other trips at this time of year, the “great” sightings where lower than normal, but in general we saw a massive amount of game. Large herds of Bufallo, Elephants, plentiful general game and a large diversity of birds. We must have seen a record amount of Owls over the trip too, including numerous sightings of Pearl-spotted Owlet, Barred Owlet, Giant Eagle Owl and a White-faced Owl. We never saw the Scops Owl, but listened to their beautiful call most nights, all night long.
On the predator front, we saw 2 Leopards, 2 Cheetah on the S100, numerous Lion and Hyena sightings and also a brief glimpse of a Honey Badger on the northern section of the S40. The night sounds were great at Satara, hearing numerous Lion, Hyena, Owls and Nightjars.
One highlight moment of the trip, was driving south along the H1-4 near the Ntomeni waterhole and driving past herds and herds of Zebra, i’m guessing no less than at least 500-750 Zebra. These fertile plains attract a lot of game, and in terms of Kruger, is a lot of animals to find in one small area.
Needless to say, we always enjoy travelling to Kruger, its a wonderful place to relax and unwind from day to day life, and to take Peyton on her very first Kruger trip will be a memory we will never forget. We are looking forward to our December trip already!
Below are some more highlight images from the trip. I didn’t come away with many portfolio grade images, but thats not the point of my photography. Its awesome to take incredible images, but its the experience and tranquility of the bush that I crave so much!
As always, please leave your comments below and share your thoughts about the images or about Kruger in general if you travel there.
Until next time - MD