Trip Report- Northern Kruger




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  1. #1
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    Default Trip Report- Northern Kruger

    We visited the drier, hotter northern reaches of the park, over the recent long weekend in June. This is by no means an over landing trip as its the Kruger, it was decided to go one a much simpler and more accessible camping trip into the park. Call it a recce to Pafuri and possible future shortcuts deeper into darkest Africa.

    Some key observations:

    • Route in: PTA- Pietersburg - Magoebaskloof- Tzaneen- Phalaborwa overnight spot(5 hours)
    • Phalaborwa gate- Shingwedzi camp (4 hours)
    • Shingwedzi to Punda Maria gate (2 hours)
    • Punda Maria to Louis Trichardt and home on the N1 via Pietersburg after a long weekend (9 hours)


    Fuel Consumption:
    • Vehicle- GV 3.2 V6 Petrol auto with mods
    • PTA- Phalaborwa @ 125km/h GPS speed, cruise control engaged- 6km/l
    • Driving around in Park on mixed, tar and gravel- 8.5km/l and not exceeding the 50km/h speed limit on tar roads in the park


    Fauna spotted in the North:
    • Thousands and thousands of elephants, on the road, next to the road, crossing the road, walking down the road, you get the picture.
    • Beautiful Lion sightings early mornings on the tar road between Shingwedzi and Punda, where they stroll down the middle of the roads to avoid the early, pre- dawn dew in the veld. Regular lion sightings occur around camp and two male lions poached a leopard kill from a tree on the entrance road to the rest camp.
    • Said leopard kill happen 1.4 k.m. from the park entrance, where a female spotted cat and her two cubs hauled a young impala ram into a tree on the Shingwedzi river bed. We missed the kill the previous night and drove past the three cats in the morning without us knowing they were there. On the way back, we found the carcass in the tree. Later that day, two huge male lions retrieved the left overs and finished their meal under the tree.
    • Hundreds of very inquisitive buffaloes
    • Impala
    • Zebra
    • Giraffe
    • Wildebeest
    • Steenbok
    • Tsessebe
    • Water buck
    • Warthog
    • Nyala
    • Crocodile
    • Lots of Hippo in the Shingwedzi river bed
    • Giant Eagle owl and other owls
    • White headed vulture and other vultures
    • Lots of raptor/ bird of prey sightings including a variety of eagles and hawks/ sparrow hawks/ kites, etc
    • Notable sightings of pairs of secretary bird and bateleur
    • Hyenas staring at your braai fire through the fence at night
    • Hyenas in the camp site
    • Squirrel, starlings and horn bills begging for food around the camp site
    • Witkwasjakkals, side striped jackal dancing in circles when caught in your flash light at night
    • Pair of serval
    • Civet
    • Porcupine
    • various mongoose
    • Various bats a night
    • Lots of night jar (naguiltjies orals)
    • various other small mammals, birds and reptiles.


    Opinion on Shingwedzi rest camp:
    • Shingwedzi has one of the best locations for viewing elephant, hippo, crocs and buffalo, even from within the confines of the rest camp
    • The staff are friendly and efficient
    • Overall I would recommend this camp to people looking to visit Kruger without the massive crowds in the South. I would recommend this over Punda Maria.
    • The camp sites on the extreme southern end has no electricity, ample shade, close to ablutions and attracts the most night time visitors in the form of hyena, jackal, mongoose, etc.
    • Sites are mostly level and the ground is exceedingly hard, although absent of rocks and stones
    • I broke a new, good quality medium duty rubber mallet and bent a number of stainless pegs to ensure the setup does not disappear into the wind
    • Camp site surrounds are riverine bush and broken mopanie veld
    • A large gust of wind picked up the end-of-life Campmaster quick up gazebo and snapped off two feet plus bent the frame in half. I asked permission from a camp manager to give the remains the Pheneus, who cleaned and washed my braais daily.
    • Rubbish bins are accessible
    • Ablutions are luxurious compared to sh#$$% in the bush like usual. No spade needed? wow.
    • Above facilities are clean, large enough with ample hot water
    • The rest camp is large and spacious and even when very full, the camp site still offers enough private areas and hidden corners to enjoy the solitude
    • Public areas, like the restaurant, shop and reception are well kept and welcoming
    • Shop sell firewood at R28.50c per bundle and beer at R9 each! Liquor prices in store is actually very good for a San parks curio shop. A variety of meats and wors can be found inside, as well as fruit and veg, dairies and other life supporting commodities.
    • The main entrance is complimented by the East Gate and the Staff gate which is open from dawn to dusk. Animals often wander into the camp site.


    Opinions on the Park:
    • Animals are in good nick and full supply
    • The accessibility of the Kruger makes it one of my least desirable destinations. Go there in your ouma's platkar. Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.
    • As with all major tourist attractions, the crowd in attendance is a mixed bunch
    • If you are prepared to drive out onto the gravel loops or take the long tar north or south early in the mornings, you will not have to compete with hundreds of family sedans crowding around each sighting. They are generally blocking the road, making three point turns on single lane bridges, turning sideways on the roads to stare at animals through their front windscreens and thereby blocking off two lanes of traffic, swearing at other road users trying to squeeze past them for chasing away "their" animals, cars flying up and down at 80 k.m/h+ on the tar roads, obnoxious tourists in rental vehicles driving on the wrong side of the road, people with long lenses driving off the roads to get closer to their targets. etc... Tannies frowning at you for kicking up dust when you join a tar road from one of the gravel loops, etc. Rant off. It is the Kruger, after all. Even though the northern parts are quieter and less crowded in general, go there over a long weekend at your peril.
    • As an over lander, I found the rest camp to be comfortable and the camp site to be luxurious. Perhaps the opinions of the regular chalet dwellers might differ?
    • I met such a great bunch of people in and around the rest camps, sharing my sentiments as noted above. Comes to mind: "Nee Jongman, ek het 'n fully kitted Defender by die huis, maar ek wou net gou kom diere kyk, toe bring ek maar die stadsbakkie en die karavaan."
      Exactly the reason why I went and I am glad I did. Long live the Kruger, what a jewel of a park and surely one of SA's top attractions.

    At sunrise, the tree going vultures can be seen waking up and eventually taking flight in their multitudes.

    Typical broken bushveld and Mopanie shrub veld.

    This eventually heated up to 34degC later on!





    Across the Tropic of Capricorn and heading North, many baobabs can be seen.






    Our camp next to the fence:


    Viewed from behind Shingwedzi rest camp reception:




    Hanniedood dam/ bird hide is always a hive of activity.












    Shingwedzi's large elephant herds.
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  2. #2
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    Jy maak my jaloers!

  3. #3
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    Mooi! Ons sluit vanaand ons vinnige 4 dae af hier in Skukuza.


    Vandag baie goeie dag bellef. 2x leeus gesien asook 2 luiperds. Ons het baie olifante gekry. Heelwat renosters en ook buffels. Baie waterbokke, rooibokke, Njalas, Kudus, bosbokkies , duikers en steenbokke.

    Ek moet egter s die Suide is te besig. Ons verkies ook die Noorde!
    Elize

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  4. #4
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    Default Shingwedzi

    In April net regs van daai palm langs julle gekamp
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Nice report,your Suzuki also looks stunning.
    Howard

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  6. #6
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    Baie nice report! Shingwedzi my gunstelling kamp! Stel mens nooit teleur!

  7. #7
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    Very interesting report Kierie. Thank you. 34 deg in winter sounds good.
    Mel GJ

  8. #8
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    Very nice report

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    Great report! I love it when someone gives such a favorable report to the Kruger as I have done over 100 trips to KNP since 1985, my 40th b. day and Kruger is my passion. Your sightings were amazing as were your pictures. I would suggest that you do not spread the word too far as we might not enjoy it as much with traffic jams on every road. Thanks for sharing tho.

  10. #10
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    Awesome report as always Kierie....agreed Shingwedzi is a jewel....and the surrounds stunning....unfortunately speeding in parks seems to be on the increase ....people forget that it is not just about getting from A to B☺

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by witklipbank View Post
    Mooi! Ons sluit vanaand ons vinnige 4 dae af hier in Skukuza.


    Vandag baie goeie dag bellef. 2x leeus gesien asook 2 luiperds. Ons het baie olifante gekry. Heelwat renosters en ook buffels. Baie waterbokke, rooibokke, Njalas, Kudus, bosbokkies , duikers en steenbokke.

    Ek moet egter s die Suide is te besig. Ons verkies ook die Noorde!
    U moet dit geniet daar in die bos en ry veilig! Die noorde is verseker stiller, maar die Suide is altyd goed vir wildkyk. Ek is jaloers oor daai luiperds wat julle gesien het..
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Higgins View Post
    Nice report,your Suzuki also looks stunning.
    Thanks Higgins
    Suzuki Grand Vitara 3.2 V6 Auto
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  13. #13
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    Thank you for your report and photos - now you have us longing for the Kruger again!

    Shingwedzi is also our favourite camp and we were very glad when they reopened it again after the heavy floods last year.
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for exciting report. I AM hours away from leaviing for Mopani rest camp and your report on the North has me really excited.

    I am reading all I can find on the Kruger witg specific interest, the north in winter, I can not wait.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the report and pics, you have put this camp on my radar now.
    Lusted for a Landy but the Pajero was sexier and bigger in the right departments, just like my Missus.

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  16. #16
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    Awsome reading and Awsome report ,do you think going to punda Maria and shingwedzi in December will be ok .Going with camp trailer so no aircon. Please advice what should I do as really would like to go.

  17. #17
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    Desember lekke warm vat n van saam wat n hond uit n bos waai

  18. #18
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    Great report! What is the road condition like between Pietersburg and Phalaborwa?

  19. #19
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    Thanks for posting - still one of the best spots out of weekends and school hols!
    Paul

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