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Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

San Salvador, El...
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Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

Hi: I just read a post on the Sanparks forum about someone spending many days in the south, Prep/LS/Skuz in early July and not seeing ANY animals! Is this possible? What would you experts recommend for 'newbies' so we see some wildlife sooner rather than later? We will be in Berg for 2 nights, Talamati for a night and Olifants for 2 nights. {then on to Gomo]. We plan on doing a game drive at least once or twice in the am/sunset. But the rest will be self driving withe the 3 boys who will be crushed if we don;t see any 'biggies'. Of course we will love the wild surroundings and natural beauty, birds, reptiles etc, but we are keen on some ticks in their animal passports/field guide! Is there a good animal-rich route to take between Berg & Talamati? Same for Talamati and Olifants? Thanks much for any advice. We arrive 31july!

Naracoorte
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1. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

There is NO chance that you WON'T see animals when in KNP LOL :)

You WILL see elephant, impala, zebra, giraffe, hippo, kudu, buffalo and many other relatively common game species. You will also have a very good chance of rhino and hyena. Whether you see lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dogs is a little (a lot!) down to luck and chance. If you are unlucky and do not see any big cats you can take heart that you have every chance of seeing them at Gomo Gomo!

To maximise your chances you need to be out early in the morning and also last thing in the afternoon. Have a look at the sightings boards at the camps and also read the dedicated sightings books for the Sanparks drives in the reception area to get an idea of what is being seen where. Also, take your time. Drive SLOWLY and scan the road sides looking for shapes/colour/movement in the vegetation. And not just the immediate few metres. If you have greater field depth, scan further away - you can stop and use binoculars if you do think you see something. There will be a lot of ...STOP! Go back, bit more............................oh it's just a big rock (not a rhino) lol

Don't worry, you will see amazing things and have a fantastic time.

We have 4 weeks to go.....

Gold Coast...
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for Kruger National Park
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2. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

Hi

Second everything Tryhard has said, especially being out when the gates open first thing.

Olifants is a incredible for elephants, if you are staying in a room that looks over the river you may see them from your verandah!!

If you have read that someone did not see any animals (as a regular on Sanparks site I have never seen that) then you must have also seen all the trip reports there, and amazing stories about sightings. Now one person recently said they saw less on their last visit of three days which I think means they did not see big cats ??, quite possible in that short time. Is that the story you read, if so they did not say NO animals were seen as they mentioned elephants, rhino and buffalo, and what about the other 99.9999% of people who see plenty?

Stay out all day, follow above advice, and combine with organised drives from the camps and you cannot go wrong.

San Salvador, El...
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3. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

Thanks to you both! I feel better now. Yes, in rereading the Sanparks posting, they did say they saw elephants and rhino, but it was their most disappointing trip yet and the title was ' where are the animals?' so I was overstating I guess and getting nervous. That said, you have reassured me and we will self drive and do some organized game drives as well as Gomo so we will see some great animals I bet! We will go out early and again at dusk and drive slowly and keep the boys quiet with their binocs focused! Thanks again-

Nottingham, United...
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4. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

We have had days, when bad weather was just around the corner, and it is as though the animals just vanish !

This is when we play the letter D game. Taking it in turn to say words that begin with D, like Dire, Disasterous, Desperate, Downright miserable, Dreadful . .. You get the idea !

Likewise, if the weather overnight is bad, there is a good chance of seeing some of the usually more nocturnal creatures if you get in early.

In fact. I would suggest, to arrive at least 20 minutes before gate opening time.

Hazyview, South...
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5. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

The easiest is to stop there, where other cars also stop! LOL

As long as you keep your eyes open and "glance" over the landscape, your eye catches any movement. You will see Giraffe Trees, Elephant and Rhino Rocks, Lion Anthills and Leopard tree stams AND you will see life animals. Once in the park, driving and spotting, you will remember my "funnies". It will happen to you and rather stop once to many than to little!!!

We just came back from the park, enetered at 10 only after guests checked out, 4 out of 5, selfdriving up to Satara (we were searching for the more or less resident Mega (lion) pride. We were unlucky unfortunately!

Just drive slow, about 30 km/h and you'll see mich more than the "hunters" that constantly disregard the speed limits (that really peeeeeeeees me off, most of them with GP number plate!)

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Edited: 22 July 2012, 19:21
Somerset
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6. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

Love Klaus's giraffe trees, rhino rocks etc !!! BUT going back to our first visits to Zimbabwe, many years ago, our relatives also told us that when looking for rhino, if you see a largish grey rock/boulder don't just ignore it, stop and watch for a couple of minutes, if suddenly a pair of ears twitch and twirl the rock isn't a rock it's a rhino. Mind you in the early days we did gaze at a lot of rock rocks but eventually we did see one with a pair of ears and we had our first rhino sighting.

Also agree about obeying the speed limits, quite apart fro the chance of getting a "ticket" or actually scaring animals, you really don't do yourself any favours as far as spotting animals is concerned. It still amazes me how camouflaged a huge elephant is even just a few yards off the road amongst the trees.

Another tip I have found useful - We always try to get off the tarred roads on to the dirt roads then driving along occasionally look a ahead along the road (which of course is reddish/sand coloured) and we have spotted a dark shape on the road or one side of the road, surprisingly often it turns out to be an animal strolling along.

Nice and slowly is the way to go and is in everybody's interest.

Enjoy your trip

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Hazyview, South...
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7. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

Somersetal, you dont want to know how often we stop for those "special" sightings, when you think you saw something, LOL.

Also keep your back mirrors observed (now and then) we recently stopped for Kudu. Started driving again and there, about 30 m behind us 2 Leopards crossing the road. We reversed and had a lovely sighting.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Nottingham, United...
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8. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

Buffalogs, Rockanocerus, Wildlogs, these are some of the animals we see often.

Some silver logs from a distance turned out to be 2 Cheetah's. We had them all to ourselves for over half an hour

Hazyview, South...
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9. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

That sounds just right and even better! Saw of few of them!

Klaus

10. Re: Advice for First Time Self-Drivers: How to Find the Animals?

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