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About Riaanf31

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    Advanced Member

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    Tourist (regular visitor)
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    Tourist (regular visitor)

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  • Gender
  • Location
    London, originally from Cape Town
  • Interests
    I try to escape the London rush for a spot of Kruger Safari's at least once a year. I've got an interesting in birding, with my regular cats and big game not far behind. The elusive Pel's Fishing Owl and Black Rhino still evade me.

    Find me on Twitter: @londonstormer
  1. Thank you for the replies guys. I'll use the savings on the cheaper rentals to loading up with a load of Windhoek's and also Brutal Fruit for the Mrs..... Best to get quality earplugs for the wife too in case there is a snorasaurus that makes some sounds at night
  2. Hi All I'm thinking ahead to a trip to KTP for next year and just want to sound out those that have visited recently. We'll be staying at Twee Rivieren, Nossob, Kalahari Tented Camp and the lastly Mata Mata. We're not the 4x4 explorer types so there will be no Eco trails to navigate. Considering that we'll be sticking to the tried and trusted roads would it be a requirement to upgrade my rental from a standard Fortuner with 4x2 specs to a 4x4 proper with all the extra traction abilities? The 4x2 option obviously is more than enough for a regular visits to Kruger, but clearly we're not going to that part of the world on this trip. Regards Riaan
  3. This is a very informative topic with regards to KTP. Well be making our first visit to this park in March of 2016. I do have have question: Would a 4x2 Fortuner suffice for KTP or would it need to be the 4x4 version. We'll only be going along the standard roads and not be exploring the eco trails. Why the question - we'll be picking up a rental from OR Tambo and drive then drive in via Upington. Regards Riaan
  4. My favourite and most unique Kingfisher sighting ever. Saw this couple courting for a while. He brought her food a few times before they got all romantic. Here is the promised Pygmy picture.
  5. Lovely pics of the Kingfishers. My birding trips are limited to mainly Kruger National Park so I've not had the chance to see the Half Collared or Mangrove. Luck was on my side for the last trip and managed to get a picture of the Pygmy Kingfisher. I'll attempt to upload the snap later. Would you mind sharing the location of where you took the pictures of the Half Collared and Mangrove Kingfishers?
  6. @kittykat23uk : Australia and Madagascar? OK why not. Australia: Possums (any kind) Platypus Musky Rat-Kangaroo Tasmanian Devil Koala Bear Madagascar: Indri Lemur Crowned Lemur Fossa Malagasy Civet Pigmy Hippo Oh and top 5 bird list would be awesome. Where am I going to get the time (and the money) to visit all these places to see all the things on what has now become a scarily long list of manimals I'd love to see in the wild?
  7. Interesting topic. I'd have to break my down my broad Geo regions: America's: Bison Wolf Lynx Jaguar Grizzly Bear Europe Wild Cat (Scotland) Red Squirrel Black Bear Badger Wolverine Africa: Pangolin Aardvark Brown Hyena Black Rhino Blue Duiker South East Asia Tiger Indian Rhino Orangutan again (have seen in the wild once, away from 'sanctuaries, near ) Gibbon (any kind) Sun Bear
  8. Hi Jayro, It is a long drive as mentioned by Sharifa. It is one that I have done before, but my behind wasn't best pleased with me. It is a full day in the car. Here is the link for the distances as per Sanparks. http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/get_there/KNP_distances_beween_camps.pdf If you are still to book camp and want to stay in the South and then head up to Olifants I'd rather stay at Skukuza. Yes it's a big camp, but it has a lot that works for ti. Good roads, close to Paul Kruger gate if you're tight for time in the Camp and the benefit also of the best stocked shop in Kruger if you forgot to get something en route.
  9. Regarding the game drives and the earlier comment regarding the age limit. The below is the exact wording as found in the website for the South African National Parks Website. I would be very surprised if the age one your kids is thus an issue. Note that children under the age of 6 are not permitted to take part in these activities for their own safety.
  10. Here is my 6 pence worth: Depending on your travel times to and from the airport to the camps I'd switch my camps around. The South of KNP is busier than the North due firstly to its proximity and accessibility for local day visitors, secondly for the sheer size of Skukuza rest camp and most importantly due to the good game (both general and big cats) that are often spotted. Be warned to expect long grass at this time of year throughout the park. Sightings might be a bit tricky even from a 4x4. Whilst Berg n Dal has it's charm I would recommend either Lower Sabie or Skukuza. Skukuza does have the spoil dinner option of going to the Salati Restaurant. All major or main camps have swimming-pools so fear not. Pretoriuskop as an option in the South must also be seriously considered. It has an amazing swimming-pool. Satara for me is one of the best camps in KNP due to the high density of Lions. There has been a lot written about the S100 in this area and night drives are hugely popular. Swingwedzi as a camp was badly damaged in the floods from a year ago and has recently re-opened. I believe the swimming-pool reconstruction hasn't been completed yet, but is imminent. This camp as Matt has mentioned has a very rustic charm to it. One I love, but sadly my wife isn't all that keen on. Pafuri or Punda Maria is a far drive and you'll find more birders in camp. The bird life in the North is well documented and the camps will be less busy. My favourite camps in all of Kruger in rank are: 1. Lower Sabie: Spectacular setting on the Sabie River, great sightings of both general game, very good selection of varied roads to do self drives on. This camp in my opinion also, in my opinion, has the best trained Rangers who make for very good game drives. They make the small things as interesting and important as the big things. Sunset Dam a few 100 metres from the camp gate also adds a unique dynamic. 2. Pretoriuskop: Oldest camp in Kruger with a magical setting. Very good swimming-pool with a rock step on the one side. Within easy reach from various entrance gates. Good game and variety of roads. 3. Satara: This camp just breath big cats and the atmosphere around the braai fire here is different to any other in KNP. It is well known that a honey badger and also and African Wild Cat regular roam the camp. So people sit on the veranda's after dinner and with cold drink in hand to see if they'll have any special visitors whilst they recall the day that was. Any spot you choose in Kruger is bound to have its own charm. So the biggest thing to remember is to switch the car radio, mobile phones and just enjoy the experience.
  11. Love the idea, but not sure I'd this in a wall to the actual house. Maybe if there is a boundary wall between properties. But then in the UK most urban fences are of wood.
  12. Travel insurance is often one of the overlooked costs when planning a trip. Even more so if you're visiting a place you are familiar with. My first question isn't what it covers, but what it doesn't cover. The car insurance mentioned above is also a good point to note. We had a punctured tyre when driving around in Kruger and that was easily repaired at Skukuza and 'free' due the additional cover taken out. In December we'll be making that same trip again and hopefully all goes well.
  13. Good question. I leave it to others to answers. Don't want to spoil their research. Please note that I've edited the very first post on this thread to include a few links to information that might be valuable when planning your trips. Things like gate and camp opening times, driving distances (from airports & also internally between camps); also a link to the SANPARKS website when wanting to book a trip or view what accommodation is available. Good luck with planning or refining your trips. Any question that helps you plan a trip is a good question. Best to do your homework unlike some of the Aussie cricketers.
  14. Here is a link with all the gate and camp opening and closing times. http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/get_there/gates.php The best thing you could do to plan your drives is to pick up a map book (A4 in size) with all the roads, rest camps and picnic spots clearly marked on them. I’m unsure of the current prize, but I’d be surprised if it costs more than R100. Study it a little and also ask the Game Rangers around camp or on drive and walks for suggested driving routes. Our R40 copy from 2008 is help together by sticky tape, but still does the trick. Ice does touch on a good point. We don’t tend to drive at 25km/h, but it does take that on average to complete the journey, provided that you don’t get stuck behind to many Elephant or Lion road blocks. Windows down and radio and music off does also bring the sounds of the bush in to the car. Often we’d here a few interesting things, like the call of a fish eagle in the distance to warm he heart. Try out the different driving options. Either awake real early, pack up all things and then start the journey to Satara or do the ICE option. My preference is to head out and keep going. Stop at Afsaal for a toilette break or to look for the resident Scops Owl or continue along your merry way. I do prefer a nice relaxing unpacking and also swim in the camp pool, before a last short drive of the day. Choose the option that bests suits you. I’m sure not everybody wants to awake at 5am like me and walk along the fence before the camp awakes.
  15. Hi Kavita, My countdown is for many days yet, until we visit Kruger next (Dec 2013). That drive from Berg n Dal to Satara is a long one, approx 165km or 6h35min according to the Sanparks website. I’d think if you see a few things it’ll take a bit longer. But one that still has a lot to offer. Hopefully Tshokwane is in good repair as it's a good half way point for a relaxed stop. Just have an eye open for the monkeys that have been known to pinch a morsel or two from an unwatched plate. If you fancy a breakfast wrap then you might be tempted to rub shoulders with the masses at the Skukuza tourist trap. But it does go down a treat. When driving from Satara to Bateleur I would suggest stopping at Letaba for a nibble and leg stretch. Not only does the restaurant overlook the Letaba river, but there is a decent shop to stock up on anything that you couldn’t get or forgot to purchase when at Satara. You can also refill on fuel. The best part is the Elephant Museum which is a must see. Babalala picnic spot which is just North of Shingwedzi on the main road is a firm favourite. The setting is very simple, yet effective with a big tree in the middle of pic nic spot and open grasslands around. But it migiht be a bit out of the way depending on the routes you decide to drive. You can normally only check in at about 2pm, so there is need to rush between camps. I would second Ice that you should look at doing an activity or two. Satara is a place we tend to do a night drive with Civet, Genet and other animals often spotted. It’s a good way to spend 2hours in the dark searching for the elusive cats and other creatures. On our last visit we were very fortunate to see a Serval. Satara is Lion country so let’s hope you see plenty of them and also the Majestic and secretive Leopard. Above all I’m jealous and I’d say just enjoy the moment. I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic trip.

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