We were thinking about it the other day, and the truth is we’re daydreamers by nature… it must be all this fresh air in the Kruger National Park. To tell you the truth, we often find our minds wondering back to fond memories of game drives where we were able to find the Big 5 and more; and dinners with guests where you could hear nothing but laughter – you know the kind we’re talking about, right? That laughter where you laugh so hard that you start crying and your stomach hurts, and you’re pretty sure you won’t have to do anymore ab crunches ever again, after that.
One thing that never gets old though, is the delight we get to see on a guest’s face when they check the Big 5 off of their must-see list or the look of sheer awe and amazement when it’s quiet and peaceful on a morning game drive on one of our Kruger camping safaris and our guests get the chance to take in the beauty of their surroundings.
It’s also why dinner with Kruger Wildlife Safaris is such a memorable affair – guests get to share the days happenings, what their favourite moment of the sighting was etc. The truth is, we really do appreciate it when guests come hungry (figuratively, of course) for an adventure, eager and ready to learn and willing to try something new, even if it scares them. In our experience, those kinds of memories make for the best stories later on in life.
It was tough to narrow it down, but we’ve managed to come up with at least five really special sightings that we’ve experienced. Now we know what you might be thinking after you check out our list – there are no kills here! While we have seen a few on our Kruger camping safaris, and they are intriguing to watch (to a certain degree, of course), we wanted to share those sightings with you that weren’t necessarily dramatic, but just made us smile and appreciate the wonder of wildlife and how, sometimes, the simplest sighting can be memorable and allow you to appreciate the beauty of the bush even more.
Yes, these sightings were memorable because we got the chance to truly appreciate seeing these majestic and mighty animals in all their glory and in a way that most people often overlook or take for granted.
We’ve also decided to share some of the footage that we took of one of those sightings while on a Kruger Park safari (a photo just wouldn’t do it justice). Enjoy!
So… how interesting can a zebra sighting really be? Well let’s just say that these striped creatures are really underrated.
On one of our recent Kruger Park game drives, we got to sit at a sighting and truly appreciate watching them as they grazed and flicked their tails from left to right, swatting away the flies in the heat. Not only did this zeal of zebras look completely at peace, one of them spotted us, stared us down for a few minutes and then decided to show us an example of dust bathing, whereby he rolled around in the dirt for a few minutes.
It was enthralling, just watching them behave so naturally and playfully, not to mention funny – he almost looked like he was playing dead when he was fully on his back with all four legs in the air.
This zebra sighting occurred on a camping safari in the Kruger National Park… an awesome and unique experience. Photo Credit: Kruger Wildlife Safaris
One of our guides used to tell us that buffalo always look at you like you owe them money, which we found to be hilariously true. They definitely know how to glare at you with the coldest of expressions.
However, at this sighting, one buffalo decided that she was going to be the centre of attention. While filming the herd on one of our Kruger camping safaris, the buffalo walked into view of the camera and actually looked like she was striking a pose, moving her head from centre, to left and back to the centre again.
It got even funnier when we panned the camera to get a shot of the rest of the herd, and she walked forward, placing herself (again!) at the centre of the shot. By the end of it, one thing was for sure, this buffalo definitely knew how to draw the attention of HER audience!
Elephants are a treat to spot on a safari in South Africa! Better still, how does spotting a whole herd of them sound? Sitting at a watering hole in the Kruger National Park recently, we got to watch an entire herd approach the water source, replenish themselves, and play around in the water.
With nothing but the sounds of the Kruger Park’s birdlife in the background and the splashing of trunks hitting the water, it was mesmerising just watching the elephants interact with each other, completely free to be themselves.
One of our guests on the Kruger safari even exclaimed, “This is what I came to Africa for!”
Leopard sightings are really special, so it can be disappointing when you feel like you’ve just missed one. While out on a game drive on a Kruger camping safari, we’d heard that there was a leopard walking about, and not too far from where we were at the time.
As you can imagine, both Kruger Wildlife Safaris’ guests and guides were eager to try and spot the leopard. By the time we’d gotten there though, it seemed like our chance had come and gone, as the vehicles started leaving the place where the initial sighting occurred.
Hopeful, we sat there for a little while, waiting to see if she’d come back. Believe it or not, she did! The leopard did one more walk around the area before disappearing into the bush. We would later discover that the leopard was in fact, Tsakani. Her mother, Kwatile was an established leopard in the Sabi Sands area. A special sighting indeed!
Tip: Leopards are elusive but definitely one of the most prized sightings on our Kruger safaris. Like most cats, they’re usually active in the early morning and late afternoon. While there are no set rules when it comes to a sighting, always be sure to check riverbeds and the dense areas around it while on a game drive – it’s common to spot leopards there.
No matter how many times you embark on a game drive, the moment you leave the camp gates, your heart is already aflutter as you await your first sighting.
For our guests, the moment they left Pretoriuskop on a game drive a few months ago, they came across a gorgeous lioness, strolling down the road. She was as clear to see (and photograph!) as day – a genuinely memorable sighting for our guests on our Kruger camping safari.
And that’s our list – our memorable sightings list anyway.
Another question that we get asked fairly often (and one that comes up even before our guests have arrived in South Africa) is ‘What’s the accommodation like on our Kruger camping safaris?’
When your hear camping, we’re pretty sure that you would most likely picture those old-school one (maybe two) man tents where you sprawl your camping bags out onto the floor of the tent – side-by-side – and are left with very little room to move about.
When the occasion calls for it, that kind of camping is still pretty cool. But when you embark on your first (second or even third!) safari in the Kruger National Park – we believe that comfort is key, and that your accommodation experience should be as unique as the game drives themselves.
That’s perhaps why we use Meru tents (in other words, not your average tents) on our Kruger camping safaris. There’s enough room to move around inside them, even stand! And they can hold two single beds, plus a nightstand/bedside table that doubles as a charging station for your phone, a light for the room and a fan to keep you cool in the blissfully warm Kruger weather (wait, that’s five things).
Between us, our camping safaris are actually pretty popular and give guests a chance to enjoy a simple stay in the park. We’re also all about authentic experiences, ensuring that what you pay for is what you get.
As you may or may not already know, all of our Kruger camping safaris currently take place at Pretoriuskop camp, as we have our own campsite there, approximately 9 km from Numbi Gate. The camp itself has a truly interesting story. It’s located within naturally-formed granite outcrops and is, in fact, the oldest rest camp in the Kruger National Park as it was the first one to be opened to the public.
The vegetation is truly lush and beautiful and varies quite a bit. Without telling you too much (and spoiling the excitement, as a result), you’ll find thick grassland, woodland and, hopefully, be able to see Shabeni Hill – a granite dome – up close and personal. This, of course, depends on the route your guide decides to take on your Kruger Park game drives.
It’s also a great choice for couples or families as there’s a big, blue and beautiful swimming pool for you to enjoy. Other facilities at the camp include an extensive curio shop, with lots of Kruger-embellished goodies to buy as well as any food or drink items that you might need during one of your Kruger camping safaris, and a restaurant. The cellphone reception is also really good at the camp, as long as you have a SIM card from one of the local network providers. In our experience, Vodacom has the best coverage in the park.
No matter how you look at it, a lot of one’s perceptions of the African bush has been shaped by movies. Let’s be honest, that image of the sun rising in a blaze of yellow and orange at the beginning of the Lion King is iconic, and we can’t help but look for that sunrise when on safari.
The great news is that a real-life African sunrise is even more beautiful! While perhaps not as dual-toned as that movie one, sunrises on our Kruger camping safaris are super colourful – bursting into shades of pink, blue and orange as the sun lights up the bush. Add to that the green foliage of the bush and it’s honestly the most picturesque picture you’ve ever seen! (While it’s not a wildlife sighting, it’s still definitely worth a mention…)
Like we always say though, it’s something that you have to experience for yourself.
And remember, if there’s anything else you’d like to know or if you’d like a little travel advice (you can never have too much information), the team at Kruger Wildlife Safaris is always happy to assist!
If you’re planning on embarking on a camping safari in the Kruger and you’d like to know what you can expect there, why not follow us on Facebook and Instagram? We typically post photos of wildlife sightings that our guests and guides have seen as well as some of our fondest memories on our Kruger camping safaris.
Tip: Binoculars are a must on safari! They’re a big help when trying to spot the Kruger’s birdlife too. Oh, and don’t forget to consciously make an effort to savour each moment on your safari experience. It’s usually those unexpected moments that make your safari an amazing and memorable one.
I went on Safari with Outlook Safaris in June last year on part of a year out. Everything about the company was perfect, even before booking everything was very well taken care of. When I initially emailed with questions I was replied to very quickly and all the information I received was very useful,Robert was very patient with me. The drivers who picked me up in Jo’Burg were very friendly and professional and made the journey up to the Kruger Park very pleasant.I stayed in the most basic accommodation provided but it had all I needed including a fan and heater because the temperature varied so much. The Skukuza Park is stunning, with beautiful birds, baboons all wandering around. The game drives were amazing.
I just want to say that this was one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had. From the moment I first arrived until the sad last day I had to leave was amazing. Moss driving our group to Kruger National Park that first morning. Not sure if it was the early hour, but everyone was quiet and either looking out of the window, listening to their ipod, or getting some more sleep. I wasn’t sure what to expect. After our first stop for gas and snack some conversations started. By the end of the trip, I really missed seeing everyone every day and sharing those wonderful memories. I had such a good time building friendships and sharing laughs. I think I enjoyed making those new friends as much as seeing all of those wonderful animals in their own environment.
Both my husband and myself have traveled extensively and have had unquestionably one of the best experiences of our lives with Outlook Safaris. The first safari we took was the Classic 7 Day Kruger Park Safari, and this January/February we enjoyed the 5 Day Explorer Safari. Both safaris were wonderful and we were able to see many of the “harder to find” animals. The staff is enthusiastic about their jobs and it shows.Their excitement is only outdone by their knowledge of the bush.I would recommend also an overnight at Outlook Lodge on your return to Johannesburg where Chef and Manager Francois will pamper you with wonderful meals. The downy beds and intimate surroundings are refreshing after a soujourn in the bush. All in all, an experience never to be missed.
– Mary & Jim
An incredible company. Debbie the guide and also game driver has a wealth of knowledge and passion for the wilderness like no other. Being a single female traveller, I felt completely safe. All the staff are friendly, the meals delicious and the experience is second to none! The game drive vehicles are large enough to feel safe but small enough to have an intimate experience with the animals.
– Laura M