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Travel Guide > Africa > South Africa > Kruger National Park > Getting around

Tips For Watching Wildlife

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Top 10 Kruger Wildlife Watching Tips


  1. In the dry season target your attention on water points in the park - the rivers, seeps, dams and waterholes that become a magnet for Kruger’s wildlife at this time of year. Even if you don’t get a glimpse of one of the Big Five you’re guaranteed to see plenty of general game and bird life.
  2. Plan game drives carefully for the best results. A series of short drives is less tiring than being out in the park all day. It’s generally not a good idea to spend ages combing the reserve’s roads in the middle of the day when most of the animals will be snoozing in the shade. Instead concentrate your efforts at the start and end of the day when its cooler and the game is much more active. You’re much more likely to see predators and nocturnal creatures at dusk and dawn when the quantity and quality of your sightings should increase.
  3. Go on a night drive. There’s a whole array of amazing nocturnal animals in the park that you’d be extremely lucky to encounter in the daytime and it’s really exciting to experience the reserve and its animals in the dark when everyone else is tucked up in their camp.
  4. Pack a good pair of binoculars so you can enjoy the amazing birdlife and any exciting action that happens out of eyeshot. A torch is an essential piece of kit too, for the smaller nocturnal animals and owls you can enjoy in the evening within the confines of your camp.
  5. It’s also a good idea to have a mammal identification guidebook and a bird book in the vehicle with you on drives so you can ID what you see. You can pick these up in the park shops if you haven’t time to organise them before arrival, but they will help enrich your safari experience.
  6. Another great way to get the best from your visit is to go out with a trained guide on a bush walk. You can book these at your rest camp. You may not encounter much in the way of big game species, but you’ll learn lots about the signs they leave behind, their characteristic behaviour, and lots about the park’s diverse flora too.
  7. If possible organise your visit so you stay in a range of rest camps in different areas of this vast reserve as different habitats within the park support a different cast of animals and birds. You’ll experience different landscapes and vegetation too.
  8. Look through the bush rather than at it and you’ll soon start to recognise the outline of Kruger’s animals as you slowly and quietly go about your game drive. Listen out too for the alarm calls of birds and antelope – it may just mean there’s a predator on the prowl.
  9. Lion sightings attract the crowds and can cause traffic build-ups in the park. It’s astonishing how many people will sit for ages watching a sleeping lion hidden from view in the long grass. Our advice is to drive on by these sightings and find something more worthwhile to watch. It may not be a top predator, but an active antelope is more engaging than a comatose cat.
  10. Be an ethical wildlife watcher and observe the park’s rules that are printed on your permit. Don’t do anything that will disturb, stress out or cause an animal harm.  If you spot other tourists behaving badly report them when you return to your camp.

Type: Tip
Location: Kruger National Park, South Africa

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