28 September 2010 by Kate Turkington

Kate’s Kruger Park Picks

If you’ve got the kids with you, then Berg-en-Dal is tops. It has well equipped cottages in landscaped bushveld, a pool, a shop, wildlife videos in the early evening, and a perimeter fence which the children can circuit on their own and watch buffalo, elephants, bushbuck and maybe even a predator coming down to the adjacent dam to drink. White rhino, wild dogs and leopards inhabit the surrounding areas.

Skukuza is like a small, busy town, although if you hit it off season it’s worth a quick visit to stroll down to the river and spot hippos, crocs, and sometimes a snoozing lion on the banks.

Further north, Olifants has the most dramatic siting of all Kruger camps. You can sit high on a thatch-sheltered terrace on a rocky ridge gazing at the elephants drinking and bathing way down below.

If you’ve time, go far north to Sirheni, my favourite bushveld camp. It’s a long drive from Johannesburg up to the Pafuri Gate but well worth it. (Or fly into Phalaborwa and pick up a van there.) The chalets all face perennial water (watch out for the resident leopard) and the bird life is fantastic.

Punda Maria, also in the far north offers the best bush experience of all the major rest camps and is definitely Kruger’s best birding camp. Check out the tiny stone birdbath by the braii area, because all sorts of very special birds visit daily. Go early and sit and watch.

From Punda take a day’s trip to Pafuri picnic site. You may well spot Narina trogons, a Pel’s fishing owl, a crowned eagle (I’ve spotted them all here ) but be on guard against the resident vervet monkeys which will hi-jack your picnic in the wink of an eye.

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