The roads best travelled...
If you plan to drive yourself around the Kruger National Park (one of the most exciting trips you’ll ever do), here are some of my own personal best roads and routes for really fantastic game spotting – learned over the course of 40 years of driving in the park.
I’ve seen leopards at noon ambling along a roadside, and a cheetah and cubs sitting plumb in the middle of the road.
As you know, there’s no guarantee of seeing anything in the bush, except that in the Kruger, your chances of spotting probably the best game in the world are sky high.
Skukuza is the biggest camp in the park, and not to everybody’s taste because it is always so busy. But let’s face it, it sits in an area teeming with game. If you drive the H4-1 from Skukuza to Satara, you may well spot the Big Five and much, much more.
It’s also a famous ‘leopard’ road, as is the S52 ‘Red Rocks loop’ that follows the northern and southern banks of the Shingwedzi River, and the 22km S110 Majulu loop round Berg-en-Dal.
Lions are everywhere in the park, but the H1-3, Skukuza to Satara, H4-2 Crocodile Bridge road, and H4-1 nearly always have good sightings.
Look for cheetahs on the S28 Nhlowa road (near Crocodile Bridge), and on the H-7 Orpen to Satara, and wild dogs on the S1 Doispane road (Phabeni to Skukuza).
Although other old bush hands claim that leaving your camp gates at first light as soon as they open gives you the best opportunity of spotting game (and it can be true), I’ve seen leopards at noon ambling along a roadside; a cheetah and cubs sitting plumb in the middle of the road in the middle of the morning 100m from the Orpen gate; and a pack of wild dogs chasing down a steenbok in the pouring rain.
Buy your map at the gate and get ready, get set, and go...