Kruger Park Big Five In One Hour

by Wayne Barnes
(Pretoria, South Africa)

Leopard in the Kruger Park

Leopard in the Kruger Park

400m into the Kruger National Park, we spot a male leopard relaxing in a Marula tree right next to the road. It all started when my 4 clients from Sydney were delayed somewhere in the world and only arrived at 12:30 at O.R Thambo airport in Johannesberg.

We finally manage to leave the city of gold by 13:00 and get to Malane Gate at 17:00.

Thankfully we staying at Berg N Dal Rest camp, only 12km away from the gate, and the reason I say thankfully is because we only have until 18:00 to get to the camp before the gates close.

It was at this point that we spotted the leopard lazing in the tree. We spent a few minutes with him before we continue our drive to the restcamp.

Then, as we turn onto the Berg N Dal main road, 9km to camp, we found a fully grown male lion lying in the middle of the road. My four Australian clients must have thought that the Kruger National Park was a zoo.

While my clients were looking at the lion and waiting for him to move off the road, I scanned the area and in the distance found 2 white rhino, a baby and mother. The reason I knew they were white rhino is because the baby walked in front of the mother. This is one of the differences between a white and black rhino.

We were getting pushed for time as the gates were going to be closing soon. Thankfully Mafasa the lion, moved off the road and walked into the distance.

Unexpectedly, we saw a breeding herd of elephants crossing only 2km further down the road. We watched as the elephants gracefully made their way across the tarmac. With Berg N Dal in sight, I started to relax as I knew we would not be getting a fine at the gate.

At 17:55, 1km from Berg N Dal restcamp we found the last of the big 5 as four dagga boys (old male Cape buffalo) were standing right next to the road. We had only 5 min to watch these old males find refuge for the long night ahead.

With-in 12km and 1 hour, my clients and I got to see the Big 5 living in their natural habitat, a truly unique and amazing experience, even for those who visit the Kruger National Park on a regular basis.

The following day lived up to the previous, with an amazing cheetah sighting as well a single wild dog only a few kilometers from Skukuza.

This just goes to show that the Kruger National Park is still one of the best nature reserves in Southern Africa.

Wayne Barnes Safari Details:

Safari company used: Southern Eagle Travel & Tours (make an enquiry)

Parks visited: Kruger National Park - Berg N Dal restcamp in South Africa

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  • Comments for Kruger Park Big Five In One Hour

    Click here to add your own comments

    Jul 30, 2008
    Big 5 in 26minutes
    by: Johann

    Hey there, Kruger is the place to be at!

    I normally just stay at Berg en Dal.

    We had the same experience happen to us. We went for a late afternoon drive round about 17:05 and just after leaving the camp I spotted about 35 elephants with calf's.

    After that we moved on and just beyond the next bend we saw hundreds of dagga boys and girls with their calf's.

    We watched them for 6 minutes after which I saw something moving and it was 9 lions which caught a very big dagga boy (Buffalo) and out of nowhere 3 lion cubs appeared.

    Hoping to see rhino and leopard, we saw just on our way to the Malelane Camp 3 white rhino with 1 calf.

    It went thought my mind, will I see leopard?

    Every body in the kombi said no, and I said you will see. Just 200m from the rhinos were a big herd of Impala, and they were making this weird sounds like dogs barking. And out of no were a female leopard with her tail in the air walk though the big Impala herd.

    That was my best day in Kruger. And I'm glad I got every thing on film.

    Kruger Lover

    Jul 30, 2008
    by: Bruce

    Wow, what a fantastic experience Johann. Let me know the next time you go to Kruger so that I can drive behind you. Berg and Dal seems to be a very good area for sightings. Would love to see those pictures you took...

    Oct 14, 2008
    You're lucky
    by: Elizabeth

    Hi you are very lucky. I never see leopard but I do see lion cubs and other animals but never leopard.

    Nov 15, 2009
    big 5 on one drive
    by: Anonymous

    When i wanted to go out and drive no one wanted to go with me because we saw nothing that morning
    and they were watching tv, but my dad said fine.

    We went in at Paul Kruger gate and on the bridge we saw a herd of buffalo, then when we went in we saw a huge traffic jam and we counted 30 cars. They were looking at a leopard but it went away so we didn't see it.

    We went to Skukuza to fill up with petrol and then went on to the Doispan road because we saw a kill there the day before. On this occasion we saw a magnificent white rhino with her calf, then we drove on and we saw a herd of elephants crossing the road. We carried on to the water hole at the end of the road and saw a huge male lion just walking along.

    Now the gates were about to close and we got lost and we didn't know where we were going and we were driving fast. I was counting down and as it was time for the gates to close my dad slams on brakes and there it was in the road - a leopard.

    But sadly we could watch it only for a few seconds becuase we had to go and when we got back to the hotel they didnt believe us that we saw THE BIG 5 in one afternoon.

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