game Viewing in Skukuza and Surrounds
About the Area
The Skukuza area is dominated by the Sabie and Sand river systems, which support an abundance of wildlife. Because the Sabie usually flows all year round it is the most dependable source of water for the animals of southern Kruger. The area consists mostly of acacia thorn thickets along the lower contours of the landscape, and mixed marula, knob-thorn and bushwillow woodlands on the upper slopes.
Map to Skukuza
In summer the lush vegetation can get very thick, and game spotting can be difficult. Some of the finest riverine forest in Kruger is to be found along the banks of the Sabie, which has a high leopard population. The riverine bush to the west of Skukuza – in the Tinga concession – is much thicker than the bush along the river to the east.
Bushbuck and even nyala are found in the thicker bush. The Sabie and Sand River loops to the east of Skukuza camp are among the best places for seeing lion and hyaena in Kruger. Buffalo and elephant are regularly seen from the camp itself. South of Skukuza there are a series of granite inselbergs stretching across the veld.
Look out for klipspringer on these rocks and rhino and giraffe in the surrounding woodlands. The area is excellent for bird-watching, particularly in Skukuza camp (beneath the large trees along the river walkway), the nearby Lake Panic bird hide and Skukuza nursery.
Best Drive around Skukuza
Skukuza to Lower Sabie: Drive slowly along the Sabie River which is prime lion and leopard territory, stop off for a meal at Nkuhlu and bird-watching at Sunset Dam.
The drive includes riverine bush, thorn thickets and open grassland. This road has a wide variety of animals that are constantly coming to the river to drink.
Allow for three-and-a-half hours, including stops.
Recommended Luxury Safari Lodges
Leopard and Prey:
In Kruger the leopard’s most consistent prey is the impala.
Kruger mammal writer Heike Schutze believes that leopards prefer bushbuck, reedbuck and waterbuck over impala.
It’s no coincidence that these are the buck that occupy the same riverine bush habitat as the leopard does.