Explore the Skukuza Area of Kruger Park

Leopard with Kill. Heinrich van den Berg
Picture Gallery

The Sabie River bush between Skukuza and Lower Sabie has one of the highest concentrations of leopard in the world. These elegant cats are not easy to see because they hunt mostly by night and spend the day lying low. Leopards will eat just about anything from insects and snakes to medium-sized antelope, but seem to prefer prey less than 80kg in weight.

Above: Leopard with Kill. Photo: Heinrich van den Berg

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.

Green PigeonIn the Skukuza area watch for:
Thick-tailed bushbaby
White rhino

Purple-crested turaco
African green-pigeon
African fish-eagle
Black cuckoo-shrike

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.

Bushbuck. Marleen PostHabitat Pointers

Thorn thicketsalong the Sabie River valley

Mixed woodlands with granite koppies south of Skukuza

Established riverine forest along the Sabie River banks

Mixed marula, bushwillow and acacia woodlands between Skukuza and Tshokwane

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.

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The Prey. Chip SnaddonLeopard 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.

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