Although the game concentration in the south-western part of Kruger Park is relatively low, the irony is that if you visited the area 100 years ago, you would have seen far less game than there is today. Most of the wildlife here had been poached by the late 1800s, because of hunters. The loss of indigenous wildlife forced President Paul Kruger to proclaim the Sabie Game Reserve in 1898.
Instead of searching for the wildlife in the south-western region of the mountain region, you should take note of the lowveld itself. Labelled as the Malelane Mountain Bushveld, the building blocks of this ecosystem are granite and gneiss.
Granite does not erode so easily, and there is a lot of stony soil and fertile clay soil in the valleys and drainage lines. These types of conditions are better for trees rather than grass, and due to granite not having a very mineral rich base; the existent grass does not have the same nutritious value as that found in the basalt region.
From a game viewing viewpoint you are more likely to see browsers like Kudu, Giraffe or Duiker in the Malelane area. The dense vegetation also makes game viewing difficult, and, if your expectations for seeing animals are not very high, you may be pleasantly surprised. There have been some good sightings of the Big Five.
Malelane to Afsaal (H3):
The Malelane to Afsaal Road (H3), like the Crocodile Bridge Road to Lower Sabie (H4-2) is a main access point into Kruger Park and the traffic can be rather heavy during weekends and holidays (vacatation periods).
When you travel in a northern direction, the bush get slim and the chance of seeing wildlife is greater. Rhenoster Pan is a nice spot to stop and see wildlife. Rhino, Kudu, Giraffe and Impala and small herds of Elephant can sometimes be seen drinking here.
Afsaal was a camp site used by 19th century transport riders. Today it is a picnic spot with a restaurant and store for you to purchase refreshments. There is an old wagon at Afsaal with a likeness to those used by the transport riders.
You will also see a giant Jackalberry tree growing out of what used to be a termite mound at the site, and a tame colony of Dwarf Mongoose. The area around Afsaal can be described as the wildlife crossroads of the southern central Park. The area between Afsaal and Biyamiti has great ecological interest and a lot of wildlife.
Among the unusual animals to look out for here are Lichtenstein's hartebeest, the southern Reedbuck and Caracal. From Afsaal, there is a route to the Old Voortrekker Road (H2-2) towards Pretoriuskop, which ends up into the granite foothills past Ship Mountain.
More Game Viewing Routes