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The Best Roads To See Kruger National Park Animals

It’s huge, seriously huge. We are talking 19,000 km² (7,336 mi²) of wilderness and to top it off, most of the animals in Kruger National Park are habitat-specific and are only found in certain areas, sometimes at certain times of the year. Let’s face it, we all need a little help finding them.

Well, look no further because you are in luck! Moriti run Kruger Park tours year-round and so we stay in touch and in tune with what our furry friends are up to. We get a lot of requests for info on the best places to look for animals and so we decided to set up an annual guide as to where to find the animals in Kruger National Park. The road names run from south to north as the southern part of Kruger is much busier.

The Best Lion Routes

  • H1-1 – This road runs from Numbi Gate (close to Pretoriuskop) all the way through to Skukuza and is 55km long. This route can be quiet but we have had some amazing lion sightings on this road, especially near Transport Dam.
  • S3 – This road runs from an intersection 4km from Phabeni Gate on the left for 29km until you reach the H11 just after Paul Kruger Gate. However, the last 5km of this route can be an absolute winner when it comes to lion sightings. Keep your eyes open, especially in the early to mid-morning.
  • S65 – 13km dirt road between the H1-1 Pretoriuskop/Skukuza road and the S1 Doispane road between Phabeni Gate and Skukuza. This road produced some great lion pride sightings, especially early morning and late afternoon hunts.
  • S114 – This road runs from just off the H1-1 (close to Skukuza) for 52km until it reaches the H3 main road 4km from Malelane Gate. What can we say, with the many dams and tributaries that are found along this route as well as the prey species, you would be a very silly lion if you didn’t find a place in the shade on this road. We have had many mornings game drives on this road where we’ve seen two different sightings.
  • H3 – This road runs from just off the H1-1 (close to Skukuza) all the way to Malelane Gate… Also, seen two sometimes three prides in a mornings drive, especially during the off-season when the roads are a bit quieter.
  • S118 – This 8km road found off the H3 close to Malelane Gate seems to have become a restaurant. The menu consists of buffalo and the patrons, you guessed it, lion! Maybe it is just us, but we see more buffalo kills on this road than anywhere else. The seasonal Mlambane drainage line runs along this road and the lions seem to use this as an ambush point. Go check it out.
  • S25 – This 43km dirt road starts 2km north of Croc Bridge and meanders along the river all the way to the S114, some 11km from Malelane Gate. What a treat this road can be, at the time of writing this review we often see a large pride hanging around the Hippo Pools turn off. There are lodges and a golf course on the other side of the river which can be unsightly, but the animals are used to it and it does not seem to bother them.
  • H4-2 – I’ve often heard people say, if you want to see a lion, stick to the H4-1 from Skukuza to Lower Sabie. They have a point, but the H4-2 running 34km from Croc Bridge to Lower Sabie is a serious lion road as well. The number of game species around here is awesome, which in turn makes the number of lions in the area all the sweeter. Again, best driven on the off-season.
  • H4-1 – Had to mention it, it’s still a cracker of a road for lions. Runs for 42km from Skukuza to Lower Sabie and is a guides go-to road. Beware though, during peak season this road can be unbearable, but for good reason, as it showcases so many of Kruger Parks animals on one long road.
  • S28 – This road runs off the H4-2 (close to Crocodile Bridge) for about 24km until it reaches the H4-2 again. The first 7km from the Lower Sabie side is just crazy! This is Moriti’s go slow road. If sightings are bad, hit this route and turn off onto the S137. Trust us!
  • S100 – Many old Kruger hats will say, if you’re a lion person, go to Satara and drive on the S100 all day. Sounds a bit crazy, but they have a point. Every time we have been on this road, we see the lion. In fact, a mega pride of about 20-30 lions hang around this area and just destroys the wildebeest population. Don’t argue with the old Kruger die-hards people! The road runs for 19km from the H1-3, just south of Satara until the S41.
  • S39 – This road runs for 60km from the H7 (between Orpen Gate and Satara) to the H1-4 and traverses through some of the best areas in the park to see lions. It’s the perfect morning route as you can stop just over halfway for a breakfast at Timbavati Picnic Site
  • S50 – This beautiful road runs along the Shingwedzi River past the Kanniedood Dam and is probably the norths equivalent to the H4-1. In my opinion, do not go more than 21kms along this road as from that mark it pairs away from the river and sightings become rather tough unless you are looking for rare antelope species that is.

Pro Tip: if you see any anti-poaching activity on the S3 or S25, do not drive on it. The activity and courageous rangers that often patrol on foot can disturb the animals. Just wave, say thanks and move on

The Best Leopard Routes

  • S1 – this road runs from Phabeni Gate for 29km until it reaches the H11 main road. One of my favourite roads, I know of three females and one male leopard that frequent this road very often! The first 6km from Phabeni and the first 4km from the H11 are the areas you need to scan.
  • H11 – the first 8km of this road from Paul Kruger is leopard ally, no jokes, guides actually call it that.
  • S65 – As with lions, this road produces plenty of leopard sightings and kills.
  • S114 – Same with the lions, this road runs through absolute prime leopard territory. The Biyamiti Weir area is a good place to look, we know of a big male that loves this area and we see him often in the late afternoon.
  • S110 – this 22km road looping around Berg En Dal is very well-known for great leopard sightings due to the terrain.
  • H3 – It’s 64km long and runs from Malelane Gate to Skukuza and honestly, there are great leopard sightings on this road every day.
  • S28 – Again, our go slow road! We know of three different leopards in the 8km stretch we touched on above. Found 5km south of Lower Sabie.
  • S137 – This road runs off the S28 for 8km until it reaches the S130. Another prime route, we often see a leopard at Dukes Waterhole.
  • H4-1 – The famous Skukuza/Lower Sabie road. It’s busy, but damn, it’s good!
  • H7 – This road runs for 44km from Orpen Gate to the H1-3. Every time we stay close to this road, especially at Tamboti Tented Camp, we have amazing leopard sightings.
  • S51 – This is an 8km ring road around the H-9 main road from Phalaborwa Gate to Letaba. Every day, this road produces leopard sightings, it’s great!
  • H1-6 – From the start of the S48 Tsendze Loop all the way to Mopani Camp (30km). We have been surprised by the leopard sightings in this area. Don’t look past the 17km Tsendze Loop either, it runs along its namesake’s river and is also a stinger for these elusive kitties.
  • H13-1 – This 21km road is often overlooked unless of course, you are staying at Punda Maria. However, maybe it’s lady luck, but we have seen a few leopards in the Mopane Tree plains that surround this road. Drive slowly, you may find one chilling in a tree.

The Best Cheetah Routes

  • S1 – Again, like the leopard, the entire 29km route is great for cheetah sightings.
  • H3 – This 64km road runs from Malelane Gate to Skukuza and this whole route is a great road for cheetah sightings.
  • S28 – Down south, this is cheetah hunting territory and they can be spotted on the entire 24km route.
  • S137 – Go slow road, what can I say.
  • H10 – This 42km road is beautiful and will offer great cheetah sightings and on a good day there are awesome lion sightings here as well.
  • H7 – This road is probably the best road in Kruger to see cheetah due to the open plains. Many kills have been photographed here, love it!
  • S100 – You would think that a road that produces so many lion sightings would not be good for cheetahs, but alas, you see them
  • H1-4 – This 39km road moves north from Satara to the H1-5 south of Olifants. Open plains and lots of game equals cheetah (sorry, that didn’t rhyme).

Pro Tip: During the wet months (November to March), drive slower and take your time. The bush is thicker at this time of year and you will need to look keep your eyes peeled

Best Wild Dog Routes

  • S1 – We have had some great late afternoon sightings on this route, especially close to the H11.
  • S7 – This road has produced some amazing sightings of wild dogs. Shaun our owner remembers tracking dogs for three hours around this area until he picked them up here. This road can be found running just off the S3, 14km south of Phabeni Gate for 6km until the H1-1 tar road.
  • S10 – this is a short loop of 2km that loops around the S7. The dogs often den here during the breeding season and sightings are often magnificent.
  • H4-1 – This famous route often produces short, but worthwhile sightings of these endangered beauties.
  • H4-2 – They often hunt along this road and sightings can be fleeting, but quite common.
  • S114 – The first 7km of this road from the Skukuza side is prime.
  • S110 – There is a den site in this area as well which makes sightings all that more amazing.
  • H7 – We have seen large wild dog packs on this road. Again, as with the H4-1, it’s a busy route so the sightings are sometimes a little short.
  • H-9 – In recent years, this 50km route has started producing great sightings, especially around the Phalaborwa Gate area.
  • S99 – This 25km ring road around Punda Maria is very well-known for very relaxed wild dog sightings and is worthwhile spending some time on.
  • H13-1 – The first 5km from Punda Maria Gate can produce some amazing early morning/late afternoon sightings.

Best Camps For Game Viewing

We would list all the camps as they all have their own ‘feeling’ and charm and they all have very similar accommodation, but to prevent your eyes from falling out, here they are ending with our favourite. If you are planning to visit Kruger, make sure you know the best time of year to visit Kruger so you can get the most out of your stay.

Skukuza – Kruger’s HQ and conveniently located, this camp has everything you need. It can be very busy both with people and traffic, but every route out of this camp is awesome. This is the camp we use for safaris due to its logistical location and the fact that it has the best restaurant in Kruger.

Lower Sabie – easily the best camp to use if you’re hunting for the Big 5! The beautiful location on the river plus the massive grassy lawns makes this a very popular camp, which in turn makes it rather busy during the high season.

Tamboti Tented Camp – a small satellite camp to Orpen, this place is so wild even game rangers are scared at night! Leopard, porcupine, civets, bush babies you name it are seen at night all the time. It is inexpensive and if you don’t mind sharing facilities, a top camp.

Mopane – Shame, this camp gets forgotten about often, but is a beautiful camp! The chalets are face-brink, very different to the normal chalets and the scenery instils peace in one’s soul.

Shingwedzi – Due to its location up north it is quiet, but don’t let it fool you! It is in the best area in northern Kruger to see lions, leopards, elephants and buffalo!

All The Bush Camps – we could not leave them out, our most favourite places to stay due to the locations and peace!
However, our favourite camp is:

Biyamiti Bush Camp – I cannot tell you how much we love this camp. Situated on the Biyamiti River, the 15 secluded chalets are very private making the park seem peaceful even in high season. The game in the area is prolific, every road has something on it and the road that the camp is situated on, the S139 is the best Kruger Park sightings road for spotting the elusive black rhino. Ah, we love it!

We waited patiently for you to read up until this point, now we have to sell you something… Our 5 day Kruger tour is the perfect way to explore most of the roads and camps above with a guide pointing out Kruger’s amazing animals

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