The Best Roads To See Kruger National Park Animals
Kruger National Park is a pretty massive game reserve… Imagine trying to find animals in a 4-million acre wilderness. On top of that, these animals move around and prefer different habitats too.
Here is a free guide to the best roads to find these animals in Kruger. Let me know how you go, I would love to know what you saw!
In this post, you will learn:
The Best Viewing Routes
- H1-1 – This road runs from Numbi Gate all the way through to Skukuza and is 55km long! This route can be quiet, but I have had some amazing lion sightings on this road, especially at Transport Dam.
- 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!
- S114 – This road runs from just off the H1-1 for 52km until it reaches the H3 main road 4km from Malelane Gate. What can I say, with the many dams and tributaries that are found along this route as well as the prey species, you would be a very stupid 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 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
- S25 – This 43km road which 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!
- H4-2 – I’ve often heard people say, if you want to see 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! The number of game species around here is awesome, which in turn makes the number of lion in the area all the more sweeter. Again, best driven on the off-season
- H4-1 – Had to mention it, it’s still a cracker of a road for lion! Runs for 42km from Skukuza to Lower Sabie
- S28 – This road runs off the H4-2 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 old 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 to the H1-4 and traverses through some of the best areas in the park to see lion. It’s the perfect morning route as you can stop just over half way 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
Best dams to sit, have some coffee and wait for a potential lion sighting:
- Nyamundwa – on the S1 Doispane road
- Renosterkoppies – on the S114 about 15km south of Skukuza
- Transport – just off the H1-1 Pretoriuskop road. Great dam for kills!
- Hippo Pools – Just off the S25 about 8km west of Croc Bridge
- Gudzani – on the S41 about 21km east of Satara
- Ngotso – on the H1-4 about 23km south of Olifants. There are two, Ngotso North and Ngotso
- Kanniedood – Massive dam on the S50 close to Shingwedzi. Often see prides on the bank
- 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! I have taken my best leopard photos on this road
- H11 – the first 8km of this road from Paul Kruger is leopard ally!
- 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, I 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!
- S28 – Again, our go slow road! We know of three different leopards in the 8km stretch we touched on earlier… Take me there now!!! 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 leopard at Dukes Waterhole
- H4-1 – The famous Skukuza/Lower Sabie road… Its busy, but damn, it’s good!
- H7 – This road runs for 44km from Orpen Gate to the H1-3. Every time I stay close to this road, especially at Tamboti Tented Camp, we see 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, its great!
- H1-6 – From the start of the S48 Tsendze Loop all the way to Mopani Camp (30km) I’ve been surprised by the leopard sightings in this area. Don’t look past the 17km Tsendze Loop either, it runs along its name sakes 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 its lady luck, but I have seen a few leopard in the Mopane Tree plains that surround this road… Drive slowly, you may find one chilling in a tree
Best roads to chill with some breakfast or a few drinks and wait for a potential leopard:
- Transport – just off the H1-1 Pretoriuskop road
- De Laporte – This little beauty, found on the H1-1 about 9km south of Skukuza is a leopard magnet! Don’t miss this dam as there are often general game around and its a great spot to take pictures of animals drinking
- Matjulu – on the S110 ring road around Berg En Dal
- Duke – Found on the S28, 17km south of Lower Sabie
- Biyamiti Weir – Found on the S114 about 2kms from the S139 turn off. You’ll see, its a leopards paradise!
- Sable – Found on the S51 ring road, 8km east of Phalaborwa Gate
- Kanniedood – Massive dam on the S50 close to Shingwedzi. People with a sharp eye often see them in the undergrowth around the dam
- S1 – Again, like the leopard, the entire 29km route is great 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 which produces so many lion sightings would not be good for cheetah, but alas, you see them often
- H1-4 – this 39km road moves north from Satara to the H1-5 south of Olifants… Again, open plains and lots of game!
These dams may get you lucky, cheetah wise of course:
- Nyamundwa – on the S1 Doispane road
- Duke – Found on the S28, 17km south of Lower Sabie
- Macs Borehole – I have seen and heard of lots of cheetah hunts taking place around here and it is relatively quiet. Found on the S28 about 21km south of Lower Sabie
- Mlondozi Dam – Located about 16km north of Lower Sabie in beautiful open plains. The best spot to sit, chill and hopefully find this elegant spotted cat
- 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 dog! I remember tracking dogs for three hours around this area until we picked them up here… It 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 worth while 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! I had my most memorable sighting on this road…
- S110 – There is a den site in this area as well which makes sightings all that more amazing!
- H7 – I have seen large wild dog packs on this road… Again, as with the H4-1 its 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 worth while spending some time on!
- H13-1 – Again the first 5km from Punda Maria Gate can produce some amazing early morning/late afternoon sightings
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:
- 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 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 instills 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 lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo!
- All The Bush Camps – I 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 I love this camp!! Situated on the Biyamiti River, the 15 secluded chalets are very private making the park seem peaceful even in high season! 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, I love it!
Sometimes just driving at 20km/h and admiring the beauty of Kruger is the way to go! Our top drives:
- H2-2 – This 35km road that runs off the H1-1 close to Pretoriuskop is a very scenic route
- S139 – This is a private road used by Biyamiti guests only… On a good day, the big 5 plus black rhino are easily achieved before settling down to a good brunch. We do it all the time! Oh, and the scenery isn’t bad too…
- S36 – This long, winding road that traverses through low rolling hills is between the H1-2 (close to Tshokwane) and the H7 and is beautiful! A great alternative to the main H1-3 that takes you to Satara
- S39 – My most favourite road about 18kms west of Satara… It is picturesque, a postcard around every corner
- S48 – Very similar to the S39, it is beautiful!
- S64/S63 – located right up north near the Luvuvhu River, these two routes are just absolutely amazing! The scenery couldn’t be written about, you have to see it and the bird species are even better…
Of course, no guide would be complete without some expert advice. As a specialist safari guide myself, I am privileged to travel around Kruger often. Here are my top tips, just for you. If you are looking for a Kruger National Park safari, hit me up sometime.
I would have to award this to the northern S3 route that runs from the S1 Phabeni road 29km to the H11 road right next to Paul Kruger Gate… I have traveled this road often and have had a few sightings, but nothing hectic. It baffles me, this road is quiet, runs along the Sabie River and traverses some great game viewing area… Maybe its the activity over the river, but at the same time the same could be said for the S25, yet that road yields many great sightings!
The 27km S21 that runs in a westerly direction from the H4-1 to the S114… I have had a few lion sightings as well as leopard sightings on this road, especially the first 6km from the S114 side which traverses some boulders.
Ah yes, that has to be the Nhlanguleni Picnic Spot on the S36 that runs between the H7 Satara road and the H1-2 Skukuza/Tshokwane road. Its quiet, has some great game viewing and is the perfect lazy stop over to enjoy a pre-packed brunch.
For us, Crocodile Bridge. As you enter you are thrust into the best big 5 country in Kruger! This is the perfect day visitor gate.
This has to be Lake Panic, located about 7kms west of Skukuza. Beautiful views, go early morning or late afternoon.