The Kruger National Park's inviting picnic spots are ideal for mid-safari pit-stops. Stretch your legs and enjoy a snack.
The word "Afsaal" literally translates to "to take the saddle of the horse", thus in Afrikaans it means to rest. Afsaal is a very busy picnic spot as it is located close to the southern border of the park. This makes it the first spot to rest when entering from the south as a lot of people do. It is a convenient stop with toilets, braai stands and a shop that sells food and drink.
The picnic spot is not fenced and small children must be watched carefully. Plenty of animals and birds are found in and around the Afsaal picnic spot. Bushbuck, dwarf mongoose, vervet monkeys, chacma baboons and even leopard can be seen at Afsaal. Birds that are regularly spotted include: crested barbet, southern yellow hornbill, blue wax-bill, African scops owl and African firefinch.
Mlondozi picnic spot is located on top of a hill less than ten miles north of Lower Sabie Rest Camp. The vantage point the hill provides as it overlooks the Mlondozi River and dam makes it a favorite among photographers and tourist alike. The plain the picnic spot overlooks is complimented by the Lebombo Mountains that creates a majestic backdrop. Wildlife is plentiful around Mlondozi.
Buffalo and elephant are frequently seen coming for a drink at the Mlondozi dam. One animal that is sure to be submerged in Mlondozi dam is the hippopotamus; most of their bodies are hidden, but the top of their heads give them away. Baboons, waterbuck and impala are always close to the Mlondozi dam. Rhinoceros and cheetah are seen occasionally in the area.
The Nkuhlu picnic spot is the only stopover on the busiest road in Kruger National Park between Lower Sabie and Skukuza. Nkuhlu is the Swazi name for the Natal Mahogany. The picnic spot is surrounded by trees creating a forest feel and providing plenty of shade to look out across the Sabie River in comfort.
Nkuhlu is a nice place to stop over and have a barbecue. There is also a small shop where food and drinks can be bought. Plenty of water birds such as giant kingfisher, goliath heron and African jacana can be seen from Nkuhlu. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on all your food as there are naughty vervet monkeys that will steal any scrap of food they can lay their hands on!
Tshokwane is named after a local medicine man from the area. It is the busiest of all the picnic spots as it is situated centrally between Skukuza, Satara and Lower Sabie Rest Camps. The picnic spot is large enough to accommodate large crowds, but the shop cannot always handle the masses of people that descend onto it. It is best to stop over in the morning before large buses arrive.
Food and drink can be bought from the shop and portable gas pans can be rented for those that would like to cook their own food. Birds have become tame at the picnic spot and will approach to within touching distance. Not only vervet monkeys steal food at Tshokwane. Other indigenous thieves include chacma baboons, tree squirrels, starlings and hornbills.
Nhlunguleni is a small picnic site on the S36 about half way between Skukuza and Orpen rest camps. It is the perfect place to take a break from self-driving in that there are ablution facilities and picnic benches. Gas barbecue pans are for rent to conjure up a quick hot meal. Nhlunguleni receives fewer tourists than other picnic sites creating a true bush feel.
The area around Nhlunguleni does not have the most consistent wildlife sightings, but does provide the chance of enjoying wildlife sightings without too much interference from other vehicles. Grazers are fairly common in the area attracting predators such as hyenas, leopard, lions and to lesser extent cheetahs.
Muzandzeni is an isolated picnic spot fifteen miles south west of Satara Rest Camp. On arrival guests are welcomed by and old buffalo skull and Coca-Cola refrigerated dating out of the fifties. The picnic spot is so small there are only one male and one female toilet. Gas barbecue pans is available for hire.
The area is not known for big five sightings, but giraffe and zebra are frequently seen. Bird watchers enjoy Muzandzeni picnic spot as plenty of predatory birds can be seen from the picnic spot itself and the surrounding areas. White-backed, lappet-faced, hooded and white-headed vultures can be found as well as bateleurs and Wahlberg's eagle.
The N'wanetsi picnic spot and lookout is located in the central Lebombo region only a couple of miles from Mozambique. The lookout overlooks the Sweni River and all the way into Mozambique. The lookout offers a thatched roof, comfortable seating and a painted wall depicting numerous local bird species.
The abundance of trees in this region provides a lot of browsing for animals such as giraffe, elephant and black rhino. The trees in the area do hide the animals making clear sightings difficult. Large birds such as ostrich, kori bustard and secretary bird exhibit a preference for this region of the park.
The Timbavati picnic spot is located fifteen miles northwest of Satara. One of the big attractions of this picnic spot it an ancient baobab tree that can be found on the way there. There is also resident bushbuck that have become tame over the years and visitors are urged not the feed the them.
This picnic site offers a perfect view of the Timbavati River and provides ablution facilities, seating shaded by trees and gas frying pans for those who want to enjoy a hot meal. The resident worker Elias Chauke is a brilliant host and will be able to point visitors to the surrounding wildlife with amazing accuracy.
Makhadzi picnic spot is located in the northern region of Kruger National Park close to the border with Mozambique, 17 miles north from Letaba Rest Camp. This picnic spot is a bit out of the way and on a cool-de-sac, keeping visitors to a minimum and providing an excellent location to enjoy the wildlife and surroundings in privacy.
Until 2003 it was still used a military base and then converted into a picnic spot. The history of the spot dates back all the way to the Anglo-Boer when British troops were stationed here to prevent the Boers having access to the sea port of Mozambique. Plenty of wildlife occurs in the area, especially elephants.
Mooiplaas picnic site is located just ten minutes south of Mopani Rest Camp and due to its close proximity to this rest camp it is often overlook. Like most picnic sites gas frying pans are for rent, but at Mooiplaas there is also the option of buying wood and making a fire to have a barbecue out in the field.
Overlooking the Tsendze River there is always a good chance of spotting hippopotamus, waterbuck or even an elephant coming for a drink. Additionally there is an artificial waterhole supplied by a borehole and wind pump attracting large groups of animals such as zebra in drought. This location is ideal for bird watching.
Babalala picnic spot is located far north in the Kruger National Park approximately halfway between Punda Maria and Shingwedzi rest camps. It contains all the basic facilities and the ablution facilities are wheel chair accessible by means of a ramp. In the middle of the picnic spot there is a big thatched roof shaded area built around a large sycamore fig tree.
Big five sighting are scarce in the areas surrounding Babalala. Wildlife that is not often seen in the rest of Kruger National Park, such as eland or even cheetah, is found around Babalala. These northern picnics spots are often visited by bird watchers are there is an amazing amount of bird species in this section of the park.
Pafuri picnic spot is located on the Luvuvhu River in the northern reaches of the Kruger National Park. Fire wood can be bought for a barbecue or a gas frying pan can be hired out. All the basic facilities are available with plenty of shade to hide from the harsh African sun. On the ablution facilities there is a mark indicating the extreme flood level of 2000.
The vegetation is highly diverse in this area and the picnic spot is surrounded by Anna trees and thick bush. The dense bush and plenty of water makes this an ideal birding spot. Rated as one of the best birding destinations is South Africa, where 257 bird species have been recorded in one year. Birds that can be found here include narina trogon and trumpeter hornbill.
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