Mopane Worm

It is said that if you haven’t tried the local delicacy of fried Mopane Worms while on safari in South Africa, you haven’t really been on safari! While it may be a scary thought for overseas visitors, the Mopane Worm has been eaten by locals all over Africa for centuries and is a major source of protein!
Mopane Worm.jpgGonimbrasia belina is a species of Emperor Moth (Saturniidae) which is native to the warmer parts of the southern African savannah, including the Kruger National Park. Its large caterpillar, known as the Mopane Worm, feeds primarily on Mopane tree leaves, hence the English name, although the worm has over 15 known local names in the region.

Like most caterpillars, the Mopane Worm’s life cycle starts when it hatches in the summer, after which it proceeds to eat the foliage in its immediate vicinity, growing considerably through 5 moult stages. It then burrows underground to pupate, the stage at which it undergoes complete transformation to become the adult moth. This stage happens over winter, for a duration of 6 to 7 months, after which it emerges at the start of summer in November. The large adult moths, with their distinctive eyespots on the hindwings, live only for three to four days, during which time they mate and lay their eggs. Eggs are laid in clumps, and after hatching small caterpillars tend to aggregate together, but they become solitary as they grow and age.

Mopane Worms can be bought at most rural markets in the region. Dried worms can be eaten raw as a crisp snack or can be soaked to rehydrate, before being fried until they are crunchy, or even cooked with onions, tomatoes and spices and then served as a stew with maize meal. The harvesting and sale of Mopane Worms is actually a multi-million dollar industry in southern Africa, with an estimated 2 million kilograms of worms traded annually! They are even found in some high-end restaurants as an expensive delicacy!

Mopane Worm dish

Go on, be brave and try these interesting snacks next time you visit the Kruger National Park with us. And if you don’t want to try that, it is still fascinating sitting next to a Mopane tree and watching hundreds of Mopane Worms eating the leaves – you can actually hear them crunching away! One of our best trips is our Kruger Grand Safari, a 12-night safari highlighting the absolute best that this world class park has to offer. On this trip we guarantee Mopane Worms (in early summer!), along with the Big Five and hundreds of bird species, with incredible landscapes and stunning African sunsets thrown into the mix.

Get in touch with us on for more information.

Lake Panic

There are eleven bird/game-viewing hides in the world renowned Kruger National Park in South Africa. Probably the most famous one, the one at Lake Panic on the Mafunyana Creek, is located on the S42 road near Skukuza camp on the road to the Nursery.

The name Lake Panic was given shortly after completion of construction of the dam around 1975 when, during a massive thunderstorm, it was feared that the dam wall would give way, creating panic amongst the staff in Skukuza.The almost constant presence of Nile Crocodiles, Hippopotamus, Nile Monitors, terrapins and various insects on the water lilies in front of the hide, makes Lake Panic one of the most scenic and productive spots in all of Kruger. Sunsets are particularly stunning!
Hippo at Lake Panic.jpg

The hide is ideal for photography and large mammals like African Elephants are seen on a daily basis. There is a high incidence of Leopard sightings at Lake Panic, even during daytime! It is also a birdwatcher’s haven, with regular sightings of Grey, Purple, Striated and Goliath Heron, Malachite, Woodland and Pied Kingfisher, African Fish Eagle, Thick-billed and Southern Masked Weaver and of course African Jacana. Such rarities like Western Osprey, Lesser Moorhen and African Openbill also turn up at Lake Panic every now and then.
Black Crake at Lake Panic.jpg

Sometimes when one arrives at a hide it appears as if there is little movement. Yet sitting patiently for a few minutes will reveal a steady stream of activity. People who sit in a hide all day long often see much more than those who drive around searching for game. The beauty of the hide at Lake Panic is that almost anything can turn up!

Nile Monitor at Lake Panic.jpg

We offer day trips to the Kruger Park with experienced guides with years of time spent in the Lowveld bush. Our team will pick up guests early in the morning from where they are staying, as game viewing is best before it gets too hot. Kruger Park gate times vary throughout the year, but most pick-ups will be at around 5am depending on where you are staying. We can arrange pick up from your accommodation venue in Nelspruit, Malelane, Marloth Park, Hazyview, or even from your rest camp inside Kruger if you are already in the park. We can also arrange to pick up guests at all the Kruger Park entrance gates in southern Kruger.

Your guide will focus on finding you the best of the Park, this including the majestic Big 5, different types of antelope, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Nile Crocodiles and many others. Your guide will also show you many different kinds of interesting local birds, like hornbills, eagles, the famous Secretarybird, colourful rollers, along with many different water birds. Learning about the trees, insects and general bush and nature around you is also on the cards. We will stop at picnic spots and rest camps throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and restroom breaks. A stop at famous Lake Panic is also guaranteed – you might even see the “resident” Leopard!

Leopard at Lake Panic.JPG

Depending on your personal preferences and budget, we can customise a day safari that meets all your requirements. To get more information about this trip or to enquire about a personalised Kruger day trip, get on touch with our expert team at and have a look at our Kruger Day Trip for more information.


Piccadilly Circus

One of the most popular roads in the Kruger National Park, and with good reason, is the H4-1 tar road connecting the equally popular Skukuza and Lower Sabie Rest Camps.

This 43 kilometre long road is sometimes called the “Piccadilly Circus” (after the equally busy road in London) due to the high numbers of visitors that drive it. The nickname is quite apt, but remember, if you have more visitors’ eyes staring into the bush you have a higher chance of seeing something spectacular.

The road follows the course of the Sabie River, and boasts a mix of riverine forest, woodland and thornveld, attracting a wide variety of bird and animal species. There are many small gravel loops turning toward (and away from) the river, and the road also has the famous Nkuhlu picnic spot, N’watimhiri dam and Sunset dam alongside it.

The H4-1 is especially famous for its large herds of African Elephant and Impala, as well as some of the best Leopard sightings in the entire park. It is also virtually guaranteed that you will see lots of Chacma Baboons and Vervet monkeys along this road, along with avian specials like White-crowned Lapwing, Black Cuckooshrike, Half-collared Kingfisher, Red-faced Cisticola and maybe even an African Finfoot!

One of our guides had the best wildlife encounter of his life recently, when he saw a Martial Eagle attack and kill a Steenbok (by diving into it at high speed) and then promptly fly off with its prize in its massive talons!

Piccadilly Circus features prominently in many of our Kruger itineraries, including our 9 day/8 night Kruger Lux Safari, offering the perfect South African safari experience. We have combined two great camps (Skukuza and Satara) in Kruger with a lodge in the adjacent luxurious Sabi Sands Game Reserve, offering you the best of both worlds and a chance to see the Big Five and so much more.

For your chance to see something spectacular along the Piccadilly Circus, join us on one of our fantastic Kruger trips. Enquire directly at or browse to the website on Nature Travel Kruger for more information.

Picnic Spots in the Kruger

While driving around and looking for fauna and flora in one of the premier game viewing parks on the planet is exciting enough, sometimes stopping and stretching your legs can be fun too! Luckily the Kruger National Park has many wonderful picnic spots where one can get out, relax and even have something to eat or drink.

Picnic Spots (7).JPG

There are 15 dedicated picnic spots in the park, ranging from the busy spots near the main camps to some wonderfully remote spots in the middle of the bush. Gas “skottels” (mobile frying pans on stands) can be hired at most picnic sites for a nominal fee. The picnic site attendant then washes these on departure, thus freeing visitors from transporting greasy pans. Some of the spots have small shops and all have ablution facilities.

Our guides and clients have over the years seen some incredible, jaw-dropping sightings in and around picnic spots. As our one guide always reminds us, “The animals don’t know it’s a picnic spot!” Every seasoned traveller to Kruger will have his or her amazing story to tell about a picnic spot and will have his or her favourite one. Here at Nature Travel Kruger we have these 3 favourites…

Tshokwane picnic site is ideally situated between the two most popular camps in the KNP, Skukuza and Satara, and offers a wide array of food, from delicious burgers and toasted sandwiches to healthy and interesting salads. It is a great place to relax under the trees before heading out into the park again – this is, after all, excellent Big 5 country! We love it because despite being destroyed after almost every flood that Kruger periodically experiences, Tshokwane just comes back bigger and better than before.

Nkuhlu picnic spot could very well be Kruger’s best-kept secret. Despite being on the main tourist road between Skukuza and Lower Sabie camps you come across this oasis almost by surprise, so keep your eyes wide open for the small sign that announces that you have arrived. The tranquil setting on the banks of the Sabie River is the perfect place to unwind and relax under the giant shade-giving Natal Mahogany trees. Our love for Nkuhlu started the day we saw a Cheetah chase an Impala straight through the picnic site grounds!

Pafuri picnic site is set in a birder’s paradise on the banks of the Luvuvhu River in the far north of the park a few kilometres from Crook’s Corner. The huge trees towering over the picnic spot provide ample shade in what is the hottest part of the park, especially in summer. We fondly remember our birding walks with the late Frank Mabasa, who was the picnic spot attendant and a fanatical and fantastic birder, and always keen to show interested guests a new species or two.

When you are on your next safari in Kruger, remember to stop at a picnic spot and get out. Stretch your legs, buy a soda, or braai (barbeque) something on a “skottel”. And most importantly, remember to keep your eyes peeled. You never know what interesting animals and birds may be around you…

Picnic Spots (6).JPG

Go to for more information on all the fantastic Kruger National Park trips we offer.