Stories Of The Kruger | Lake Panic Bird Hide | Skukuza

The Best Bird Hide In The Kruger Park – Lake Panic

Lake Panic is a very popular bird hide in the Skukuza region of the Kruger National Park. There have been some amazing things seen there over the years, and we have had some great experiences as well. You will see various definitions of why it is called Lake Panic, but it was actually named in the 1970’s when a torrential downfall threatened to burst through the dam wall. So panic surrounded everyone at Skukuza.

Beginners Luck

The first time we ever went to this hide, we drove past a Bushbuck in a dip of the dirt road on the way to Lake Panic. As we arrived at the hide all was quiet. There was a Pied Kingfisher waiting for an opportunity to hover down and get his next meal. The Hippo’s were close and we were watching them. A Water Monitor Lizard appeared on a branch to our left, and the Terrapins were all over the place. We took some nice photos and then all of a sudden we heard a commotion.

We looked to the far right hand corner of Lake Panic and to our amazement; a Crocodile had caught a Bushbuck! I wonder, to this day, if this was the same Bushbuck we saw a few minutes earlier. We will never know.

Birdlife is extremely rich around Lake Panic. I saw my first African Rail and Dwarf Bittern here. Every time we have visited the hide we have seen Pied Kingfishers fishing. You also can expect to see a variety of other birds, such as:

  • Little Egret
  • Great Egret
  • Grey Heron
  • Goliath Heron
  • Green-backed Night Heron
  • Malakite Kingfisher
  • Giant Kingfisher
  • Black Crake
  • African Jacana
  • Egyptian Goose
  • African Fish Eagle
  • Water Thick-knee
  • Wooly-necked Stork
  • White-crowned Lapwing


Birders should carefully look into the thickets and water plants across from the hide, you never know what to expect!

Elephant Close Up

Aimee and I had another amazing experience. Once again, it was peaceful with the lovely noise of Hippo’s calling, and once again a Pied Kingfisher perched on a dead tree coming out of the water.

A breeding herd of Elephants came rambling down to the lake. Aimee was so happy. There were two small babies in the herd and they walked and drank right next to the hide. We literally could touch them. We have been so fortunate to have so many amazing Elephant sightings. This was special though. We were so close to these magnificent large mammals, and it seemed like they didn’t even know we were there. Another reason why Lake Panic is the best bird hide in the Kruger National Park! The diversity is huge; from beautiful lilies and dragonflies, to reptiles, birds and mammals. We can’t forget about the fish either… Lake Panic is teeming with Tilapia and Sharptooth Catfish.

Enjoy the hide and keep an eye on the clock, because time flies here!

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