I stayed over in Crocodile Bridge last week Thursday.
Had to get my car to Malelane early on Friday morning and my SO currently has a bit of an issue with me staying alone in Marloth …considering that it is snake season, I did not oppose him to much.
My sightings kicked of just after the bridge, before the camp gates….my very first impala baby for the season
…it was still very young and alone with its mother.
My night at Crocodile Bridge was a somewhat bittersweet experience. The “bitter” came from the staff village. I stayed in one of the units that face towards the staff village. When I got to the unit late afternoon, I heard the “doef, doef” sound of music being played. Later the “doef, doef” became louder and louder.
Seriously annoyed by this inconsiderate behaviour I tried to phone the duty managers’ number as it is displayed on the permit. This number was however not in working….found out later that the phone was stolen, probably during the past robbery. I went to the office and luckily still found somebody there. The official phoned the staff village and by the time I got back to my unit the music was considerably softer…although, every now and then during the evening, it was turned up again and then made softer a few minutes later. Not acceptable IMHO!
On top of this my neighbours sat and watched a DVD on their veranda….although, I have to say that they kept the sound very low and it wasn’t really a disturbance. It was just mind boggling to me that people would come to this park and sit and watch a movie….especially when there is an ellie right next to the fence!
OK, enough about the “bitter”, the “sweet” was the great service of the hut attendant. Early evening she came around to enquire if all was in order with the unit….good service!
The kitchen and tiles on the verandas have been redone and looks very good. The bungalows at Crocodile Bridge are really nice now.
The highlight of the evening was of cause the ellie at the fence.
At the start he had a bit of an attitude…gave a bit of a mock charge when I approached the fence, but when I stayed calm, not pointing the flashlight onto of him, he calmed down and started grazing. I followed him as he slowly proceeded down the fence towards the river. At on point more people joined me and the ellie got closer to the fence. I switched of the flashlight and he came up right to the fence with us standing on the other side. In the moonlight we could see this huge shape and the white of this tusks…nobody spoke or moved as he quietly stood and looked at us for a few seconds. Then he started pulling out grass with his trunk and eating…..it was so awesome standing there in the dark listing to him chewing. I have seen a lot of ellies next to the fence before, but this was quite a special experience.
Next morning I was out at the gate at 5am…decided that if I have to be in Malelane at 8 am, I might as well take a nice slow drive on the S25.
My first sighting was two white rhinos just after I turned unto the S25.
Seeing that the Park gates only open at 05:30 the road was blissfully quiet and I had the most stunning drive.
Along the way I found two impala bulls that had a serious issue with each other. This was really not a “play” fight and the one actually had a bad cut on his bottom jaw.
While they were going at each other a herd of ellies also crossed the road further on.
I was treated with a sighting of a Long-crested Eagle…only my second sighting in Kruger. Incidentally my first sighting was with the Bananarama trip on the same road.
Unfortunately it was too far off to get a descent pic.
I again saw two white rhinos. This was at a spot that I believe needs a name. A small distance before you get to the turnoff to the hippo pools there is a “pond”, on left hand side of road when coming from Crocodile Bridge. Although it is dry during the winter times, we have had some nice sightings here in summer when it has water.
O, and my first baby impala for the day…soooo cute!
Some help with the ID of the following bird will be much appreciated….white spots on its breast?
I also need assistance with the following bird. Wahlberg’s Eagle? But with all that white spots on the back, maybe a juvenile Tawny Eagle?
I found the following herd of impala that already had several babies.
I had such a wonderful drive that I lost track of time.
I increased my speed from about 15km/h to 30 km/h to make sure that I will be in Malelane by 8 am. Just as I did this I encountered a “speed hump”.
He already had a few cars backed up. I wasn’t going to tell him that he should move it because I need to get to Malelane.
Eventually a combi from one of the private concession came from behind. I, very politely, indicated to them that they could go before me.
They did that very cautiously and the ellie gave way. Just as I passed he turned around with a display of ears and swaying trunk….lucky I was past.
Now desperately trying to get to Malelane in time, I just could not resist to first stop for this beauty. Phew, at least one I can ID by myself.
No spectacular sightings, but such an amazing drive!…yip, and I was a few minutes late getting to Malelane.