Saturday, 17.02.2007 – Malelane – Berg en Dal
After an exciting first week in South Africa spending in four KZN Parks with lots of extraordinary sightings, just to mention a few: tons over tons of birds, antelopes of all sizes and plenty other general game, a black rhino bull without ears, black rhino cow with calf (they were grazing and we only realized at home that they were blackies), lions at a kill, a new born zebra, wild dogs (!) and in each park we saw white rhino the animal which we wanted to see most, as unfortunately on our last KNP trip we only saw them 2 times at the beginning of our trip and then no more. With these extraordinary sightings for us Kruger was just a bonus – just enjoy the remaining 8 days and see what is crossing our ways.
We arrived today late in the afternoon at the Malelane gate in KNP and this is still something very special for us - we are home again.
The bridge shortly before the gate was due to the Saturday already filled with people and all of them stopped on the bridge left their vehicles and enjoyed the view from the bridge and so we did. In one of the cars the radio played quite a lovely song, of course silently, suitable to the view and all over my back prickles were running. In the very far we could spot a herd of elephants and from the bridge we realized one of the hugest and fatest crocodile in the river with the same name we ever saw, a nile monitor was lying on a rock, several white herons were taking a sunbath and a single jacana was searching for something and a pied kingfisher in flight.
With great concern we arrived at the gate – it was full of people, however, everything went more than fast and after not more than 10 minutes all formalities have settled and we were again back in our beloved Kruger. The first shock we got because of all the dryness in the area around Berg en Dal. Normally this is one of the greenest parts of Kruger but this year it was unfortunately one of the driest. We only hoped that the rest of the park has got some rain and that quite massive rain to follow in remaining “raining season”.
Quite a view birds crossed our way for example this glossy something, several yellowbilled hornbills, marabous and quite a few grey louries and then a traffic jam in front of a bush.
Unbelievable but true there was lying a leopard under a bush unfortunately no picture. She was lying there and you could only spot her by binos. She seemed to be very nervous - you could only hear some rustle and then some hissing and of she was. Someone in the other car told us that there was also a cub to see. Wow what a promising start just after the very few kilometers.
It was already a bit late to plan an evening drive so we entered Berg en Dal Camp, checked in which took a bit longer as I had to get my Wild Card renewed and as we were a bit concerned about the mass of people on that Saturday we already booked a table in the restaurant for 1 ½ hours later. After a quick shopping in the camp’s shop which was also filled with people we finally had some time to relax in our bungalow (we got No. 73) after this long drive and the heat which greeted us as usual in Kruger. It was time enough to upload the pictures from card onto laptop and for a refreshing shower before we headed to the restaurant.
It was a wise decision to book a table in advance as the restaurant was fully booked and no empty seats available. We enjoyed the best buffet dinner we ever had in any South African Game Park – here the Berg en Dal management had made a real improvement - unfortunately a very huge and very loud tour group from Germany
arrived and disturbed this perfect dinner a bit. We only felt sorry with them as they had to head forward day after day from one highlight of their trip to another but we could stop where we want and stay as long as we want.
Very satisfied with this delicious meal we strolled back to our bungalow and fell asleep as soon as we laid down.
To be continued….soon