OK, no sooner did I have a pop at Flickr then it speeded up, so here goes with the next chapter SATURDAY 23rd JANUARY 2010: CROCODILE BRIDGE TO BERG-EN-DAL PLUS AFTERNOON DRIVE FROM BERG-EN-DAL
Continuing from where we left off. Before I forget, here is a pic of the plaque on Dad's bench at Crocodile Bridge: Link To Large Size
We set off for Berg-En-Dal, absolutely thrilled that the trip had been so wonderful up to this point, and things carried on in a similar vein! We turned left onto the S25, and immediately saw a hyena having a very relaxing mudbath - much to the extreme annoyance of a warthog who was waiting his turn - sadly a little out of camera range. The hyena was waching the warthog, as if daring him to come in
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There was a bakkie parked about 100m further up the road, so we stopped and the American gentleman in the vehicle told us that we had just missed a zebra giving birth to a foal...... ah well, you can't have everything huh? So we pressed on, and no more than 1,5km further this is what awaited us: Link To Large Size Link To Large Size Link To Large Size
There were around 20 dogs in this pack - far and away the largest pack we had ever seen - and they were running about all over the place, so it was proving difficult to take any decent photos. So we decided to concentrate on the 5 or 6 that were keeping relatively still: Link To Large Size
Seeing wild dog is always a major occasion for us, as we had been going to Kruger for well over a decade before we saw them for the first time in around 1989. Then we saw them again the first time I took my kids in 2006, we have actually seen them on every trip since! The trip was just getting better and better! And, as is often the case in Kruger, the dogs melted into the bush and the vehicles that arrived a few seconds later missed them completely.
On we went, and a few kilometres further on we saw this breeding herd of elephant: Link To Large Size Link To Large Size
We enjoyed this sighting because there were around 25 to 30 in the herd, but they were all huddled together in one solid mass around the calves. There was a particularly small calf right in the middle, and Kevin managed to get one photo: Link To Large Size
Our next stop was at the Mpondo Dam, where we witnessed this elephant procession..... obviously taking a short-cut and cooling down at the same time
Notice the impala and warthog on the far bank - not sure if Kevin did that on purpose, as we only noticed them once we saw the picture
We also found this magnificent male waterbuck a short distance from the dam: Link To Large Size Link To Large Size
It was incredibly hot by now, so we pushed on to Berg-En-Dal without seeing much of any significance. We arrived at our destination just after noon, checked in and found our bungalow. No sooner had we stowed our gear away, when a herd of elephant strolled past the fence: Link To Large Size
After another mid-afternoon snooze, we set off at around 3 PM for our afternoon drive, and this highly interested kudu was one of the first animals we saw: Link To Large Size
A little further on we saw our first tortoise of the trip. As we had not seen leopard, we decided that the leopard tortoise was the next best thing, and celebrated the fact that we had seen the 'Big Five' - of sorts!!! Link To Large Size
Next up was a duiker.... which we always find really difficult to photograph due to their nervous disposition, and they usually run away before we can get the camera ready..... But Kevin did well to get this one: Link To Large Size
During the course of this drive, we saw plenty of other animals - no need for me to list the usual suspects - BUT...... we were heading back to Berg-En-Dal at around 5:35 PM when we saw one of the outside jeeps parked beside the S25, about 2km before the tar road junction. We stopped, and the driver told us that a leopard had been walking beside the road, but had disappeared into the bush about 5 minutes ago. We were crushed, as the leopards had eluded us so far, but as we still had a little time to spare, we decided to wait a while and see if it re-appeared. One of my often used phrases when discussing Kruger is "You HAVE to have patience!!!", and in this case it paid off.... because after waiting for around for around 10 minutes, Kevin exclaimed "There it is!!!!" .... and despite being rather excited, he still had enough of his wits about him to fire off a couple of photos: Link To Large Size Link To Large Size
We watched the leopard for a while, as it seeed to be stalking a couple of impala that were close by, but he seemed to be out of luck, and the impala eventaully scattered and the leopard disappeared into the bush.
By now it was just after 6 PM, and time to make tracks for Berg-En-Dal. We turned left onto the tar road and noticed a car stopped on the Matjulu Bridge. We pulled up and a very excited woman pointed out another leopard drinking from the river. This was less than 5 minutes after seeing the first one! This particular leopard was extremely co-operative and posed for literally hundreds of photographs
If I may say at this point, I reckon Kevin really excelled with these photographs of the leopard: Link To Large Size Link To Large Size Link To Large Size Link To Large Size Link To Large Size
Now do you see why I referred to this as our best ever day in Kruger? Bearing in mind that this day (Saturday) started at 4:30 AM with the 7 lions in the road, and ended with two decent leopard sightings in the space of 5 or 6 minutes in the late afternoon!!!! Along with the lion being chased by the buffalo, the pack of wild dog and so on...... It was a truly fantastic day which will live long in the memory!
Next instalment soon..... sorry if this was a bit long-winded