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 Post subject: Glen79-A breakaway at Berg-en-Dal-March 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:55 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Its been 8 days since returning from our trip to Berg-en-Dal and finally I have a moment to spare to write my trip report, well to start it anyway. :whistle:

Watch this space for more to come.

PS* please excuse the photo quality as they are frames taken from our dvd.


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 Post subject: Re: A breakaway at Berg-en-Dal
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:45 pm 
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Sorry mites, due to the fact that I have an extremely fast internet connection at home, this will have to come in stages.

So here goes my first TR! :tongue:

DAY 1

Having not slept much the night before from excitement, the alarm finally sounded at 03H00 and I was up in a flash, waking up the SO while heading for the bath.

After packing the last few items into the car, I hitched up the trailer and waited for our friends to arrive, they were joining us on their first trip to KNP (as well as their first time camping). Not long after they arrived, we were on our way. After stopping at a cold Belfast for breakfast, we were soon on our way again.

Finally before 12H00 we reached our destination, we weren’t even properly at the gate and the cameras were out, ready for action

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After a quick and friendly check in at Malelane, we headed slooooooowly to Berg-en-Dal, eyes scanning the bush for anything resembling life. Our first sighting was about 400 meters from the gate, in the not too far distance was a herd of elephants. Great start to a wonderful 5 nights. After the turnoff to the camp, we were overtaken by a few campers and caravans rushing to BnD. I decided that finding a decent camp site was first priority given the fact that it was holiday season, looking for game would come later in the afternoon when it was cooler.

On entering Berg-en-Dal,

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we headed straight to reception, checked in (I had to turn around and go back to ask for my exit permit, admittedly the guy behind the counter did look a bit new) and headed off to the camp sites which were at this stage fairly empty much to our amazement.

Once both tents were up and our site resembled something of a home for the next few days, we could breathe a sigh of relief.

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Later on in the afternoon, SO and I headed of on our first drive (the others wanting relief from the heat at the pool).

First spot was a Marabou Stork, looking down on us as a snooty professor would his students.

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Next up was a herd of elephants, with baby close to mother.

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Further on at Matjulu waterhole, were the first two of our white rhino sightings, lazing around in a pool of mud, well this made my first day.

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Heading back to BnD, along the H3, we saw another rhino in the distance. Today would be the first of many rhino sightings.

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Finally some giraffe came to greet us before we headed back to camp for our evening braai, sitting around the fire soaking up the night sounds of the bush, our first night back in paradise, before heading off to bed.

Day 2 to follow.........


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 Post subject: Re: A breakaway at Berg-en-Dal
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:32 pm 
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Day 2

Reminder – pictures are from dvd frames so therefore the quality suffers :redface:

Up at dawns crack, :slap: I mean up at the crack of dawn we were on the road heading for Afsaal, witnessing a beautiful sunrise and giving thanks for being able to see such wonders made by our Creator :clap: . Our friends deciding to sleep in on their first morning in Kruger :huh:

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At the H3 turnoff, we came across the herd of elephants that we saw the day before on our way in. Lots of babies and lots wary mothers giving us the beady eyeball.
Heading north towards Afsaal, we came across our first Lion sighting, 3 of the four male nomads apparently resident in the area, lazing around in the road, a big bonus seeing that there were only three cars and ourselves there :dance:

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After watching the lions for a while we pushed on, passing a herd Impala. One particular youngster was quite curios of our presence, looking us up and down.

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One sighting that had us concerned, was a rhino laying in the bush, in what looked to be quite an awkward position without moving for quite some time. Thankfully he moved his head after a while because I was beginning to think that he had just dropped down dead. :hmz:

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After confirming his wellbeing we headed on to his cousins, two Black Rhino, also just laying motionless about 800m from Afsaal. At first I had trouble identifying if they were in fact hook lipped or square lipped, however my identification proved correct after nearly the entire Afsaal was raving about the two B Rhinos down the road.

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After a quick breakfast, we headed on back to BnD. Not much in the way of sightings for the first half of the trip back, until this Puff Adder made his way across the road (Pls note my YR :whistle: )

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Then this lone lioness on the side of the road

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After a swim and a lazy mid day, we headed out taking our friends along to see if the lions were still around. We arrived at the spot, easily identifiable by the circus in the background, this time the cubs were out in the road, looks like the whole pride was together.

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Mom calling her cubs

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And dad in the road, see the car behind him making its own road :evil: :rtm:

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Little one snarling for us

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And with that, it was back to camp for some delicious potjie kos, our evening stroll (the walk up to the gate and then cutting through the bush along the fence at night is great :twisted: ) and then sitting back with another cold one before retiring to bed. No animal sounds unfortunately, just the hub hub of campers quietly going about their business.

Day 3 to follow (sometime tomorrow)


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 Post subject: Re: A breakaway at Berg-en-Dal
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:46 pm 
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Day 3

Today we decided on a days outing to Pretoriuskop, and headed out before 6am. It was overcast and quite cool and there was a constant threat of rain, but nothing came of it that day. As we approached the H3 intersection (that proved to be quite a busy corner …. game wise that is :twisted: ), we saw a Black Rhino moving at a fast pace through the bush. The vegetation is quite dense there and we were lucky to get a semi clear shot of him with the camera.

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A few kilometers northward on the H3 we came across a huge traffic jam, and only managed to catch a glimpse of the prides male lion because of all the cars. We decided to leave and managed to just squeeeeeze past all the cars and headed on to find this elephant, nice and close to the road, chomping away peacefully.

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As we approached Afsaal, at the same place we found the two Black Rhinos on day 2, we found a herd of Wildebeest, Zebra and a few Impalas grazing. We scanned the area for the possibility of seeing the two Black Rhinos again, but they were nowhere to be seen.

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Two Impalas were locking horns in a mock confrontation

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We stopped off at Afsaal for breakfast and then proceeded along the Voortrekker Road (H2-2) towards Pretoriuskop. Let me say, the only interesting sight on the road was passing ship mountain, not a sign of life. The road is not in too good a state in some parts and fearing that the dashboard would jump into my lap, I found myself looking more on the road for un-corrugated/rocky patches rather than in the bush.
Stopping off at Pretoriuskop, we had lunch and a stroll around the camp, I cannot remember when last I was there, probably 1993 sometime. Good to see the camp again. :)

Setting off back to BnD, I decided on the Napi road (H1-1) and then down along the H3. Just passed the Shitlave Dam, we were flagged down by a passing visitor and were told of three lions at the Napi Boulders on the short stretch of sand road. Turning off onto the sand road and passing a big herd of buffalo (unfortunately not clear enough to get nice pictures of), sure enough there the lions were in the bush just before the boulders. We couldn’t see much of them as they were out of sight most of the time, so we spent a few minutes taking whatever shots we could of them and left them to the other visitors.

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Just before the H3 turnoff, three Klipspringer were hanging around on the rocks (the third was not in a good position for a pic).
(A double Klippies on the rocks :tongue: )

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At Kwaggaspan, two Elephants at the road side and not too far after that, Impalas running around chasing each other, quite amusing to watch.

After that, the sightings were scarce and the next was on the S110 tar stretch to BnD, a two Kudu's, well at least just the two that we could see.

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About 500m from camp, the two resident Rhinos grazing next to the road, minding their own business.

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Having been out for the whole day, the next best thing was to light the obligatory braai fire, crack open a cold one and settle back into our camp chairs once again, enjoying that good ol’ Kruger holiday feeling. Another evening walk, and then off to sleep.

Day 4 to follow.


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 Post subject: Re: A breakaway at Berg-en-Dal
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:38 pm 
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Day 4

The start of day 4 saw us heading off to Gardenia hide via the S114, S25 and onto the S119. Not far onto the S114 we came across the breeding herd of Elephants. Keeping a very close eye on us, the mothers accompanied the babies crossing the road and the rest followed straight afterwards. Too many protective mothers around for my liking, especially when my escape route behind me was blocked of by another car. :shock:
Moving off we fought our way through the masses of guinea fowl that were all over the road, they were totally terrorised by this big thing moving past them, sending them scurrying in any confusing direction they could find.

On the S119, we crawled along very slowly. This is one of those roads that look so promising, you just get ‘that feeling’. That slow pace delivered a Bateleur (spelling???) Eagle.

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Not far off, a lone Buffalo laying in the river bed, not another buff in sight.

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When we arrived at Gardenia, I got out of the car to go and have a look at the hide (SO stayed behind in the car). As our friends climbed out of their vehicle, I sensed their totally relaxed vibe and unawareness of the safety aspect. I quietly reminded them that they were getting out at their own risk. On enquiring why, I answered “its because there is no fence around you and anything can suddenly appear from behind a bush”. :big_eyes:
That just goes to show the importance of educating people about our Parks and just getting out of their cars anywhere.

The only thing happening at the hide was, what looked like a domestic dispute between two squirrels and a hole in a tree. :sniper:

This one was doing the shouting and chasing, the other ran away.

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On our way back to BnD, this Martial Eagle was surveying the land while perched in a dead tree.

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Back at camp, midday saw us all taking a long dip in the pool. I decided that I wanted to go out again at about 14H30, and ended up going out for a drive on my own this time.

First up, an Elephant fanning himself.

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Then, the second Adder crossing the road.

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The afternoon drive produced the regular sightings, Impala, Giraffe, Zebra, and far in the distance on the S110 sand road behind BnD, two Klipspringer jumping from rock to rock. Unfortunately too far for a pic.
Having 25 minutes to spare before the gates closed, I stopped off at Matjulu waterhole again on my way back and saw the two mud bathers from the first afternoon, this time they were up and about.

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Arriving back at the campsite, the braai fire was already going strong. Another quiet night I though, until all of a sudden out of nowhere, a Hyena let out this loud whoop, then it was all over. I at least thought we would have some nightime Kruger entertainment, but nope, it was back to the chirping of crickets, the pinging of bats and very feint roaring somewhere in the background. Quite hypnotic I must say, and coupled with a full moon rising through the trees only served to enhance the Kruger nightime magic even further. :thumbs_up:

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Day 5, the grand finale ….to follow


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 Post subject: Re: A breakaway at Berg-en-Dal
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:00 pm 
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Day 5 ….. Kruger saving the best for last

This was our last full day in Kruger however our friends were leaving that morning. SO decided to lend a hand with their packing up, while I decided to head out on a morning drive. I made it to the gate at 05H30 and off I went, headlights on as it was cloudy and still quite dark.

Back up the H3 and came across the male nomads once again. They were a bit more active this time around, walking right past me. Well, that is until one JJ arrived (I will not mention the company name), a quick radio call and then the place was infested with JJ’s. :sniper:
I took my pics (including one of a small boy hanging out the window about 3 meters away from one of the Lions, I still need to submit this to the gallery of shame :rtm: ) and then I left for Renosterpan.

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Arriving at Renosterpan I just caught a glimpse of a W Rhino moving off into the bush. I stuck around for a bit, but the Rhino did not return so I headed back to camp. This time the JJ’s were gone and only a few cars were at the lions, I crept slowly past and headed off again. Just before BnD, I came across something I have not seen in years/decades!! :o

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I waved a g’mornin and carried on towards BnD.

Before I reached the gate, the one and only Kudu bull I saw on the trip, popped out to say hi

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then back to camp, where our friends had finished packing up, perfect timing wouldnt you say? :whistle:

We decided to spend the afternoon in camp as we were going on a sunset drive that evening and we packed away what we could to minimise the next days packing up. When 16H45 arrived, we debated whether we should drive up or walk up to meet the sunset drive. We ended up taking the car there, a decision we would later be thankful for.

Peter was our guide for the evening. Our drive started out to be an ‘educational one’, as he put it. Peter was very informative, explaining details of the little things one would normally take for granted. Then Peter asked if the group was really interested in an educational drive or if they just wanted to see the big 5. I certainly don’t need to tell you how the vote turned out, do I.

Off we went racing to find the big 5.

First up Rhino (actually that was second, as we were being educated on elephants when Peter posed the drive altering question). Leaving the Rhinos, we headed for Matjulu waterhole. Halfway down the road we made a u-turn as a passer by alerted us to Lions on the S110. As we turned back onto the S110, we came across a car heading away from BnD. Peter kindly informed them that the gates were about to close and that they had to turn back, “Ok” came the reply (now, remember that part). So off we raced to the third B5 item on the list, two of the nomad Lions right in the road. On two occasions walking so close past us we could have reached out and touched him

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The second one walking past must have caught sight of one of the guests arm hanging out (which they were) as he looked as if he was about to jump up into the truck. :big_eyes:

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While all this was going on, Peter was at the back of the truck taking down some details. What details you might wonder….., the details of the occupants in a car behind us. The same people that were told to head back to camp were cruising along behind us, taking a sunset drive of their own. :huh: :rtm: :rtm:

Anyway, back to the Lions. Well now, these two gents put on a show of note for us, three ROARING performances that vibrated right through the truck. That is truly an amazing experience to hear and see that right in front of you. :clap: :clap: :clap:

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A small teaser…. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

View My Video

Passing another Puff Adder, we headed off again, half stopping for a Hare.
We came to the end of the S110, crossed the H3 and onto the S114. By now the lightning that was on the far horizon had brought with it a strong wind, with a storm threatening to break loose any minute. About 3-400m onto the S114, there she was, a young female Leopard walking along the side of the road. As soon as we arrived she made off into the bush and luckily we were able to get a few rushed visuals of her before she disappeared.

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Then the storm broke!! :big_eyes: We were drenched by the time we got back to camp as the flaps on the side of the truck could not be fastened in anyway. Everyone hung onto a side flap while we made what seemed to be the longest 12km ride, ever. It turned out to be a big 4 drive that night as no Buffs were seen.

As mentioned earlier, when we arrived back at camp, we were glad the car was there and we didn’t have to slosh back down to the camping area in our wet clothes as it was getting rather chilly.

Sadly our time in Kruger had come to an end, we slept soundly that night and were up early the next morning. We packed up, had a shower and headed for Malelane gate and checked out. We took a slow drive across the bridge, stopping to admire the Crocodiles and a lone Buffalo before departing for Johannesburg. :cry: :cry: :cry:

Until next time KNP…………………… :wink:

And that Ladies and Gentlemen, is the end of my trip report of Berg-en-Dal 2010-03-26 to 2010-03-31


Last edited by GlenD on Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: A breakaway at Berg-en-Dal
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:55 pm 
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RayK wrote:
Hi Glen79,
What amazing sightings. Thank You for the TR. (I'm curious--I got the impression that your friends didn't share the same enthusiasm for KNP as you. Hopefully they had an enjoyable time.) :)


Let me put it this way, they seemed to enjoy the time there and the whole camping experience, but it was rather like a 'been there, done that, next place please' trip. Oh well, each to their own I suppose :wink:

I was watching the DVD again this afternoon and had the sound system on max listening to those lions roaring, it was pretty close if I closed my eyes, but not quite the same :?

I think another trip or two is definitley called for before the Balule trip in 2011 :hmz:


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