Thanks so much for you patience Friday, 8th February, 2013 – Berg en Dal
Somehow but true we managed to be finally back and besides our colds and bronchitis we both caught prior to our departure everything else went more than well and finally we were standing on the bridge over the Crocodile River close to Malelane Gate and simply breathed and sighed. We spotted our first impalas and many hippos in and outside the water.
We arrived that early as never before at the gate and gladly same was nearly empty for a Friday afternoon and the obligatory check in took only a couple of minutes and whilst I was busy in doing the necessary paperwork Timon started already in snapping away and the first victim was a very patient drongo sitting on one of the cacti
and finally after a drought of nearly one year the boom opened and we were back and had still 16 nights in the park ahead of us out of which we wanted to make the most. We were greeted by the many European bee eaters and noisy banana birds whilst in the background the calls of the woodland kingfishers could be heard and soon when one had finished its call the next one started again and so on – Sigh!
Soon a group of impalas came into sight
followed by some warthogs
as well as crowned plovers and lots of magpie shrikes.
The turn off to Matjulu waterhole came into sight and although we drove already a lot with nearly no sleep the prior night in the airplane we could not resist in not making a short detour via this loop. In the beginning you had to drive via steep curves up and down and the only recently heavy rainfall was still visible and in the downs sometimes water was still standing and had to be crossed and also the one or two low water bridges which had to be crossed still were washed by water and whilst driving up again you simply had to be careful as parts of the road were still missing or washed out and still an incomprehensible amount of water was still coming from nearly everywhere and lots of areas in the park where still covered by huge puddles and drying mud – but all the “negative” things do also have positive things as the park was amazingly lush and green and simply beautiful
At Matjulu waterhole itself a group of zebras had already left, however, hundreds of European swallows as well as White fronted bee eaters were buzzing round only meters away from the ground catching insects which is also one of the advantage of a wet summer.
Whilst we arrived there some jokers obviously mend they were cool whilst climbing out of their car and having a closer look
– Gladly birds were not on their interest list and they soon drove off and let us alone together with our feathered friends and you just had to wait as they all came back. This pin tailed whydah landed only centimetres from where we stood
and was more than willing to pose nicely
and also some fluff balls landed close by and wanted to be captured
Also some other cars drove by but nearly turned around the minute they arrived and so luckily for us the bee eaters came back in continuing their dust bath which they had to interrupt because of the arriving cars
A highlight for us was that a sunbird – one of my most wanted to be seen birds – landed on a flower close by but before Timon had the camera in position same flew already away – this procedure took place a couple of times but we did not manage to get a picture and so it was impossible to identify this beautiful bird.
However, the pin-tailed whydah was again back and landed close to our car on the ground searching for some dinner in form of grass seeds and our bee eaters nearly gone mad whilst taking their sand bath.
We decided that we will return the next evening again and so we said good-bye and drove back to camp.
The check in as well as renewal of my Wild Card were done in no minutes and I got the key to bungalow No. 39, however, same did not fit and only after shacking on the door we realized that we got the wrong key in our hands although No.39 was clearly marked on the tag – We had no alternative to return to camp and soon the lady from the reception gave me another key for no. 39 and finally we could move in – Normally in fact I have no problem in returning to reception to claim for another key but that evening I was in fact a bit tired and simply wanted to relax.
The bungalow in fact had no view – simply because the bush was so dense – same was indeed located right at the fence but the privacy offered was a great advantage – Timon got the braai going and we soon already repacked our luggage and the just bought food so that we would not waste any time the next morning. Needless to say that we slept like logs that night but were ready for new adventures the next morning.Saturday, 09. February 2013 – Berg en Dal
What a feeling it was to awoke in our beloved bush the next morning – Sigh! – and needless to say that the morning coffee tasted much more better. During our first full day in the park we always do start on the Matjulu loop and so it was today. Whilst heading forward we met a very skittish and very agitated hyaena who was always on the run and due to the poor daylight at that early hour only blurred pictures came out – the hyaenas, however, were good to us this year and we had later during that trip enough time for extensive photo sessions with them. We found that early morning, however, other victims who were willing to pose for example the ever present impalas
and I simply could not resist in taking one of these typical Berg-en-Dal impressions – it was feeling far too good to be backto be continued with stripes, more birdies and the painted ones...........