Spent 3 nights in Balule 2 weeks ago. What a treat!
A few observations:
1. When you ask for a specific hut, make SURE it is recorded. I phoned Satara and asked for hut no 6. They said fine, but on arrival not so. No record. Supposed to do via Olifants, the guy said...?
2. With the bridge out of action, roads are limited for game viewing, and Bangu waterhole is dead, so very few animals on the s90 (we drove it twice all the way down to Nwanedzi), even though it is a lovely drive through beautiful grassland.
3. Really, NO negatives about the place!
Stunning night sounds and fish eagles calling all day. There are no "bad" huts -- you feel out in the wild in every one of them. I don't like the smell of paraffin, so used my own candles in the hut at night.
On Thursday, our last day there, the contractor filled the "coffer dam" to stop water flowing across the southern end of the bridge. Vehicles started using this road, even the Sanparks bus. So the campers started driving across to Olifants -- 12 km instead of 35 km! What a treat. More options to drive. So we did it and spend the afternoon in Olifants camp, but were back at the bridge by 4:45, within sight of Balule.
Bad news. A Sanparks vehicle was parked diagonally across the road to bar any further crossings! So we suddenly had another 20 km to get back home before dark... which turned into good luck for us, as a caracal lynx (my first ever in Kruger!) crossed the road ahead of us, but there was no time for photos!
After the high level bridge crossing, we got onto our dirt road back to camp, to find an aggressive elephant bull in musth walking towards us and hogging the road... spent about 10 minutes waiting while other cars backed up behind us. Eventually we squeezed past and he charged us, but we got back to camp at exactly 5:30!
Hope you have better luck and that the bridge will now be permanently open to all traffic, even while they are still working on the actual structure on the southern end!
Friedrich von Hörsten
ps. The hyena clan disappeared the week before we arrived. No babies at the den for 3 days?
Ngotos weir was full of water and hippos.
Saw one lioness lying in road early morning, with bad wound on inside of right front leg.
Saw a medium sized python at the southern end of the olifants river bridge, motionless for 30 min next to road. Thought he was injured, some people said dead. But his tongue flickered and he moved his head when we drove up right next to him... second python in Kruger in 58 years... and first caracal in Kruger ...
``God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on your heart'' -- E. St V Millay