Bergendal 17-18th April

Bergendal 17-18th April

Wednesday, 17th April

Last night I arrived at the petrol station at 5.50pm to find that the attendant had already knocked off. To compound the problem he is late for work again this morning and when I finally fill up, the internet coverage is on the blink and I can’t pay. So I must wait for Reception to open at 7am but when it does there is still no internet so I go out of camp and little late and a little bit peeved.

A cool south wind is blowing and it is cloudy – not the best conditions. The roads have all long been covered by the early traffic so I am not feeling too optimistic. I take the Matjulu Loop (S110) outside camp and then the S120 over the Steilberg to the main H3 road without seeing anything exciting. Then along the S118 Mlambane river road, onto the causeway before heading north along the S114. I try and call in the African Crake on the causeway but I fear he has already migrated north.

At the Biyamithi weir all is quiet and fittingly the lone hippo is snoozing close by.

Wooly-necked Stork
Levaillant’s Cuckoo

Then along the Biyamithi river road (S23) before I get back on the H3 and head back to camp. After all the action yesterday, today was a real anticlimax.

At 3pm Renette arrives with Warren from Jo’burg and we hope for better things. We go out to Matjulu in the late evening seeing buffalo and ellies at the water trough.

Again from nowhere it begins raining lightly in the early evening.

Thursday, 18th April

The Mlambane river road is the place to be and with Warren driving, we head that way. Along the gravel S114 road we come across three rhino grazing placidly next to the road. Happily we are seeing quite a few rhino in the area and all look very relaxed. I read in the local paper that a rhino poacher was killed last week by an enraged ellie.

Just beyond the rhino Warren spots six wild-dogs running through the veld some distance off the road. They seem to be after an impala and quickly disappear from view.

Once on the S119 Mlambane road we creep along again seeing the mother white rhino and her calf.

There is game all along the road. Reaching the causeway where the S114 crosses the river we pause to watch a splendid leguaan (water monitor) sunning himself on a rock.

We continue along the S118 river road and I am again envious of the knowledge that Warren acquired on his Eco Training Field Guide course that he did last year. His knowledge of bird calls and tracking is so impressive and he constantly picks up leopard and other spoor on the side of the road.

We must hurry up and get back to camp because I have booked the Quantum in for a service at 11am in Malelane. What was meant to be a 2-3 hour service drags on to 5 hours as I impatiently kick my heels in town.

Back in camp we go out at 5pm and take the S110 Matjulu Loop and I have a little fun with a Pearl-Spotted Owlet.

In the early evening thunder, lightning and a few spots of rain arrive with no warning at all. When I arrived in camp on Monday, the campsite was empty – me being the sole camper in this section. With the Easter weekend in the offing, tonight the campsite is full.