Bergendal 25-26th May

Bergendal 25-26th May

Saturday, 25th May

It is heavily overcast as we take off from the camp gates at 6am down the tarred S110 to the H3. We sit on the Matjulu bridge for our customary coffee but the heavy day traffic from the Malelane Gate, many of whom turn along the S114 gravel road, make us change tack.

Our plans for the Mlambane River, now thwarted, we take the Matjulu Loop S110 road back towards camp.

Lilac-breasted Roller

I have mentioned before how beautiful Bergendal is blighted by the heavy traffic which is funnelled along some limited roads. Granted, this is the weekend but it is a problem. Perhaps Bergendal is to be really enjoyed during the summer months when early gate times and less visitors make the roads less congested. I really must plan any similar trip that we do to Kruger in future a little more carefully.

Back at camp by 9am, I quickly erect the tent in preparation for our next visitors, cousins Werner and Noleen Frenzel, who join us on Tuesday. Next Friday they remain with us as we move back to Satara.

This afternoon the skies clear and we go out to the Matjulu water trough seeing white rhino along the way. One does not like to be a ‘whinge bag’ but……… the number of cars parked above and near the water hole are just too many for me. At one time I count seventeen which is such a shame as the scene itself is so tranquil in the late afternoon light.

There is a resident flock of White-fronted Bee-eaters nesting in the bank of the Matjulu stream and they provide constant entertainment.

Two buffalo doze in the water, a couple of hyena come and drink, a giraffe, a few impala and then at 4.30pm two white rhino arrive – one with a young calf and the other from the opposite direction through the crush of cars.

Happily, they do seem quite relaxed. An ellie also puts in an appearance and standing on tip-toe he just manages to suck up some water from inside the concrete reservoir.

Given what they are up against, it is heartening to see baby rhinos.

Making good use of a ‘rubbing stone’.

Sunday, 26th May

The weather has settled into typical May – cool, clear days with not a breath of wind. We take off out the gates at 6am and within 1 Km come across a pride of lions crossing the road. But the cars are piling up behind us so we move on down the tar to the H3. Then across the Matjulu and right onto the S114 where some cars report three young male lions in the bush.

We have our sights set on the S119 Mlambane river road and we hurry on so as to get ahead of the traffic. The following photos should convey to you the magnificence of this road at sunrise.

Just being on this road is rewarding enough but we are fortunate to find an impressive Bateleur.

Despite getting to the road early and the distraction of the lions behind us, the traffic soon catches up and by 8.30am we are heading back to camp.

The S110 road heading for Bergendal

This afternoon we set out for the Matjulu water trough at 3.30pm. There is always something of interest here.

A Paradise Whydah minus his breeding tail

After the sun has disappeared behind the hills, another rhino and calf appear, different from yesterday’s.

It has been suggested that I should not mention rhino sightings on this blog from a security point of view. But when one considers that Park staff are constantly driving past these animals with cellphones then it is highly unlikely that a would be poacher would be using my very obscure blog to plan his dirty work. At least I hope so.