Bergendal – Lower Sabie Thurs 6th Dec
Yesterday evening was dark and thundery with large storms to the north. For our final drive at Bergendal we go out to the Matjulu water point noting the flooded streambeds from Tuesday evening’s storm.
At the turning circle at Matjulu the resident White-fronted Bee-eaters are busily feeding on flying ants. If ever one needed a demonstration on the value of rain to life in general then it was that Tuesday storm. An hour later the lights outside the caravan had clusters of flying insects where there were none before. And of course, that brings the birds. Incredibly, we have not heard one Diedericks Cuckoo in Bergendal since we have been here and very few other birds. The flood of insects will now draw them in quickly.
This morning is cloudy so we pack up at first light and at 6am we are on our way heading for Lower Sabie. The shortest route is out the Malelane Gate and then along the M4 to Komatipoort where we do some grocery shopping and then to the Crocodile Bridge Gate. And what a shock we get. If we thought that Bergendal was drought stricken then this is infinitely worse. A brown swathe of bare ground is laid out before us – even worse than the big drought of 2016. We shoot up the road looking neither left or right as we go and dear me, they have even burnt sections. We will have to concentrate on the Sabie River roads.
In camp we are lucky to find a beautiful site and are bedded down by 9am.
With the temperature climbing into the high 30’s we head for that refuge of Kruger’s summer heat – the swimming pool. This swimming is doing wonders to my fitness levels and I can feel my ageing body strengthening by the day.
Then onto the viewing deck at Mugg & Bean for lunch from where we watch a herd of ellies feeding in the reeds and squirting water over there hot bodies. A baby ellie has a face to face confrontation with a Blacxksmith Lapwing and then loses courage and scampers back to his mother.
This afternoon I venture out at 5pm and linger around Sunset Dam.
There is quite a bit of water in the dam as a result of pumping out the Sabie River. Of interest are three Black-crowned Night Herons.
An immature Black-winged Stilt.
Tomorrow they are forecasting a prefrontal 40 degree C day. On Saturday Gareth and Sarah should bring cooler weather with them and mercifully some rain.
Fol;lowing on from my comment about the insects and rain, it is noteworthy how few insects are around our lights tonight compared to Bergendal.