Thursday, 23rd August DAY 6

Today we move to Pretoriuskop but first we want to enjoy the early morning light. So we are at the gate early and lead down the tar to the H3 and then coffee on the Matjulu bridge. The traffic from the Malelane entrance gate and Bergendal surges past. This is the downside of Crocodile Bridge and Bergendal, where the roads are flooded by day visitors who enter at the same time that the camps open. This is another advantage of the early 4.30am start in summer.

We then begin a slow dawdle along the Matjulu Loop road (S110) and have only gone a Km before we come across a single Wild Dog at the side of the road. He is behaving most strangely and seems to be in some distress. First he pulls himself along the ground on his bum then eats some dry grass and vomits. Next he throws himself onto his back with legs thrashing about in the air and then spins onto his feet again. He keeps this up for a good five minutes then stands stock still for a moment before running off quite normally into the bush. It is unusual to see a solitary Wild Dog and odder still to see one behave thus.

We move on for our last fling at the water trough where our private puddle has really become a drawcard for the birds. They are flocking in and I am afraid that they are going to face disappointment as the water dries up. This little puddle of ours has really provided some great entertainment – for us and some of the other tourists.

A Golden-breasted Bunting amongst a flock of White-winged Widowbirds (non-breeding plumage).

I fear that the main water trough is running out of water as nothing comes down to drink today. And so we bid farewell to this idyllic spot that has given us so much pleasure over the past five days.

A Blue-headed Lizard

Bergendal camp impresses me more and more and I really look forward to returning in the summer months when the birds will be even better and the roads emptier.

A view of the Bergendal campsite with its beautiful bushveld trees and surrounding bush.


Impala Lilies in camp.

At 9.30am we begin to pack up and by 10.40am we are on our way to Pretoriuskop Restcamp – 90Kms distant along the tar.

We make rapid progress but turning along the H1-1 towards Pretoriuskop I am disappointed to find that they have burnt a large area stretching southward all the way to Ship Mountain and beyond. All thoughts of a Voortrekker road drive tomorrow morning quickly evaporate.

In camp we find our favourite site along the fence again vacant and within no time we are unpacked and ready for action. This particular campsite is adjacent to a camping area used by a tourist company and I don’t think that other caravanners realise that it is available to the public. We are not complaining.

The south wind comes up mid afternoon and after all our exertions today we decide to stay in camp. Tomorrow we will probably travel along the Fayi Loops and around the beautiful koppies which are such a feature of Pretoriuskop. Mary was last here in 1958, sixty years ago, when we made our first trip to Kruger. What memories.