4th October to 6th November 2020
Sally and I were one of three couples who decided we needed to escape the “Rat Race – haha” and get away from C-19. We had previously booked to go to the Kruger in July for a month or so but C-19 and lockdown forbade us to go. Eventually we got a booking starting on 4th October.
Our plan was to camp our way from the bottom to top of the Park and back – spending 3 or more nights at each camp. Each couple towing their own off-road trailer.
At Shingwedzi near the top of the Park we split off from the other two couples to explore the bird rich Punda Maria and Pafuri area at the very top of the Park.
- Malelane – 3 nights
- Skukuza – 4 nights
- Satara – 3 nights
- Letaba – 3 nights
- Tsendze – 4 nights
- Shingwedzi – 3 nights
- Punda Maria – 4 nights
- Nthakeni (outside the Park near Pafuri Gate) – 3 nights
- Shingwedzi – 1 night
- Balule – 3 nights
- Lower Sabie – 3 nights
- Malelane – 1 night
Part 1 Malelane
4th to 7th October 2020
After an 8 hour trip from home we arrived at Malelane Camp at about 14h00 and set up on some flat ground. Little did we know that this was not a good choice.
We chose this camp as it is centrally located to visit a good network of roads – unlike Berg-en-dal.
The weather was overcast and rain threatening as we arrived. At night is was very cool +- 13 C.
Malelane Camp photos. The Scotia trees draw in all kinds of birds.
The campsite is beside the lovely green and well treed area around the huts. It is an open area without grass and few trees.
Owls were calling at night in particular the Pearl-spotted Owlet.
In the afternoon we went out to bird as the cloudy conditions changed to a drizzle. On return we realised our unfortunate position in the campsite with runoff coming right under our trailer. Hastily out came the spade to create a trench around the topside of our site. It worked fine until the storm hit us hard during the night. The storm was very noisy and at one stage we heard the crack of the thunder a split second BEFORE we saw the lightening.
We awoke to a stream of mud flowing through our groundsheet. More digging and more protection needed for the next couple of days. The rain persisted.
Some photos of the park around Malelane camp ground.
Not surprisingly the Gardenia hide had little water and the Berg-en-dal dam was totally empty. The rain was well welcomed. In Berg-en-dal we had an emergance of allates which drew out the birds. This camp was surprisingly empty. Apparently management had designated the camp as an overflow camp and that is why you could not book ahead. The website showed nothing available.
Our birding was interesting in the rain. Birds were looking decidedly bedraggled and made for different and interesting photos.
This Raptor had us puzzled. Especially the white feathers over the legs. Can you Identify it.
Here are some of the other birds we were lucky enough to Photograph.
A red-billed Oxpecker caught our attention as it had a meal on a Buffalo.
Of the many birds we saw this was our favourite.
In total we identified 114 different bird species.
From Malelane we went to Skukuza. See part 2 to continue our report of our trip to the Kruger.
Paul and Sally