Gecko #81 goes to Kruger – Elangeni to Berg en Dal

Everybody who knows me is aware of the fact that The Kruger National Park is my most favourite place in the entire world.  I love lots of places and I would be happy wherever I found myself but if I could live in the Kruger National Park, I would be in heaven.

Our stay at Elangeni was lovely.   The caravan sites are grassy and under beautiful shady trees.  The ablutions are old and could do with an upgrade but the showers were hot and they were clean.  We left this morning at 8 o’clock, stopped in Nelspruit to shop for supplies and entered the park before midday.

IMG_2971 Elangeni 2019-11-13 7-56-00 AM
Goodbye Elangeni
IMG_2983 Elangeni Chickens and Weavers 2019-11-13 7-58-52 AM
Chickens and weavers enjoying a feast of seed at Elangeni

Getting to Kruger a day earlier than planned was an extra special bonus for me.   At something past 11 o’clock this morning we arrived at Malelane Gate and I joyfully went into reception to announce myself.  I was just bursting with smiles and enthusiasm and didn’t mind at all that there was a queue.  As I entered a lovely, young, tall,  woman greeted me and handed me the indemnity form to fill in.  She also helped me do it!  What fantastic service!   I then stood in the queue for not more than two minutes.  The young lady who processed me seemed a bit serious at first.  “I’m a day early,” I said.  “Please, can I book another night at Berg en Dal”   She stared at the computer screen and then did the necessary.   “We drove here very fast so we could have an extra day,” I enthused.

This seemed to tickle her.   “You need to have as much time as you can get it seems.   You’re here for a month!”

“Yes,” I replied.  “We took four days to get here so we must make it worthwhile!”

She laughed. ” Seri-ous!  Then you must have a wonderful time! If you come so far from the southern tip – then you must stay long!”

I left Malelane Gate in the best of moods and rejoined The Earl in the car. Oh, the joy that filled my heart as we drove into the park at last.

Now when you’re towing a caravan you can’t reverse or manoeuvre the car to the perfect position when you come upon a sighting.  And nothing too exciting happened in the beginning.   First up were warthogs then a few interesting birds, impala and the usual stuff.  Then we noticed two cars staring into the bush.  We pulled up next to the first one and he shrugged his shoulder and said, “We’re just looking.  We haven’t seen anything!”

The Earl pulled away and then I yelled, “Stop! Reverse! Leopard!”

“I can’t reverse,” he said

“Okay – then go forward a fraction and look back.”

He did and we had an awesome sighting of an alert leopard under a tree.   Then she started to move.  We could not reverse or turn around to see where she went.  But at least we’d seen her.  And it was just 200m outside Berg en Dal Camp’s gate!

IMG_2994 Leopard 2019-11-13 12-21-41 PM

Well, not half an hour in the park and already a leopard on our list!  It was certainly a good omen.

After checking in at reception we chose a suitable campsite and settled in.   It was a cool 25 degrees C, it was overcast but it only started to rain when we’d finished setting up.  The drizzle only lasted a few minutes.

Later in the afternoon, we went for a drive.  It’s not usually very productive in the afternoons because of the heat but being overcast and cool we were lucky to see a number of birds and animals.

IMG_2993 Emerald Spotted Dove 2019-11-13 12-12-17 PM
Emerald Spotted wood-dove
IMG_2998 Wattled Lapwing 2019-11-13 2-56-45 PM
Wattled Lapwing
IMG_3006 Jacobin Cuckoo Dark Morph 2019-11-13 3-01-28 PM
Dark morph Jacobin cuckoo
IMG_3013 Grey Hornbill 2019-11-13 3-11-02 PM
Grey Hornbill
IMG_3018 Red-billed Hornbill 2019-11-13 3-23-28 PM
Red-billed hornbill
IMG_3035 Warthog 2019-11-13 3-53-30 PM
Warthog
IMG_3042 Mom and baby elephant 2019-11-13 4-21-22 PM
Mother and baby elephant
IMG_3050 Goaway Bird 2019-11-13 4-33-21 PM
Go Away Bird

In the evening we braaied Texan Steaks for dinner.

It was an awesome start to our trip.

 

Published by puppy1952

I am making the most of the South African Lifestyle and hope with my blog to share some of the adventures my husband and I are having in our retirement. We live at the Southern Tip of Africa in the small coastal town of Struisbaai. Earl and I have a Gecko off-road caravan and we travel around South Africa frequently. We are bird and wild life enthusiasts so are often in game reserves.

9 thoughts on “Gecko #81 goes to Kruger – Elangeni to Berg en Dal

    1. We will be at Satara on 5 December. Lower Sabi 7 December Berg en Dal Then Crocodile Bridge 10 t0 12 December. Please try to get in touch. Our caravan is a Gecko no 81. We drive a Ford Everest with CS registration

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re definitely going to look out for you, Helen! We’re booked to arrive at Satara on the 6th, my birthday, and we’ll also be camping – we might even be neighbours! Silver Duster with CV-GP numberplate.

        Like

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