Travel in the time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Day 2 Skukuza to Berg en Dal and back

Yesterday we discovered that the SD card in the Earl’s camera had gone Awol. The park shops do not stock them. Also missing in action was our caravan step-up. We only realised this when we set up camp at our overnight stop, Heins. When we shopped at Pick n Pay yesterday we tried to find one without success. There were also one or two other things that we could do without but would be make life more pleasant so we decided to trek back to Malelane and try the larger Super Spa shopping center where there were more shops to choose from

We left around 6:30ish and the overcast weather turned to quite heavy rain along the way. At first there was not much to see along the H1-1 and H3 roads to Malelane Gate. Of course we greeted the odd group of impala but the wildebeest seemed to have gone on vacation. Here are a few critters that did turn up.

A wet and not very cheerful Tawny Eagle
Equally wet but nicely fluffed up Swainson’s Spurfowl
An elegant giraffe with a dramatic sky behind him

As we passed Afsaal picnic site we reminisced about the leopard we’d seen in 2012 when our grandkids were with us. This leopard is quite often seen along the H3 around Afsaal. About 10 minutes later we saw three cars stopped up ahead.

“Now what can they have spotted,” I wondered. “Giraffe, wildebeest, elephant?”

No something far more exciting.

A rather lazy leopard settling down for a nap
He totally ignored us, closed his eyes and went to sleep

Shortly after this we arrived at Malelane Gate, got our re-entry permit and made our way to town. The rain had let up a bit and by the time we’d finished our shopping it had stopped altogether.

Within the hour we’d got an SD card from a pharmacy, purchased some foodstuffs and ice bricks from Spa, bought a pair of shoes for the Earl and found an inexpensive, plastic, foldable step-up from the Crazy Store! “You’re the best shop ever,” I told the assistant. “We’ve tried everywhere and you’re the only place that knows what we’re even talking about!”

So with everything on the list accomplished we popped over to Wimpy for breakfast and then made our way back to the park.

The temperature rose to from 20 to 27 by the time we reached Berg-en-Dal. We went to reception to make slight changes to our bookings and to see what damage had been done to the restaurant after a recent fire. There was a temporary office as they are busy doing renovations. The restaurant is still closed but the shop is fully functioning. They have an outdoor coffee station where you can order light meals and sit at picnic tables if you so desire.

We then took the Majulu loop to the dam.

These two enjoyed the sunshine
There were quite a few zebra and impala enjoying each others company.
One of the many buffalo that made an appearance
The yellow-billed oxpeckers like to offer their grooming services to buffalo
This grumpy chap has the more common red-billed oxpecker and seems to be saying – hey – you’re not doing your job!

We usually see quite a few red-billed buffalo-weavers but we only got this one whose bill is still pale.
This is the scene that met us at the dam
What’s up Ellie? Hectic party last night?
I just love warthogs! They are so amusing. There were dozens of them around the dam, all having lots of fun
Seen as we drove back – there were lots of elephants around

En route to Afsaal picnic site you can turn down a dirt road to Renosterpan and then drive back again. It’s about 4km each way. “Should we do it?” asked the Earl. “We might not see anything.”

“But then again we might miss something if we don’t!” I replied. Renoster is the Afrikaans word of rhino and as it turned out it was a fitting name indeed.

Relaxing in the midday sun
The buffalo thought it was cooler in the water
This hammerkop insisted on hiding behind the reeds
Eventually this chap got up and allowed his groomers to continue his treatments
There was not much on offer at Afsaal so we settled for giant muffins instead

This monkey thought he’d act like a leopard while he eyed our snacks
A Cape Glossy Starling looking for crumbs
Helmeted Guineafowl are common all over the country and we tend to ignore them but they really are beautiful
A Kurrichane Thrush bade us farewell

From Afsaal we made our way back, spotted more elephants, buffalo and other creatures but these were the most interesting.

This dwarf mongoose is squatting in an abandoned anthill
Crested Francolin
Swainson’s Spurfowl

Altogether it was a most enjoyable day.

7 thoughts on “Travel in the time of Covid – Kruger National Park – Day 2 Skukuza to Berg en Dal and back

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