Berg-en-Dal to Lower Sabie
February 2, 2022

We aimed to leave later in the morning as the last change of camps was happening. As the crow flies, it is only about 60 kms between camps but we decided to take a slightly longer route via Skukuza as we had the time to do and both the road north and the one from Skukuza to Lower Sabie are known for their excellent game sightings.

As we crossed one of the rivers, sure enough, another crash of rhino. I have now lost count of how many rhino we have seen around Berg-en-Dal but it was substantial. All the ones we saw had been de-horned which hopefully keeps the poachers away from them. I read an article recently that said the Kruger was 2700 poacher incursions a year – that is about 7 a day. These aren’t only to get rhino. They pointed out that 60% of the youth on the western boundary of the park are unemployed and many of them are orphans from either AIDS or from COVID. A lot of this poaching is therefore simply to catch a buck to feed themselves and their families. The criminal enterprise of rhino poaching though is even more lucrative and the kingpins are prepared to pay a years worth of food for someone bringing them a rhino horn. It is no wonder the rhino population in the Kruger Park is under severe threat and they very hard to find.

Just outside Skukuza (at the main crossroads) we found a male and female lion mating. They do it multiple times over a few days. The actual act takes a few seconds and then they take a break and then a few minutes later they do it again. But they also don’t tend to stay still so we had a good visual of the male and the female before we headed into Skukuza for a leg stretch, ice cream (for me) and some shopping of essential items (like droewors).

The road between Skukuza and Lower Sabie is legendary for its predator sightings. Before we got onto it though we went to see the lions going at it again and once again had a very good sighting with the male walking right in front of the car. We didn’t see any more predators but we did see the a LOT of impala. Per km that had to be the most impala we had seen on any road.

We stopped at the Nkhulu picnic site which is right on the Sabie river. It really is very nicely laid out. They have made parking spots that are covered and H remarked that it was nice but a bit of a waste. Then when we got out of the car we realised they were actually solar panels and they power the whole site … actually very clever! The shop and facilities at the site were really the best we have seen the park too. We sat and ate lunch with a view over the river and collected a few more birds to our trip list. We were on 184 at end of Tuesday. 16 needed in 2.5 days. Going to be tight to get to the 200 but the 10 we saw on Tuesday did really help the cause.

By the time we arrived at Lower Sabie it was already 33 degrees but our weather app said ‘feels like 42’! The app was correct. The accommodation we have is without a doubt the nicest we have had so far and probably some of the best in the Kruger actually. It overlooks the Sabie river and has a nice layout. The huts are in a much better condition and are better equipped as well. We had lamb chops on the braai and even sitting outside was pleasant. We didn’t get attacked by thousands of insects and as the temperature was cooling down nicely we just sat outside and enjoyed the evening.

Cellphone signal is very patchy and so again I am just hoping to get this posted. Apologies for no pictures again.

P & H

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