Pretoriuskop to Crocodile Bridge
January 27, 2022

Today was changing camps day. The next 3 nights are at Crocodile Bridge where H and I have not stayed before. We have avoided it because it is right on the edge of the park (at the gate actually) and you can see civilization from the camp. But we decided to give it a try this time for something different.

The shortest route is about 120 kms and we took a slightly longer route – maybe 130 kms. It was mainly dirt roads the whole way – heading east most of the time as Crocodile Bridge is at the far south east of the Kruger (near Mozambique border). The roads we took are not roads I have driven much (if at all) and it really was quite an enjoyable drive. While we didn’t see any predators, there was a lot of game and birds to be seen. The behavior of animals is always intriguing. An example being the photo below.

We stopped at Afsaal (one of picnic spots) and had breakfast. Our breakfast was Roosterkoek filled with scrambled eggs and bacon. At the picnic spot right behind our table we noticed some fresh cat spoor (see pic). After googling it was clear that it was a leopard spoor. I am sure he/she was long gone by the time we were eating breakfast. We arrived at Crocodile Bridge at about 12:45pm and fortunately they allowed us to check in and get our hut.

It was pretty warm by this point (32 degrees) so being inside with air conditioning was what was needed. I was sitting inside catching up on email correspondence when I heard H shout and ran out to find her saying ‘snake, snake’ and I said ‘where’ and she replied ‘in the bin’. The bin is actually in a locked small enclosure next to the braai. On closer inspection I saw Mr Snake who had fitted itself between the bricks. Thin green job. I hate snakes and only green snake I know is a green mamba (which I know is deadly). Figured the only thing to do was go get a ranger. When I got to reception the lady there told me she too is petrified of snakes. The head ranger of the camp was in Skukuza for the day (not going to leave that snake there for the balance of the day!) but fortunately they found another ranger who was off duty but came anyway. He didn’t have his snake grabber tongs so he just improvised. He did ID the snake as Green Spotted Bush Snake (fortunately not venomous at all – he said the bite would be painful though). Removed snake to over fence and saw it slither off into the bush hopefully to not make a reappearance anytime soon.

We spent the balance of the day in the camp as I had a meeting late afternoon. The wildlife came to us though including an elephant right up against the fence near our hut. The fence is pretty flimsy but fortunately the elephant had no intention of coming into the camp. H spent most of the afternoon bird watching and messaging me occasionally to tell me all the things she had seen. I managed to catch up on a few of them and so we are now on 144 birds for the trip. H did see what would be another lifer for me – Grey Waxbill – so I am hoping I will see it in the next few days while we are at the camp. Right on the edge of its range.

Braai of ostrich steak (for steak salad) for dinner. Fortunately we started
earlier tonight because at 7:20pm a thunderstorm passed by and it was a deluge for a few minutes. We were already finished eating by that point so definitely better timing than last night.

Until tomorrow … P & H

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