Crocodile Bridge To Malelane Gate Drive | Stories Of The Kruger

Our Last Drive From Crocodile Bridge To Malelane Gate

We were once again up at 5.15am, to get ready and head home. Always the saddest part of these Kruger National Park trips. At least we could drive a bit through the Kruger before heading out. We were to drive from Crocodile bridge to Malelane Gate, and exit there. We had 2 options – the S25 or the tar road via Skukuza. We calculated it, and we would get more time in the park taking the H4-2, H4-1 and H3 to the exit at Malelane Gate. Even though the S25 was very tempting, this would probably take us 3 hours at most.

So we left at 6am, dropped our keys in the box from our beloved Safari Tent and headed out in the 8-degree misty weather. The animals clearly didn’t like this weather because we saw very few animals on the way to Lower Sabie. In fact, we only managed one Giraffe sighting and then some Impala. It could have been the mist, or we could have just been unlucky. The sunrise in the thick mist was something to take in though!

Birding was also very slow… Once again this could be due to the conditions. We saw a Crested Francolin with just one leg, which was very weird. We managed to tick off some of the common birds again such as the Burchell’s Starling, yellow-billed Hornbill, Arrowmarked Babbler, Natal Spurfowl, Swainson’s Spurfowl, Blue Waxbill, Bateleur and Lilac-breasted Roller.

We then stopped at Sunset Dam, as one does in this southern section of the Kruger National Park. The usual culprits were around – Hippo’s playing, Crocodiles hunting and basking in what low temperature sunlight there was. Some Burchell’s Zebra came to drink, which was nice, and they were on the far side of the dam.

Birds included the Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Yellow-billed Stork, Three-banded Plover, Kittlitz’s Plover, African Fish Eagle, Helmeted Guineafowl, Water Thick-knee, Grey heron, Egyptian Goose, White-crowned lapwing, Pied Wagtail, African Spoonbill, Blacksmith Lapwing and Black-winged Stilt.

We then headed on to Lower Sabie where we had breakfast at the Mugg And Bean, which was great and the service, excellent.

Crocodile Bridge To Malelane Gate – Lower Sabie To The Exit

We made our journey to exiting the Kruger along the Sabie River en route to Malelane Gate. The wildlife started becoming more abundant, with lots of Impala around. It had warmed up (Eventually getting up to 28 degrees). We had a poor visibility sighting of an Nyala ewe close to Skukuza and there were quite a few Elephant sightings, all very distant… We witnessed some Dwarf Mongoose cross the road and also managed to see Kudu, Blue Wildebeest and Buffalo.

It was an interesting morning for birding… We saw our first Long-crested Eagle in the Kruger National Park and came across a flock of White-crowned Helmet Shrikes that would just not sit still for a photograph. Other bird species seen included the normal common birds such as Laughing Dove, Cape Turtle Dove, Greater Blue-eared Starling, Speckled Mousebird, Magpie Shrike, Black-backed Puffback, Emerald-spotted Wood Dove, Grey Go Away Bird, Red-billed Oxpecker, Fork-tailed Drongo and Green Woodhoopoe.

That was as far as it went in terms of our very short morning trip. We arrived at Malelane Gate at 11.30am and had traveled 472 kilometers in our short long weekend trip. I even get sad writing this article, because I can feel the pain we felt when leaving the Kruger that day. But we have December to look forward to. Five days, two camps (Orpen and Shingwedzi) and many kilometers of road to cover… We cant wait, watch this space!

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