. OnHiatus.com > Journal 1 > Day Index > Journal Entry: April 30, 1999

Friday, April 30, 1999
Skukuza to Crocodile Bridge, Kruger National Park, South Africa
South Africa's Flag

Map
Crocodile Bridge, Kruger National Park, South Africa:
Latitude: 25° 21' 27" South
Longitude: 31° 53' 38" East
Altitude: 530 feet
From Seattle: 11848 miles
Lodging: Camp - Crocodile Bridge

Map
Today's Travel:
Country: South Africa
Region: Mpumalanga
Route: Park Roads: H1-2, Maropla Loop, H12, S30, S29, H10, H4-1, S21, S114, S26, S108, H5, H4-2
Start: Skukuza
Stop 1. Mlondozi Dam
End:Crocodile Bridge, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Linear:46 miles
Weather: Mostly Sunny

Available Photos:

Ground Hornbill Kruger National Park, South Africa

Ground Hornbill Kruger National Park, South Africa

Zebras Kruger National Park, South Africa

Zebras Kruger National Park, South Africa

Giraffes and zebra Kruger National Park, South Africa

Zebras and reflections Kruger National Park, South Africa

Elephants Kruger National Park, South Africa

Elephants Kruger National Park, South Africa

Elephants Kruger National Park, South Africa

Elephants Kruger National Park, South Africa

Mlondozi Lake Mlondozi Dam, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hamerkop Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hippos Sunset, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hippos Sunset, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hippos Sunset, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hippos Sunset, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hippos Sunset, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hippos Sunset, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hippos Sunset, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hippos Sunset, Kruger National Park, South Africa

Tree and reflection Sunset, Kruger National Park, South Africa

White Rhino Kruger National Park, South Africa

White Rhino Kruger National Park, South Africa

Elephant Kruger National Park, South Africa

Moon rise Kruger National Park, South Africa

Hyena pup Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lions Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lions Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lions Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lions Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lions Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lions Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lions Kruger National Park, South Africa

Lions Kruger National Park, South Africa

All photo images © 1997-2000 Anthony Jones - Images may not be used without prior written approval.

Click on map to Zoom in...
Map
Trip Stats to Date:
Day: 750
Linear Dist: 142519
Countries Visited: 54
Regions Visited: 214
More stats...
Hotels: 208
Friends / Family: 160
Camping: 111
Hostels: 209
Transit: 55
Other Lodging: 6
Beers: 2890
Hide...

Journal Entry:
A bit of a slow day. Lots of the usual: Zebras, Giraffes, Wildebeest, Impala, etc. After two hours of driving came upon a group of fifteen Elephants. These are the first elephants I've seen in over a month - since Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe! The elephants were huge, and had by far the longest tusks I've seen yet.

At Sunset we found the lake literally packed with hippos. Even more surprising a group of six of them were up grazing on the shore - I thought you never saw hippos on land during the day. In fact these are the first hippos I've seen on land period (at least at a reasonable distance). There was also a very young baby (still mostly pink). It was amazing how many there were in a relatively small lake - counted twenty-two, and there had to be many more. We left the lake quite excited about how many hippos we'd just seen, then a hundred yards down the road there's another group of three hippos - again grazing, and this time far from the water! Again and again we saw hippos I stopped counting after forty. Basically this stretch of the Sabie river is infested.

Several hours of nothing exciting had us running for camp - we had to confirm for the night's game drive by four. Being in a hurry we of course found something interesting - three White Rhinos, and close to the road! A few minutes later just 100 yards from the camp gate was another giant bull elephant.

After confirming our reservations for the game drive we set up camp, ate a bit (Ostrich biltong and crackers for me) and just hung out for an hour.

The night drive got going a little after sunset at five thirty. It started out pretty slow, just Impala and a few birds. We did have a fantastic moonrise - the moon was giant and full. Saw another white rhino - even closer to the road than this afternoon. A large-spotted genet was the first new thing we saw. Right next to the road it looked like a cross between a ferret and a house cat - looked quite cuddly, though I didn't try to verify that. Next exciting thing was a very cute spotted hyena pup. I've never thought to us the word cute with hyenas but this definitely was - he couldn't decide if he should be afraid of us or not so very timidly sat on the edge of the road, no more than six feet from me. Caught a brief glimpse of a black and white African Civet - another cat like thing, but bigger.

Yet another cat like thing started the excitement - two lioness. We got with two yards of both of them - amazing. We turned away from them when we heard males vocalizing (roaring) nearby and went in search of the males. We found two of them and followed them back to the females. We got within feet of each of the four many times - it was totally incredible! The males were stunning.

I learned an important lesson about my camera - it doesn't focus well in the dark, it has to use the flash, and then the flash has to recharge before the camera can actually take the picture, meanwhile the animal has moved so the focus has to be redone, etceteras. Lost lots of close up lion pictures until I realized manual focus is the way to go at night!

Didn't get to see a leopard, and in general the drive was quite slow, but the close up experience with the mini-pride of lions was easily worth the time and money... And I did get to add Crocodiles, Large-spotted Genets, Lions, Common Duikers, Spotted Hyenas, African Civets, and Side Striped Jackals to the identified animal list for the day!

Back at camp I was freezing (shortly into the game drive I regretted me choice of shorts). A nice hot bath (bath tubs in campgrounds are quite civilized) and straight to bed - we're hoping to be on our way to Mozambique well before dawn.


Related Sites:
US State Department Consular Information Sheets: South Africa
CIA World Fact Book: South Africa

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