Tent Travels: Wrapping up our Kruger trip

Pretty Crocodile Bridge, the last Kruger camp on our most recent trip.

WITH Lower Sabie situated on the Sabie River, one of Kruger’s most important waterways, it is not surprising that this lush, green, well-watered area offers excellent birding and game viewing and is something of a premier lion and leopard sighting spot.

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However, this camp and its game-rich surrounds are beautifully situated at the foot of the Lebombo Mountains and its striking scenic beauty is also a big draw card.

As we were only spending a single night at Lower Sabie, we were out of camp early to explore the area. Soon after turning north on the H10, we hit a road block in the form of a bunch of lively baboons strolling along the road towards us. They were in no hurry to move off the road and let us through and, perhaps because of the cooler weather, were in high spirits.

Baboon road block.

Sometimes it is easy to overlook Kruger’s smaller creatures. Watching them can be just as entertaining as watching members the big five, as the baboons reminded us. They are fascinating and funny creatures and we spent a pleasant half hour or so in their company.

We did some of the little loop roads in that area, enjoying good game viewing and birding, then stopped for a late breakfast at the viewing site overlooking Mlondozi Dam.

Situated in a hilly rocky area, it is one of Kruger’s prettiest picnic spots and the lush summer greenness added to its visual appeal.

It is a popular and busy picnic spot and it was unusual to have it all to ourselves, so we lingered there for quite a while enjoying the silence and tranquillity. Then we returned to our vehicle and set off in a southerly direction, meandering slowly down the H4-2 back to Lower Sabie then onward to Crocodile Bridge, where we would spend the final Kruger night of our trip.

I don’t know what it is about this peaceful, rather unsophisticated little rest camp that makes it so popular. Speak to Kruger fans and most of them will agree that this camp at the foot of Kruger, overlooking the iconic Crocodile River, has a charm all of its own.

Tree decorated by a flock of carmine bee-eaters and a single lilac-breasted roller.

It is an attractive, shady riverside camp, with lush vegetation and some magnificent old trees. The fact that the road between it and Lower Sabie is a particularly productive route for birding and for big five spotting increases its popularity.

However, for many an added attraction is that it is imbued with a dollop of nostalgia as it is often an entry point for Kruger visitors. It is always a special moment when you cross the Crocodile river and enter the park after a long absence.

A green and watery view from the hide after plenty of rain.

And crossing the river it to exit the park and return to the ‘real world’ is a bitter sweet experience. You are sure to have many added many happy moments to your collective Kruger memories but it is always sad to say goodbye to this, one of the world’s most magnificent wild places.

We decided not to do a final game drive that afternoon. Instead, we spent a happy hour or two wandering around camp, admiring the labelled trees and doing some productive birding, then we spent the evening beside a braai fire, listening to the night sounds.

Mlondozi Dam hide.

A couple of times when we’d stayed at Crocodile Bridge it had been jam-packed but this time round it was almost empty so we saw it at is very best. This serene little spot was the perfect place to spend the last Kruger evening of our trip, to celebrate our recent Kruger adventures and to say a leisurely goodbye to this huge chunk of pristine wilderness that is

our premier national park. How blessed we South Africans are to be able to claim it as part of our heritage.

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  AUTHOR
Judi Davis
Reporter

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