Before the lock-down, when Alex and Jack were in school, we didn’t go out for drives as often as we did when we were living in Letaba. We went for ice-cream in Berg en Dal on weekends and for a lekker drive to Afsaal to have a look at the hyena den. But we still need to find a nice new favourite spot, like the one we had on the Letaba River. Steven had been telling me about this amazing place in the middle of the bush that he really wanted to show me and the boys. So just before the lock-down, we went there for a picnic. (With permission from the Section Ranger of course)
The boys immediately got excited when Steven got our skottel out of the kitchen cupboard. “Gaan ons bos toe, papa?” When they say “bos toe”, they usually talk about Steven’s Trail camp, which was not exactly where we were going, but close enough. Alex went to his room and came back with his pyjamas, a change of clothes and his blankie, ready to go spend a night in his Dad’s camp. Jack then went to get his dummy, his ‘dudu’ (blanket), the superman action figure Oma from Holland sent for his birthday and his two marbles. “Ons is reg, mama! Kom ons ry! – We are ready mom, let’s go!” The two boys waited impatiently in the vehicle with their prize possessions while Steven and I packed the other things we needed for our picnic.
The no-entry two-track on the side of the road was so well hidden, we almost missed it. As soon as we turned off the tourist road, it felt like the beginning of an adventure for me. Especially if it is a road or an area I have not seen before. This particular road was not being used a lot. It was quite rough going and at places, Steven had to get out and remove a branch or a rock left carelessly by the elephants. A handy tip from Steven: Always roll the rocks down-hill. Otherwise, the elephants just put it back in the middle of the road!!
But oh my word the area we were driving though was stunning! On our left were lots of rocky outcrops we call ‘Koppies’ in Afrikaans and on our right the bright green treetops of the trees growing next to the Malambane. Beyond that a flowing forested area filled with Silver Cluster-leafs as far as the eye could see.
We drove through a small dry stream with Sycamore Figs on either side; the trees so tall that the canopy met overhead. Kruger’s beauty really never ceases to amaze me… Steven saw the look on my face and gave my hand a squeeze. “Stunning hey, my love? We are almost there.” After the dry stream, the road made a bend to the right and we ended up on the bank of the Malambane right where it makes a bend. We could see far down to either side. It was breathtaking!
We parked off on a flattish part with some rocks beneath on our right. A beautiful, old Jackal berry provided some good shade and a tree stump left there during a previous flood made for a place to sit and to play for the boys.
On our right, the Malambane’s riverbed was sandy up to some rocks in the distance. On our left, reeds were growing in the middle of the riverbed. Several old Daga Boys (old retired buffalo bulls) were fast asleep in the reeds. Their black shapes stood out clearly in the middle of the green. A chorus of birds sounded all around us in the cool morning air. Steven was right: this place was amazing!!
Alex and Jack set off to explore their surroundings. They always love being out and about in the wilderness. Steven instructed them to stay on the rocks at all times. We set up the skottel and while our rashers of bacon were sizzling away, a couple of Kudu crossed the dry stream behind the buffalo. What a fantastic way to spend a morning!! We had all been so busy and being out there in the bush is the best way to relax.
Now buffalos are curious beings… and as the morning was warming up, they were waking up from their slumber. We could see them starting to move around in the tall reeds, feeding and occasionally looking in our direction. I just love the way they stare at you over their noses. It always looks like you owe them money or something. And curious as buffalo are, they slowly came closer and closer while we were enjoying our skottel bacon and egg brekkie; until they finally moved across the stream and disappeared in the shade on the other side. For a few moments there, it looked like they wanted to join our picnic!
What an amazing way to spend a morning… spending family time out in Kruger’s wilderness, with the birds, kudu and buffalo for company. I definitely want to go back there again! And so does Alex… He asked me the other morning if we were going to picnic with the buffalo again! Soon my lieffie kind. Soon!
Don’t forget to like the Our Life in Kruger Facebook Page for regular updates and live video’s of Krugers Wildlife from our home!