beating the lock-down blues...

Beating the lock-down blues: A braai on the Bridge. Day 45 of lockdown.

I have to be honest with you… The last week or so I have had a bit of the lock-down blues. As an extravert, I miss being social terribly. Things that were normal before COVID-19 took over our lives: hugging friends, chatting to other moms and teachers at the boys’ schools and having people over for a braai. It makes me quite anxious having to wear a mask everywhere and being sanitised in all the shops. My heart rate only goes down when I drive over the bridge into Kruger. The only place I feel safe at the moment.


Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with my lock-down blues. I would rather tell you what my dear husband did to cheer me up!


Mother’s Day was on day 45 of our lock-down. Steven and the boys let me sleep in a bit and surprised me with a drawing and my favourite chocolates after I got up… It was a stunning day here at Malelane Gate with clear skies. And after quite a nippy morning, it warmed up to a lovely temperature.


When it was about time to start preparing dinner, Steven said: “Leave it, my angel, we are going someplace nice.” I looked at him with a puzzled look on my face. All the restaurants are still closed during phase 4, so eating out was not an option… So where could he be taking the boys and me, I wondered.


Well, Steven took us to the best place ever: to the bridge over the Crocodile River for a skottelbraai!


This bridge, just before Malelane Gate, is very popular. For a lot of people, it is the first glimpse of their beloved Kruger National Park after not having been here for a long time. It is the last few moments spent looking at the hippos and crocodiles before the long drive home. It is also a place where people from Malalane town and surroundings like to come and watch the sunset after a long day at work. So this popular bridge is always very busy.


For us as a family, the bridge over the Crocodile is a special and happy place. It is where I teach Alex how to ride his bike and where they like to throw little pebbles into the water. On our way to and from school, the boys take turns telling me what animals they can see on either side. It is a place we go to for a sundowner when Steven is home, and where we show the boys the crocodiles’ eyes that light up in the spotlight after dark. They always scream with joy when they see one of the scaly creatures snap their jaws at the fish in the beam light.


More recently during the lock-down, going to the bridge, which we can see from the back of our house, has been a very welcome outing. Now that there is no traffic and there are no rows of cars parked on either side, it is a lovely place to stretch our legs, go for a run and let both Alex and Jack race up and down on their bikes and scooters. All without having to worry that either of them is going to get hurt. Going to ‘our’ bridge helps all of us get rid of some built-up energy!! And the sunsets we have seen from there during this lock-down have been absolutely magical!


So Steven could not have treated me to a more special Mother’s Day dinner venue! He packed chairs for us, cooler boxes with food and some drinks and squeezed the boy’s scooters in the boot of the car too. We set up everything close to the end of the bridge: our chairs (including two little plastic ones for the boys) in a half-moon around the skottel. I got a lovely cold glass of white wine (some of my lastL) and sat down to watch the sun go down behind the mountain. Alex and Jack in the meantime were riding their scooters from one end of the bridge to the other, stopping at every crack in the bridge to look at the bats inside.

A big breeding herd of elephants was on the southern side of the river close to the last two houses of Leopard Creek. They were coming closer and closer while Steven braaied the onions for our burgers with the lot!
Beating the lock-down blues
When elephants come and join your Mother’s Day dinner

It was the best moments spent on the bridge ever! The setting sun was colouring the sky all different shades of red, orange and yellow and elephants were joining our mother’s day dinner party!! We ate our burgers in the moonlight, with Venus shining oh so bright. All four of us, relaxing on our chairs on a bridge. A bridge that is usually so busy you need to look three times before crossing from one side to the other.

Beating the lock-down blues
Venus looks so close to earth at the moment! And the river looks like liquid silver!

So as much as this lock-down is restricting us in where we can and cannot go; What we can and cannot buy; What we can and cannot do, it has also given me the most special mother’s day ever. A great way to lift the spirits. Thanks, my love!


21 thoughts on “Beating the lock-down blues: A braai on the Bridge. Day 45 of lockdown.

  1. What a very special Lockdown surprise – I’m so glad it made you feel a bit special and lessened the blues. A lovely outlook and a delicious meal – I can almost smell those onions frying! And we are having such wonderful weather too. Did you see the milk moon the other day? Absolutely incredible and not nearly so orange as it usually is low on the horizon. I guess that’s as a result of less pollution. Thanks for sharing your lovely braai with us! x

    1. Hi Sal! You are right, the moon and the stars have been absolutely stunning the past week or so.
      I would love to do some star photography on ‘our’ bridge. Just need to the right time;-)
      Hope you are doing well! xx

  2. That is the best Mother’s day gift anyone could wish for. That bridge is certainly special and we spend ages on it before entering. You painted such a vivid picture for me. I was booked to go to the Park at the end of the month?

  3. Lucky you ! Such a romantic braii in these so cruel times ! Congrats to Steve for this uncommon idea ! It will be an unforgettable BBQ forever ! Hugs from Reunion island

  4. I will never be able to cross that bridge again without thinking of these wonderful pictures of your sweet family. That must have been one of the best Mother’s Days gifts that you could ever have gotten. I’m so jealous ….. thanks for sharing.

  5. There could not be a better place for a special mother’s day dinner! I spent two and a half weeks at Hamiltons last Spring and the bridge was my special stop before entering and after exiting the park, which was my daily routine. Lucky you to be locked down in such a special place. Keep on writing because we all enjoy hearing your stories so much.

    1. Oeh, Hamiltons is such a lovely place to stay just on the other side of the bridge. We go there for dinner every now and then.
      Glad you enjoy our stories! Thank you!

  6. Absolutely awsome place to be with the special ones on mothers day. To share Gods creation with the people you love will tend to be never forgotten. In years gone by I spent many break aways each year at Bergendal and crocodile camp. It was always an awsome experience with plenty of great memories

  7. Hi Linda
    Thank you for your description of what must have been a lovely occasion. There are few occasions as enjoyable as a sunset braai in the Kruger. I had a conversation with a Norwegian friend regarding the meaning of “braai”. I explained that it is much more than the cooking of the meat. It entails the social gathering, preparation of the food, a sundowner and all the chat around the fire. If you add the ambiance of the Kruger to that, you have a perfect situation.
    Enjoy your paradise.
    Cor Rademeyer

    1. Hi Cor,

      Thank you for your lovely comment! Braaiing is such a big part of South African culture. And you are right. A Kruger braai is the best braai of all!

  8. Special, very special and I rather envy you.
    Although things to do with the virus over here are being administered very sensibly we don’t have the wonderful wildlife in this country – apart from snakes, There seems to be no shortage of the seriously venomous type – and they are strictly protected. That said, in four years I have not yet seen one in the wild – just lots of clips of them being removed from other peoples homes!

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