Our 1st Anniversary Spent In Our Favourite Place

How It All Unfolded – Kruger Park Report

Aimee And Gareth Roocroft

At Berg-en-dal

Kruger Park Report – So we have just returned from our first trip to The Kruger National Park for 2018, and what an amazing time we had.

On Friday 25th May, I was up for my usual “getting ready for work” routine. I went about getting myself ready, packing lunches, and struggling to get Gareth up for work – the usual weekday struggles. Gareth drops me off at work at 7am and sets off to work himself (or so I thought). At 7:20 my boss calls me into the office to discuss how my recent studies are going and in the middle of this discussion there is a loud knocking on the office door. I get up off my seat to answer the door and get one big surprise…

There is Gareth standing in front of me with some beautiful roses and a huge smile on his face. I kiss him and say thank you when he says “let’s go”. My first thought, “um, I’m at work now- whatever you need to do we can do tomorrow”. But what I actually say is “where?” and I get the best response I could have hoped for… “we are going to The Kruger”. Well I didn’t need much more convincing, I grabbed my bag and off we went.

We were going to one of my favourite camps in the park, Berg-en-Dal. With excitement mounting and my shock subsiding we headed to Malelane gate which is where we were entering the park. And then on to Berg-en-Dal to check in and quickly freshen up before we head out to a sunset drive.

The Sunset Drive

The sunset drive sets off at 4:30pm and Gareth and I are both so excited as we haven’t been on a drive for a number of years. We had a fantastic guide, Dolphy, and lucky enough for us we had a relatively small group on the drive, which can often make it more enjoyable.

The drive started off slow in terms of sightings and we had only seen the usual suspects, Impala, Warthog and then we were very lucky to see a Hyena just as she disappeared into her den. As it got dark we started to see quite a lot more, we even came across a rather large male Lion right next to the road. We got back from the drive seeing Elephant, Hippo, Lion, Warthog, Hyena, Impala, Chameleon, Duiker and having heard quite a few Nocturnal birds calling. We had a quick dinner at the restaurant and headed to our chalet to call it a night, super eager to see what the next day had in store for us.

Early Start

We were up at 5am Saturday morning, got everything packed in the car and made our way to the gate by 5:35am, eager to get our day of sightings on the way. It was quite chilly but we made the most of it, knowing it would probably get quite hot later on in the day.

We had a phenomenal day in terms of our sightings – quite possibly the best day we have ever had. We had the privilege of seeing:

  • Hyena mom and 2 tiny babies
  • Lions
  • Breeding herds of ellies (so many cute babies)
  • A cheetah mom with 2 sub-adults with her
  • A female leopard and her tiny cub cross the road


And many more animals and so many birds. It had turned out to be the most incredible day of sightings and the weather was just right, all-in-all it was a fantastic way to spend our 1st Anniversary. It was almost as if our Favourite place on this earth was giving us a special anniversary gift.

We had a braai to end our day and sat outside our chalet for hours listening to the calls of Night jars, Bats and Lions roaring in the distance. As we sat reminiscing about our day, I couldn’t imagine having as good a day on Sunday with the sightings… but boy was I wrong.

The Final Day

We were up at 5am again to pack the car and head to the gate for our last day driving to exit finally at Crocodile bridge and head back home.

It was quite a bit warmer then Saturday morning but the air was still and we mostly only heard the sound of numerous birds calling. We were headed to Afsaal for breakfast and were taking our time driving along the … when we came across 2 or 3 vehicles stopped on the left of the road just across from the Afsaal entrance. We slowed down eager to see what everyone had spotted, when I noticed a rather large male lion just off the road, under a bush. He was magnificent. His dark brown mane was incredible and just added to his size. Then suddenly Gareth noticed 2 more male Lions right next to us under another bush, very relaxed and just snoozing. We sat and watched them for 20 odd minutes till the 2 males moved off in search of the other one.

On we went to Afsaal to order our breakfast and just have a look around, the place was abuzz with many people chatting about the lions that were sighted and a few cancelling their breakfast orders in order to go search for the 3 lions. Gareth and I also managed to intercept a cheeky Vervet Monkey brazenly stealing sugar sachets from the coffee station and carried on watching him for a time while we were waiting for our order to be ready.

Off we went for the next part of our drive through to Crocodile Bridge gate, munching away on our delicious breakfast (you should definitely try their food when you are next in the Park) and chit chatting about all the magnificent sightings we had been blessed with. Both of us getting more and more reluctant to leave this beautiful place.

We had quite a few more sightings including Wildebeest, Baboon, Vervet monkeys, Elephants and of course Impala all the way through to Crocodile Bridge gate, but one very upsetting sighting was 2 dead Vervet monkeys just before we got to Crocodile bridge. Both of them were in the road and were clearly hit by a vehicle. It makes me so angry to realise how fast some people drive and how many animals get hurt because of these people who pay no attention to the rules of the park. I managed to calm myself down, with some help from Gareth and we left the gate for our drive home.

What’s Next?

We were very blessed this trip and it built up even more excitement for our next trip in September. Now we are counting down to that trip…

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