Punda Maria To Phalaborwa Gate

The Sad Drive Home – Punda Maria To Phalaborwa

We were set to drive from Punda Maria to Phalaborwa gate to exit the park, with long faces and glum. It had been a fantastic trip, another trip of a lifetime for sure, how many times have I said that? It’s just the Kruger National Park… There is something so special about the Kruger, its is impossible to describe…

We had quite an eventful morning. Aimee woke up before 4am and outside the chalet a Thick-tailed Bushbaby came to investigate her. She said it was very cute, and these large Bushbabies are. One of two Galago’s found in the Kruger National Park, the other being the Lesser Bushbaby.

We also received quite a shock, as we found a scorpion in the chalet. How it got in there I don’t know, but we were walking around barefoot in the dark, so we were lucky not to stand on the little guy.

En Route To Phalaborwa Gate

So as we headed from Punda Maria to Phalaborwa gate, we started our drive at 4.35am at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. We saw another rare bird to add to our list, a Bronze-winged Courser! This bird moved off the road very quickly in the dark hours, and photography wasn’t even an option unfortunately.

Early on we saw animals such as Impala, Chacma Baboon, Elephant, Buffalo and Waterbuck. Birds like the Swainson’s Spurfowl, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Cape Glossy Starling, Grey Go-away Bird, Laughing Dove, Grey Hornbill, Yellow-billed Hornbill, Burchell’s Starling and Woodland Kingfisher were all sighted.

We then had an amazing rare encounter, a first for us in the Kruger National Park, and an animal we had been searching for, for a long time! Eland! There was a small herd of these huge antelope, with youngsters, the biggest antelope in the Kruger national Park, and the herd was accompanied by a magnificent male. The Yellow-billed Oxpeckers were on the Eland, and they were relatively calm. It was a great sight, one that would once again, never be forgotten! A lot of our photographs were out of focus due to poor light, and that was the only disappointing thing about that sight. It was amazing!

We carried on, and for the third time this trip (After a Burchell’s Zebra sighting), we found Lions! It was the other side, to the south, of Babalala Picnic Spot. The Lioness we discovered was quite white in colour, and in stunning condition. We sat with her for about 15 minutes and this was where our last photograph of this amazing trip was taken.

Other Sightings – Punda Maria To Phalaborwa Gate

On the rest of our drive to the Phalaborwa Gate, via Mopani, we saw a variety of bird species – Great Egret, Emerald Spotted Wood Dove, Bateleur Eagle, Dark-capped Bulbul, African Spoonbill, African Fish Eagle, Crested Barbet, Egyptian Goose, Yellow-billed Stork, Black-crown Tchagra, and a Lesser Masked Weaver!

Animals seen included Tree Squirrel, Hippo, Leopard Tortoise, Hinged Tortoise (A first for us), Blue Wildebeest, Common Warthog and Southern Giraffe.

We exited the Kruger National Park after traveling 940 kilometers in 5 days. It was a sad time for us as we made the lonely drive back to Johannesburg, but we would be back for our anniversary at the end of May, where we would be staying at Crocodile Bridge! All was not lost, and we will return to the Greater Kruger National Park very soon.

Download The List Of Animals Seen On This Trip (37)
Download The List Of Birds Seen On This Trip (86)

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