Flavour of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

All kinds of information on members' favourite routes in Kruger
ExFmem
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Flavour of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by ExFmem » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:47 pm

"The low water bridge is perfect to sit at as the sun sets and just enjoy pure beauty and the birdlife is amazing!!! One can sit there until 5 minutes before gate closing. One might even get very lucky and spot the elusive Pels fishing owl from there. Be on the listen for it at night."
(lowveldboy May 23, 2012 AW entry)



In the 1930’s there were no bridges in Kruger Park. Instead, all the major rivers were crossed using pontoons. There were four pontoons - two crossed the Crocodile River, one at Malalane and the other at Crocodile Bridge, one crossing the Sabie River at Skukuza, and one crossed the Olifants River at Balule.

Col. Reitz selected the spot where the pontoon should cross the Olifants at Balule, and another member of the National Parks Board, Mr. Paul Selby, an American mining engineer, built the pontoon. (There is a plaque commemorating the event in the camping area at Balule).

The pontoon was in use from 1929 to 1937, when it was replaced by a causeway. The causeway was extensively damaged in the massive floods of January 2012 and had to be rebuilt.

"The repairs to the low-level bridge at Balule are finally complete!"
(Flutts May 20, 2015 AW entry)



Image



Though the S90 has already been a Flavor of the Month, it didn't really contain material on the Balule low water bridge, which I visited for the first time in September 2017. I really found it a delightful little spot to pull over into one of the cutouts, and observe the birdlife in the area.

Though we weren't fortunate enough to see Pel's Fishing Owl, we did see a nice variety of birds.


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White-breasted Cormorant


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Black Crake


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Painted Snipe - male

ExFmem
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Re: Flavor of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by ExFmem » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:06 pm

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Blacksmith Plover


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Pied Kingfisher - male


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Black-winged Stilt

ExFmem
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Re: Flavor of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by ExFmem » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:17 pm

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African Pied Wagtail



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Common Greenshank



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Giant Kingfisher pair (Female Right, Male Left)

ExFmem
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Re: Flavor of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by ExFmem » Tue Sep 11, 2018 11:27 pm

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ExFmem
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Re: Flavor of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by ExFmem » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:21 am

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I hope others who have developed an affection for this little, but historically important bridge, will post their pics and memories. Those who stay at Balule are obviously true bush lovers and self sufficient individuals who cherish the quiet and solitude of the area.

Lastly, anyone seen the elusive Pel's Fishing Owl in this area??

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Richprins
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Re: Flavor of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by Richprins » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:16 am

^Q^ ^Q^ ^Q^ Ex!

:ty:


Yes, what a lovely spot indeed! \O

The best spot for fishing owls is along the Olifants River, agreed! My only spotting was a pair of them there in the Olifants Trails area further downstream in the 1980's. Unfortunately many big trees were lost in the subsequent mega-floods, but they seem to have made a plan well enough! \O


Link to Loop roads there: https://www.africawild-forum.com/viewto ... 263&t=6222
Please check Needs Attention pre-booking: https://africawild-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=322&t=596

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Richprins
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Re: Flavor of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by Richprins » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:21 am

Here's a bit of time-lapse:


The original bridge in 2009 (or maybe the second one after 2000 floods...):

b9.jpg

Then she's broken again in 2013:


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Then spanking new in 2016!



b1.jpg
Please check Needs Attention pre-booking: https://africawild-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=322&t=596

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Richprins
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Re: Flavor of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by Richprins » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:45 am

Sprocky wrote:
Wed May 23, 2012 9:50 pm


A few years ago at the low water bridge at Balule I witnessed something strange. At that time we were still allowed to drink while driving around, but alcohol had nothing to do with what I saw.

I was watching Marabou Stalks fishing in the shallow water. The next thing one of them caught something. It walked out with it and I was ready for the to catch the perfect image of a Marabou feeding...

Well that was not to happen, the Marabou took it's prey to dry land and set it free. O/ :? It had caught a Terrapin, but instead of trying to eat it, it set it free as if it had saved the poor thing from drowning. I couldn't believe this behaviour, maybe one of the bright members could explain why it did this. It even went back to check on the Terrapin. \O

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https://www.africawild-forum.com/viewto ... 244&t=2708
Please check Needs Attention pre-booking: https://africawild-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=322&t=596

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Lisbeth
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Re: Flavor of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:54 am

Lovely place, beautiful birds and brilliant photos and also with interesting information ^Q^ ^Q^
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

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Lisbeth
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Re: Flavor of The Month Sept./Oct. 2018 - Balule Low Level Bridge

Post by Lisbeth » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:55 am

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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela
The desire for equality must never exceed the demands of knowledge

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