Letaba River Bridge

As we approached the second rest camp of our trip, Letaba, we had to cross a river of the same name.

The sign for Letaba River

This part of Africa had a very large flood in February 2000 and a very high bridge was built over this river.  This is one of the places you are allowed out of your car.  They paint yellow lines on the bridge that you must stay between.   My naughty side got the better of me in this photo.

Do not cross the yellow line

As this bridge is quite high and long there is plenty of space between the lines to walk around, I felt pretty safe getting out here.  Seeing an animal approach the bridge would have been very obvious (if you were looking towards the end of the bridge instead of over the railing)!

This was a highlight of the trip.  I enjoyed looking out over this large river bed with the vast expanse of sand, much of it deposited along the river edges by a massive flood in February 2000.  You could definitely see the flood plain.  When you looked down over the railing of the bridge you could see many animal footprints in the sand, I could tell that this was a place frequently visited by many animals.

Footprints in the sand

Panoramic view looking over the edge of the Letaba Bridge

The flood of 2000 impacted the Kruger National Park in many ways and some that really changed the park.  If you would like to see some photos of the change and read an article, which is not too technical, I would recommend this one from 2004.

http://www.wrc.org.za/Knowledge%20Hub%20Documents/Water%20Wheel/Articles/Archive/WW_04_jan-feb_KNP_flood_p7-10.pdf

We saw our first Hippo sighting from the bridge.

Hippo and Elephant in the Letaba River

The exciting part was after a few minutes on the bridge we saw some elephants walking out of the trees on the right side of the river bank to join one solitary elephant who had been bathing near the hippo.  As we watched, more and more elephants kept coming in a line from the trees to the water. It seemed like they went on and on, even one small baby elephant was among the herd.  It was really fun to be there and see this happen.  Once they got to the water they all started splashing around and having fun, just like a day at a water park!

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