Having visited the Garden Route on many occasions over the years, both for work and for pleasure, I’d somehow never stayed at Ebb & Flow in Wilderness. In fact until recently I hadn’t realized that one could stay there. I had the false impression it was a reserve for day visitors and hikers only.
Then my friend and colleague Rookie pointed out that Sanparks was offering a discount for March and we decided to use Ebb & Flow as home base for our business trip. What a good decision that turned out to be - far better than a B&B in the centre of George.
Both the north and south rest camps at Ebb & Flow are a delight with well-maintained gardens and campsites.
The wooden chalets on stilts provide good views of the river but we had chosen to stay in a family cottage which was spacious and well-equipped. We appreciated the two separate bathrooms each with own shower and the large patio with braai place and wooden table.
By the way, the top pic below is of the Reception building at Ebb & Flow, not our cottage.
It was worth forgoing the usual B&B breakfast spread of bacon, eggs and all the trimmings, and so what if we had to drive a few kilometres along a spectacular coastline to and from work each day. The lookout from Dolphin Point on Kaaiman’s Pass is breathtaking although this time we didn’t spot any whales (wrong season) or dolphins.
We also discovered a back road from Ebb & Flow to Wilderness and this is where our loerie stalking began! (Strictly speaking I should say turaco stalking but somehow the old name has stuck with me). The first time I caught a glimpse of a Knysna loerie in flight, I couldn’t believe that any bird could have feathers so vibrantly red. I wondered whether the poor creature had been shot and was bleeding profusely. My next sighting was during the canopy tour in Tsitsikamma when I caught exasperating glimpses of a pair of loeries as either I or the birds flitted from treetop to treetop. I was desperate to get a photograph but by the time I’d landed on a platform, been unhooked from the harness and yanked off my gloves the birds had vanished. So, I was determined to track one down this time.
When spotting a flash of scarlet in the lush green vegetation alongside the road on our first morning, Rookie brought the car to a screeching halt. Doors were flung wide open and we stumbled out with cameras pointing upwards. Hooray, there were three of them! Frustratingly, we chased phantom shadows with lenses zoomed to max as the darling birds hopped from branch to branch until we were true ‘stiffnecks.’ All we got were a couple of blurred or silhouette shots. The following morning we stalked them again but with not much better results.
“I swear I’m ready to make loerie pie,” muttered Rookie.
“First you gotta catch one,” I chuckled.
The loeries were probably thinking, ‘Oh no, here comes the damn paparazzi again.’
On the last morning when we were ready to give up the tree was suddenly aflutter with flashes of red. Six or seven loeries were feeding ferociously on their favourite berries. I didn’t know where to focus. Then I spotted two birds kissing and canoodling and managed to get a shot even though the lighting was poor. I also snapped a fluffy juvenile.
Then to make my day, one of the loeries swooped across the road and settled on a branch for a few seconds. A bit of a stretch for my ‘mik en druk’ but, what do you know I got her in all her glory – lipstick, eye shadow and all!
What a beauty!
Stay tuned for more Wilderness adventures tomorrow . . .