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 Post subject: Kaapsedraai's Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:47 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
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Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Just over 200km's drive from ADDO National Park, we entered the Garden Route area for a 3 nights stay at the Storms river mouth rest camp before leaving for Wildernis - Ebb and Flo for another 3 nights.

During our stay here at Storms River mouth rest camp, we have enjoyed some visits to Nature's Valley travelling back via Bloukrans Pass, visited the BIG tree, toured the Canopy Trees, did a walk to the Storms river mouth over the hanging bridges and then had some amazing whale sightings. So, in exploring the area, I hope this TR will wet the appetite to visit also this beautiful park. :thumbs_up:

The reception office is located just next to the main gate where one signs in and not as we had thought it to be down at the restaurant area near the sea.
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After entering we are reminded that this is Dassie-country who has right of way.
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Some Bushbuck grazing on the lawn opposite the reception area.
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The road winds down steeply for a few kms through a canopy of trees to the seafront. Our accommodation, CH3S Chalet, is located on the sea side of the road and close to the restaurant & shop.
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The rooms are tastefully furnished with spectacular views over the sea from the lounge area.
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We took a short walk to the restaurant where we observed how a seagull chased a mongoose across the parking area. I guess the mongoose stole some food from the seagull....
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As it is wintertime, the aloes are in full bloom which attracted lots of birdies such as this Greater Double-collared Sunbird.
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A official welcome from the resident ones at the restaurant area:hmz: or was it a warning to say 'dare you come closer'....or maybe just protecting the little one...
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Hope you enjoy the TR with us....to be continued. :dance:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE: Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:38 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2646
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Our first night was full moon and after we had braaied sitting outside while listening to the waves breaking against the rocks, this beautiful moon painted the sea with beautiful golden-yellow streaks.
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Our previous night, while still in Addo, we did not sleep well as we enjoyed the roaring of the some mating lions close to the camp - the most beautiful night music to hear in the bush. The next morning, I was up early as usual and was welcomed by this beautiful sunrise.
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As I was sitting enjoying a cup of coffee watching the sea to spot some dolphins, a friendly Cape Robin-Chat ( Gewone Janfrederik) paid us a visit.
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On the rocks in a distance, a whole colony of Swift Tern (Geelbeksterretjie) was resting.
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After I took a shower, SO called me to come urgently and as I made my way outside, an Otter ran off, but could only managed to get this pic of him.
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A Cape (Kelp) Gull (Grootswartrugmeeu) was feeding a very hungry chick who has put up quite a noise letting his parents know that it was time for breakfast.
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The day planned was an exciting one as we had done something we never had done before and really fun...to be continued.

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE: Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:02 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2646
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
We enjoyed some breakfast and made of way for an adventure in the Tsitsikamma forest which we were looking forward to. But, s we left our chalet, high up we noticed something on a branch overlooking the area - 2 Dassies. They surely do not have a fear of heights.

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We made our way to Storms River Village where we signed up for a canopy tour. At first our little one was excited, but when they put on the gear, she got a bit nervous, but the guide was calming her down.
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In the forest, some tree hopping - what an experience!
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Not nervous anymore and our little one was doing it solo.
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Spotted a chameleon on one of the trees.
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An idea how high the platforms are from the ground.
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It was a most enjoyable experience doing this tour via the trees. Will definitely encourage others to enjoy nature in this fashion.

We enjoyed some refreshments at a very interesting restaurant in the Storms River village and made our way to Nature's Valley and back via the Bloukrans pass....to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE: Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:51 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2646
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
It was time to explore the Nature's Valley area and we took the N2 via the toll gate. Just past the toll-gate we took the left turnoff and the road started to wind down towards the Groot River mouth.
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We turn in at the SANParks rest camp where one can enjoy this tranquillity and view over the river.
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A view where the river enters the sea. Here are lovely pathways where one can walk and enjoy the nature.
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Another view over the river with some water birds on a rock
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As we were in an adventurous mood, we decided to explore the road back via the Bloukrans Pass. This road got a signage that it is closed, but we stopped at some workers who confirmed that we can go through. It remains a beautiful drive with spectacular views of the forest.
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At the end of the Pass we approached this obstacle, but managed to drive over it although the chassis touched it slightly. It might be a challenge for cars with low ground clearance to get over this bump/obstacle.
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After this scenic drive exploring Nature's Valley, it was time to head back to camp... :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE: Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2013 9:34 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2646
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
The evening we enjoyed some supper at the restaurant at Storms river mouth and must say - really enjoyed the meal. The next morning we were more relaxed and was watching the sea try spotting some dolphins. No dolphins spotted, but did spot the Big 1 - some whales - 3 of them at first.
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Then saw some action as a whale jumping out of the water and came splashing down.
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A few minutes later spotted another one, but this time with spectacular flying action.
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Enjoying these views and how the whales playing in the sea, another whale made its appearance close by just behind the water break.
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While taking a rest and having some coffee, a visitor arrived and inspected my camera.
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We did not see the Big 5, but managed to see one of the Big 6....which put a big smile to our faces and made the time spent at Storms river mouth even sweeter. :dance:

Later the day, we did a trip to the Big Tree, explored the park and photographed some birdies and then walked to the hanging bridges over the river mouth...to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE: Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:34 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2646
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
Later the morning we explored the area a bit and enjoyed some lovely bird sightings. Here are a few.

Close to the restaurant there are a lovely large aloe bush which attracts sunbirds. We managed to capture this Amethyst sunbird and Greater double-collared sunbird.
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On the sea side some African Black Oystercatchers attracted our attention. There were 2 pairs - it was lovely to have seen them around. :)
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A Black headed heron also making its presence felt.
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Later we also spotted this Eastern Black-headed Oriole.
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It was time for lunch and decided to head to Storm River village to the interesting restaurant of the sixties and also took a drive to the Big Tree. This will be covered in the next episode... to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE: Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:33 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2646
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
It was time to visit the Big Tree close to the Storms River bridge. We always drove past it and always wondered how it looks like and this time we had the opportunity to explore the area. Here a few pics of the circle route through a forest to the Big Tree and back.

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Another big tree that has fallen over.
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The afternoon I took a walk to the Storms River mouth and walked the 3 suspension bridges...to be continued. :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE: Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:34 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2646
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
The afternoon it was time for me to do the walk to the Storms River mouth and walking over the suspension bridges. I must add, it is quite a walk to the bridge which is uphill and one should pace oneself just enjoying the views from the top of the pathway down to the sea and river.

The trail starts behind the restaurant where one crosses a small sandy beach.
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Then one reaches a cave with a refreshing waterfall.
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From here it is a 900m walk to the suspension bridge.
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Some interesting trees along the pathway.
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This one looks like an elephant head with trunk. :hmz:
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Also some beautiful flowers...
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Then one reaches the peak from where one can enjoy an exquisite view over the river with its suspension bridges.
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...next episode we do the walk over these bridges....to be continued :thumbs_up:

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE: Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:41 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2646
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
It was time to go down and do the walk on the suspension bridge.

But first, lets go down memory lane - the year 2000 when we walked the old suspension bridge or rather 'hanging bridge' When one walks on it, it starts to swing and then you have some youngsters that start to rock the bridge or jump. Not a nice feeling to be on the bridge at this time especially if one has fear for heights. :hmz: Here is pic of the old bridge.
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SO standing on the old bridge. Hopefully one can see the differences from then to now in the next few pics.
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We did a boat trip up the river in 2000 and it was amazing to see the dark caves as the boat moves into them upstream. It was disappointing to hear that the boat was in for repairs and we could not do a boat trip upstream. We were so looking forward to this, but hopefully next time. Here is a pic from our 2000 trip of one of these caves in the river.
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Now we are back in 2013: Some facts and figures about the new suspension bridge.
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From the bridge a view back from where we came from down the stairs - some steep decline enough to give one the creepies.
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Another view from the bridge.
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From the bridge a view of the river upstream.
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This is view from the side bridges back onto the main suspension bridge over the river.
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From the side suspension bridges one enjoys some great scenery and the water flowing over the stones.
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Back at the restaurant - the end of a most enjoyable walk. :dance:
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Hoped you enjoyed this walk with me. :dance: ...to be continued.

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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 Post subject: Re: GARDEN ROUTE: Exploring Storms river - June '13
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:49 pm 
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Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year & Sighting of the Year - Small Creatures and Insects (2013)
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Posts: 2646
Location: Bellville, Cape Town
....and so another great trip to Storms River came to an end. We really enjoyed the Canopy tour, walk to Big Tree, visit the Nature's Valley area, driving the Bloukrans Pass and a walk to and over the suspension bridges at the river mouth. Then we also had some great sightings of an Otter, Whales, birds and some Dassies. The weather was excellent with amazing sunsets and waves breaking against the rocks.

To close off this trip, here are a few pics also worth sharing.

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Our next stop is still in the Garden Route where we stayed at Wildernis Ebb and Flo camp. Please follow me on this leg of our trip with excellent birding, canoeing and sight seeing moments. :thumbs_up: GARDEN ROUTE - WILDERNIS: lets go birding and canoeing

_________________
Trip Reports: Kruger, West Coast, Addo, Storms River & Wildernis, Kruger NP Feb'14, Wildernis Ebb & Flo Apr'14
Now busy with Kruger NP Dec'13 and Table Mountain- mood today


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