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 Post subject: canon's Wilderness NP - what a surprise! Aug. '13
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Grahamstown
During August we undertook a round trip through the Western Cape (what a pleasure) visiting the Wilderness NP, Gamkapoort Dam (Cape Nature) and the lovely Karoo NP near Beaufort West. This report will comcentrate on the Wilderness leg of our trip. We had a week of time share due to us so did not stay at the Ebb and Flow camps. We did, however, spend most of our time exploring this amazing little park. What a surprise it was - one tends to only see reports on trips to the bigger and more popular parks. Well our eyes were really opened. The attention to detail, the neatness and cleanliness and the efficiency with which this park is managed is really something to behold. Werll done to all concerned. It is a whole different experience to the traditional game drive type experience - here you need to have a different approach which involves exploring on water, walking etc which is all very rewarding.

The obligatory stop at Storms River Bridge to stretch the legs and fill up the fuel tanks

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The view from our deck was stunning - unfortunately the weather was not very kind to us later in the week - plenty of grey rainy days!

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WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness NP - what a surprise!
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Grahamstown
Our first visit was to the Ebb and Flow North Camp. What a beautiful and tranquil place this is! We spent time doing some birding before have a lovely picnic lunch on the bank of the Touw River. This camp is very rustic with rondavels and camping sites. The camp sites really appealed to us and this would be where I would pitch my tent when visiting this area again.

This lovely aloe bush is at the entrance to the Ebb and Flow South camp

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The enttrance to Ebb & Flow North

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The rondavels at the camp are simple but comfortable. The communal ablutions are close by

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I was excited to see my first Olive Woodpeckers and Knysna Turaco

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness NP - what a surprise!
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:37 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Grahamstown
The Knysna Turacos are really difficult to photograph because they never sit still. However, this guy was lured by the fruit on the tree so I grabbed the chance

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A few other friendly feathered friends joined us for the picnic...

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And then of coarse a species not found in Roberts also drifted by on the Touw River

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness NP - what a surprise!
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:02 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Grahamstown
We decided to paddle up the Touw river and then hike further as far as the waterfall. The weather was threatening so the sooner we did this the better.

We paddled up the river till we reached the mini-pont that carries hikers across the river to join the Giant Kingfisher trail that takes you all the way up the valley to the waterfall

We had our own kayaks so SO and I launched our vessels from the Eden Adventures slipway. The first section takes one past the Ebb & Flow South camp. There were many Comorants on the banks of the river, especially where the Serpentine River joins the Touw at the bridge.

SO looking quite relaxed at the start of our "expedition"

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Here are a few pics of the South Camp taken from the river

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The Comorants were certainly enjoying the sunshine

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This guy decided that he needed to take a dip....

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness NP - what a surprise!
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:36 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Grahamstown
Once we had passed through under the bridge and past the North camp...

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....the river became quiet and peaceful. One felt as though there was niobody anywhere nearby

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The ever-present Comorants popped up all over the place

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The bird life was prolific - we saw yellow-billed duck, various Comorants and a Turaco flying past displaying its beautiful red wings

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As we neared the pont the river began to narrow and the scenery became breath-taking. The Giant Kingfishers were very active in this area

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The water was absolutely clear - could see the pebbles in the river bed

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness NP - what a surprise!
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2013 7:27 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Grahamstown
We crossed the very cleverly thought out pont. We could actually have paddled a bit further up the river but were not aware of this option. We came across a lovely spot to stop for a sarmie or two

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Most of this walk is on an elevated slatted walkway. This made the walk much more pleasant and once again hats off to the park for thinking of this. The signage and information made available to tourists is excellent

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A little way up the path we heard rustling in the dense undergrowth and upon closer inspection saw another first for us - a Blue Duiker. Once again very difficult to photograph but here goes

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We were very excited by this sighting - did not actually know what little antelope this was. We asked when back at the offices and were told that they are hard to find but not really that scarce. They are really tiny and look so vulnerable.

The walk to the falls took another 45 minutes. There was not much water in the river but nevertheless a gentle waterfall which was on two levels

The lower level...

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and the upper level

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The water was beautifully clear and the view down the river from the waterfall spectacular

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness NP - what a surprise!
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:26 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Grahamstown
We spent some time at the waterfall before wending our way home. We saw a Cape Batis and a few Knysna Turacos on the way back to our kayaks

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Once back on the water we found the going a bit tough because the wind was starting to push - sign of the bad weather which was on its way. Darters, Comorants and yellow-billed Duck lined the way for us

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We reached the Eden Adventures in good time, loaded our kayaks and headed for home feeling quite satisfied that we had had a good days exercise. This Jackal Buzzard was perched on a telephone pole near where we were staying.

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness NP - what a surprise!
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:35 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 502
Location: Grahamstown
Thanks to all you forumites for your interest and comments - I trust that you all have the Wilderness on your bucket lists now.

The bad weather soon settled in and we had three days of rain with the odd break inbetween which we made the best use of. We took a drive up to the Malachite Bird Hide on Langvlei. This is really a stunning spot and would be great to spend a morning here. Unfortunately it was cold and miserable but at least we can say we visited this hide and later the hide at Rondevlei.

We spent one morning paddling up the Serpintine River as far as Island Lake. This was quite challenging because a lot of ot was into a strong wind - once again good exercise. On another occassion we hiked one of the many trails - I think it was the Malachite Trail

Here are a few pics of the paddle up the Serpintine - very pretty with plenty of birdlife. We saw an interesting happening on our way back - an African Darter flew off carrying a Dabchick in its beak. It later dropped it into the water. On closer inspection we discovererd that it was dead and badly mutilated - could this be the work of the Darter? Unfortunately no photos.

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The hiking trail was good fun. Once again the attention to detail was phenominal. Clear pathways

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and good signage

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The walkway basically followed the Serpintine River before heading back to Ebb and Flow along the road.

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There was plenty of this along the route and we were not sure who it belonged to....

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We later learned that these guys were the culprits

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According tpo the rangers these Bushpigs are very illusive but are also a menace in the camp - turning over dustbins etc.

This very friendly (and good looking) fellow jumped up onto a garden wall to greet us whilst on our walk

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The next day we slipped off and quickly walked the other half of this trail which started and finished in the village. The walkways were a bit slippery but nevertheless a very pleasant walk despite the drizzle.

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This huge Strelitzia caught our eye whilst walking the trail

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That, in a nutshell was a very brief report on our first visit to this beautiful part of the world - we will be back. Our one disappointment was that we never saw any otters - maybe next time. We headed off on the next leg of our trip to the Gamkapoort Dam via Seweweekspoort and Boschluys Kloof which was an unbelievable experience. This is not a SAN Park so unfortunately no report.

Cheers

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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