Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 1
 [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: WackoRhino-Seven SANParks for Easter-2009
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:09 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Geneva
For our second trip to South Africa in April 2009, we decided to visit the south of the country, namely Capetown, the Klein Karoo, the Garden Route and Addo, in two weeks.

As I browsed the web preparing for the travel, I realized that it was possible to visit 7 SANParks on this itinerary (the garden route NP did not existed yet) and that is just what we did! :dance: :dance:

For starter, we went to a SANBI place, the wonderful Kirstenbosh Gardens, where we saw many proteas and some hadadas.

Image

Image

On the next day, we began our SANParks tour.

1. Table Mountain NP

On this Tuesday morning, Cape Town deserved its “windy city” nickname. The sky was perfect blue and the temperature quite agreeable, but the wind was strong and very cool.

Our first stop was for Simon’s town and the African penguins. They are nice little fellows that everyone wants to see, but I would say that they are somewhat victims of their own success. Too many people on the boardwalks gave us a “zoo like” feeling. Yet the place was very beautiful, with the boulders and the sea, and the penguins were really cute (some of them at least).

Image

Image

Next we drove to the Cape of Good Hope, this mythical place we dream about when we read the old sailors tales. The sea mostly impressed us, the strong wind and the rugged coastline composed some very beautiful sceneries

Image

Image

and we saw our first wild ostriches :D

Image

We particularly liked this peninsula :thumbs_up:

I guess that if we lived in CT 8) , we would be regular visitors.

_________________
Crazy Horse's Old Man


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Seven SANParks for Easter
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:43 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Geneva
2. Agulhas NP

The next day we drove to Arniston, where we had our hotel, and then to Agulhas. The sky was overcast and we had some wind. The region of Agulhas is surprisingly flat, compared with the rest of the southern coast. Yet the coastline was even more impressive than at Good Hope and we shivered at the thought of all these wreckages, all the lives lost again the unforgiving rocks of Agulhas. :shock:

Image

We saw many posters about tortoises but none alive, yet the bird life was abundant. Besides the many sea birds, I had an encounter with a francolin that did not hear me coming and got really upset, leaving too fast for any photo. We also discovered this beautiful and strange flower (ID?) at many different places around the park.

Image

The wildlife around the cape was astounding. In the fields near Arniston, we saw blue cranes on two occasions and we even saw some bonteboks (3) with a group of springbok! :big_eyes:
I guess it is difficult for the South African residents to get a feeling of how wonderful it is for us Europeans to find such a wildlife in the open.

3. Bontebok NP

The next day, after a nice stroll at De Mond NR

Image

we drove to Swellendam, where we stayed, and then to Bontebok. We arrived at the park in middle of the afternoon, under a perfectly blue and sunny sky. It was a bit early maybe for game viewing but why wait? :popcorn:

Image

We drove the loop, stopping at the different viewpoints. At the first one, we saw 4 cape mountain zebras, too far for a good photo, nevertheless it was very nice to see some wild equidaes again! (my daughter is a great fan of the genus). Then we didn’t see much, except some ostriches, for what seemed a long time to us, and we began to wonder if the only Bonteboks we were to see would be the ones from the previous day.
The last third of the loop was quite different. We began to see bonteboks several times, then some grey rheboks, then a very shy grysbok. 200 m from the visitor’s center, at the very end of the loop, we had our best bontebok sighting, as well as our first encounter with red hartebeest! It was very funny to think that we had come all the way around the park to find what we were looking for just meters from where we began. :wall:

Image

Heading back to Swellendam, some zebras and hartebeest near the entrance road wished us a safe journey, while the mountain, now crested with clouds, displayed all its magnificence.

Image

_________________
Crazy Horse's Old Man


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Seven SANParks for Easter
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:38 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Geneva
Thanks Pumba and everybody, your kind words motivates me :)
Pumba I think I remember a tripreport of yours in Bontebok that I really apreciated.
I would have liked to have more than just an afternoon in this superb place but we had to keep on goin'

4. Wilderness NP

After 3 days in Klein Karoo, where we had a stroll at the KKNK (does it count? :D ), went to a fantastic Meerkat tour and had a nice birding stay at a guest farm, we crossed the great Outenika pass, en route to Knysna.

Image

Thus we arrived at Wilderness. Our first contact with the park was a bit disappointing. We began to walk the half collared kingfisher trail, but soon realized that we were stuck on a wooden boardwalk, in-between two walls of trees, with no views of the river. :hmz:
We backtracked and drove to the Malachite bird hide, where we had a great time observing cormorants, herons, egrets and many other birds. :dance:
We also went to the Rondevlei bird hide, with a similar success, before heading to Knysna where we stayed for three nights.

Image

Image

5. Knysna NLA

Is the NLA a sub species of NP? I hope so, otherwise my count is all wrong. :slap:
Anyway the place is very beautiful and we really had a good time there. We had a boat cruise on the lagoon where we did not see much wildlife but were delighted by the scenery.

Image

One evening we went to an Eco Lodge to have dinner. Besides the sweeping views on the NLA, we had a great sighting of some kind of spotted animal but we were unable to identify (please help).

Image

We also walked around the "Garden of Eden" in the Harkerville forest.

Image

The place has some fantastic trees and undergrowth, but the “origins” experience was somewhat spoiled by the noise of the traffic close by on the N2.

6. Tsitsikama NP

For our last day on the garden route, we went to Tsitsikama, where we walked the mouth trail and spent some time on the restaurant’s terrace. The trail is really nice, offering great views of the coast and sea.

Image

We were lucky enough to see a shoal of dolphins crossing the mouth, but could not take any pictures of them. :doh:
Near the restaurant, we saw many black oystercatchers and other sea birds, as well as some dassies, but we did not take any photos; I can’t remember why. :redface:

_________________
Crazy Horse's Old Man


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Seven SANParks for Easter
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:17 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:29 am
Posts: 1664
Location: Worcester , Cape
Nice TR Wackorhino :clap: The Cape is certainly a special place to visit .

Just one correction about your statement :

On this Tuesday morning, Cape Town deserved its “windy city” nickname. The sky was perfect blue and the temperature quite agreeable, but the wind was strong and very cool.

This is not correct . Cape Town is known as " The mother city " , whereas in fact Port Elizabeth is known as " The windy city ". :tongue:

Enjoy :D

_________________
Tread softly , and let your departure not be spoiled by the damage of your arrival

Next :
3 - 6 Sept 2013 - Punda.
7 - 10 Sept 2013 -Shingwedzi .
11 - 13 Sept 2013 - Balule .
14 - 17 Sept 2013 - Satara .


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Seven SANParks for Easter
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 3:05 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Geneva
Okie this is the problem with posting old souvenirs
:redface:

I probably mismatched with what someone told me about Port Elizabeth at that time...

Still the mother city was in a very windy mood this morning :)

_________________
Crazy Horse's Old Man


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Seven SANParks for Easter
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:52 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Geneva
7. Addo Elephant NP

For our three days in Addo we chose to stay at Riverbend. You may object that this is not a SANParks place; my answer should be yes and no. No, it does not offer the renowned accommodation of the main camp :tongue: but yes, it lies in the middle of the Nyati concession, which is managed by SANParks and where you can find only endemic flaura and fauna. Besides, most of the drives would be for some part inside Addo main section. So there is no question that we indeed traveled to Addo Elephant NP.

1st afternoon drive : After 5 minutes drive our ranger was called by his colleague about a black Rhino in the vicinity. We rushed a bit to the place and were able to see this wonderful animal for a while, albeit from some distance. Before coming we knew we had a good chance to see the animal, but a good chance not to see it either so we were truly delighted ! Then we crossed to the main section. We saw many Kudus

Image

until we reached the dam where we had a sundowner, with the company of a BB Jackal who also had his drink. On our way back, we came across a group of 5 bat-eared foxes. We had plenty of time to observe them as they seemed to be quite interested by the lights of our vehicle. It was a first time for us and a great joy to see them. Just before the Lodge we had a short sight of a bush pig, another first-time, the third for this drive. Not bad for a beginning. :dance:

1st morning drive : The weather had changed during the night. There was heavy clouds in the sky and you could feel the humidity. We left at 6.30, at first light with a fantastic sunrise

Image

and head off for the main section. On the way we saw a jackal poet

Image

and had a brief sighting of a spotted hyena, as well as the “usual” hartebeests, warthogs, ostriches and vervets.

Suddenly we saw the sun disappear in the mist

Image

fog had come down from the Zuurberg and the whole valley was “drowned” in the white clouds. We drove around for maybe an hour, seeing nothing but some kudus. Cold and wet, we stopped for a coffee at one of the picnic place. The fog finally cleared and we could resume our drive.
Now we could see all around signs of the elephants (spoors, dung, branches) but we were unable to find them for a looong time, it was very frustrating! :evil:
But finally we arrived at a waterhole and found them drinking

Image

The famous Addo elephants were there! :dance: :dance:

Speaking of signs, we saw this impressive lion’s spoor, but could not find its author.

Image

Going back to the Lodge we saw 2 blue cranes in a field. It is one of my favorite birds, the national bird of South Africa, and I really hope I can make a photo some day. :cam:

2nd afternoon drive : The afternoon drive was very short in distance, but quite great in sighting. This time we did not have to “chase” the elephants as they came to visit us (or maybe the lodge waterhole :D )

Image

Image

We could observe them for maybe an hour at the waterhole, then they left for a field that was just 500m away. So off we went in the jeep to see them from a short distance. My wife was uneasy with the proximity but our ranger explained us the difference between the young and impulsive males (on the other side of the field) and the cool girls and mothers (near our vehicle). It was really amazing to be so close of these great animals! :shock:

Image

Image

The clouds were gathering again with the setting sun and you could feel that the rain was coming. Suddenly the whole 30 elephants disappeared in the bushes. It did not take more than 2 minutes for the whole herd to enter the thickets and vanish!
It was really incredible, how such a big group of such big animals could become invisible so quickly. :big_eyes:

_________________
Crazy Horse's Old Man


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Seven SANParks for Easter
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:15 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:14 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Geneva
Waow ! :shock:

ask and you will recieve :)

2nd morning drive : This morning my wife chose to rest and not to come with us, partly because of the difficult drive of the previous morning and partly because of the emotions of the afternoon. I am sorry for her, but this drive turned out to be a very good one. The sky had cleared after the night’s rain and there were still some puddles on the roads. We saw many leopard tortoises drinking, so happy to get some water.

Once in the main section, we had to make a decision : right or left ? we decided for left and it was a good choice. 5 minutes later we came across some lions ! :dance:

Image

We did not see them for long but we definitely had a big cat sighting in Addo.

Then we headed for a lookout to have some coffee and admire the view. On the way we spotted a lone buffalo bull, the 4th of the big five. We knew there was no chance to see the leopard so our checklist was done. We were able to observe the bull during minutes but every time I tried to take a picture he lowered his head in the thickets :slap:

Image

Once on the lookout we could see our lodge in the distance, in the middle of the great Eastern Cape nature.

Image

On our way back we saw some secretary birds veeeery far, even with binoculars, so no photo but a first time for us. I have to say that it is our ranger that spotted the birds while driving! (talk about “eagle eye”)
Then we found a meerkat !!! It was so good to see again this cute fellow. He stayed still for a short while then quickly disappeared in the bushes.
Driving back to the Lodge we found the same group of bat eared foxes we saw on the first evening, just at the same place. With the light of day we could better appreciate the beautiful colors of their fur. We also found several yellow mongooses. It was quite a nice sight, especially when we found two of them that were hunting in the grass. I am sorry not to have photos of all these small wonders, but as you may have realized now, we only had “point and shoot” cameras and the quality is not great, to say the least. :whistle:

3rd afternoon drive : Around teatime the elephants came back to “our” waterhole and then left for a hilly terrain not far from the lodge. Of course this place was our first destination for the afternoon drive! There we found the same herd that we saw the day before and the close encounter turned into a VERY close encounter at one time. :big_eyes:

We had stopped the vehicle and were observing a mother and her baby on the right side of the road, maybe ten meters away from us. Then the mother saw an especially yummy tree on the left side of the road just behind us. She slowly crossed and walked along the car to get to her goal, followed by her baby. At one time she was so close that my wife could have touched her without stretching her arm!

Image

Image

Image

My SO was quite uneasy with this and our ranger had to tell her to stay still (meaning my wife). Once the mother had gone a bit farer, we moved the car to a “safer” distance of the herd. Our ranger had told us that he would not come too close of the animals but that it was ok if they came close to us once we were stopped because it would mean that they felt fine with us.
Personally I felt quite the same. I know the elephants can become very dangerous but at that particular moment they were very peaceful and I could really feel their peace of mind. 8)

After this emotional apex, the herd performed its vanishing trick again and we left.

On our way to the hilltop we saw a herd of Elands and were able to observe them for a while. We already had brief sightings the day before but they were very shy animals. This time, maybe because they were a bigger group, they did not fly away at once.

After a sundowner on the hilltop

Image

we drove back to the lodge at night, slowly searching for some extra sighting (caracal, aardvark, …) but to no avail. We ”only” saw duickers and hares.

3rd morning drive : our last drive happened mostly in the Intsomi reserve, definitely not an SANParks territory so I cannot say much, except that we saw white rhinos (hi brothers), nyalas, gnus, bonteboks and many others including elands

Image

and that we had coffee with 3 beautiful giraffes

Image


6 hours later we were in PLZ, boarding our plane to JNB. On the next morning we landed in GVA, experiencing a mighty jetlag, even if there is no time difference between South Africa and Switzerland…
:wall:

_________________
Crazy Horse's Old Man


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 7 posts ] 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Jan van Wyk and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by ritad at 08:10:42 Submitted by Stampajane at 16:07:36 Submitted by swartj at 16:30:24 Submitted by grannyb at 09:35:56