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 Post subject: Buglette Scratching the Bottom of Africa March 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:56 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Scratching the Bottom of Africa

Standing at the southernmost tip of Africa near Agulhas, with the smell of the sea filling my senses and a fresh breeze teasing my hair, two thoughts crossed my mind. First was that I’m perfectly content to live at the bottom of Africa. In fact, there’s no other place on this planet I’d rather call home. Second thought was that such a vast portion of the African continent lies up north waiting to be explored by me.

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Of the 52 countries in Africa, I’ve visited but a handful – Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania and way up at the top, Egypt. Stinkbug (my partner aka SB) and I dream of travelling overland from Cape to Cairo one day. Let’s hope that becomes a reality but we may need a lucky Lotto ticket before then.

For the present though there’s enough to keep us busy within our own borders and we decided to spend four nights at Agulhas National Park prior to Human Rights Day. Setting out early on the Saturday morning, we meandered up from Cape Town to Agulhas via the scenic road that hugs the coast from Gordon’s Bay.

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Betty’s Bay was our first detour. We’d heard about the African penguin colony there but had previously not known where to find it. This time we stumbled across the right beach road and followed the signs straight to Stony Point.

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On the way I said to SB, “Hope there are more than one or two penguins.” Picking a number at random, I added, “I hope to see at least seven.”

Well, was I in for a surprise! When we arrived at Stony Point, there were penguins everywhere – in the sea, lined up on the rocks like coast guards and waddling around on land amongst natural or manmade shelters. Must‘ve been well over a hundred birds.

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A boardwalk takes you right into the heart of the colony where you can watch these adorably comical birds up close. Unfortunately we didn’t hear the donkey-like bray that has earned them the name of Jackass penguins.

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The teenage birds (two year olds actually) were in the process of moulting, shedding their grey fluff for more elegant black and white feathers. Moulting can’t be much fun because during this time the feathers aren’t waterproof so the birds can’t swim or catch fish. They’re forced to fast. To make matters worse they look pretty ugly at this time too. Just as well penguins don’t own mirrors. But in a few weeks they’ll be dressed up in their tuxedos - ready to party!

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_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 7:52 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Next stop was Kleinmond to satisfy our appetites. Plates of lightly crumbed hake, with salad and chips at a restaurant overlooking the sea went down just right. We finally arrived in the late afternoon. Our accommodation was one of three cottages on Rhenosterkop one of the oldest farms in the Strandveld, about thirty kilometers from the Agulhas lighthouse. (The farm’s name stems from the black rhino skull found in the area many years ago which is now housed in the Springfield Estates museum just down the road.)

We were welcomed by three fat, woolly sheep and a family of francolin. Later that evening a shy steenbok made a brief appearance but it was too far away to get a decent photo. Growing amongst the cottages were bright red tumbleweeds.

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Of the three cottages the oldest dates back to middle of the 18th century. Delightfully renovated, the quaint cottages provide comfortable accommodation with solar panels for lighting and gas for cooking and refrigeration. Be warned, there are no 220V plugs for charging cell phones or camera batteries. However, the Sanparks receptionist at Agulhas kindly offered to do that on our behalf.

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Other accommodation options in the park include the Lagoon House, Agulhas Rest Camp (2 or 4 sleeper chalets), Rietfontein cottages and Bergram’s guesthouse.

To be continued . . .

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Just a short post at first to turn the page then I'll continue with more . . .

Early next morning we travelled 5 km to the secluded beach at Brandfontein where the dunes are pristine white. Groups of fisherman dotted the shore, some kitted out in boots and thigh-high waders, but in the time we were there we never saw any of them land anything.

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I’m always fascinated by the flotsam and jetsam one finds on a beach.

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This time a magnificent purple jellyfish, the size of a dinner plate, caught my attention. Unfortunately, it looked as though it had been washed up dead. Fear of a nasty sting prevented us from investigating too closely. Amazing to think that jellyfish have floated in the seas for at least 500 million years, and possibly 700 million years or more, making them the oldest multi-organ animal. This one was beautiful!

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_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


Last edited by Buglette on Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:43 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
On with the story . . .

After a picnic lunch we made our way to Elim, a fascinating village that has been declared a national heritage site. The local Heritage Centre takes one back in time to how life was lived in the ‘slow old days’.
“Imagine wearing those,” SB said pointing to a pair of shoes made from hessian.
“Or bathing with that,” I said indicating some homemade soap that looked more like a very stale loaf of bread.

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The area has a diversity of fynbos as can be seen in the Geelkop Nature Reserve. When dried flowers (everlastings or ‘sewe jariges’) were all the rage many of these came from the Elim district.

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Despite it being Sunday the Moravian Church, built in 1865, was closed so we could only admire its architecture from the outside. The church clock is apparently the oldest working one in the country.
“Well, the clock may be working in that the hands are moving,” said SB, “but the time’s wrong. It obviously needs re-setting.”

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Behind the church is the old watermill which was in operation from 1828 to 1972. Apparently, it has the largest water wheel. The friendly guide on site explained that plans are afoot to restore the mill to working order within the next few months. Bread will be made from flour milled on the premises and picnic baskets will be available containing the famous Elim salami and goat’s milk cheese from a nearby farm.
“We’ll have to make trip back to Agulhas especially for that one day,” remarked SB.
“Yeah, maybe in the winter time so that we can see the area at its greenest. Or during the whale season.”

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Opposite the church stands a monument, erected in December 1938, commemorating the freedom of slaves. Our guide explained that many of the coloured people living in Elim today carry month names as their surnames (Januarie, April, September, Oktober etc). This originates from slaves being named after the months in which they were sold. A sad reminder of our past! Many of the descendants of these slaves now live in the some of the houses dating back to the mid 1800s. While most houses are in good nick some could do with a lick of paint.

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Feeling saturated with local culture after our sojourn in Elim, we travelled the back roads home, stopping off at the salt pans near Rhenosterkop. These were mined by the Springfield Company from 1914 to 1950.
“Just as well the pans have been abandoned,” remarked SB. “I’d hate to eat anything that came from here – it looks all grey and gunky.”

Indeed just below the salty surface lies a layer of slippery mud and a certain Buglette almost ended up on her butt.

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In winter months when the pans fill with water, the area is apparently good for birding. We did chase a mystery raptor frustratingly from pole to pole (possibly a jackal buzzard) and we spotted a black-shouldered kite.

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After observing a flaming sunset we prepared a delicious braai of lamb steak and chipolatas wrapped in bacon. Then it was time for bed and sweet dreams.

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_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:26 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Apparently the clock was made in 1764 for a village in Germany called Herrenhut and arrived in Elim in 1914. The clock was made to precise German standards but when the bits and pieces arrived in SA no one had a clue how to assemble the thing. Without email or fax in those days, it took the locals three years and much scratching of heads (not bottoms) to figure it out. They eventually got the clock working and it’s still going. As for the key sticking out the wall, Dunquixoting, now you’re just winding me up! :wink:

These pics from SB show the two faces of the clock and the inner mechanism.

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Thanks SB :k

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:21 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Sorry about not posting the next episode yet but the weekend has flown by all too quickly.

Saturday afternoon was spent at Eagle Encounters in Stellenbosch with Rookie. It was so exciting to view a wide variety of raptors up close. The staff do incredible rehabilitation work and are able to release about 65 % of the birds they rescue. The show where you get to interact with birds like a yellow-billed kite, a couple of cuddly owls and some strange vultures is awesome.

We hoped to pick up useful tips to help us with this week's Bird ID Challenge but I think we're more confused than ever after meeting Jim the juvenile gymnogene who looks absolutely nothing like the adults. The same applied to several other juveniles we encountered.

Excuse me if I interrupt this TR to post a pic or two.

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:12 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Image

Martial eagle, Cape vulture and yellow-billed kite.


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Jim the juvenile gymnogene, Barney the barn owl and an adult gymnogene (African harrier-hawk).


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African crowned eagle, black eagle with juvenile below.


Aren't they awesome? :D

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:35 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Morning,
Thanks so much Dunquixoting, Rookie, Meandering Mouse, Hilda, Pumbaa, Cape of Storms and Sara for the lovely comments. Sara, hope you get to this part of the world soon.

I posted some pics of the raptor we chased from pole to pole on the bird ID thread and Bush Baptist and Deefstes confirmed that it was indeed a jackal buzzard - but a white-breasted morph. When it comes to birds I learn something new every day.

Will post a pic of a 'normal' jackal buzzard from Eagle Encounters although each bird apparently has different colouring. I also found out that the bird got its name because the cry it makes is similar to that of a black-backed jackal. My bird book describes it as a long drwan out 'weeaah-ka-ka-ka'. Will have to listen carefully next time in the wild. :D

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:37 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Here's the pic . . .

Image

Gorgeous colouring!

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:45 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Now back to Agulhas after the birding detour . . .

Next morning we opened the blinds to a grey and misty sky.

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“Not a day for the beach,” muttered a bleary-eyed SB. “Let’s visit Bredasdorp instead –see what it has to offer.”

I hastily agreed and first port of call was Kapula candles and the nearby Industria Lifestyle Centre to stock up on gifts for friends and family.

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Stinkbug was naturally more interested in the Shipwreck Museum especially the old canon rescued from one of the wrecks.

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What amazed me is that our beautiful shoreline is literally a graveyard of shipwrecks. Gale force winds, high seas, treacherously rocky coasts and unpredictable weather have caused the demise of many a fine vessel and the tragic loss of many lives.

A large percentage of wrecks have never been found and who knows what treasures lie rusting at the bottom of our oceans. Seeing a wooden ‘treasure chest’ in the museum set my imagination running wild.

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The HMS Birkenhead went down at Danger Point in February 1852 while carrying troops from Simonstown to East London for the frontier war. Due to a shortage of lifeboats, 445 lives were lost even though the protocol of ‘women and children first’ was first initiated then. Legend has it that the ship was carrying a military payroll of gold coins weighing over three tons but despite numerous salvage attempts this gold has never been found.

The museum, which is located in the old Anglican Church, houses an interesting display of figureheads and relics from several of the wrecks.

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Anchors from various wrecks were salvaged by local farmers whose pride it was to display these on their ‘stoeps’. Apparently it became quite the competition to see who had the biggest anchor (typical!). Fortunately, over the years the museum has persuaded many of these farmers to donate their anchors and a wonderful collection is now on display in the gardens.

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The church rectory has been restored to show a typical Victorian dining room as well as a kitchen filled with old appliances. Looking at these I became aware of how easy domestic life is today with all the mod cons available to us.

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The coach house displays a delightful old Dennis fire engine, all cherry-red and cheerful like in children’s story books, as well as a couple of hearses complete with caskets (not so cheerful) and the remains of an old ox wagon.

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We intended picnicking in the museum gardens but down came splatters of rain so we drove out of town and stopped at a site overlooking the farmlands. The usual farm animals were in evidence during our country meanders. Dusty mother sheep were accompanied by small white shadows that attempted to drink from them at every opportunity. It was distressing to come across a trio of tiny abandoned lambs in one paddock, bleating pathetically for mothers that were nowhere to be seen. It was my fervent hope that the farmer would round up these strays come evening.

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That's all for now folks. Time to start work for the day unfortunately.

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:08 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:09 pm
Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
Thanks so much for the feedback Hilda, Rookie, Pumbaa, Cheetah (welcome on board) and Cape of Storms.
:gflower:
Please keep your comments coming as they help to turn the page so that I can post another episode. :D
(I don't want too many pics on one page otherwise it'll take forever to open.)


Anyway, on with the story now . . .

Intrigued by the name Baardskeerdersbos we took a leisurely drive there. A friend had visited the village in December and had remarked what a haven for artists it was becoming.

Being the middle of the week, people were scarce and we caught a glimpse of only one resident. What we did see were a flock of geese strutting around the church, a couple of goats and some very friendly horses that came trotting up to the fence of their paddock to be stroked and patted.

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The local church was built in 1921 and is a national monument. Regrettably we didn’t get a peek inside but I enjoyed the miniature version on display outside.

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Just to satisfy your curiosity, the name Baardskeerdersbos (or Baardscheerders Bosch in the original Dutch) literally means ‘Beard Shaver's Forest’. The accepted explanation for this name is that a small spider-like creature inhabits the area and is called a ‘beard shaver’ because it cuts human hair to use for building its nest.

We meandered home, somewhat disappointed in B’bos, as the locals call it. Frequent photo stops were made along the way for some reedbuck, a grysbok, one lone bontebok and a couple of ostriches.

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Flocks of blue cranes, our graceful national bird, were plentiful but as soon as I stepped from the car they moved further away in a sideways dance, their feathers ruffled by the wind. Sacred ibis were also plentiful.

At a farm dam, I pointed out some large black birds.
“What on earth are those?” asked SB.
“I’ve no idea,” I replied. “They look like vultures to me - but surely they can’t be.”
At the mention of vultures, SB screeched to a halt and reached for the binoculars.
“Sorry to disappoint you,” he said after a while. “But I reckon they’re geese of some sort.’

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We also came across a Protea farm outside Napier. Unfortunately, the day was passing all too quickly and we didn’t have time to explore all the arty and crafty shops lining the main road of Napier.

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That evening we were sitting in our cosy cottage, sheltering from the wind and chomping on braaied Kassler ribs, when the resident bird population became extremely noisy and restless.

“What is it?” I said. “It’s almost dark and you birdies should be going to bed now.”

Suddenly a large shape filled the frame of the half-open door. Seconds later, calls of ‘whoo-whoo’ told us that we had an owl perched on our roof. SB called back with his imitation hoot and the two seemed to strike up a conversation. Unfortunately as soon as I stepped outside the owl flapped his mighty wings and took off into the darkening sky. He appeared again the following night but once again we only heard and did not see him. What a pity!

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:34 pm 
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Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
On Tuesday morning, the sun rose cheerily in the sky so we headed off to the sea. Picturesque Struisbaai harbour was our first stop as the guide book said to look out for stingrays.

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Seagulls there were aplenty especially since the nearby restaurant was dumping fish offal into the sea. The gulls squawked and fought for their fair share of an easy meal.

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Just when we were about to give up on the rays, a large shadow appeared in the water some distance off. As it loomed closer, there was no mistaking the shape of a stingray. A dog ran to the water’s edge barking loudly which confirmed that the shadow was indeed alive.

“Never expected it to be that huge,” said SB. “Must be a metre by a metre - excluding the tail bit.”
“At least,” I replied as I watched fascinated.

The ray drifted over to the quayside and snuffled around in the shallow, clear water right below us. Later it was joined by a second ray, gliding menacingly through the water. “Wouldn’t like to encounter one of those unexpectedly in a dark sea,” I exclaimed.

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“Right, time for some exercise now,” said SB as we drove to the lighthouse in L’Agulhas. It’s apparently the second oldest one in the country, constructed from stone from the adjacent limestone quarry.

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Seventy-one steep steps later we were standing, puffing, at the top. For those with a fear of heights, be warned, the last climb is up a narrow ladder and through a smallish round hole. The bird’s eye view from the top is worth the effort though.

Jokingly, I said to SB, “Shall I pop down the stairs and take a piccie of you from the bottom.”
“That would be great,” he replied. “Would be nice to have a pic to send to my daughter in the UK.”
So, off I went, scuttling down the stairs - backwards. Luckily, I was halfway up again when I met SB coming down so I didn’t have to climb the scary ladder at the top again.

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About a kilometer from the lighthouse is the southernmost tip of the African continent. A plaque demarcating the spot can be reached along a boardwalk. I must say, it felt rather special standing right on the very edge of Africa. Not far from that spot is the official boundary between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans which is not at Cape Point as may people think. Apparently a cairn marks the exact location but we couldn’t locate it.

Interestingly, the name Agulhas comes from the Portuguese word for ‘needles’ because early sea-farers rounding Agulhas found that the compass needle pointed due north, without deviation, at that point.

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Driving from L’Agulhas towards Suiderstrand we couldn’t miss the remains of the Meishu Maru jutting from the sea. This Japanese vessel foundered in stormy seas during November 1982 and is the latest casualty along this coastline. Only part of the vessel is visible and it would be interesting to know where the other bits lie.

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We were cruising around the seaside settlement of Suiderstrand, ever on the lookout for potential retirement properties, when I suddenly yelled, “Stop! Go back.”
SB duly hit the brakes and exclaimed, “What for?”
“A snake,” I replied. “You just drove over it.”
“Oh no,”
“Don’t worry, you didn’t squash it. Luckily it was between our wheels.”

SB swung the car around and a gorgeous golden snake slithered across the road and up a pavement. Not wanting to miss the opportunity of a photograph, I hopped out and followed it until it disappeared into the bushes.

“Do you want to give me a premature heart attack?” cried SB. “And do you know how far away the nearest decent hospital is? And who’s to say they have the right snakebite serum! ”

I slinked back into the car with apologies but at least I got my shot and we could later identify the snake as a puff adder.

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On the drive back though Struisbaai I was bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t seen any black oyster catchers when we came across some rock pools covered in birds. Not only were there various cormorants, terns, egrets and gulls but I finally found my oyster catchers, those courageous birds that brave crashing waves, timing their reactions down to the millisecond in pursuit of tasty oysters. Sadly, we didn’t see them in action that afternoon. They merely hopped lethargically from rock to rock.

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Our last night at Rhenosterkop was marred by some unpleasantness.

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 5:50 pm 
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Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
The following post is from SB (aka Stinkbug)

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Humph! 'Some unpleasantness,' she says. Talk about an understatement! :roll: :roll: This is the true account of what actually happened.

It may have been the rain on our third day or perhaps the Rhenosterkop Mozzie Air Force (RMAF) had been gathering reserves but after three nights of peace, the fourth night exploded into a mozzie onslaught of Battle of Britain proportions. Unlike the whining nimble mosquitoes of conventional experience, these were larger, silent and, fortunately, somewhat sluggish. It began with complaints from Buglette of stings on her exposed ankles, followed by itching on my trousered legs. The little terrors could sting through clothes.

Our response was immediate and overwhelming. Quickly we closed all open windows, cutting off routes of escape or reinforcement then using Weapons of Mozzie Destruction (WMD), first Buglette’s blue spangled cheap Chinese slip-slops and later a whipping tea towel, we lashed and splashed dozens of mozzies. Walls and floors grew black with corpses and the occasional blood splatter from an enemy that had struck first. We were merciless. Churchill would have been moved to another great speech. Eventually, with the shattered remnants of the RMAF retreating to the odd nook or crannie, we declared the battle over.

Mopping up survivors continued until bed-time. Unfortunately, in spite of it being a hot airless night we were obliged to keep the windows closed and the covers pulled up to our chins as we anticipated the RMAF would be summoning fresh troops and preparing for another assault. Remnants found skulking in the bathroom the following morning were dispatched without mercy as there was no question of taking prisoners.

Be warned, should you stay at Rhenosterkop, ensure your supplies include Tabard and anti-mozzie spray. These are vicious little baskets.
:evil:

Image

_________________
Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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 Post subject: Re: Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:04 pm 
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Posts: 88
Location: Cape Town, sometimes Jo'burg
On Human Rights Day we departed early and made our way home via Bredasdorp, Napier and Caledon with a stop at Dassiesfontein farm stall for homemade cheeses and ham. Of course, one had to browse through all the bric- a-brac too.

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Then after a picnic lunch at the top of the scenic Franschoek Pass it was down onto the NI for the final stretch.

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Our short stay at yet another of the SA National Parks was both exciting and restful – just the way we like it! The surrounding towns offer plenty of activities and one can be as busy as one chooses to be. Or else just take a good book and chill on serene Struisbaai beach. At 14 km, it’s the longest continuous stretch of beach in the Southern Hemsiphere – could make for an interesting walk.

We didn’t do any of the hikes in the area although the Spookdraai (Ghost Corner) trail sounded intriguing. Legend has it that many years ago, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, a beautiful young woman washed up on the shore. She made her way to a cave in the mountains and later died there. Her spirit is not at rest and she still visits guesthouses in the area from time to time. Apparently, she has lovely slender hands – not that I’d want to get that close to actually observe them.

Scratching around the bottom of Africa satisfied our itch to travel - but only for a while.

Image

Next, we’re looking forward to our two week trip to Marakele, Mapungubwe and the northern parts of Kruger at the end of April/May. Can’t wait for that adventure!

In the meantime, I’ll be posting another TR soon. (Told you, I’ve become totally addicted to this.) Not having seen many travel tales about Golden Gate National Park I've decided to write something on our trip there even though it happened last year. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

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Buglette's Trip Reports:
Introducing a Rookie to the KNP
Red Dust and Diamonds (Mokala)
Tinkering in the Tankwa
Loerie Stalking in the Wilderness
Scratching the Bottom of Africa
Golden Gate to Happiness
Rambling Round the Richtersveld


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