May 21 - Day 13
Today we were meeting up with a former colleague, and close friend, of my parents who has retired to George for lunch. We decided to go via the 7 passes road, rather than the N2, stopping first at a dairy to stock up on supplies. The drive was absolutely stunning, with the passes dropping down from the fynbos/grassland plateaus into forested ravines to cross one or another tea coloured river down below before climbing back out. On one the plateaus is Lancewood's farms, where we saw plenty of cows (what a surprise!
) being followed by equally plentiful cattle egrets. Shortly after the farming area we came across a sign pointing to Woodville Forest and a Big Tree. This forest is one of SANParks recent additions from the former state forests - in fact I'm not too sure that most of the passes don't dip into and out of SANParks areas now. Anyway, we followed the signs to go and see this big tree - how could we not?!. After parking at the picnic spot and filling in our self-issue permit (some very entertaining entries before us - if you are ever bored...), this is the view
that greeted us.
I adore forests, the dappled light, earthy smell, and calls of elusive birds, and Woodville did not disappoint.
There are some more picnic sites in the forest for those willing to carry their supplies - well worth it I would say - and following the path for a bit longer this is what greets you...
A BIG Tree
and up close
The powers that be have very cleverly put up an old log for graffitti in an effort to save the actual tree from peoples need to express themselves - so far it seems to be working
Wandering around the tree (keeping to paths!) I came across this lovely bracket fungi
- it contrasting beautifully with its green surrounds.
and this pretty little Plectranthus
and then, with time marching on, it was sadly time to leave and continue our adventures along the 7 passes road. These were short lived however, due to us failing to realise that we actually needed to turn off the road to continue onto George
So instead we landed up in Wilderness and on the N2... We got to the mall where we needed to pick up our monthly meds at dischem and then met up with our friend for a lovely lunch. After lunch, not wanting to be cheated out of half of the 7 passes we went into George to find the other end of the road and set on our way back to Sedgefield where we were due to meet a varsity pal of my father's. This 'lost' half the road, is if anything, more spectacular than the 1st half! We continued on and took a turning that told us it would bring us out at Sedgefield. We came out near Rondevlei, which was fine as we at least knew how to get to Sedgefiled from there
After tea I asked if we may return to the Rondevlei bird hide for a short visit as we hadn't yet been to it. It did not disappoint!
Far in the distance were these Greater Flamingos
Then these Cape Teals
swam by to see who was visiting. I think the bum in the back belongs to a Cape Shoveller? - it had a black bill when the head surfaced.
The visit was short as my parents wanted to scout out Sedgefield after all the tips received at tea. I drove which meant I could take elicit stops for birding along the estuary - after all, I was in charge of the brakes
One of the stops was for this Grey Heron
and mom used the oppurtunity to check again for some fruiting/flowering plants. After some more exploring of Sedgefield we returned 'home' for supper (pasta and sauce out a jar) and some DSTv indulgence.