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Kaapsedraai's a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'. Agulhas NP, July 2015.

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Kaapsedraai
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Kaapsedraai's a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'. Agulhas NP, July 2015.

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:39 pm

It is Thurday, 9 July 2015 and me and my family were early morning on our way to spend two nights at Agulhas National Park, about 210km from Cape Town. Although I visited the town about 20 years ago, it will be my first visit to this National Park.

En-route the N2 we had to stop on top of Sir-Lowry's Pass to take a photo of Table Mountain at 10h11.
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...but before I continue with this travel tale, I must introduce you to the co-author...please meet Agulhas rest camp Unit no 12's - the friendly Cape Bunting :D
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We travelled through Caledon and experienced two stop-and-go sections on our way to Bredasdorp. As we reached the favourite holiday town of Struisbaai, we had to see what is happening at the small harbour. The weather was overcast, windy with odd drizzle - can you feel the cold? :whistle:
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The Cape Cormorants had a boat all to themselves - orwas it that they prefer the boat name: 'Bella' :lol: :D
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We slowly made our way to the most southern tip of Africa and checked in at the SANParks Reception located in a building just below the lighthouse. We were met by two very friendly and helpful staff - Esterien and Sonwabo. Soon we were on our way to our accommodation about 6km on the gravel road in the Agulhas Rest camp.

One had to first stop to take a photo of this iconic Lighthouse (which we will be visiting the next day).
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The first sign board...with 'Nelson'- the sea gull indicating the direction of Tip of Africa....
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It was time to pay this special place on the Africa continent a visit first and breath in some fresh cold air...tbc :thumbs_up:
Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:07 am, edited 3 times in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger
Future: 25 Jun - 12 Jul'16 MZNP; ADDO; Storms river & Wildernis NP

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Kaapsedraai
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2015)
FAC Member (2014)
Posts: 3509
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Location: Bellville, Cape Town

Re: Agulhas NP - July'15: a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:36 am

Before getting out of the car at the Tip of Africa, some 'map' information you might be interested in to set the scene of where we really are.... :D

The Area Map
This Area Map gives one a great idea of the town locations and where the Agulhas NP rest camp is situated i.e. Suiderstrand.

The road from Bredasdorp to Struisbaai runs past a sanctuary (Soetendalsvlei) attracting a lot of bird life, so when travelling along this road one can look out for some interesting bird sightings.
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At Bredasdorp, there is the shipwreck museum to be visited. If you interested in this historical information, stop over at this town.
The only shipwreck visible on the coastline is the Meishu Mara 38 near the 'Tip of Africa' location.

An aerial view
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This photo was taken a long time ago, but also an interesting view from the air at that time.
The building at the Tip Of Africa has been removed. One can also get an idea how close the Tip of Africa is to the Light house (and SANParks Reception office). The rest camp is about 5km further down the gravel road.

On a personal note: this photo seems to be taken by Colin Sunkel and interestingly when I was at school more than 30 years ago, he opened his first photography shop in my town where he also stayed. He did a lot of framing for me at the time and always popped in their admiring the photos on the wall - just shows how small the world is. :D

Where the oceans meet
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This is also regarded as the place where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet - some distance into the sea from the coast line.

Let us get out of the car at the Tip of Africa and explore the area a bit more..tbc :thumbs_up:
Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger
Future: 25 Jun - 12 Jul'16 MZNP; ADDO; Storms river & Wildernis NP

User avatar
Kaapsedraai
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2015)
FAC Member (2014)
Posts: 3509
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Location: Bellville, Cape Town

Re: Agulhas NP - July'15: a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:11 pm

Tip of Africa
Some called the most southern point on the Africa continent the 'Tip of Africa' and others again 'the Foot of Africa'.

Less than 1km from the SANParks reception office and Light house, one reaches this iconic location - Tip of Africa.
There is a very comfortable walkway which is wheelchair friendly from the parking section to the specific point.
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This sign board at the start of this walk way reveals the meaning of the name for the area - 'Agulhas': It reads...
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Reaching the end of the walk way...the beacon indication where the two oceans meet deep into the ocean (refer previous episode).
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Close-up detail contained on the plaque.
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As we returned to the car making our way to the shipwreck, we noticed these visitors enjoying a walk on the wheelchair friendly walk way...providing the whole family to explore this area in comfort. Well done SANParks. :thumbs_up:
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Shipwreck
Just a few hundred meters from the Tip of Africa one reaches the only visible shipwreck - the Meishu Maru 38, a Japanese shipwreck, a fishing vessel wrecked in 1982.
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One can just appreciate the effect the waves bashing against this vessel will have over time causing it to break up little by little.
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A different angle of this vessel from the other side.
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Although an 'eye-sore' against this pristine beauty of the coast line, one similarly gets reminded and appreciation for the force of nature at this specific point....so appropriately called 'Cape of the Needle'

Let us explore our accommodation and the view from there which we will be enjoying for two nights...tbc :thumbs_up:
Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger
Future: 25 Jun - 12 Jul'16 MZNP; ADDO; Storms river & Wildernis NP

User avatar
Kaapsedraai
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2015)
FAC Member (2014)
Posts: 3509
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Location: Bellville, Cape Town

Re: Agulhas NP - July'15: a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Thu Jul 16, 2015 6:03 pm

Agulhas Rest camp - accommodation
As we were getting closer to the Rest camp gate, we spotted a Black-shouldered kite on top of a telephone-line pole busy scanning the bushes.
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We reached the Agulhas Rest camp gate and as one drives closer the gate opens where one is greeted by a very friendly gentleman at the boom requesting the permit one receives at the Reception office. I was really impressed with all the SANParks personnel during this trip as they appeared to be energised as one easily sensed if someone is burdened or really enjoying the job.
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These gates gives one a sense of real security when inside the camp area. Another well done to SANParks. :clap: :thumbs_up:

Driving along a tarred section of road one suddenly is greeted by this view overlooking the 14 units.
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Let's explore the accommodation.. WOW a weber for outside braai, a fireplace inside, well equipped kitchen and a nice large bathroom and shower all tastefully decorated. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
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After we settled in, it was time to lit the weber braai and enjoy the scenery. One of those craft beers brewed in Struisbaai were opened...a 'stout' which tasted extra sweet with this view.
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While at Reception I picked up a FREE! copy of the 2015 Winter Edition of the SANParks Times. What an interesting read. :clap: The one article in particular was very interesting "Teamwork pivotal to forum's success"
I posted a copy of this on the following thread - worth the read: Forum History
...on the SANParks Times theme, while making our way to the gate, we also sighted a Cape Robin chat...and guess which bird also featured in the 'Times'...
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It was great to enjoy 'South Africa's favourite bird' as per the BirdLife SA poll :thumbs_up:
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Now, let us braai while enjoying the sounds of waves rolling over the rocky shore line....tbc :thumbs_up:
Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger
Future: 25 Jun - 12 Jul'16 MZNP; ADDO; Storms river & Wildernis NP

User avatar
Kaapsedraai
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2015)
FAC Member (2014)
Posts: 3509
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Location: Bellville, Cape Town

Re: Agulhas NP - July'15: a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:10 pm

Sea view on a windy winters morning
After a good nights rest with sound of breaking waves washing over the rocks, we awaken to a sunny and blue sky day. :dance:

While getting the breakfast ready for the family, I enjoyed these sea views. The waves gave it away - another windy day, a chilly one I must add.
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Warmly dressed, we set off on our mission - a Light house visit (see if I make it to the top :shock:) and learn more what the town of Agulhas and Struisbaai has to offer.

Plants (just a few)
On our way to the Light house, we stopped to admire a few plants of this area. (I hope I got the ID correct as I tried to match them to those per my Fynbos-book :whistle: - I am not sure if the ID of plants is more or less difficult to that of bird ID 8) )

Metalasia densa (Afr: Blombos)
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Diosma sublata (Afr: tipe Bitterboegoe)
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Lachenalia bulbifera (Afr: Rooinaeltjie)
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Just outside the Rest camp gate one is greeted by this very interesting looking tree - 'the Dancing duo' :D
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These Haemanthus coccineus (Afr: Misryblom) grew near the Tip of Africa site. (I really struggle with the ID of this one... :roll: )
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After enjoying a few birdies along the way (which I will share as a bird theme), we arrived at the Light house...now...tbc :thumbs_up:
Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger
Future: 25 Jun - 12 Jul'16 MZNP; ADDO; Storms river & Wildernis NP

User avatar
Kaapsedraai
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2015)
FAC Member (2014)
Posts: 3509
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Location: Bellville, Cape Town

Re: Agulhas NP - July'15: a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:00 pm

Lighthouse visit
We were excited to visit the Lighthouse - a front view.
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A close up of the "fibre glass replica of twin figurehead which came from the French Barque Marie Elise wrecked at Ryspunt on 6 November 1877"
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The 'house' is divided in four sections i.e. Museum, Tower, Information and a Gift shop.

Let us visit the Museum where one can enjoy the following:
Agulhas lighthouse comparison with lighthouses of the world.
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Another interesting one for stamp collectors.
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Lighthouses along the South African coast line...
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...and a very interesting colourful display of lighthouses across the world per country.
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The Information area was also very interesting and this is where I got the Map info as per Page 1 of this TR. Worth mentioning is the lady that works at the Information desk, Maureen, who is extremely knowledgeable about the area and will assist you with any question you might have about where to see and enjoy interesting things.

Let see if I have made it to the top - we are going up in the tower. Firstly, I need to highlight that I suffer from fear of heights, but wanted to do this. One had to climb 3 sets of ladders with a railing only on the one side. It is extremely steep climb, but managed to get going. After reaching the top of the 3rd set, the last set awaited me. It was even steeper, narrower and smaller to climb. As I started off, I realised that I might have a problem coming down which is often the case - going up easier than down. :roll: The other problem was the top section closes up and there is no prober landing section on the top which one had to go to the side. Well, I took a few pics to show how it looks like - I just could not get myself to go further and :redface: :wall: 'no', I did not make it to the top, but was very close :D
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I managed to make it down very slowly and although felt a bit disappointed that I did not make it to the top, I felt it being the right decision. While spending time talking to the lady at the Information desk, another person - one of the caretakers approached Maureen flustered by what he had experienced saying that he was up in the tower cleaning and heard steps and the saw the steps moving which he had never experienced before. I told him, that I was there a couple of minutes earlier, but he said it was not me.... :shock:

It was an interesting visit to the Lighthouse. The scenery to the east and west from the Lighthouse.
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Some more :cam: - the entrance.
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Just love this view with aloes in front taken from the parking area.
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I will recommend a visit to this iconic place and hopefully next time, I will 'make it to the top'... :wink:

Next up, we taking a scenic drive along the coast and then back to camp....where we will enjoy afternoon coffee with delicious cheesecake-tart...tbc :thumbs_up:
Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger
Future: 25 Jun - 12 Jul'16 MZNP; ADDO; Storms river & Wildernis NP

User avatar
Kaapsedraai
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2015)
FAC Member (2014)
Posts: 3509
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Location: Bellville, Cape Town

Re: Agulhas NP - July'15: a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:51 am

Agulhas and surrounding area
We left the Lighthouse and went to the SANParks Reception desk to enquire about some trails. A very helpful and friendly Hester was very eager to assist. She contacted the local Ranger to enquire if he is willing to take me around on the trail hike and share detail about plants and any interesting information which he was willing to do first thing the next morning. :clap: SANParks!

I had to cancel this arrangement as firstly, the weather the next day forecasted to be another cold front moving in (which it did) and secondly, time was not our side as we had to make our way back home. :( It would have been really interesting to join the Ranger on this trail hike. :D

About a hundred meters from the Reception is a very interesting Coffee shop where we enjoyed something nice. We followed the road along the coast line and stopped to enjoy this view back towards the Lighthouse in the far.
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Reaching the Struisbaai harbour on a blue sky day with these different scenes and a nice beach.
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Small lighthouse at the end of the harbourwall
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This area has some beautiful beaches.
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As one enters the Struisbaai area, one is greeted by this beautiful scene - Hotagterklip town
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Back at the Rest Camp, there is a Lagoon house
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My daughter wanted to play in the water at the lagoon, but it did not last long as it was too cold - children just got a different sense of the cold in winter.
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Back at our chalet, this is the view we enjoyed while enjoying a nice cup of coffee and...yes, cheesecake tart
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Anyone for a slice ..... :D
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Next up, it is birding time. :thumbs_up:
Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger
Future: 25 Jun - 12 Jul'16 MZNP; ADDO; Storms river & Wildernis NP

User avatar
Kaapsedraai
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2015)
FAC Member (2014)
Posts: 3509
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Location: Bellville, Cape Town

Re: Agulhas NP - July'15: a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:06 pm

Birding in Agulhas
During the few days we stayed at Agulhas NP, we enjoyed a variety of birding of which most were the 'Cape-family':
Cape-Bunting,
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Cape Bulbul,
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Cape Robin chat,
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Cape Gull (who got a bone to pick) and
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Cape Francolin
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Down by the water's edge we also enjoyed these water birds...White-fronted Plover and ...
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...a Common Whimbrel (correction :redface: ).
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There were also some raptors around such as this Black-shouldered kite in flight action.
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While busy lighting up the weber braai, I saw on the neighbour's roof two Rock Kestrels making themselves comfortable.
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Last but not least, a Bokmakierie paying a quick visit.
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There were quite a few other birds around, but they were not in the mood for posing for a :cam:. I am sure that as the weather gets warmer, this area will be a great place birding wise as we only enjoyed just the tip of the tip of this area :lol:

On this note day two had come to an end with the weber braai being lit and getting ready to braai again with amazing view over the ocean...tbc :thumbs_up:
Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger
Future: 25 Jun - 12 Jul'16 MZNP; ADDO; Storms river & Wildernis NP

User avatar
Kaapsedraai
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Award: Small Parks Promoter of the Year (2015)
FAC Member (2014)
Posts: 3509
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:02 pm
Location: Bellville, Cape Town

Re: Agulhas NP - July'15: a quick visit to the 'Cape of the Needle'

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:51 am

Last night and a good bye
While the one Rock kestrel made himself comfortable on the grass roof of our chalet, the weber was lit to enjoy a nice braai.
The view this evening over the ocean - some more boats visible on the horizon.
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I was enjoying another of the local vitamin-sources.
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Passing by the Light house, a last :cam: of this iconic place.
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Just outside Struisbaai, we took the gravel road to Elim to explore the other side of Agulhas NP as the road passes through some vleiland and reaching the salt pans.

Ostrich interested in another ostrich on the other side of the road. :lol:
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Next to the road in the vleiland, some Sacred Ibis in the distance, Blacksmith lapwing and Greater Egrets
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Jack buzzard also present.
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This is a view of the salt pans.
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On the salt pans saw in distance some flamingos and closer some Cape Shovelers, Black-winged stilt and guess some Curlew sandpipers. (please correct me if wrong)
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Well, on this note a quick 2 day visit to Agulhas NP came to an end. It is a stunning place to visit with very friendly SANParks staff and beautiful accommodation. Thank you all for enjoying this trip with me. :thumbs_up:

As they say in the movies "That's all Folks", but not before this Cape Bulbul had the last say....
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Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger
Future: 25 Jun - 12 Jul'16 MZNP; ADDO; Storms river & Wildernis NP


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