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Kaapsedraai's Where is Stanley? Bontebok NP, Sept. 2015.

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Kaapsedraai's Where is Stanley? Bontebok NP, Sept. 2015.

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:08 pm

It is amazing how quickly time flies - the last time we visited Bontebok NP was in Dec 2010 and it felt like 'yesterday', but we only stayed one night en-route to the Garden Route. At that time, we were not all that excited about the park, but with time one starts to value each and every park or camp as it definitely has its own inner beauty which one has to 'search' for and one cannot do it while spending only one night. While writing this TR, I am longing to return to the park as it had crept under my skin. I will go tomorrow if I had the chance. It just shows how something can change one's perception only if you allow it to and give it the opportunity and time to do that. :D

As we had still 2 days credit that needed to be used before end Sep, we opted to explore Bontebok NP as it is only 210km from home. With a Thursday being a public holiday and Friday a school holiday , the timing was excellent and accommodation booked i.e. 23 - 25 Sep'15. SO still had to work the Wednesday and we decided to drive through after 16h00, but one knows from experience you can add another 30 - 60 minutes to that to be more realistic. Eventually we got going just before 17h00, which means we will arrive after gate closing i.e. 18h00. Fortunately, I contacted the Reception to arrange for late arrival - which costed me R200.

We took the N1 - Worcester - Roberson - Swellendam route as it would be the most convenient and fastest. Arriving just after 19h00 at the new gate, the lady waited for us as we gave her a call about 10km away. The lady, Ellen, was extremely friendly and very helpful making us feel at home :clap:
To give you an idea of the location, one could see where the New gate and Reception is compared to the old locations.
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After finalising the administrative formalities we were on our way to the camp feeling as if we are on a night drive. Here and there one saw some eyes shining and then it flew up disappearing in the dark. It was still a lot of fun not knowing what to expect. :D

Unpacking the car went quickly and we decided to have a quick braai - just 'boerewors' on rolls to get ourselves in the mood while enjoying some of the products from the winelands. :roll: :D As an appetiser, what better than enjoying some cheese and biscuits with a nice glass of red - now we can relax. :dance:
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From the deck, we were surrounded by a 'forest' of large aloe's... a wonderful sight to enjoy. :D
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We had a wonderful night's rest and were greeted by a sunny clear sky day...but, before we start sharing what we have enjoyed, it will be appropriate to first share how our accommodation looked like - really a cosy 2 bed bungalow with a sleeper couch for our daughter. It is well equipped and had a lovely braai with view over the river.
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The question I was hoping to get answered during this visit will be to find Stanley - "Where is Stanley?"
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by isinkwe » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:35 am

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Isn't it just amazing how potatoes give us fries and vodka? :D The rest of the vegetables should get their act together :rtm:

So when is old enough to know better supposed to kick in ? :hmz:

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:29 am

In the family, I am the early riser and the coffee maker :D :lotsocoffee:
The birds were very active and lots of chirping going on. As soon as I opened the door, I was welcomed by a few locals - they are looking for food as it must be the 'beggar-class' as they are used to being fed - it seems. :lol:

While the family was getting ready, I did a walk around in the camp with a variety of beautiful birds around. I missed an opportunity to get a :cam: of a Cardinal Woodpecker and few quick small birds. Nevertheless, I managed to get some :cam: of the following:

Fiscal Flycatcher
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Southern Masked weaver - one of the food beggars :D
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Pin-tailed Whydah (Afr: Koningrooibekkie)
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What will we be doing today, as this is not a large park - in fact it is the smallest of the SANParks. As I have never been to De Hoop and we only 50km from there, it being Heritage day allowing free access (R40/person), we decided to head down that way and still be back before 14h00 allowing us enough time to enjoy all the routes Bontebok has to offer.

On our way to the gate as one drives along the Breede river, this Black-headed heron stood motionless watching something in the tall grass. They can be a real tester of one's patience :roll: :lol:
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A Bokmakierie also entertained us while grooming itself. :D
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We enjoyed this lifer - Capped Wheatear (Afr.: Hoëveldskaapwagter)
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Hopping over to another spot :D
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We enquired at Reception the best route to De Hoop and they were very kind in assisting me. If you plan to visit De Hoop and staying at Bontebok - this is what you should do:
Exit Bontebok at N2, turn left driving direction Cape Town. You will get two turn-offs to Malgas & Infanta, but take the 2nd turn-off leading onto a gravel road. If you see the sign Bredasdorp (tar road) on N2, then you have missed the turn-off as this will take you to a long detour - ask me :wall: :wall: :wall: loosing about an hour :redface: . The Malgas-Infanta road is a good gravel about 31km long reaching an intersection where you turn left and then a km or 2 get De Hoop sign where you travel another 10km.

Just outside the Bontebok gate on the N2, we enjoyed these Blue Cranes - seemed they had their monthly meeting :D
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"Stanley! Where are you? Stanley!" Will we meet him today?... :hmz: :whistle: :whistle: :whistle:
Last edited by Kaapsedraai on Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by nighthawk2 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:08 pm

This is the only Stanley I know
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Currently in Chicago
the nighthawk

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:29 pm

After a detour via Bredasdorp, we arrived at De Hoop about an hour later than we expected. :roll:
The one think I am wondering about is: Why is De Hoop Nature Reserve and Bontebok NP not managed as one park as they are located basically next to each other?

Apart from a farm or two separating them, it would be another amazing park to enjoy one of the BIG 7 i.e. whales. De Hoop also got stunning accommodation and restaurant with boat cruises one can enjoy at the river mouth. Allow me to share just a brief summary of what we enjoyed on our quick visit.

A scenic view of the landscape and the sea view with amazing large white sand dunes from where one can enjoy whale watching.
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Eland and Bontebok all very relaxed near the restaurant section - just love the big guy. :D
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Just watch out for some snakes and "Give them a brake" - this is a Pufadder, about 3 together were sighted. :shock:
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From the sand dunes we enjoyed a few whales playing in the deep blue sea and could see a baby with them as per the following photos.
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I have been criticized and rightly so, that I sometimes, actually most of the time, forget to take photos of the family - well here we go....SO in action and our daughter enjoying herself. :cam: :cam: ... :thumbs_up:
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We arrived back at Bontebok just after 14h00 and as one enters the Bontebok gate and drive up to the Reception, there is another sign pointing to Die Stroom - a venue for day visitors as well.
We were pleasantly surprised when we visited this spot - stunning views over the Breede River, braai facilities, nice grass banks and ablution facilities.
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It also has a play area for the kids and nice trees.
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One can even bring your fishing gear along. I was just waiting for that moment when a Fish Eagle flying past grabbing one from the river...just amazing spot.
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Let us head back to camp and get ready for the afternoon drive - just maybe, the answer to where Stanley is, might be answered, but only maybe..... :thumbs_up:
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:33 pm

Back at Bontebok NP camp, we enjoyed some refreshments and getting ready for the afternoon drive exploring what the Mooi dam section will reveal to us.
Now, we also did the same route the following morning before departing for home, hence it will be appropriate to combine the two experiences into one.

Here we go...open renosterveld scenery...
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A Cape Orange-throated Longclaw was not scared of us passing by, but kept a watchful eye. It was one of the birds I was hoping to see when visiting - another box ticked :thumbs_up:
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As we continue towards the elevated section, some more birds busy in the veld - seems to be a Yellow Bishop female feeding the young as we sighted the lovely Black and yellow coloured males around.
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Another interesting bird was this Agulhas Clapper Lark. They flew straight up into the air making a clapping sound with the wings and the dive down again with a wheee-sound. Very entertaining. :D
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One of the highlights on the first section of this road was spotting a Southern Black korhaan. Another first for me... :dance:
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Some more about the landscape with mountain range as backdrop.
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Just to provide proof that we are in Bontebok NP.... :D
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Well, we have not found Stanley yet :wall: Let see, as we travelled further down the road if we could find the allusive Stanley. :hmz: :whistle:
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:02 pm

Meandering Mouse wrote:What a lovely array of birds, Kaapsedraai, and more fabulous images. 8)

It must have been so entertaining to watch the clapper lark.

Thanks for the bontebok. :thumbs_up:

:popcorn:

Meandering Mouse, I recall during our previous visit, we enjoyed this chap, but during this trip no sign of any of them around.
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It was really entertaining as we initially tried to figure out what it was doing, then we realise. :lol:

Lots of Bontebok on its way...and will Stanley be 'busted'.... :hmz:

Thank you for comments :thumbs_up:
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Kaapsedraai
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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:14 pm

Where is Stanley?

It seemed there were a few ideas on who Stanley is such as it be an Ice hockey trophy in America or referring to the well known account of Henry Stanley meeting Dr Livingstone and even Flat Stanley. :D

Well, none of the above as we are visiting Bontebok NP and Stanley is a special feature of this park. Now who or what is Stanley?
We enquired at Reception if Stanley is around and they mentioned we might be lucky meeting him at Mooidam area. This is where we are now.. 8)

Scanning the area, we only saw more Bontebok and some Zebras around, which we did not mind of course.
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Then we saw something white looking like a plastic bag far away in the veld. Then it started moving... :roll:
What could it be? Interesting!
It was moving away from us, but we managed to get a :cam: so we zoomed in on the camera screen.
Well, well well...could we have found the one and only - Stanley? :dance: :dance: :dance:
Indeed, it is Stanley! - Stanley's bustard (or Denham's bustard) (Afr. Veldpou).
Stunning colours as he was parading and trying to impress some females, which we could not see.
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Fortunately, at one stage he moved towards us right and past a resting Bontebok.
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Although we did not get a nice close-up, which would have been a most memorable moment, it was still a highlight of our visit - mission accomplished.
For any one interested to sight this rare and colourful bird, this is where we spotted it.
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Extract from Wikipedia - Distribution and habitat
There are three subspecies of this bustard, all separated in their distribution.
1. denhami occurs in southwestern Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia then eastwards to Uganda and Ethiopia.
2. jacksoni is found in Kenya and Tanzania and south to Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, with populations also in Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
3. stanleyi occurs in South Africa and Swaziland.
The Denham's bustard occupies grassland habitats. Mainly they are distributed in savanna and may be found at any elevation up to 3,000 m (9,800 ft). They can be found in a considerable range of secondary habitats including dense shrubland, light woodland, farmland, dried marsh and arid plains.
The common names for this species refer to the English explorer, Major Dixon Denham, and the English naturalist Edward Smith-Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby.

Now you might understand why I have this urge to go back to Bontebok, would be a wonderful moment to get a nice close-up :cam:

Where is Stanley? He is visiting the grasslands of the Bontebok NP near Mooidam - :dance: :thumbs_up: :D
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by isinkwe » Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:49 pm

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WOW , Kaapsedraai
what a super sighting , its a good thing for all of us that you are such a great photographer :D
I really do enjoy reading and learning about the different Sanparks , Thanks for increasing the bucket list once again :D :thumbs_up:
Isn't it just amazing how potatoes give us fries and vodka? :D The rest of the vegetables should get their act together :rtm:

So when is old enough to know better supposed to kick in ? :hmz:

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:28 pm

It will not be a good trip report if I do not dedicate an episode to the beautiful Bontebok, after all it is their home. :D
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One just coming over the hill with sun light creating silhouette effect.
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Lots of babies around who also seem to be obedient to their parents by staying close to them.
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Lots of flowers also around which brings a bit of colour to the park.
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I just love the beautiful colours of a Bontebok.
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Well, it is not only Bontebok one enjoys, but a few other interesting ones as well...tbc :thumbs_up:
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:57 am

Besides the Bontebok, we also enjoyed some other antelope species, such as this family of Grey Rhebok...
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...and some Zebras in the distance.
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Although the park also has some Red Hartebeest, we did not spot any during our short visit. Beautiful scenery with Bontebok and Zebras around.
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It was wonderful to enjoy a variety of flowers around...Lebeckia sepiaria or Wildeviolette.
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A variety of Ericas also flowering.
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Old tree next to the 'Old Reception' building.
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...and SO wanted to get a :cam: of this Sourfig
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Arriving back at the camp to reflect on our wonderful and exiting day....fire lit for a braai while the sun slowly setting behind the aloes.
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While the fire was burning, it was time to enjoy the beauty of a sunset...tbc :thumbs_up:
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Kaapsedraai
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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:09 pm

Some more sunset scenes with Aloes in foreground.
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Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Kaapsedraai
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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:10 pm

Another scene from the accommodation with view of the Breede River.
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Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Kaapsedraai
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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:15 pm

The sun was setting fast and disappeared sort of, but presented us with some more stunning scenes in addition to the previous pics while sun was still visible. behind the aloes.

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And so another day in Bontebok came to an end. A very rewarding day, I must add with the Stanley's bustard been sighted.

The next day was or departure day, but we still enjoyed some interesting moments in the park...tbc :thumbs_up:
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger

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Re: Bontebok NP 2015: Where is Stanley?

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:40 pm

It is our last day in Bontebok park and the plan was to spend as much time possible in the park.

First thing in the morning, I was 'hunting' birds to :cam: in the rest camp area. It was a very misty morning as these doves will indicate.
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Bar-Throated Apalis caught my eye - a first for me :dance:
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A pair of Greater-striped swallows resting while scanning the surroundings.
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Quite a few of these friendly and inquisitive Cape Robin Chats around. :D
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While walking through the rest camp area, I met a visitor from Witbank who was on their way to a wedding, but travelled down to the Cape visiting a few parks amongst Mountain Zebra NP and others. He, however, was a bit unhappy with Bontebok park in the sense that there is not a lot of information about what to enjoy in the park, birding and animal wise. It would have enriched his experience so much more as he had experienced in other parks. To be honest, after listening to him and evaluating my own experience, he had a valid point as the quality of information available at Reception is not up the same level as the other parks. This park just has so much to offer, hence would be a great if visitors could be exposed to those via a brochure - some constructive feedback I will pass on to Bontebok Park Management. :D

After having a very interesting conversation, I decided to do the Aloe forest trail which would recommend.
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You be the judge which one looks better. :D
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Along the trail, one reaches a historical site called Lang Elsie, a remarkable female and one of the Hessequa chiefs followers between 1734 and 1800.
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The trail takes one to an elevated area with view over the surroundings with rest camp also visible.
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It needs to be noted that one enjoy a lot of birding around and really a lovely trail to walk. As one returns to the rest camp, some more lovely scenes with Breede River , lush green grass sections and accommodation giving one a feel of the location and what to enjoy.
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We enjoyed our last cup of coffee as we packed our car and taking another game drive (which has been shared already). Returning from the game drive, with no sign of Stanley around, we took a slow drive along the Breede River towards the gate, visiting all the river view points...tbc :thumbs_up:
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP
Finalised: Jun'16 MZNP, ADDO NP; Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger


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