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Jesscan's September Sojourn - Mokala to Mountain Zebra via 8 parks

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Jesscan1
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Jesscan's September Sojourn - Mokala to Mountain Zebra via 8 parks

Unread post by Jesscan1 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:06 pm

Jesscan’s September Sojourn

Episode 1. The Idea

For the past 28 years, bar visits to KTP, Mapungubwe, Addo and the West Coast National Park, Kruger has been our holiday destination at least twice a year - mainly due to our Gauteng locality.

Having grown up in Cape Town, the West Coast and the Western Cape has always been an attraction and as avid birders always seeking new species, the Western Cape harbours a huge diversity of birds and this really appealed to us.

The question of course was ‘When to go?’

Early spring?

Yes. Spring is really a good time as it is flower season in the Cape and we may be lucky with some of the migrant birds that arrive for the summer months.

What is the best time of the year for flowers both in the Namaqua area and further south toward the Western Cape?

It certainly is a long way to travel from Gauteng to the Cape just to see the flowers.

All these multiple questions and thoughts did, was, sow the seeds of a plan for a holiday with a difference.

Why not visit some other parks in the region?

We consulted the list of SAN parks reserves from A-Z.

Which parks have we not visited?

Which parks would we like to visit?

All of them if possible. :D

The plan for a Super Road Trip that would allow us to see what was on offer nature wise in the western part of the country and visit some ‘new’ parks was thus born.

Image

A round trip from Gauteng to the Northern Cape, Namaqualand, the West Coast, the Western Cape and then home via the Eastern Cape would give us a good taste of what 8 of the 9 biomes of South Africa has to offer. (Some sources quote eight biomes in South Africa and some nine!).

We would take in the following 8 biomes: Grassland, Nama Karoo, Savanna, Succulent Karoo, Fynbos, Indian Ocean Coastal Belt, Forest and Albany Thicket.

Mokala and Augrabies have always been on our wish list, so the logical starting point would be Mokala National Park, some 70 odd kilometers to the south of Kimberley.

Augrabies Falls National Park would be the next stop and then onto Namaqua National Park.

The West Coast National Park was next on route and as the intention was to spend more time enjoying nature and less time in the vehicle, travel times and distances between parks would be a factor.

Tankwa Karoo National Park, a biodiversity hot spot, with 780 plant species, 124 bird species, breath taking landscapes, wide open spaces, inky black nights to reveal myriads of stars, would be the next logical destination as this ‘inland’ park is more or less en-route to the West Coast National Park, which would be our next port of call and the notion of no electricity, no TV, no cell phone reception and no crowds appealed to Andy.

The travel distance of 500km and a travel time of a shade under 7 hours from Namaqua National Park via the N7 and R27 to Tankwa would leave precious little time for photo opportunities and to enjoy the scenery. The next leg of the trip to West Coast National Park via Wolseley would be in the order of 320km.

The coastal route from Namaqua National Park via Lamberts Bay, Elands Bay, and Cape Columbine, was the other option.

The image of wheeling gulls and terns soaring along endless stretches of pristine beaches, dolphins playing in the waves at the harbour entrance, early morning/late afternoon photo opportunities of the breeding colony of Cape Gannets on Bird Island, and the thought of fresh seafood swayed the difficult decision to take the coastal route and overnight at Lamberts Bay.

Besides, the total distance from Namaqua to The West Coast National Park via Lambert’s Bay is 495km, with the 150km from Lamberts Bay to West Coast NP along the coast, giving us time to visit Rocherpan, a birding hotspot, with the possibility of spotting and photographing some local bird species.

The extra attraction of The West Coast Nat Park in early spring, besides the park’s own flower display, is that the Postberg Reserve Flower Section, home to the greater concentration of the park’s mammals and spectacular floral display, is only open to the public during August and September of each year.

While researching the Reserve at Cape Columbine, the Columbine Lighthouse became a must "visit and photograph" attraction and hence the idea of visiting and photographing other Cape lighthouses along our route became a ‘must do’ and would be included in our planning.

Our journey from the West Coast National Park would take us over the Hottentot’s Holland Mountains to the southernmost point of Africa to the Cape Agulhas National Park. No coincidence that the 3rd oldest lighthouse in South Africa, the Agulhas Lighthouse, is adjacent to the Park.

From Agulhas the Bontebok National Park would be our next stop and as the travel distance is less than 150km between Agulhas and Bontebok, we would go via the De Hoop Nature Reserve.

The De Hoop Nature Reserve, as well as Bird Island at Lambert’s Bay, and Rocherpan Nature Reserve fall under the umbrella of Cape Nature and, as Wild Card holders with an All Parks Cluster Membership, as Day Visitors, entrance to these partner Parks is free.

The Bontebok National Park (the smallest of our National Parks, in addition to being home to a relict population of the endemic Bontebok, is a protected area for coastal Renosterveld, containing several species that are found nowhere else in the world.

From Bontebok we planned to go via Wilderness and then on to Addo.

Addo, SA’s third largest park, has a diversity of wildlife, including Black Rhino, which besides all the other Addo specials are on our “to be photographed” list.

After Addo we would have a few days at our holiday home in Port Alfred and continue our sojourn to our Edenvale home via The Mountain Zebra National Park.

The Mountain Zebra National Park is "a gem", lying in the arms of the Bankberg Mountains with its unusual wildlife and includes four biomes.

8 National Parks in 3 weeks?

Great idea. We need to make reservations!

To be continued ...

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Kaapsedraai
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Kaapsedraai » Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:01 pm

Jesscan1, that is one SUPER DOOPER trip and wish I could hop on literally, but will keep an eye from this side of the computer screen. :lol:

Just been to West Coast, Agulhas and Bontebok (refer TR's) hope you enjoy a number of lifers. Hope the weather conditions in the Cape will play along nicely, esp when visiting West Coast NP (need to book very early as it is a rush for Aug & Sep).

Every thing of the best with planning and have fun. :thumbs_up:

PM me if you need any info or assistance. :thumbs_up:
Current: Table Mountain's mood today; Jul'16 ADDO NP
Finalised: Dec'15 Mokala ; Kruger; Golden Gate; Karoo; Sep'15 Bontebok; Jul'15 Agulhas; Aug'15 West Coast; Dec'14 Kruger; Jun'16 MZNP
Future: Jul'16 Storms river & Wildernis NP

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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by manicwalker » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:30 am

Jesscan1,
That looks like a very enjoyable plan for a trip
Hope you can plan and book soon .. :clap:
Perhaps I am too early to board the bus now?? :whistle:

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Meandering Mouse
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:58 am

WOW :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:

and also WOW :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

that is a dream trip. 8)

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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hilda
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by hilda » Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:18 am

I have to agree with Meandering Mouse Jesscan1, a dream trip! Wow! This is going to be a wonderful experience! Can't wait! :dance: :dance:
"We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right." - Nelson Mandela

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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by leervis » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:54 am

This will be a TR of major proportion....EPIC I would say. Glad to be on board even though we are far away in Oz. So looking forward to some more of your amazing images.
1 - 7 September Balule Camping

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phhun
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by phhun » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:10 am

Hi Jesscan, may I board the bus, please. Parks new to me and memories from others, can't wait. :D
Many thanks
:clap: :clap: :clap:
Phhun
2016 May-June
Shimuwini
Mopani
Letaba
Satara
Croc Bridge
Pretoriuskop
Napi Trail

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Sparrow
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Sparrow » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:15 am

One trip I`m not going to miss.
Russel G

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished Lao Tzu


19/12/16 to 24/12/16 Satara
25/12/16 to 27/12/16 Skukuza
28/12/16 to 31/12/16 Croc Bridge

Jesscan1
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Jesscan1 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:15 pm

by Kaapsedraai » Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:01 pm
Jesscan1, that is one SUPER DOOPER trip and wish I could hop on literally, but will keep an eye from this side of the computer screen.

Just been to West Coast, Agulhas and Bontebok (refer TR's) hope you enjoy a number of lifers. Hope the weather conditions in the Cape will play along nicely, esp when visiting West Coast NP (need to book very early as it is a rush for Aug & Sep).

Every thing of the best with planning and have fun.

PM me if you need any info or assistance.


Hello Kaapsedraai. Yes. It was most definitely a SUPER DOOPER trip. Probably the best holiday that I have ever had and I have had a few!
We have JUST got back.

As our first virtual passenger we hope that we can let you experience the trip through the ‘eyes’ of our cameras and the words from Jesscan’s Journal.
I have read all your wonderful TRs on the West Coast Nat Park, Agulhas and Bontebok (and De Hoop).

Andy is rather jealous when reading about ‘Stanley’ as he was on our ‘treasure’ list. (Great pics btw).

The weather was very kind to us, however we were a little late for the flowers. :(

I do thank you for your offer on info regarding the parks and I did get a heads up on WCNP and Agulhas from reading your TTs. Thanks

Jesscan1
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Jesscan1 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:16 pm

by manicwalker » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:30 am
Jesscan1,
That looks like a very enjoyable plan for a trip
Hope you can plan and book soon ..
Perhaps I am too early to board the bus now??


The plan was good, the trip was even better and manicwalker you are right on time for boarding.

There is one more episode about the planning and reservations and the trip itself commences right thereafter.

Jesscan1
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Jesscan1 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:18 pm

by Meandering Mouse » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:58 am
WOW

and also WOW

that is a dream trip


MM this really was a dream trip.

You summed it up in one word … WOW.

As mentioned to Kaapsedraai the TR itself starts in a day or so.

I hope that you will enjoy the TR as much as we enjoyed this awesome trip.

Jesscan1
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Jesscan1 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:19 pm

by hilda » Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:18 am
I have to agree with Meandering Mouse Jesscan1, a dream trip! Wow! This is going to be a wonderful experience! Can't wait!


Thank you hilda. It really was an incredible experience.

Not long to wait for the TR as it starts in a day or so.

Jesscan1
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Jesscan1 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:20 pm

by leervis » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:54 am
This will be a TR of major proportion....EPIC I would say. Glad to be on board even though we are far away in Oz. So looking forward to some more of your amazing images.


G’day leervis.

Yes, the TR is going to be a mammoth task. Besides proofing the photos from four cameras taken over a period of 19 days, the text still has to be scripted.

I do however look forward to sharing both the story and the images with you all.

Enjoy Oz.

Jesscan1
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Jesscan1 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:20 pm

by phhun » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:10 am
Hi Jesscan, may I board the bus, please. Parks new to me and memories from others, can't wait.
Many thanks


Certainly phhun. Please hop aboard. The bus to our first new park leaves tomorrow - Friday.

Jesscan1
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Re: Jesscan's September Sojourn

Unread post by Jesscan1 » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:21 pm

by Sparrow » Thu Oct 08, 2015 9:15 am
One trip I`m not going to miss.


Hello Sparrow. Great to have you on board. Enjoy the sights with us.


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