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aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

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gatita
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aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by gatita » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:27 pm

it was time for something new:

we were going to visit neither KNP nor KTP
we were not going to be focused on animal sightings only
we were going to visit the garden route
we were going in winter

The idea for this trip came up when I was reading some wonderful trip reports with pictures of aloes attracting sunbirds - birds I would love to see more of.
We had to go between mid-May and the beginning of June to avoid the South African and German school holidays and to fit in two German public holidays

we were wondering, whether this would be too early to see the aloes in full bloom :hmz:
we were wondering, whether it would be very cold :hmz:
we were wondering, whether the countryside around the Cape would look rather burned than green after the fires at the beginning of the year :hmz:
we were wondering, whether we still would enjoy the trip although the chances of seeing cats would be rather slim. :hmz:

Nevertheless, we started checking what you can do in late autumn/winter between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and we booked our flights.

As we could not really decide, what to do and where to stay, we thought about just booking accommodation for the first nights in the Cape Town area and stay as long as we like it where we like it thereafter. But in the end, we have changed our minds as we were offered some great last minute/winter special rates and booked:

4 N Simon’s Town
2 N Swellendam
3 N Wilderness
3 N Plettenberg Bay(Keurboomstrand)
1 N Port Elizabeth (Summerstrand)
2 N Addo NP
3 N Mountain Zebra NP
1 N Graaff-Reinet
1 N Karoo NP
2 N Agulhas NP

At least this gave us an opportunity to see all the places we wanted to visit. Well, nearly all, as we found out shortly before our departure that the road over the Swartberg Pass has been washed away in April and that it might take two years before it will be repaired.

To sum it up:
we had 1 wonderful trip
staying 23 days
driving 3864 kilometres
along 2 oceans
through 3 biomes
over 18 mountain passes
on 7 scenic roads (that I am aware of – probably there were many more)
including visits of 10 SANParks, 3 Cape Nature Reserves, 2 municipal parks and 1 Botanical Garden
with 150 different bird species seen in total, including 36 lifer, 2 species seen for the first time in South Africa and 12 out of 20 from the wish list
And we even saw some cats :D

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Goronta
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by Goronta » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:48 pm

Ready for the journey gatita
A nice itinerary :thumbs_up:

:popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:
Carpe diem

KTP JULY-AUGUST 2017
jul 27th/ 28th : K.K
29th : Nossob
30th to aug 1st : Gharagab
aug 2nd to 5th : Grootkolk
aug 6th to 7th : KTC then Namibia and Namaqua : 16th

KRUGER OCT 22th- NOV 1st :D

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Pumbaa
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by Pumbaa » Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:20 pm

Hurry up, gatita,

would love to hear about and see your 36 lifers :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Mischief
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by Mischief » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:18 pm

Gatita...what an interesting start to your Travel Tale. Waiting for more to follow :popcorn:
"Nature is not a place to visit. It is home."- G.Snyder
Mischief :P

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umtali1
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by umtali1 » Sun Jul 09, 2017 4:09 pm

Waiting patiently, Gatita :whistle: :wink: .
What a wonderful time to visit. SA is that country where visits at any time of year are rewarding. Looking forward to an account from places different to the traditional venues :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:
umtali1

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?&t=93948

2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border" - Ebb and Flow, Karoo NP, Mokala, Augrabies & KTP

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Karin Mitton
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Sun Jul 09, 2017 5:39 pm

That sounds like an incredible journey.

I'm on-board!

:popcorn: :popcorn:

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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:40 am

Oh wow, we are in for a treat. :D

I am looking forward to a different view and perspective of what our great country has to offer.

: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: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by hilda » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:17 pm

Can't wait to read all about this awesome trip Gatita! Very interesting itinerary! :popcorn: :popcorn:
"It always seems impossible until it is done." - Nelson Mandela.

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gatita
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by gatita » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:51 am

welcome on board Goronta, Pumbaa, Mischief, umtali, Karin, MM and Hilda :gflower:

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gatita
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by gatita » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:58 am

19.05.2017

After an uneventful flight via London we arrived in Cape Town around 10 am, bought some airtime for the phone and picked up our rental car. This time we had booked an SUV and were given a Ford Kuga automatic, an upgrade as we were told. Little did we know at that time about the problems this type of car had caused in South Africa. But, actually it turned out to be a nice car for our purposes and we were very happy with it.

IMG_1473a.jpg


As everything went smooth, we arrived at the guest house around 1pm already. The apartment was great and we had a fantastic view over False Bay

DSCN0842a.jpg

DSCN0835a.jpg


But a price has to be paid for having such a view

DSCN0855a.jpg

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gatita
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by gatita » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:02 am

After unloading the car and shopping in Glencairn, we spent the rest of the afternoon watching the birds at the feeder from our balcony. I was thrilled as the first sunbirds showed up

male Southern double-collared

IMG_2093a.jpg


male malachite – the first lifer

IMG_2191a.jpg


and the female (please correct me if this is wrong. I always tend to mix up the female sunbirds)

IMG_2174a.jpg


male orange-breasted

IMG_2239a.jpg

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gatita
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by gatita » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:06 am

Other birds were around as well

female Cape sugarbird

IMG_2100a.jpg


and the male

IMG_2299a.jpg


Cape white-eye

IMG_2122a.jpg


female Cape weaver

IMG_2318a.jpg


Cape bulbul

IMG_2332a.jpg

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gatita
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by gatita » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:09 am

peacefully sharing the feeder

IMG_2271a.jpg


IMG_2340a.jpg


IMG_2350a.jpg

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gatita
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by gatita » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:11 am

We could even see cormorants

IMG_2264a.jpg


and a white-necked raven

IMG_2293a.jpg

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gatita
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Re: aloes and sunbirds - SA in winter

Unread post by gatita » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:13 am

But the highlight was the porcupine which showed up in the evenings

IMG_2368a.jpg


IMG_2363a.jpg


What a lovely first day we had

TBC


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