Madikwe Game Reserve

We couldn’t believe our luck when Roger and Vicky asked us to join them for a week at Tree Frog Lodge in Madikwe.  We have been there with them once before seven years ago and we keenly looked forward to this visit.  We were not disappointed.  The weather played ball and it was hot and rainless.  The lodge has aged a bit – perhaps matured is a better word – with bigger trees and a pleasant patina.  Our in-house guide was Matt Jones and he and his wife, Adriana looked after us in very fine style, ensuring that we were well fed and that we saw a varied and interesting cross-section of nature. 

Roger and Vicky were, as always, perfect hosts and made sure that we never lacked for anything.  Also there were Daniel, their little son, and Mich with a very pregnant Kerry.  Later Vicky’s sister and brother-in-law, Irma and Marius joined us. 

Although we went on two long game drives each day, one could have stayed in camp and still seen most animals.  We had the usual elephants at the waterhole – one even wanted to come into the pool, but Mich managed to dissuade him.   Three white rhinos visited every evening and there were the ubiquitous impala, warthogs and wildebeest, occasional baboons, giraffes, wild dogs on the chase, lions on the hunt and even a leopard one night.  We could not have wished for more!

On the drives we were treated to some close encounters with elephants and lions.  We also saw a good cross-section of Bushveld birds.  I counted around 120 whilst there, but the high point was to see the sky darkened by thousands of Red-billed Queleas doing their amazing swirling dances over the Madikwe plains.

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Kammabaai Land Art

Renee and I went for our usual 8km walk this morning and were delighted to see that some creative soul had decorated the beach at Kammabaai with art reminiscent of crop circles.  I intended to go back immediately with my camera, but forgot and it was only after breakfast that I remembered and popped down to the beach to record the event.  Fortunately the light was still okay and I managed not only to take my pictures, but I was lucky enough to run into some fellow walkers who were on the beach celebrating Valentine’s Day with a glass of bubbly.  They kindly invited me to have a glass. The pictures tell the story.   I sent one to the Hermanus Times and will be interested to see if they publish it

Fernkloof West Walk

On Wednesday, John and Carol decided to can the walk in the Kogelberg to Harold Porter because of the recent fire and opted instead to take us along the Contour path to Elephant Walk, up to the Jeep track and then back via Boekenhout Kloof.  It was a very pleasant outing with overcast conditions initially, so we didn’t get too hot.  No less than 19 members turned up and, judging from the comments, everybody enjoyed the hike and the scenery.  We walked exactly 10 kilometres and not only saw some wonderful flowers, but were entertained by a troop of around 45 baboons, who were showing off along the Jeep track.  Its always a pleasure to see wild life on the mountain and not in our gardens – would that it could remain so.

Unfortunately I was once again out of my depth with the flower names, so would appreciate any help.  Just leave your comments.

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Pearly Beach Walk

Renee and I went to Botterkloof with the bird club on 26 January, so missed the beach walk led by Mike.  Apparently it was a beautiful day with the sea really looking wonderful.  Carl spotted a strange seal on the beach which was subsequently identified as a crabeater seal, a rare vagrant from Antarctica.  John took a few photos of it and asked me to post one here, as it is of considerable interest.  These seals are not endangered although they lead a precarious life as juveniles, at which stage they suffer significant predation by leopard seals.  Also interesting is the fact that, despite their name, they do not feed on crabs, but rather on Antarctic krill.

Dot’s Dash Again

We enjoyed the walk so much last week that we decided to go again and this time we invited Richard and Des Molyneux, who are out here from Canada for a couple of weeks.  We think they enjoyed it too!   It was a mainly overcast day, but the sun came out towards the end of the hike and the veld was once again splendid.  If only we were a bit more knowledgable about the plants we see, I could give them their proper names.  In the meantime, I hope that anybody reading this will be able to assist.

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