An evening at Madame Zingara

What a blast!!  When Ian and Christine asked us to join them at Madame Zingara, Renee and I immediately took up the offer and it was a wonderfull evening with food and entertainment of the highest order.  The service was good, the audience really got into the spirit and the acts were outstanding!  We can really recommend this spot to anyone looking for an evening of real fun!

Dot’s Dash – April 2013

April is the month when the Erica pilansii normally bloom and a walk to Dot’s Dash at this time is a spectacle of note.  Regrettably, the fire of two years ago put paid to that and there are still none of these beautiful plants in evidence.  We did, however, enjoy our walk in wonderfully calm and warm weather and the ten participants will have returned home feeling better for having exerted their bodies climbing up and down the Kogelberg.

The images speak for themselves.

Margaret De Villiers – Champion of the World

When Margaret left for London to represent Africa in the Royal Horticultural Botanical Art Exhibition, we knew she would do well, but we were all overwhelmed when she returned home with the award for the Best of the Show!  What an accolade and what a woman!  We are all proud to know this wonderful lady and to see her art on a regular basis.   Thus it was no surprise when around a hundred of her friends and family came out to welcome her this evening at a special party arranged in her honour by Charlotte and friends.

Keith paid tribute to Mags in his opening address and gave us an insight into the world in which she is competing.  Then the Mayor, Nicolette Botha Guthrie, lauded Mags and the honour that she brings to our community, after which Mags told us about her trip to London and the wonderful experience and excitement of her achievement.

The evening was rounded off with snacks and drinks and the cutting of a magnificent cake made by Christine.  It was an event which will live long in the memories of all her friends.  We are truly proud of you and know that you will go from strength to strength!

Birding in the West Coast National Park

The Hermanus Bird Club outing to the WCNP was attended by 32 members.  We stayed in the Duinepos camp where the cottages are simple but well equipped and where everything worked!  Over a period of three days the group managed to record around 130 species.

For me, the main objective was to try to increase my 2013, first half, Berg to Breede river challenge list and I was thrilled to be able to add another 26 species, bringing my year total to 228.  This included seeing a Red-Backed Shrike way outside its normal area, as well as recording my first ever African Rail, which was spotted at the Abrahamskraal Hide, when Renee and I visited early one morning.

The Seeberg Hide also came up trumps with some good sightings of waders and we were able to record a number of Karoo species in the area around Veldrif and Hopefield.

We spent Wednesday night at Hebron, a delightful guest house at the top of Peiekenierskloof Pass near Citrusdal.  Steve, our host, cooked up a wonderful dinner and we would recommend this stop-over to anybody wanting to enjoy real hospitality.  Our return on Thursday took us through the Robertson Valley, where we again managed to record more birds for the challenge.

Walking at Genadendal

Eight walkers set out in overcast conditions this morning to tackle the western section of the Genadendal Trail.  The weather soon cleared and we had very good walking conditions, although the temperature remained pretty low throughout, reminding us that winter is on its way.  The route was 9 km and we covered it in four hours.  We climbed some 600m from the Mission Station to Wonderklippe, where we had our snacks before returning via the same route.

Unfortunately, the Erica hirtifolia was only just starting to bloom, so we were denied the spectacular colour that characterises the lower slopes in Spring.  We did, however, see other flowers, including many Proteas, but the veld was not at its best.  At one point a Verreaux’s Eagle passed low overhead and later, at Wonderklippe, we saw a pair soaring above us.

Mauritius Family Holiday

The whole family set out for Mauritius on Thursday 28 March in great anticipation of a wonderful holiday.  We were not disappointed.

Unfortunately, our route took us via Johannesburg, which added many hours of waiting to the day’s activities.  It was there, however, that the Cape Town and Hermanus contingents met up with those who had flown in from Knysna.  We numbered 14 and from then on we made our presence felt, mainly by the sheer enthusiasm shown by everybody.  The flight to the island was delayed, but we eventually set off and landed at Plaisance just after 10pm.  The grandchildren may have been tired, but there was no evidence it as they kept up their excited chatter in the hour long bus ride to our destination, the Intercontinental Resort Hotel near Balaclava.

Once there we soon fell into the not too strenuous island lifestyle of late mornings, great breakfasts, much snorkeling and swimming, plenty of beer and cocktails, beach lunches, afternoon dozes, evening drinks, good dinners and late nights, enhanced by various activities in which the children generally excelled.  The time flew by and our departure, after a week of pure pleasure, came all too soon.

For Renee and me the best part of the whole thing was to be included in such a magic family who were enjoying every moment as if it was their last.  How the youngsters kept up I don’t know, but they never stopped for a breath!  Hearing their cries of joy when looking into the wonderful world of pristine coral reef and being surrounded by a myriad of beautiful fish, was amazing.  Being able to take them on such a holiday was one of the best things I have ever done, and we are already wondering how we can do it again and where to go to next time!