On the Rocks

A pleasant Sunday morning walk along the Cliff Path at Hermanus included a visit to the blowhole and a chance to recapture a group photo on the Mossel River bridge – not quite the same as the one taken nine years previously.

Walking at Bouchard Finlayson Estate

Nine Hurriers walked from The Plaaskombuis restaurant onto and over the Bouchard Finlayson trail yesterday.  It as a first for all of us, so well done to Ross who arranged it!  We traversed vineyards and some good fynbos before returning to The Plaaskombuis for coffee and cakes.  The distance covered was 6.9 km.

Calvinia’s Street of Art

A short walk around chilly Calvinia in the Karoo on Sunday afternoon revealed a hidden treasure of junk and artefacts of a bygone era.  All of the items are out in the open, but nobody takes anything.  A more eclectic collection would be hard to find.  There are around 200 tin mugs decorating a roof gutter, below which range goods from porcelain toilet bowls to old scales, motor cars, petrol pumps, lawn mowers, jerry cans, lamps, kitchen ware, school desks, etc., etc.  … and there are boots and shoes that must have walked around the earth!  A fascinating place, indeed.

Raptors and their Prey

Our trip to the Kalaghadi provided an opportunity to observe Lanner Falcons and other raptors hunting down Namaqua Doves.  This occurred at most waterholes and it was fascinating to see how successful they were.  During on short spell at the Nossob waterhole we saw no less that 5 kills by the falcons.  The photos below show some of the action.

The Kalaghadi TransFrontier National Park

We set out for the Kalaghadi on Tuesday 7 June and spent our first night at Papkuilsfontein in the quaint Rondekraal cottage.  Alri was the perfect hostess, as always, and brought us a delicious meal which we enjoyed in front of the fire.  Next night saw us in Upington where we once again had a pleasant stay before driving through to Twee Rivieren for our first night in the Park.

We stayed a total of 10 nights in 5 different camps, but the ones that stood out were the wilderness camps where there are never more than 4 couples and where the camps are unfenced and each one overlooks a waterhole.  The atmosphere was wonderful and we spent many hours watching animals coming to drink and graze without any concern for the visiting humans.  Drives in the park yielded further good sightings and provided for many pleasurable hours despite the poor corrugated roads.

Unfortunately, being winter, we did not see that many birds and our trip list only numbered 127 species, but there were good sightings nevertheless and we were fascinated to see the Lanner Falcons preying on the Namaqua Doves at virtually every waterhole. They are superb hunters and were joined on one occasion by a couple of Shikras and a Gabar Goshawk, also looking for their dove dinner.

Urikaruus, where we spent three nights was wonderful, with a herd of no less than 44 giraffes coming to drink one evening!  It was, however, extremely cold and when the outside temperature fell to minus 3 degrees in the morning, it was about the same indoors. We had to sleep wearing beanies and socks and with three blankets and a duvet on our beds, but still felt frozen by morning!

We returned yesterday, spending another very cold night in Calvinia on the way.



It was a blustery morning, but luckily the rain held off so as to allow 8 intrepid walkers the opportunity to scale the mountain behind Boskloof. We decided to forgo the steep climb, going up by vehicle instead, thereby allowing us more time to explore on top.  The wind was pretty strong at times and we had to find sheltered spots for stops for refreshments, but it was a good outing and gave us all a chance to get a good dose of fresh air and some wonderful views