The Epic, Part 2 – St Francis Bay to Underberg

We left St Francis Bay a day earlier than planned in order to fit in a night at Stutterheim, a small village next to a good indigenous forest – home to the White-starred Robin, a target bird.  A delightful establishment called ‘The Shire’ had a cottage available and we spent a very comfortable night in what could only be described as absolutely enchanting surroundings.  We were on the edge of the forest, with an outside shower for warm weather.  Although small, our cottage was very well equipped and afforded us the opportunity to really spend time in the forest.

From there we went to Gonubie, with the intention of visiting two Nature Reserves, only to find that both were closed over the weekend!  We were very disappointed and could do little birding except along the river, however, it was the weekend of the Rugby World Cup Final, so we enjoyed seeing the Springboks win a wonderful tournament; in the face of great odds against them!  We did see Trumpeter Hornbills , Crowned Eagles and Osprey over the river, which was good.  Little good could be said of our accommodation, however, so Gonubie was not a great success!

Our journey to Underberg at the foot of the Sani Pass into Lesotho took us through the depressing Transkei.  Driving through the capital, Umtatha, was a nightmare, as the town is so incredibly filthy!  We were glad to reach our destination, Stoney Way Cottage, on the outskirts of Underberg.  We drove up the Sani Pass, which is being rebuilt, to the consternation of some who enjoy the challenge of the existing very rough road.  We nearly made it to the top, but I felt sorry for my car and got tired of the slow stony progress, so we never made it into Lesotho, but we did see some of the specials.


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