Baviannskloof

The last stop of our journey took us into the Baviannskloof for 3 nights.  This was some way east of Prince Albert and the journey ended with a 2 hour dirt road journey (80 kms).

The valley is sandwiched between the Baviannskloof and the Kougaberg mountains. This is a wilderness area and a world heritage site.  We were told that the area is of the Cape Folded belt, a region which runs parallel to the coast, between Plettenberg Bay and Port Elizabeth.  This was evidenced in the extraordinary rock formations of sand stone and lime stone – the soft stone being easily eroded over the years ….

Layers of sandstone and lime stone
Layers of sandstone and lime stone – the image shown is about 6 feet of rock  tall

The area has many rock paintings – although many have been damaged and removed … 

The area also evidences 7 of the 8 biodomes found in South Africa and is an area where the fynbos is being studied.  It was fairly easy to see the delineation between then – Acacia belt, Euphorbias and Aloes competing with the other vegetation.

Euphorbia stand

 

View from above Sederkloof
View from above Sederkloof

We were lucky to stay at Sederkloof, an old farm, which has been sensitively developed into an eco-tourism lodge – you can hardly see the lodges until you reach them high above the dirt valley road – (a 10 minute drive in 4×4).  It was very luxurious and we ate like kings!  The room views were good too.

Sederkloof Lodge

Whilst there, we did a few walks and went to look at the water system at Sewefontein.  Despite its semi desert status, there is plenty of water from underground springs which is closely managed.  Where the springs come to the surface, there is a wild fig forest;  water supply is shared between the farmers on a “4 day on and 4 day off” basis all fed by an underground aquifer, which is refreshed by winter rains.

The grounds sported some game – Gemsbok, Kudu – reintroduced.  There was mention of leopard in the area, although no-one seems to have seen them!  They had Black Eagles and baboons as well.

The weather was a bit mixed with our last day being very cloudy ending in rain, but this cleared up as we left – so we got a sunset and sun rise during our stay.

Sunset at Sederkloof, Baviannskloof
Sunset at Sederkloof, Baviannskloof
Sunrise on last moring at Baviannskloof
Sunrise on last morning at Sederkloof, Baviannskloof

Sadly, this brought to an end a very happy holiday.  There is so much to see and do, I would strongly recommend this country as a holiday destination …

De Hoop nature reserve – Jan16

After our week in the Cape, we have moved on to De Hoop nature reserve which is on the Indian Ocean coast east of Hermanus.  It seemed very remote and required a drive of 50 miles or so on gravel roads to reach.

View of De Hoop park with its sand dune boundary
View of De Hoop park with its sand dune boundary

The area is a flattish basin along a river / vlei behind very high sand dunes.  The vegetation is based on the unique fynbos which provides habitats for flowers (and animals) not seen elsewhere.

In addition to its marine birdlife -similar to that seen at Kommetjie – there was a range of inland birds and some bigger game such a bontebok, eland, baboons, ostrich etc.

Eland on the sand dune
Eland on the sand dune
Bontebok
Bontebok

We arrived just as the weather was breaking so had rain until mid morning the next day, but this did cool things down considerably.

Baboons drinking
Baboons drinking

The weather curtailed some of our activities as the nature walk was cancelled!  Even so, we did our own walk early the following morning along the estuary  when the light was soft.

Old farm house on estuary in morning light
Old farm house on estuary in morning light
image
Common Stilts

We saw several kinds of duck and heron as well as African Spoonbill, Flamingo and pelican.

Pictures of birds will need careful sorting

before publishing … The iPad is too small.

We stayed two nights and could perhaps have done with another day.  From De Hoop we have moved to Montagu in the mountains near the Robertson wine valley ….

 

South Africa – Dec15 to Jan16

Kommetjie

Kommetjie is a seaside village on the Atlantic south of Hout Bay on the Cape Peninsula in South Africa. The scene is really beautiful, framed to north by the hills around Hout Bay and the Noordhoek hills.

Phil in Kommetjie beach with Hout Bay behind
Phil in Kommetjie beach with Hout Bay behind

The beaches are of white sand with abundant wildlife in the rock pools and the kelp which is plentiful.  South and west of our house on the edge of the beach is Kommetjie village affording great sunsets.

The birds seen include Small egret, sacred ibis, Hadada, swift terns, kelp gulls, Black African oystercatchers (with young), Hautlaub gulls, cormorants and great cormorants.  One day we had a Cape fur seal below the house and around the house we had a tortoise and friendly mouse!

Little Egret
Little Egret
Black Cape Ouatercatchers
Black Cape Ouatercatchers

We have spent a lot of time, between resting, walking up the beach to view the birds, and views of Noordhoek beach, known as Long Beach.  The water, being from the Atlantic, was very cold but we managed to swim (a little although a ducking to cool down would be closer to the mark).

Sunset lighting up over Hout Bay
Sunset lighting up over Hout Bay
Sunset over Kommetjie
Sunset over Kommetjie

We have shared this idyll with Charles and Diana Gibson for first few days and Andrew Baker and a great time was had by all!

Our house party!
Our house party!

Cape Town Continue reading “South Africa – Dec15 to Jan16”