Sadly, I am nearing the end of my trip report and writing it has been almost as good as being there as it brings home all those happy memories! It was chilly again in the early morning as we packed to make the long trek to T.R. At Kasper se draai waterhole we once again watched larks, sandgrouse and red-headed finches do their morning ablutions and take on some liquid in preparation for a warm day.
And then my wish came true. Since day 1 of the trip I had my heart set on a Black-chested snake-eagle in a tree and there before me was the ultimate of BCSEs. The light was great and the bird sat still! We must have snapped a hundred each and all were lovely but this is my favourite.
The sightings for the rest of the trip were great and as birders we always enjoy the feathered friends. Here is a greater kestrel that also decided that he’d give us a photo shoot.
We stopped at Auchterlonie at 2 o’clock and got lovely pics of spike-heeled larks.
At the waterhole a pair of ostrich parents were trying to control their unruly chicks.
And just past Monro waterhole the iconic suricates bade us farewell.
We arrived at T.R. at 4 o’clock and checked into the bungalow next to the one we had on our first two nights. It was as yet unoccupied and Heather slipped in to see if our forgotten vegetables were still there – no luck!
His black chest is barely visible.
we decided that we would spoil ourselves and later that evening we went to the restaurant for dinner. It was delightful and although we prefer self-catering this place is worth a try. The food was delicious – We all had venison pie and it was served with vegetables and a choice of chips, rice or potato.
We were packed and ready to go by 7 o’clock and as Twee Rivieren is at the entrance/exit gate we didn’t even have a last few hours to savour the last few moments before departure. But the good news was that we were headed for Augrabies and we were all looking forward to that. Earl and I were there 15 years ago but it was Heather’s first visit. She has had it on her list of things to do since she was 23 years old!
Our trip there was lovely as we spotted a number of interesting birds and stopped for coffee and at one of those picnic tables at the side of the road. It was freezing, however, so after pouring coffee we sat inside the car to drink it.
What I found a bit disturbing was the number of bat-eared fox road-kill we saw. I stopped counting after twelve.
We shopped for supplies in Uppington – remember the forgotten vegetables at T.R. – our plan being to spend one night at AFNP.
On arrival I handed my documents inn and was then greeted with a strange look from the clerk. Ahem – you should have been here yesterday. What! Uh oh – I had booked telephonically and when I got my papers I did not check the dates and Sanparks had booked me into Augrabies and Twee Rivieren on the same night! My fault, I know for taking it all for granted.
As luck would have it they had not marked me as “no show’ so no penalty was charged – and they still had accommodation. After half an hour sense reigned and we decided we would like to stay an extra night so raced back to reception to see if it were possible. We were in luck again but had to ‘down-grade to accommodation with only one bathroom – Did we care? Not at all! The chalet was lovely. The accommodation at AFNP is ‘upmarket’ – well to us plebs it certainly was. The kitchen was well-equipped and had everything that opened and shut. The bedrooms were cosy and the plumbing was excellent. We were right next to the restaurant and we had a great view towards the river. Birdlife was prolific and kept us entertained as we sat on our stoep or walked around the gardens. It was a lovely place to end our holiday.
Heather was impatient to see the falls so after rapidly unpacking we took a walk to see where all the noise was coming from. Because of all the heavy rains the falls were pretty spectacular – but not as wonderful as after the recent storms.
During the two days that we spent we drove into the game area twice. The scenery is magnificent but we were disappointed not to see too much wild life. These are the critters we did find.
Around camp it was different and we had fun wondering around getting photographs and just enjoying the birdlife.
n our last night we decided to eat at the restaurant – we hadn’t bought enough vegetables for our extra night and were not up to having rice or smash! We settled down at an outdoor table and just after we put in our order a couple came to sit at the table next to ours. The man looked vaguely familiar and when I glanced at his wife I realised they matched and that I did indeed know them both.
Hullo,” I said before his name, dropped into my head. He looked at me vaguely and greeted back without recognition.
“You know me,” I said – still the name hadn’t registered.
“Helen!” said the wife.
Robbie grinned broadly – then the names came. “Hullo, Robbie. Hullo Marryl.”
They were old friends we hadn’t seen for about three years so it was a happy reunion. They no longer live in Cape Town having retired to Mossel Bay. Earl had stepped away to make a cell phone call and was thrilled when he came back to find his old friends at our table. We had a superb evening catching up. They were on their way to Kgalagadi.
After a delicious dinner we decided to order dessert but (and here I have one minor complaint about the restaurant) – we were told that the kitchen was closed! Oh my! Well, luckily we had still had a couple of tins of peaches and ideal milk we’d been carrying around for days so we all ended up at our chalet for dessert and coffee.
The next morning we reluctantly packed up and set off for home. We have an extended family so expected to be greeted by rowdy grandsons full of questions about where we had been – instead there was silence and the only greeting we received was a meow from the cat. We checked the cupboards – but no all their clothes were still there – they hadn’t left home and returned some hours later bursting to tell us of the fun they’d had at Ratanga Junction!
To see more photographs – check out my face book page.