Spring Break – Visit to Howick

3 October

How wonderful to wake up at Sani Valley Lodge – enjoy a dip in the Jacuzzi, eat a wonderful “Early” breakfast and enjoy the birds around us. Our plan today was to visit my friend Janet – newly relocated with her mom to a retirement village, Amber Glen in Howick.

This dabchick was bobbing on the dam outside our window

A yellow-billed egret was trying to hide in the reeds

The view from the other side of the lake towards the lodges

When you travel the rural highways of KZN you have to play an exciting game called “Dodge the Pothole”.   The game is compulsory – You can’t say – I don’t like the rules – I’m not playing.   The other player is the Provincial Government – Road-works Department.   They make the rules and set the level of the game.   The level changes constantly – from Easy – where there is the odd pothole to dodge –  but then just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, it jumps to Difficult – where traffic races toward you just as you’ve swerved to the right to avoid a cluster of very deep holes!   Other obstacles are also included just to challenge you – like placing goats and cows on the road causing you to slam on brakes in the nick of time.  It may be fun for them but its not for the driver especially when he’s used to the somewhat safer roads of the Western Province!

Obstacles along the way

But the beauty along the way makes the compulsory game worthwhile.

Midmar Dam

Before long we came in sight of Midmar Dam and knew we were nearing our destination.

Janet was waiting for us in front of their unit and we were delighted to see how absolutely super it was.

Janet greeting us from the patio

The other side – front entrance

View from the lounge and patio

Janet and Cynthia’s new home is stunning.  They have every facility they need, and everything is within easy walking distance.  There are lovely nature walks and a even a bird hide they could visit, various clubs they can join and a shuttle service to and from the shops.  They sold their cars in Cape Town but will buy one here soon. They do their own catering but can whenever they want to eat lunch at teh community centre.  They decided to treat us to lunch their today.  We were treated to a delicious chicken casserole with rice, corn and broccoli in cheese sauce. There was a carrot and tomato soup starter and a lovely dessert of Melba pudding and custard.

Janet and Cynthia each have their own bedroom and bathroom and there is a spare room too.   It was great to see them settled in and happy.   Janet has two brothers who live nearby – one 20 minutes away and the other about an hour.

View from the Community Center

After lunch Cynthia decided to go back to the house while we took Janet to see the Howick Falls.

Showing direction in which other falls are situated

The Howick Falls

Janet and me

Of course there had to be pavement stalls to attract the tourists and we browsed around and I bought some BIg Five place mats for just over R100 for six.

There were delightful tourist stalls near the Falls

Janet, before she was struck with Parkinson’s in her early forties causing her to have to retire early, was a beauty therapist.  So before lunch I was privileged to have her wax my legs for me!  Thanks Janet, it’s been a while!

What a delightful day we had and it ended with a beautiful sighting of this chat as we drove back to our lodge.

Buff-streaked Chat

To be continued …….

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