Autumn Break – Wattle Crane Cottage

On Thursday morning my darling granddaughter was on cue with steaming cups of coffee for grandpa and me She is an ace coffee maker and I am threatening to take her home with me as her counterpart cousins don’t score highly on the coffee making front. This was the day we were to depart for the mountains – not far away but a four by four vehicle is highly recommended to get there. Our destination – Wattle Crane Cottage owned by the Raw Family who are cattle farmers and let out their rustic cottage next to the highest farm dam in South Africa. The scenery on the way is spectacular.

Allan would join us later as he had first to attend a business meeting in Kokstad. We set off for town to replenish our provisions and then it was an hour’s drive to Wattle Crane Cottage. The weather was sunny but in the mountains it is always chilly.
After checking in at Sailor’s Gift we negotiated rough roads to a nearby neighbour whou had offered to lend Earl a boat with a motor. The old man is finding oars a bit strenuous these days!


Shannon was an excellent gate opener and before long we arrived, unpacked and Gramps was out on the dam. He returned with a lovely rainbow which had Simon all excited and demanding to be taken out. Although Grampy was cold and tired he could not resist the pleas of his youngest grandchild and off they went. Si is just learning to cast a fly rod but is getting the hang of it. He was well rewarded with a catch which he released.

Allan arrived before dark but was upset as he’d damaged his sump on the rough road – really they are not the best for ordinary sedan cars. We were lucky enough to get Nicoline’s bakkie for the trip.
It was too cold to stand in the chill to braai so we grilled our chicken wings, pork rashers and chops in the oven and did our sweet potatoes in the micro. All accompanied by a lovely salad – scrumptious.
On Friday morning, Grandpa for the first time in history did not get up early to take the boy fishing. Instead, Allan obliged but not as early as his dad-in-law expected! No problem they were still successful – Alan with 3 and Simon with 4.

They returned for breakfast cooked by the Master Chef and then Lauren took Allan back to Kokstad for a meeting.
Earl and I and the grandchildren took a long walk, saw cows and birds but no Oribi which had been our mission. Gramps was feeling a bit tired so we stopped to rest and admire the view.

This is where Lauren found us as she led the flat bed truck which was coming to collect Allan’s ailing car. We all piled in and the watched the process of getting car onto truck – very exciting for one particular small boy!
While this procedure was underway the cows decided to take advantage of the open gate and trespassed into greener pastures. My rural grandchildren rose to the occasion and chased them back to where they belonged.
After bidding the car goodbye we went in for a much needed cup of hot coffee and biscuit. The kids persuaded us to have a game of 30 seconds which had us in fits of laughter then Gramps decided it was time for a nap.


Simon went onto the jetty to practise his casting. After 20 minutes we heard yells – I’ve caught a fish Shan ran out with the net and I woke Grandpa and grabbed the camera. He had a beautiful rainbow caught all by himself – and right in front of the cottage to boot.



After lunch we played another game of 30 seconds then Grandpa went out on the boat and I went for a long walk. I saw some interesting birds.

African Pipit

Egyptian Goose


Reed Cormorant

Male Amur Falcon

Non-breeding Yellow Bishop

Female stonechat

Black-winged Lapwing

Before supper we were prevailed upon to play another game of 30 seconds which had us once again in fits of laughter as we tried to get our partners to guess the right word.

Earl braaied before it got dark and the chill set in. He captured a lovely sunset.

This morning it was very misty and cold. The guys did not go fishing although the sun did come out later. Look at the mist hovering above the surface of the water.

After a leisurely Early breakfast we packed up and hit the road back down to civilization. Shannon spotted a pair of reed buck on the hill.



The Cosmos is still in full bloom and makes the roadsides look so pretty. I could not end this post without showing it to you with Mount Fifty in the background.


5 thoughts on “Autumn Break – Wattle Crane Cottage

  1. Wow Helen your birds are beautiful. I still want to know how you find all these amazing places to go to. The mountains and the scenery are beautiful and the buck…..wonderful. Travel safe and stay well. You have the most interesting lives.


  2. have thoroughly enjoyed all your holiday travels wonderful photos darling. take good care,much love auntxoxoxo


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