HALF-COLLARED KINGFISHER TRAIL PART I

I introduced the Half-collared Kingfisher Trail after our stay-over at Ebb-and Flow earlier this year.

What follows is only a glimpse of the experience:

View of the rest camp from the path.

Bracken growing in the shade of the forest.

An example of fungus – we saw a great variety growing on decomposing wood.

A very old tree.

Touws River seen through a gap in the trees.

Advertisement

KAROO LANDSCAPE

One gets a good taste of the Karoo landscape whilst driving through the Karoo National Park. The environment there is so arid that it is difficult to believe that millions of years ago it was covered by a shallow sea.  Look at these beautiful hills and carved out valleys.

The sky is beautifully clear and ‘big’; the air is crisp.

The rock-strewn valley floors are sparsely covered with typical Karoo vegetation.

This flock of ostriches seem to have an endless vista through which to explore.

Mountains and hills provide a worthy backdrop to the flattish valley floor.

I leave you with a closer look at the rocky layer that forms the top of one of the many hills.

THE OPEN SPACE OF MOUNTAIN ZEBRA NATIONAL PARK

Having been ‘pandemically confined’ for months and only recently being allowed to venture forth – almost inch by inch – or so it felt, it was a treat to spend a day in the Addo Elephant National Park. As soon as overnight accommodation was allowed, we opted to spend two nights at the Mountain Zebra National Park, near Cradock.

As you can see in the photograph below, the sky was heavily overcast when we arrived – that in itself has been a rare sight in our part of the Eastern Cape. Being the end of winter, the grass is dry and golden: look at the beautiful wide open expanse of the grassland with the mountain rising above it. Such space gives one the feeling of freedom!

Here is a closer look at the mountain, with an ostrich in the foreground.

The grassland in the valley seems to go on forever.

When you get close to the mountain, driving up to the plateau, you become entranced by the bulging rocks, loose boulders and the vegetation growing in between. The pale coloured trees are all Cussonia spp., known colloquially as Cabbage Trees.

Once on the plateau, you can almost see to the end of the earth – mountains and valleys that change with the light of the day. It is scenery that one can absorb in great gulps; difficult to take in all at once; the openness, the beauty, and all that space is ‘cleansing’ and healing. There is a feeling of freedom (one can forget about the pandemic there) and ‘wholesomeness’ that made me feel ‘normal’ for those few days.