SIGNS IN THE KAROO NATIONAL PARK

One of the first interesting signs you come across after entering the Karoo National Park warns visitors to be aware of the possibility that tortoises may have sought shelter from the sun under their vehicles in the parking area outside the reception centre:

Another informs visitors when they can enter the game viewing area and when to return. During our visit it was from 7a.m. until 6 p.m. – the times vary according to the season:

In places the speed limit is only 30 kmp:

This is understandable once you realise that you need to watch out for tortoises, chameleons and snakes that might be in the road:

One also has to be aware of the presence of larger animals, such as lions and rhinos, especially when getting out of one’s vehicle to enter one of several dedicated picnic areas:

Should you wish to make use of the ablution blocks in these areas, there are signs reminding you to watch out for baboons and monkeys. Visitors are cautioned to keep the doors to these buildings closed so that one of these creatures does not get trapped inside … imagine finding an irate baboon or monkey indoors when you wish to visit the toilet or wash your hands! Anyone notice the grammatical error?

In common with other national parks, the Karoo National Park does not allow the use of drones:

 

WARNING ROAD SIGN

South African motorists have an array of signs warning them of dangers along the roads. Apart from warning motorists of pedestrian crossings – even on dirt roads far from the nearest town – there are helpful signs warning of cattle crossings as well as of stray cattle – the latter is not surprising when one considers how many kilometers of fencing has been stolen over the years.

In certain areas you might be warned about sheep. In country areas signs warning one about the presence of kudu – a real danger to meet on the road at night – and even warthogs are fairly common.

In certain areas there are even signs warning motorists to watch out for hippos! Today’s sign is a benign one: it warns motorists to watch out for horses.

Like so many signs in this country it is showing its age. Nonetheless, there are a surprising number of horses in the area where I live – yet this is the only warning sign. The majority of horses can be seen grazing in well-fenced paddocks. I have occasionally seen some being used cowboy fashion to move cattle from one area to another and only once come across ‘unfenced’ horses along this particular stretch of road. Nonetheless, we have been warned!

 

 

TSITSIKAMMA SIGNS

As you have gathered, we recently spent some delightful days near the Storms River Mouth in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park, which encompasses the southern coast between George and Port Elizabeth and includes the Wilderness, Knysna and Tsitsikamma. These areas include a variety of mountain catchments, indigenous forests and fynbos areas – all wonderful places to explore.

I have already shown some of the paths, seascapes, plants and pretty flowers. This is a selection of some of the signs – some more welcome than others. This one indicates clearly that one is in a protected zone in which one needs to respect the integrity of the area and not remove any shells or creatures from the rock pools. Fishing is not allowed – and most wonderful – there is noise control! Not that the latter was an issue at all for the camping area was virtually empty during the weekdays we were there, filling up only from the Friday afternoon. It is most disconcerting to camp in a wild area only to be blasted by loud music or the sound of televisions – yes, some people do take their televisions on holiday with them!

Although it was once considered one of the ‘wonder’ materials, it is now well known that asbestos is hazardous and can potentially pose a risk to human health. It was thus pleasing to see that the area formerly housing the Oceanettes was cordoned off as the removal of the asbestos roofing was in progress.

I am not really sure if the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet was used on this site, but the sign was there and I place it here as a reminder.

We have had some very close encounters with baboons during previous visits. This time we only heard them in the forest. Instead of a baboon, we had a close sighting of a vervet monkey.

A most unwelcome sign was this one.

I had been looking forward to swimming in this delightful pool in the company of seagulls and with the waves crashing over the rocks nearby! We were told by some workers that the pool had been closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic; others said it had required maintenance; others said it was closed for cleaning – it looked full and very clean; and yet others said it was indeed open but the sign had not been removed! I remained dry.

UNINTENTIONAL SIGNS OF THE TIMES

The COVID-19 pandemic is still coursing through the veins of countries around the world, changing our lifestyles and altering our perceptions. Taking advantage of this, KFC’s famous slogan finger lickin’ good was made fun of by their local rival, Nando’s, who suggested that consumers should wash their hands instead in light of the coronavirus. Recently I read that KFC is putting a pause on its famous slogan – for now. It is probably not seen as being a good thing to promote during this pandemic, when we are all called upon to regularly wash / sanitize our hands.

While waiting for the doors of the local supermarket to open this morning, I had time to peruse the slogans on the handles of their basket trolleys – they were well intentioned once, yet under these circumstances are open to a quite different interpretation:

This is not meant as a slur; merely as an example of a new thread of thought that wouldn’t have come to mind had the virus not embarked on a world tour!

https://www.businessinsider.co.za/finger-licking-nandos-asks-kfc-to-rather-reach-for-soap-amid-coronavirus-2020-3

https://www.sowetanlive.co.za/s-mag/2020-08-25-kfc-no-longer-finger-lickin-good-as-they-drop-famous-slogan/

 

LOOKING FOR ELEPHANTS

Of course you want to see elephants when you visit the Addo Elephant National Park, but do not expect to find them all over. As large as they are, a whole herd of them can ‘disappear’ in the bush so that you cannot see them, even though they may not be far off the road. Looking hopefully at broken off bits of vegetation on a no entry road is no help. No entry means just that.

Natural signs such as this on the road indicate that elephants have at least passed through the area. They often drop leaves or twigs whilst walking.

The signs on this road look promising: twigs and dung.

Ah! We are getting closer … scan the surrounding bush, but there is still no sight of an elephant.

They must be nearby!

Follow the signs and you may get lucky – these elephants were drinking at Rooidam.