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.
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!
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.
It is worth spending time at a waterhole. Patience and careful observation can reap many unexpected rewards. Take the well-known Domkrag Waterhole in the Addo Elephant National Park: this is unusual in that visitors are welcome to get out and can look down on the waterhole, over a short hedge of Spekboom. A familiar sight here is a Karoo Scrub-robin that watches one carefully from within the Spekboom hedge before emerging to see if anything worthwhile to eat has been dropped by visitors.
Signs warn of the risks, making it worthwhile focusing on the whole environment and not only the water below.
A Hadeda Ibis preened itself at the edge of the water, the early morning sunshine highlighting its iridescent feathers.
Not far away, a pair of Egyptian Geese warmed themselves in the sun, sitting close to the ground and out of the way of an icy breeze.
Standing next to the reeds, a Black-headed Heron stood motionless – watching the water with the kind of patience few of us would be able to maintain for long.
While an African Spoonbill waded about more actively to find its food.
There was so much more to see, but those will have to wait for another post.
Seen in Franschoek, Western Cape.