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Birding National Park Travel

Our KZN Trip

We went to KZN in October and took lots of pictures – as usual. Join us in a brief journey through Hluhluwe and St Lucia

Narina Trogon
Narina Trogon

The Narina Trogon was the sighting of the trip so it takes pride of place and for the purists, we saw it in St Lucia.

Burchelss Cougal
Burchelss Cougal

Burchels Cougal or Vlei Loerie or Rain Bird. Such a beautiful bird

Finding that bird
Finding that bird. St Lucia again.
Wild Jasmine

Wild Jasmine grows all over Hluhluwe.

Rain on the Petals

It rained for most of the time we were there. Kept the temperature down, but was a bit disappointing for the birding.

Buffalo in a wallow

This buffalo was getting rid of parasites in a hollow. Looked a bit foolish

snorkelling st lucia
Amanda getting ready

The viz was awful and the sea rough

together diving

Together Diving.

Rhinos

Rhinos in Hluhluwe. Family outing

Rhino Video
Warthog

Warthog and Red Billed Ox Peckers

Crowned Lapwing

Crowned Lapwing

Dung Beetle
Spoon Bills
Categories
Flowers Travel Western Cape

A trip to the West Coast National Park

The west coast of South Africa is a dry semi-desert region with an average rainfall of 280 mm (12″). For most of the years the vegetation is low scrub and thorn bushes with patches of dry dusty ground. In August after the winter rains things change dramatically. The flower come out in raging colours. This display lasts three months and by the end of October the flowers are gone and the dry dusty veld is left.
We drove up to Langebaan in mid August after good winter rains and enjoyed the glory of the flowers

The flowers spread across all the open ground and wild profusion. If you drive through quickly you only see the carpet of flowers. If however you stop and look, there is a wealth of beautiful flowers hidden within the showy flash of white, yellow and orange.

Categories
Europe Travel

The Normandy Landing Beaches

A visit to the Invasion Beaches and my tribute to the men and women who landed on those beaches. Many did not make it.

In 2019 we traveled to Europe. Included in the itinerary was a visit to the Normandy Landing beaches. Guided by a very competent guide, we saw and walked on Juno, Sword and Gold beaches. What I saw there stunned me and for the first time I understood the shear horror of those landings. I understood the blind courage required to leap out of the landing craft into the ice cold sea and wade ashore into a hail of bullets. Come with me on a personal trip to those beaches.

Phoenix bridge. Not a good picture but it needs to be here.

Phoenix Bridge: Allied Commandos were instructed to take this bridge at all costs. Three gliders landed nearby and then according to the tour guide three soldiers stormed across the bridge to silence a machine gun nest at the other end.

Phoenix Bridge from the side.

You can get an idea of just how long that bridge is.
I asked the guide if the bridge was wider in those days but he said, “Narrower.”
I cannot imagine storming a machine gun down a narrow alley of steel and hard road surface.
I have no idea how they survived that crazy run.

A landing craft

The landing craft were mainly wood with the front door being steel and the soldiers packed together shoulder to shoulder inside.
On an aside note, this is the landing craft that was used during the filming of “Saving Private Ryan”.

The beach.

The tide was out when I was there so the run was longer than during the invasion but as you can see that there is no cover whatsoever.

Gunnery emplacement

The guns were positioned to fire directly along the beaches, not down them. There was thus no way of a soldier further down the beach from evading or stopping the the fire.

A memorial to the fallen.

There are memorials all along the beach.

A memorial statue of a charging soldier
Categories
flower Flowers Photography Travel

Maartblomme

Once in about a decade the March Flowers or Maartblomme rise out of the harsh Tankwa Karoo soil and bring colour and life to the dry and harsh landscape. We were fortunate to make the 5 hour trip from Cape Town to Nieuwoudtville to see them.

A glimpse of the harsh Tankwa Karoo

The flowers seem to congregate in patches as you can see from this picture.

The flowers put out a spike covered by

Categories
pass Passes Photography Travel

Sunset near Komani

Or Queenstown as it was known previously
The pictures were taken from the top of the Nonesis Nek Pass on the Road between Komani and Cacadu (Lady Frere)

The dam here is the Cacadu Dam
Cacadu which means “Bulrush Water” and is the Xhosa name for the White Kei River
Part of the cutting of Nonesis Nek Pass
Categories
Hiking kloof Trail

Tierkloof Hiking Trail – Gammkaberg

Some 30 km outside of Calitzdorp in the Western Cape is the Gammkaberg Nature Reserve, run by Cape Nature. There are a number of trails in the park, the longest (two days) is the Tierkloof Trail that runs up the Tierkloof canyon stops at Oudkraal, an over night camp and then returns to the base camp the next day. Both days distance is about 14 km. The scenery is magnificent and the going moderately hard. The first day ends with a climb of about 450 m over 3 km. The second day is easier with a sharp down hill and then fairly flat all the way home. I recently hiked this trail and it is, as claimed one of the more beautiful hikes in the Western Cape.

The base camp.

Setting out

The trail is built on and around the river that carved the klook (canyon). The river does not run often so this is not a problem. It could get tense though….

Elements of the Cape Fold Mountains can be seen.

Thorn trees growing in the riverbed.

Trail markings are very good, this is an informal one that took my fancy

At Overhang, about halfway there and back.

Overnight camp – Oudkraal.

Sunset is a special time

And the stars are spectacular

Down again.

And relax

Enjoy the sunset

Before the long road home

More pictures here:

 

Categories
Birding flower Kruger National Park Photography

Visit to Kruger Park

In early September and before the rains, we visited the Kruger National Park. The grass was low and the animals plentiful. Here are a few of our pictures.

Lowveld Sunset

Nyala

The original cliched lowveld sunset picture.

Blue head

African Hoopoe

Spotted Hyena and pup

Goliath Heron

Terrapin

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Categories
Astro-photography Photography Travel Western Cape

Astrophotography in Grootvadersbosch

We spent a weekend in Grootvadersbosch and the second night was really good for astronomy. Clear and near windless. Beautiful!

Categories
Photography Travel Western Cape

Clouds over Grootvadersbos

We went to Grootvadersbos recently and were treated to an amazing sunset as an electric storm raged just over the mountains.
I missed the lightning but got some really great pictures.





Categories
De Hoop Temenos Western Cape

Some Pictures from Our Holiday

De Hoop and McGregor