Today is a day with a difference. It begins in gloomy conditions but I do make contact with some interesting birds in a thicket.
You may remember that whilst at Mountain Zebra at the beginning of September, I had a tooth problem which a dentist in Cradock temporarily mended. The understanding was that when we pass through again on our return journey that I call in to allow him to complete the procedure. So I phone through at 8am but am told that the only available time to see me is 12 noon today. Cradock, being 200Km distant means that we must move. We also phone through to Renette’s brother, Pete, and sister-in-law Dors who live at Bedford not far off our route.
Ths N10 road is that linking PE with the Freestate and Gauteng and I am amazed at the volume of heavy duty lorries plying their journeys – almost as bad as the Durban – JHB route. SA must be so uneconomic having to transport most of their imports over 1,000Km’s to their destination. Jo’burg because of its gold mining history is the biggest city in the world NOT on water – which necessitates this huge transport effort.
Cradock is so sad – dirty, derelict and broken all amongst the stately old colonial buildings. But the dentist is on top form and does a superb job on my tooth at a ridiculously low fee. We then set out for Bedford some 100Km distant.
Pete and Dors bought the historic homestead, “Maasstrom”, which dates back to the 1820 settlers. When they arrived there the farm was in serious decline but, true to form, they both got stuck in and have produced a masterpiece. Dors cares for the garden which was well known before but what she has now done is exquisite. It features in Country Life and each year has a garden show in October to which enthusiasts flock. (Not this year – Covid).
Pete’s passion is his farm with his cattle and game. Whenever Pete does something he does it properly and if ever there is an example of human endeavour then it Maasstrom. I would recommend anyone passing through Bedford to call and have a look at it.
We time our departure well arriving back at Addo at 6.30pm as the gates close. A most successful day.
Today is our last day at Addo. Again it starts dark and cloudy and we make our way along our familiar roads. As mentioned, Addo was proclaimed in 1931 but evidence of farming activity is to be seen.
One can clearly see the clearing away the indigenous vegetation to make way for fields of some sort in days gone by.
A visit to the camp museum has revealed the origin of the curiously named “Domkrag Dam”
A sizeable 60kg tortoise had the habit of crawling under parked cars and then reputedly lifting them as he stood up – earning the name “Domkrag”, car jack in Afrikaans. Sadly Domkrag met his end by falling down an aardvark hole where he remained trapped. His impressive shell is on display in the museum.
We return to camp and lunch at the Cattle Baron restaurant. We have enjoyed Addo although it lacks the beauty of the other Cape parks that we have visited. My dentist yesterday told me that he had spent the weekend at Addo. I then enquired whether he had seen much to which he enthusiastically said that he had seen “three elephants and a herd of kudu”. Maybe we have been spoilt by Kruger.
Kruger now looms large. Tomorrow we travel to Eingedi at Ladybrand, Freestate and on Friday through to Jo’burg and Dave and Steph. Some running repairs next week in Jo’burg and as soon as we are finished then on to Skukuza.
We have so enjoyed our Cape trip with its beauty and difference but nothing quite matches the true Africa of Kruger with its incredible wildlife variation. We can’t wait.