Bontebok National 2-5th October

Bontebok National 2-5th October

You may recall that we travelled to Somerset West from Karoo National on the 23rd September. In Cape Town we spent a delightful time with family – oh how wonderful to be a doting grandparent now.

There is the pleasant duty of looking up old friends and the time flies by. I do choose a suitable day to visit the Strandfontein Sewerage Works – a birding ‘hot-spot’ in the region. Usually the ‘fruity pong’ is not an issue if the wind is in the right direction but today a gentle south-easter means that I face the full blast from the sewerage plant. Undaunted I use the opportunity to try out my new Nikon D850 camera so today is rather experimental.

Cape Gull
Greater Flamingo
Speckled (Rock) Pigeon

Well satisfied with my new camera, I return to Somerset West but am met with horror by John (son) and Renette who are driven back from the Quantum by the pungent remnants of the sewerage works.

Friday, 2nd October

We hook up the caravan and with a strong “black south-easter” blowing we head along the N2 at the start of our return trip along the coastal route. Up Sir Lowry’s Pass we are buffeted by the strong wind and many trees have been uprooted. Over the crest the wind eases but the rain begins to fall heavily. At Botrivier we drop down into the wheatlands of the Overberg and what a soaking they are getting. We finally reach Bontebok National Park (just out of Swellendam) at 1pm. Bad timing – the rain is still pouring down and I am soaked setting up the caravan in one of the many attractive campsites in this delightful reserve.

Saturday is still rainy and misty so we catch our breath in camp.

Sunday and after a misty start, the rain lifts and the sky clears. The full beauty of Bontebok is now on show. The vegetation is mainly fynbos which still has many of its flowers remaining.

Of course the two great natural features of the Bontebok Park are the wonderful Breede River – one of the few SA rivers that can flow strongly without being silt laden.

……… and the great backdrop of the Langeberg Mountain Range.

Swellendam is hidden in a hollow at the foot of the mountains.

I come across two rather drowsy Olive (Rameron) Pigeons which is unusual. Usually they are perched at the top of high trees and difficult to photograph.

Cape Bulbul

Monday we continue around the Park. Each Park has its specials and Bontebok is home to the Denham’s (Stanley’s) Bustard. But I think that the farmers take pot-shots at them because it is impossible to get near to them.

Another special here is the Yellow Bishop.

This evening we get some splendid views of the camp in glorious light. Pretty attractive I would say, nestled on a bend in the river.

Bontebok keeps up the high standard of the Cape National Parks. Everything is immaculate here.

At lunch time I shoot into Swellendam for some groceries. My goodness but this town is also so clean with litter-free streets and many old historic buildings. Swellendam is the third oldest town in SA. I take some time to drive into the residential area. Not once do I see an electric fence or razor wire – in fact very few houses have any fences at all. Miraculously Swellendam has kept its standard when all about them……… The Toyota manager tells me that it is quite safe to leave my car unlocked in the main street with the keys in the ignition.