Cape : Christmas and New Year

Cape :  Christmas and New Year

We left you and Kruger on 15th December 2020 and as you may recall not a moment too soon. The heat and drought stricken conditions around Lower Sabie were just too much to bear.

From Kruger we travelled to Jo’burg where, with Dave and Steph, we spent a couple of days preparing for our trip to Somerset West in the Cape for Christmas and New Year. On 18th December we duly took off down the N1 over the Vaal and into the Freestate. The first night we spent in the most convenient campsite, Reyneke Park, in Bloemfontein.. At 4am 19th, we continued down to Beaufort West where we spent two nights at Karoo National. Here I did manage to exercise my camera a little.

Spotted Thick-knees (Dikkop)
Black-backed Jackal

On 21st December we travelled on to Somerset West where we parked the caravan with friend, Chris Denny, and then moved in with our eldest son John, Sherry-Linn and family. David, Steph, Callum and Sophie then flew down from Jo’burg to join us.

One of my great pleasures of the Cape are the Strandfontein sewerage works. You will see from these photos that it is not as vile as it sounds and is in fact a birder’s paradise.

Greater Flamingo
Red-necked Phalarope
Little Stints
Ruddy Turnstone

We really enjoy the order and relative efficiency of Cape Town and so enjoyed our regular outings.

At the Betty’s Bay Penguin Colony
The immaculate Harold Porter Nature Reserve – Betty’s Bay

What a joy to spend this time together with the family but how we missed Gareth and Sarah in UK and Warren and Naomi in Belgium.

The “Christmas Star” – Jupiter with four of its moons and Saturn bottom right.

Festivities complete and farewells made, we took off on 4th January 2021 to Bontebok National near Swellendam – together with grandchildren Jason and Saige.

Bontebok Restcamp in foreground and Langeberg Mountain Range beyond

Bontebok proved to be a mistake as of course the summers are hot and dry and this very attractive reserve was far from its best. But it was lovely to be with these superb (I’m biased) children.


We made regular trips into the so attractive town of Swellendam. Voted recently as the best run town in the country, it was not difficult to see why. The highlight was enjoying a breakfast under some trees and then glancing up and finding two Cape Eagle Owls perched above us in the foliage.

Cape Eagle Owl (My Library)

On 9th January we continued our journey to the magnificent Storms River National Park – set right on the shoreline of this rugged coastline. But again, we timed it badly as a gale force east wind blew for five consecutive days turning the sea into mess. For me one of the attractions here are the colossal waves that crash onto the rocks so close to the campsite. This time there were no waves at all. The alignment of the coast here is such that the sun sets into the sea which is rather unexpected.

Here our plans to get to Kruger as soon as possible come adrift. Word has it that Lower Sabie camp, the Skukuza airport and a lodge have been closed because of a Covid outbreak. There is every likelihood that the whole of Kruger will be closed so we decide to return to Somerset West and wait until the situation resolves itself.

So on 15th January we arrived back at the Mountain Breeze Caravan Park at Stellenbosch. Here we ride out eight days and finally take off back up to N1 staying at Karoo National, Bloem and finally Jo’burg. Christmas and New Year with family was great but the coastal trip was not so good.

We are now poised for our next Kruger Park foray.