Each morning we have been at Bontebok begins misty and overcast. By 9-10am the sun breaks through. Today we are leaving for Storms River about 400Kms distant but we delay our departure so that I can photograph the Greater Striped Swallows when the sun breaks through. By 10am the sun shows no sign of cooperating so at 11am we leave the gates of Bontebok NP – not without regret, so much have we enjoyed our time at this little gem.
Through the ripening wheatlands, past the Witsand turnoff, refill at Riversdale and we then join the coast at Mossel Bay. I am immediately struck by the amount of development along this coastline. Gone are the quaint towns of George and Knysna – now sprawling masses. Maybe I have been too long in the National Parks.
At lovely Sedgefield set amongst its Wilderness lakes, we call to see old friends from Kwambonambi (in Zululand, KZN), Erdley and Allie Jee who have retired to this delectable spot. As a fanatical fisherman Erds has predictably got himself a house within casting distance of the water.
We press on past Knysna with its hordes, past sprawling Plett and then over the stupendous arched bridges, the biggest of which is the famous Blaawkrantz with the highest bungee jump in the world by far. The deck is 215m above the streambed underneath.
We next turn off to Storms River which we reach at 4pm. We are warned at the office that the shop burnt down a week ago – the third National Park shop/restaurant to go that way in the past month. I suspect foul play as the coincidence is just too much. Probably some disgruntled employees dissatisfied by having to take a Covid pay cut during lockdown. But that is pure speculation.
We set up camp right next to the sea with the waves crashing on the rocks. As we complete our labours, the sun briefly breaks through as it sinks below the sealine to the west. This must be one of the few places along the southern and eastern coast of SA where the sun actually sets into the sea. It somehow takes some getting used to.
Of course Storms River is very different from the other Parks we have visited lately but its great beauty makes a visit a must. After an early morning visit from a troop of baboons , we wake to overcast skies again so in rather drab conditions I set up my camera pointing seaward. Far out to sea some whales are breaching and again my lens and mega-pixels make the following photos possible.
I so hoped for some closer shots of these magnificent animals but they do not oblige. However, the clouds thin and a watery sun breaks through,
Sitting in my chair in the warm sun I muse about how us humans so easily lose perspective. Yes, we have some awful negatives in SA but few countries possess the natural beauty of this magnificent country – with its fabulous wildlife thrown in as a bonus. We are very, very privileged to be able to savour sights such as this.
Storms River of course is famous for the occasional fury of its sea. Today is quite gentle but the waves are still a spectacle as they crash onto the rocks. Just to remind you of what the sea can look like here I include a photo taken some years back after some bad weather.
At midday the wind picks up from the west and the clouds again gather. I spend a while longer photographing the Cape Gulls which are unfortunately my only bird targets for the day.
Heavy rain and unpleasant weather is forecast for tomorrow so I am going to spend the day visiting a good friend in nearby Plettenberg Bay. We are staying only four nights here so my prospects for decent photos before Sunday do not look good. So as to give you a better idea of the place, I am going to include photos taken on a previous trip when the weather was better.
These Cape Parks are so well run. I marvel again at how spotlessly clean are the ablutions and the so tastefully trimmed lawns. It may be a good idea to send every Kruger Park camp manager down here to see how it is done. I may comment again on the huge amount of goodwill that one experiences on ones travels in the Cape – in and out of the Parks. How we are enjoying our time.