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Out of Africa - Part Three
The lack of shut eye over the last 3 weeks finally caught up with me and I slept in this morning. I was up at 6.00 instead of my usual 5.00!
A short walk down to the beautiful Pringle Bay in the Western Cape where I watch life in this almost bohemian community come to life. A few dog walkers, a couple of joggers and a brave lady and her husband who seems slightly more reticent than his wife to tackle the cold of the Atlantic Ocean - or is it the Indian Ocean? The great debate continues over where the two oceans meet but whoever is right people will still visit both Cape Point and Cape Agulhas to say they were there to witness the two great oceans meet.
As part of our post trip planned itinerary we are setting off for De Hoop Nature Reserve and Maureen, Colin and myself are looking forward to enjoying the landscape, flora and fauna of this wonderful piece of protected land. I am particularly excited about the prospect of walking on dunes over 90metres high and the shapes and curves of the sand which can be very dramatic in the right light. I do kind of find myself living by the light, my mood determined by how good it is and to know that in a few days I will be going home to the shortest day and a few hours of daylight - never mind almost guaranteed sunshine – that it may be difficult to adjust. We will see but knowing that I have the memories will be enough to take me back.
We set off for De Hoop via Di and Keith’s house which is quite literally perched over the ocean. We arrived at a slightly fractious moment as some cray fishermen encroached on her land in order to get access to the rocks. We left her to deal with situation and look after Toffee – Maureens Labrador dog – and slipped away. This remarkable couple who seem to know, been and done everything but with the minimum of fuss – their sons are film makers who have embraced and got to know African culture, have walked, talked, hunted and lived with San Bushmen and have just finished making a revealing and ground breaking film about crocodiles which will have its debut on the National Geographic Channel in the near future. Puts our little adventure into perspective but you never know, Colin has already started scribbling pictures of Eland and started jogging in order to be able to run for days – goodbye to the Mega Rider ticket and hello to the loin cloth as he makes way from Scone to Perth for work on Monday morning through the snow. A stop for coffee in Swellenberg and the eternal search for Soya Milk which was tracked down or in the Super Spar– I could look forward to my cereal in the morning - and we were all prepared for De Hoop.
What a remarkable place! We checked into the large detached whitewashed house. The buildings are sympathetic to the surroundings, stark and vivid against the bush but mirroring the dunes on the horizon. After a quick picnic lunch we embarked on a brilliant game drive spotting lots of animals from the Eland to the tortoise. The wonderful unique feature of De Hoop is that you can get out of the car, walk and take bikes off road which is really good and we took advantage of the freedom to track, Bontebok, Meercat, Rhebok, a few new birds for Colin’s collection and a visit to the Dunes. The highlight for Maureen up to this point had been the giant tortoise which was slowly making its way across the road before taking shelter in the undergrowth, but like most of this trip in the African sunshine there has always been another twist in the tale and here we were, satisfied that we had achieved all we were going to see, when before us two Eland – the largest African antelope – were walking on the giant dunes, again had the camera shutter firing at double quick time. There is something spiritual about this particular animal and we were all moved to see it in such dramatic surroundings. As if not satisfied enough with this spectacle we were then treated to a show by the baboons as a large troop of baboons entertained us. Usually brazen and full of cheek this lot seemed less sure of us and were not as confident as some others we had come across.
After enjoying a meal in the Fig Tree Restaurant – named after the massive fig trees within the complex – a great penultimate night was spent in our rented accommodation. This visit had been my idea, Maureen had booked the accommodation and Colin agreed with our choice of location as a tremendous addition to our schedule.
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