Three parks in three days
It seems frivolous to rush through three parks in three days, but when you need a break and that's all the time you have, you do it. By Colin Hancox
Some friends and I are attempting to ascend the highest peak in each of our nine provinces and last November set off to tackle Murch Point in the Northern Cape. Located just across the provincial border from Nieu Bethesda, it is close to Mountain Zebra National Park, with Addo Elephant National Park and Storms River Mouth conveniently placed on the way back to Cape Town.
Having ascended Murch Point, we drove to Cradock for camping supplies and then had an afternoon and evening drive at Mountain Zebra. Red hartebeest, Cape mountain zebra and gemsbok graced the open grasslands.
The gemsbok seemed more interested in grazing than us passing photographers.
Cape mountain zebra kept a watchful eye on us.
Another drive in the early morning took us past black wildebeest, ostrich, vervet monkeys and kudu. The scale of the park, the landscapes and the wide variety of game are impressive. The camp is surrounded by hills and the roads through the park are cleverly laid out over the hills giving views way off into the distant Karoo.
Addo Elephant was next and we drove around for an hour and didn’t see a single elephant. Cresting a ridge and ready to leave the park, we looked down at a waterhole to find approximately 60 elephants drinking and splashing away.
The elephants projected a protective family or community spirit, peace and tranquillity.
We drove down and sat and watched as some drank while others cavorted in the water and then slowly ambled off into the bush. Whilst on foot in the Caprivi, I have seen around 300 elephants at one time and to me, Addo is no less special. We are very fortunate to have access to these special parks in such close proximity.
Huge crashing waves, vast ocean, sweet smelling humid fynbos, indigenous forest, the suspension bridge walk, the start of the Otter Trail, powerful black-backed gulls gliding on the up draughts, oystercatchers on the pitch black razor-edged rocks, Knysna turaco with a flash of bright red worming their way through branches, bushbuck wandering through tent sites, a marine reserve protecting gullies teeming with sea life, dolphins tearing down waves, phosphorescence in the sea at night and, if you are very lucky, an otter head bobbing in the surf with a watchful gaze.
An oystercatcher provided a glaring contrast of colour to the wild sea beyond.
Dolphins usually travel past in the evenings, followed by fire-like sunsets.
We walked over the suspension bridge and up the eastern side of the gorge and gazed back at the camp complex nestling against the forest. Storms River is very special and there was no sadness leaving it, as we will be back.
View a video of Colin's trip to Mountain Zebra, Addo and Tsitsikamma National Parks.
Posted on: November 8, 2012, 1:59 PM
Posted on: November 8, 2012, 8:40 PM
Posted on: November 22, 2012, 3:23 PM
Posted on: December 10, 2012, 8:48 PM