A Travellerspoint blog

November 2018

Cape Town to Suffolk

...back to the UK after a great time in the Paarl area and at Inverdoorn Game Reserve

sunny 28 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Back to Oz on SteveJD's travel map.

As I mentioned in the last blog, my nephew and his wife had never been to Africa so my brother managed to find a game reserve about two hours' drive from Paarl. Generally the Cape area is not renowned for its wildlife but Inverdoorn Game Reserve (near Ceres) offers the chance to see all of the Big Five (we saw all but leopard). It covers about 10,000 hectares of the Ceres Karoo and has about 1,200 animals. As well as the Big Five, it was especially good to see some Cheetah which are part of a rescue and rehabilitation project - beautiful animals. The main predators are, at this stage, kept separate from the antelope etc., but the reserve does offer an excellent introduction to African wildlife for anyone visiting the Cape and the accommodation looked excellent.

7d214560-e1db-11e8-8e49-a5918278e2e6.jpgZebra and foal and a Symphony of Stripes

Zebra and foal and a Symphony of Stripes

Collage of Wildebeeste, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Eland, Black Springbok, Springbok and Cape Buffalo

Collage of Wildebeeste, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Eland, Black Springbok, Springbok and Cape Buffalo

Cape Cheetah

Cape Cheetah

Barbary Lion

Barbary Lion

White Rhino

White Rhino

Two Elephants weaving their way between a clump of dead trees

Two Elephants weaving their way between a clump of dead trees

As well as the animals, we saw a number of different birds, particularly around the restaurant area and as we left.

Ostrich

Ostrich

Garden and eating areas

Garden and eating areas

Cactus in the garden

Cactus in the garden

Cape Weaver

Cape Weaver

As yet unidentified bird

As yet unidentified bird

Bokmakierie

Bokmakierie

We enjoyed our visit here

We enjoyed our visit here

On the way to and from the reserve, we passed through the pretty little town of Ceres and the nearby Michell's Pass which was named after its planner, Charles Collier Michell, then Surveyor-General of the Cape of Good Hope. The road construction was undertaken by Andrew Geddes Bain in 1848. On the westward route there are a few points where you can pull over and enjoy some great views. As we neared Paarl there were more stunning mountain scenes to be savoured.

Entering Ceres with some autumn colour

Entering Ceres with some autumn colour

View from Michell's Pass

View from Michell's Pass

Railway line running through the pass

Railway line running through the pass

Some of the mountain ranges on the way back

Some of the mountain ranges on the way back

While all the family were together, it was too good a chance not to have a day in Cape Town before four of the party returned to England. The waterfront in Cape Town is glorious and the Aquarium is a good place to spend some time before or after enjoying lunch at one of the many excellent restaurants. In the evening, Dave treated us to a potjiekos meal (food cooked in a "little pot") - delicious!

Northern Rockhopper Penguins

Northern Rockhopper Penguins

African Black Oystercatcher

African Black Oystercatcher

20180426_P1150669.jpgCape Fur Seal outside the Aquarium restaurant and view along the waterfront

Cape Fur Seal outside the Aquarium restaurant and view along the waterfront

Street entertainment

Street entertainment

Camera=shy chap but couldn't resist the colourful headwear

Camera=shy chap but couldn't resist the colourful headwear

Potjiekos almost ready

Potjiekos almost ready

A few days later, for some strange reason, we hauled ourselves out of bed in the wee small hours to watch the full moon rise over the mountains opposite Dave's house. I have to say it was worth the bleary eyes, even if the photos weren't crash hot. The dawn light was beautiful.

Full moon rising over the mountains

Full moon rising over the mountains

The town awakes

The town awakes

A glowing dawn

A glowing dawn

After our early morning and after the others had gone back to England, Dave took us to the Taal Monument high on a hillside on the edge of town - when you drive into Paarl from the west, it is clearly visible. Afrikaans developed as a language distinct from Dutch which is its mother tongue or taal. In 1875, in Paarl, the Society for Real Afrikaaners (Genootskap van Regte Afrikaaners) was founded to strengthen Afrikaaners' identity and pride in their language. Fifty years later, Afrikaans was recognised as an official language of South Africa and fifty years after that, this monument was erected.

The monument comprises several towers and domes representing the languages which have contributed to the development of Afrikaans. Two of these (E & F on the official plan) are the parts of the monument clearly visible when entering Paarl. As you approach the monument, there are three columns (A) decreasing in height and these represent European languages, principally Dutch, German, Portuguese and English). Beside these columns are steps in the middle of which is another shortish column (C) which represents Indonesian languages and dialects (mainly Malay). The tallest column (E) is now ahead with a curving wall (D) to the left and, behind a low wall to the right, three domes (B). Beside column E is the lower but still tall column F. The domes represent Khoi and other African languages (isiXhosa, isiZulu and seSotho). The wall at D, curves upwards and forms a bridge which represents the fusion of languages and, where it joins E and steepens to form the tallest column, the increasing growth of Afrikaans. Inside E is hollow and at the top is an opening depicting the continued growth of the Afrikaans language. Finally, column F places Afrikaans in context with Africa, being in the birthplace of the language (South Africa) but with the north side open to indicate ongoing dialogue with the rest of Africa. (Most of the above information was obtained from a leaflet provided at the entrance).

Diagram of the monument

Diagram of the monument

Columns A, C, E and F with upward curving wall D

Columns A, C, E and F with upward curving wall D

Domes B and columns A with mountainous backdrop

Domes B and columns A with mountainous backdrop

Panoramic view from the monument with Table Mountain on the horizon

Panoramic view from the monument with Table Mountain on the horizon

Inside column E

Inside column E

Columns E and F with column C on the steps and wall D to the left

Columns E and F with column C on the steps and wall D to the left

Around the monument are well treed gardens with several information boards. The latter are all written in Afrikaans so we could only make out some of the words as we have only a passing acquaintance with Afrikaans. Dave does speak Afrikaans but it would have been rather time-consuming to have him translate, particularly as we were off in different directions in search of good views, flowers and birds! We were fortunate to find a lady who was very knowledgeable and provided all sorts of interesting information. The monument and the mountainside woodland are well worth a visit and afford excellent views as far as the back of Table Mountain.

Fiscal Flycatcher

Fiscal Flycatcher

Columns E and F from the back

Columns E and F from the back

Just a short way away is the Paarl Mountain Reserve (up the mountainside behind Dave & Pat's house). On the way up we saw a few protea then Dave dropped us to let us walk down about 400 steps through a kloof between two massive granite domes. The path beyond the bottom of the steps was supposed to be about 100 metres but Dave hadn't realised that one of the roads had been blocked off, so we had a longer than planned walk - most enjoyable though. On the drive back, Dave stopped for us to take photographs of protea (unfortunately many were past their best) and some of the views.

20180430_P1150736.jpgRed and white proteas found on the mountain (Protea Repens?)

Red and white proteas found on the mountain (Protea Repens?)

20180430_P1150723.jpgJudith and Steve in search of the next flower - or bird

Judith and Steve in search of the next flower - or bird

The start of the steps

The start of the steps

Judith on her way down

Judith on her way down

Path at the bottom running between granite outcrops

Path at the bottom running between granite outcrops

Nantes Dam, a reservoir among the outcrops

Nantes Dam, a reservoir among the outcrops

View over Paarl from our walk and drive

View over Paarl from our walk and drive

View from our drive, showiing columns E and F of the Taal Monument below

View from our drive, showiing columns E and F of the Taal Monument below

The following day, we again were up for sunrise and have to provide evidence as it is an unusual event for us!

20180501_P1150748.jpgIt really is worth being up early some days!

It really is worth being up early some days!

Once we had recovered from our early morning shock, Dave took us down to the Berg River where we had a lovely walk through the arboretum on the river bank, with some of Dave's friends for company for part of the walk. Apart from the exercise, some lovely trees and time with friends, the walk was also quite good for bird watching although some of the birds refused t be photographed!

The Berg River

The Berg River

A tree-lined part of the path

A tree-lined part of the path

Grey Heron with Cape Cormorants

Grey Heron with Cape Cormorants

Flower on tree in the Arboretum

Flower on tree in the Arboretum

African Hoopoe

African Hoopoe

Juvenile Cape or Yellow Bishop

Juvenile Cape or Yellow Bishop

Judith and Dave with Dave's friends and some lovely autumn colours

Judith and Dave with Dave's friends and some lovely autumn colours

Blacksmith Lapwing (used to be Plover)

Blacksmith Lapwing (used to be Plover)

Back at Dave's place we had a last flurry of birds, including one very inquisitive one.

Cape Robin Chat

Cape Robin Chat

Cape Turtle Dove

Cape Turtle Dove

Red-faced Mousebird

Red-faced Mousebird

Karoo Prinia

Karoo Prinia

e2fc8880-e862-11e8-a859-2b5234e3cb0b.jpgLaughing Dove finding things of interest on Steve's tablet

Laughing Dove finding things of interest on Steve's tablet

A day or two later, we were back in England our long holiday was over. However, I shall record in another blog some of the places we have visited in England and then next year, it is back to Australia - poor Jet Set is feeling quite travel weary so is having a well-earned rest.

Posted by SteveJD 15:16 Archived in South Africa Tagged birds wildlife - south_africa paarl inverdoorn_game_reserve big_five Comments (0)

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