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Sj visit 2017   West Coast National Park. Day One.

   Friday July 14

Cj enjoying the glimpses of wildlife found all around but frustrated that he can name so few species. [Now at home, using on-line links for birds: Wikipedia good habitat and species description and Warwick Tarboton excellent photographs.]

The ts had taken the day off so that we could head to West_Coast_National_Park for a long weekend. So they headed out to fetch a rental car while the rest of us packed up. While rental car technically seated 6, quickly determined it would be useless when ra joined us as it offered an extra row of seats at the expense of cargo space so nowhere to put luggage if we were all to travel in it. As it was, it was hard enough to pack the five of us in with all the supplies and baggage.

Headed north, stopping at the Darling brewery for a light lunch consisting of meat and cheese plates and beer.

Stopping at the Darling brewery for a light lunch consisting of meat and cheese plates and beer.

Yes sj 'it's beer'.

Hi tech brewery viewing area.

Of course we could have had just simple fish and chips for lunch. [had we been able to find it]

Lunch over, we headed off for the park where we were given a brochure all about it. This contained a series of checkboxes featuring animals we were likely to encounter in the park. Sj not impressed to discover not one but three types of poisonous snake on the list. Clearly this was was a bingo game where you wanted to collect everything but the snakes.

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Saw our first ostrich almost immediately and our second and third soon after. Ts had pointed out what they claimed to be a herd of zebra in the distance earlier in the day but none of the rest of us convinced, how could they tell they weren't just grey horses? We weren't willing to check off the zebra until we could see their stripes.

Saw our first ostrich almost immediately.

and our second and third soon after.

Rear views of ostrichs in ZA as common as blurry ducks in the UK.

The ts had arranged to rent two chalets inside the park itself. Said chalets were quite large, probably would have been ok with just one but no matter. Cj and the ts in one and s/j the other. While the complex had a pool, it wasn't a heated one so far too cold in the middle of winter to do much more than stick a finger in it.

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We liked the chalets very much.


Determined that s/js chalet had the better braai (BBQ) area and set to making dinner which basically consisted of grilling a number of items, mainly meats. A gaggle of spurred guinea hens came to watch the festivities clearly hoping for a bit of food, we on the other hand were seriously considering just how good they'd taste on the braai.

A gaggle of spurred guinea hens came to watch the festivities.

Determined that s/js chalet had the better braai (BBQ) area.

Set to making dinner.

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A gaggle of spurred guinea hens came to watch the festivities.

South Africa in winter kind of deceptive. Sun itself very warm but the air very cold with the result that temperatures drop considerably once it gets dark. As such made a fire in the hearth, alas had a terrible time getting it to draw properly so forced to pick between being warm and surrounded by thick smoke, or cold and able to breathe. Went back and forth for most the evening, warming the place up, then opening the windows, before starting the cycle all over again.


Apparently being covered in smoke from the brai a very common thing and tw completely mystified as to why he always smelled like smoke and braai for days each time they bbqed and South Africans who braaied frequently never did.

Pleased to see lots of other birds around the chalets all badly identified by us. Despite good on-line references in the two links. Wikipedia and Warwick Tarboton

Cape weaver

Fluffy bird!

Cape robin chat


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