05 June 2014

Dear Coco

After waving goodbye to all at Wana farm, we drove and drove into northern KZN on some really bad roads, and some not too bad roads, past farms and little villages and towns, and then we came to a steep pass and suddenly
we were in Ithala game reserve in the middle of the wilderness.
We were shown to our thatched hut halfway up a mountain and hidden away in the trees. We climbed up to a little hill above Ntshondwe Camp to get our bearings and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine and wished you could be here too. It was just your kind of vantage point Coco.
We hear that it is rather cold and wet and windy in Cape Town. Kerryn sent us some photos of Harvey in his new winter coat.
Such a cute boy! I hope you and Laddie and the little kitty are keeping warm too.
On Wednesday morning, the Alph and I went for a walk along the Bushbuck Trail, one of the nature trails from the camp. As there are no lions here, and the elephants and rhino don't seem to come up the mountains, it is quite safe to walk on your own.
It is very hilly here - and apparently Ithala goes from 400 m above sea level right up to 1450 m up in the Ngotshe Mountains. This is a view looking down on the camp.
There were lots of pretty, small Felicia daisies with silvery leaves,
and some lovely wild olive and other trees. The hills just stretch on for miles and miles into the blue yonder.
There are reputed to be some of the rare Barberton Mountain Sugarbush (Protea comptonii) bushes here, on steep south-facing slopes on quartzite outcrops, but its difficult to tell when there are no flowers.
There is also some evidence of old human settlements here - apparently some families fled from Shaka and his marauding troops, and hid from them up in these mountains. Unfortunately the trail is rather degraded, and the signs not very legible. It needs a bit of tlc.
The path went on next to high sandstone cliffs,
and through thick bush,
and finally came out at the swimming pool back at the camp. We both had a rather quick and chilly dip, but it was lovely.
That afternoon we went for a drive along the edge of the mountains and back across the plains and saw lots of interesting game, including zebras
and giraffes.
It was quite cool in the evenings, but warm enough for braaiing.
Another full day at Ithala - and we lazed around a bit in our hut,
then went for a short nature trail and spider clearing exercise along the Plum-coloured Starling Trail.
There is also a little interpretive centre and shop in the camp which we had a look around - these are bowls made from telephone cable.
I resisted the temptation to buy this baboon for you Coco!
Then a little Natal Robin flew into the shop and concussed itself on the window and we had to rescue it and take it outside where it eventually recovered and flew off.
We then went for a drive to the river and although we didn't see any real elephants, it was nice knowing they were around.
The mighty Phongola River.
We didn't see any crocodiles either,
but there were lots of beautiful birds and butterflies to look at.
Another vantage point over the river and hazy hills.
And a picnic lunch spot.
More game viewing - these are impalas -
but the call for g and tees was strong so we repaired home,
and climbed our hill to watch the sun set.
Most places when you leave ask you return the keys, and we were not sure how to return the path,
so we slunk out the next morning, leaving the path as we found it.
But more soon. Be good Coco, and see you soon!
love the FL

No comments:

Post a Comment