Submitted by Jenny and Dave Rix
This is an account of our holiday in the Eastern Cape from 8th to 21st October 2013.
We started our holiday to the Eastern Cape from Pretoria so the first port of call was the Mountain Zebra Park for 3 days. It is a beautiful park with very friendly people and good accommodation. The animals are all easy to see on top of the mountain. It was very dry when we were there so the birding was not so good. I was busy photographing an aloe and a Malachite Sunbird arrived to feed. A number of sunbirds were around the reception area, very difficult to photograph being so quick but a Double-Collared Sunbird was also very obliging.
There were lots of Pied Starlings in the caravan park, about the only green grass in the whole park.
This juvenile Pale Chanting Goshawk was a bit far away but with a bit of cropping I managed to get a reasonable photo. Altogether we saw about 120 birds in the park.
We left the Mountain Zebra Park after three peaceful days and moved on to the Addo Elephant Park. It is also a lovely park. The elephants seem to be much more placid than the Kruger elephants and we saw lots of them. We were also lucky enough to see a lioness sitting in the grass by the Domkrag dam. The birding was much better and I managed to photograph a few more birds on the Nzipondo Loop and at the Domkrag Pan.
We were only there for the day as we could not get any accommodation. It has become a very popular park.
On we went to Port Elizabeth to a timeshare for a week on Brookes Hill, right on Kings Beach with a lovely view of the sea. We visited Cape Recife and saw a Black Oystercatcher on the sands, also Sanderlings, and lots of Swift and Common Terns.
It was Marine week unbeknown to us so when we visited SAMREC we got a free conducted tour around the rehabilitation centre. It was very interesting. I photographed some of the inmates.
Our outing with Birdlife P.E. was unfortunately on one of those hugely windy days where all the birds took for cover. We had to bird from the car as the wind almost knocked you over. We were trying to find the White-Bellied Korhaan but unfortunately had no luck. They were a very friendly group and I enjoyed being with them.
We had weeks timeshare at Plettenberg Bay which was lovely. It is such a beautiful part of the country and has remained unspoilt. I organised a birding trip with Gareth Robbins and we managed to see a Victorin’s Warbler in the Fynbos at Hartenbos and then very exciting – a lifer for me – a Knysna Warbler in a garden in Plettenberg Bay.
Knysna Heads was also visited and we saw a number of birds on a little pan along the way.
All in all it was a wonderful holiday.
Jenny & Dave Rix
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