Hordes of Ostriches On The Way To Cape Town
Sunrise must have been a little before 5:30 a.m. because that is when I woke up to a bright sunbeam that found a chink in the room-darkening drapes. I jumped out of bed and snapped a photo but already the brilliant orb was a short distance above the horizon.
Bob and I would be making our way from Mossel Bay to Cape Town this day. In no time, the flat coastal plain gave way to vast farm fields that cover the spread of undulating hills. Acres of baled straw covered extensive acreages from Riversdale to Swellendam and beyond.
All we saw was blue sky and golden fields much resembling the wheat fields of the Canadian Prairies. Bob and I came to the conclusion that the area is the breadbasket of South Africa.
Outside the town of Heidelberg, Bob and I noticed a number of Ostriches roaming the fields of wheat.
We later realized that many Ostrich farms are maintained in that region of agricultural land.
It was too tempting to pass up. Bob pulled the car over so I could snap some photos of these large birds as they foraged for grain in the fields.
The Ostriches had other ideas! They hastened toward me at the edge of the field.
I was immensely grateful for the fence that held them back, but we had some dandy closeup views of these very large birds. The crush of the flock was intimidating!
As we turned south from Swellendam towards the coast, the highway passed through the thick of the grain-growing region.
On one knoll, a Blue Crane was similarly foraging for spilled or leftover wheat kernels. The wheat fields are a major breeding ground for Blue Cranes, South Africa’s national bird.
Blue Cranes are dwindling in numbers due to the loss of habitat and poisoning, either deliberately to protect crops or accidentally. They are now listed as vulnerable.
In the vicinity of Hermanus, the landscape suddenly changed. Orange The Pincushions provided a punch of colour.
The scrubby brown hillsides and ditches were dappled with a proliferation of gorgeous wildflowers in bloom.
This species of flower is called Cape Everlasting.
They were in pretty shades of pink and white.
Other bushy shrubs had brilliant ostentatious blooms in yellow and orange.
For many, many kilometers, the roadway was shouldered with flowers and shrubs in bloom such as this Bugle-Lily. Not until we reached Cape Town would we be officially off the Garden Route.
Continuing west from Walker Bay, the land changed again and became very rough and forbidding.
Mountains composed of crumbling boulders, fields of stone, and scree slopes abounded from the upper reaches of the slopes right to the edge of the roadway.
Despite the dry harsh conditions, native green shrubs and hearty flowering bushes and plants lent their colour to brighten the scenery.
Nearing Cape Town, the serpentine highway traced the coastline, clinging tenuously to the base of the mountains.
When we got a glimpse of Sentinel Mountain across Hout Bay, we knew that we would soon arrive at our destination.
From our room at the Winchester Boutique Hotel, Bob and I had a lovely view of the inner courtyard draped in cascading Bougainvillea. We relaxed in the lap of luxury.
Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean