December 4, 2022

image of orange sunrise, mossel bay, south africa

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.

image of hay bales and farm fields, south africa

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.

image of blue sky and fields of baled straw, south africa

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.

image of ostriches in farm field, south africa

Outside the town of Heidelberg, Bob and I noticed a number of Ostriches roaming the fields of wheat.

image of ostriches in farm field, south africa

We later realized that many Ostrich farms are maintained in that region of agricultural land.

image of many ostriches, south africa

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.

image of jean with a flock of ostriches, south africa

The Ostriches had other ideas!  They hastened toward me at the edge of the field.

image of an ostrich head with beak open, south africa

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!

image of highway through grain-growing region, south africa

As we turned south from Swellendam towards the coast, the highway passed through the thick of the grain-growing region.

image of a blue crane, south africa

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.

image of a blue crane in a wheat field, south africa

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.

image of orange wildflowers, garden route, south africa

In the vicinity of Hermanus, the landscape suddenly changed.  Orange The Pincushions provided a punch of colour.

image of everlasting flowers in pink, yellow and white, garden route, south africa

The scrubby brown hillsides and ditches were dappled with a proliferation of gorgeous wildflowers in bloom.

image of pink strawflowers, garden route, south africa

This species of flower is called Cape Everlasting.

image of white strawflowers, garden route, south africa

They were in pretty shades of pink and white.

image of trees and wildflowers, garden route, south africa

Other bushy shrubs had brilliant ostentatious blooms in yellow and orange.

image of pink bugle-lilies near cape town, south africa

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.

image of rocky ridge and scree slope near cape town, south africa

Continuing west from Walker Bay, the land changed again and became very rough and forbidding.

image of scree slope to edge of highway, near Cape Town, south africa

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.

image of coastal mountains near cape town, south africa

Despite the dry harsh conditions, native green shrubs and hearty flowering bushes and plants lent their colour to brighten the scenery.

image of rugged cliffs near cape town, south africa

Nearing Cape Town, the serpentine highway traced the coastline, clinging tenuously to the base of the mountains.

image of sentinel mountain and hout bay, south africa

When we got a glimpse of Sentinel Mountain across Hout Bay, we knew that we would soon arrive at our destination.

image of inner courtyard, winchester mansions hotel, cape town, south africa

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.

Related:

The Garden Route Was Brimming With Wildflowers In South Africa

White Rhinoceros in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, South Africa

Our Early Morning Armed Safari at Kruger National Park

Beachcombing Natural Treasures Along The Indian Ocean

Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean

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