Two things kept me from enjoying a deep sleep last night – our Director of Transport, John’s snoring and an encounter with an angry scorpion, just as I was climbing into bed. John, who was still reading, started dishing out some wild instructions as to how we should rid ourselves of this intruder. I noticed that, because said intruder was in my bed, he did not bother to give any practical assistance. This morning our host Stella said there are “a lot” around at the moment. Guess who’s sleeping on top of the cupboard tonight? (Can scorpions climb that high?)
The river winds her way down a canyon that has to be the most spectacular in South Africa, and almost no one knows about it! Our walk was entirely on the south bank or river right.
We experienced some relatively easy walking, approximately 2km after our starting point, along an overgrown track.
We passed old settlements, a grave, nguni cattle and some alien plant-free areas, with giant Euphorbias, Land Rover Papwieliensis (Sickle Bush), tall aloes on the hill slopes and Sycamore Figs on the rivers edge.
Gary Behn told us that this area had been cleared by Working for Water teams about 2 years ago, and this part of the river is proof that the program is effective – our mini SASS score produced loud whoops of joy – we found Stone Fly – the highest scoring invertebrate, and our final score was the best we have had on the entire river – 8.8!
Further downstream we came across a steady alien plant infestation, with Chromaleana odorata now occurring regularly, and we ended the day at an area previously sand mined. It was not rehabilitated, and the great holes and hillocks have now covered with grasses, but the alien vegetation is everywhere in huge amounts.
We were lucky today, as Andrew Booth dropped us off at the river and collected us later.
We had two visitors to boost our spirits along the way – first Gary arrived by motorbike
and then Doug Burden arrived and ate our lunch. Nice to see you back in the saddle. Just in case you forgot, please thank Elspeth, for the lovely grub on Monday night.