Day 2 – The Lion, the Leopard and the Crowned Cranes

Penny writes: After waving Pandora, Mike and Stembiso farewell, we enjoyed an amazing evening under the stars, falling asleep to the sounds of jackal crying, zebra barking, and countless frogs calling from the nearby stream.

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Preven adds: The morning starts too soon. Last night I slept under the stars sliding on a tarp as the cold wind blew. Before I know it the sun is up and we have to get ready. I chase down after Penny as she rolls along over the hill.

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The source is so close and the Eland meanders through – flowing into delightful streams.  Saying a water blessing as we touch the water it is a perfect start to the morning. Working with the data sheets we try to get into a rhythm recording all impacts and sights we can. But it does slow us down.

Penny continues: After passing three beautiful waterfalls, we followed the stream down, down as it wound between the hills.  Beautiful patches of indigenous forest and open grasslands – all so beautiful.

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Suddenly only a few kilometres down we found the first wattle,

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bramble and bug weed alongside the river.

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Approaching a small dam, we spied Sue Viljoen & Nikara Mahedo from WWF who joined us for the day.

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As the miles rolled by we crossed wetlands

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rock hopped streams, wandered through indigenous forest,

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bluegum and pine plantations, areas freshly cleared of wattles,

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effluent,

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and glades of Ouhout (Leucocidea sericea).

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Leopard scats, porcupine quills, a flock of over 20 Spurwing Geese, and three times the call of the Crowned Crane drifted to us across the wetlands.

By 15h00, after crossing 16 Fences

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Breandan arrived with Dean from Hawklee Country House, and we drove to our overnight spot. How can we thank Dean and Belinda for their hospitality – we are sleeping in their home, and enjoyed a delicious dinner which we shared with some of the landowners on the river in the area. Now – bedtime, to sleep well on a soft bed: what a treat, perfect preparation of another days walking!

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About Nikki Brighton

I live in a Magic Cottage near the mist-belt forest with my African dog, Dizzy. We enjoy long walks in the fields to gather wild greens, sitting on the verandah with a pot of tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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