Day 5 – The Lions Through Panda Eyes

The honorary WWF River Walkers (Nikara Mahadeo and Sue Viljoen)  decided to join in on another day of the Lions River Walk. We started the morning, bright and early as usual, meeting Penny, Prev, John and Breandan at their overnight spot. Nikara compiled this account of their (1)

The crisp morning air slowly dissipated as the rays of sunshine began to illuminate the hills and fields, as we made our way down to the river.

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The walking was relatively easy and soon we were able to dip our toes into the cold river water, for the first of three Mini-SASS’s for the day. The score was not a vast improvement from the Mini-SASS the day before, but our displeasure was soon diminished by the sight and call of some crowned cranes downstream of us.

Our wandering along the open river banks, soon became steering through the wattle re-growth after some previous clearing.

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You can then imagine our joy when we then came across the first of several cascades that we saw during the course of the day.

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The massive indigenous forest ahead of us, was also a sight to behold, especially when we managed to find our way out of the wattle trees into the open veld.

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Evidence that we crossed about 12 fences for the day, were the rips in some of our clothes.

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Though there seemed to be no direct discharge of waste in to the river, but again, the second Mini-SASS score was 6.4.  However parts of the river banks were covered in dense bush or bramble. We often saw a particular hedge, of which none of us could identify, but clearly posed a problem.

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Further along the way another hedge, which we think could be a cotoneaster species, seemed to be spreading.

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We could not surpass the opportunity to have an early lunch stop with a view of the beautiful waterfall in front of us and Penny and Prev could not resist the chance to cool-off.

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Once the hiking boots were back on, we wound our away along the meandering river, amongst pine and gum plantations. We were glad to see some attempts of alien clearing,

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but were often having to trek over and through log jams and old trees in and along the river.

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We reached another cascade, which seemed to be an otter favourite, with lots of scat all over the rocks.

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At points where we couldn’t find a way, rock-hopping seemed to be our only option.

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The rock-hopping allowed us to spot a place for another Mini-SASS, where Penny was ecstatic to find her first shrimp on this river walk. But again the score was only around 6.1.

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Along the last stretch of river, we almost lost Penny in the under growth of wandering jew.

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We were glad that we could walk along a nice pathway for the rest of the way, where wwe could admire some of the floral treasures.

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Our tired legs then trudged up the hillside, to the overnight stop, with the hope that the next few days are as adventurous.

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About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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