It’s raining, it’s pouring . . .

Well, thanks for the good weather wishes, MT, but no such luck.  It has rained every day since Sept 24th, or whatever day I left Tembe.  And it just gets worse.  It rained so hard today, that it was almost impossible to see the road when I was driving.  Of course, the locals are dancing in the streets, after 2 ‘rainy seasons’ with no rain.

I stayed in Tsitsikamma Lodge after I left Grahamstown, as it seemed a good jump off point for what I wanted to see.  Really nice place, and great staff.  It sometimes pays to just show up with no reservation (and of course, sometimes not . . ) since the only thing Tsitsikamma had left was a 6 bed cabin, which I’ve had for the last two nights.  Wait until you see the pics and video – *so* much nicer than the web photos.

There was a whole tree full of weaver birds, and many other kinds of birdlife there too.  So you know I was happy.  I also went to Birds of Eden, I think it’s called.  It’s a huge acreage under *very* high netting, where all the birds fly (relatively) free.  There is a no touching, no feeding policy there, except at the cafe, where of course it could never be enforced, given that birds are world champion moochers.  So sitting at the cafe, having a sandwich, and this big cockatoo starts calling ‘Hello’ to me.  As soon as my food came, a grey flew down to the table, followed by a pair of louries.  The grey had learned how to get the plate covers off the food, and the louries were along to get the left-overs.  So many birds came down to try and beg, it was just a hoot.

Meanwhile the cockatoo was still sitting on the branch, mournfully calling hello, so I went over and picked him up, and as cockatoos do, he immediately snuggled up for a scratch.  Then, as cockatoos also do, he refused to get down, so he rode on my shoulder for the next half hour while I looked at more birds.

They had a huge number of species represented there.  It was great, since I haven’t had a bird fix since the bird park in Durban.

Then I went to Monkey World, which is right next door, and is a sanctuary for all sorts of monkeys, apes and lemurs. Well, the monkeys are not mooches, they are outright thieves.  We were warned to take all our jewellery off and to have nothing in our pockets as they even jump you and search your pockets for food or shiny things.  I didn’t see to many different kinds of things there as it had darkened down and was threatening rain, but those I saw were pretty interesting.  Spider monkeys, capuchins, vervets and three kinds of lemurs.  The guide was really interesting though, and I learned lots about several different facets of monkey-dom.

But then, a monkey peed on me from high in a tree.  The guide, a lovely French-African from Congo, the type of gentleman who always carries a handkerchief, tried wiping me down, but it didn’t do much good.  Then to top it off, when we went back to the seating area where everyone gathers before they take the tour, I sat down to rest, right in a pile of monkey-poo, which is just a perfect match for the shade of the wooden seating.  Man, did I ever need a shower and some clean clothes!!   At least monkey-poo scrapes off more easily than bird-poo.

I took the ‘scenic route’ to get there, as advised by the hotel staff, (Hwy 102 MT – do you know it?  It’s called Bloukrans Pass) and it was so breathtakingly beautiful it was hard to drive.  And the changes in elevation were so large and so frequent that you were popping your ears like a hip-hop star pops his limbs.

I had to go home after the monkey park as it had started to rain, so I was glad I’d taken the scenic route to get there – but I missed several other things I wanted to do in the area.

Last night it started pouring, a real tropical downpour, and it hasn’t stopped.  I’m cold and wet, but I did stop at the elephant sanctuary today, even though it was raining.  The elephants were inside as they apparently don’t much like the rain, and they let visitors take a tour of the barns, and feed the elephants a pail of mixed veg and fruit.  The baby was so cute, and really played on his ability to charm folks to get a more than fair share of the goodies.  One of the elephants wasn’t happy with just taking one piece at a time with his trunk – he just opened his mouth wide and wanted his food shoveled right in.  I get the feeling that they see more of tourists than they want to though.  It’s hard to justify putting animals through that even if it leads to so much more awareness of their situation and having their lives saved.  But who am I to talk – if it’s an animal or bird place, I’ll be the first one in line.

Got to go and find the bus schedule info, and the info about where I have to catch it and drop the car off.   If I can’t get it today, as Sundays seem to be run at less than half-speed here, I my stay another day, and at least have a chance to go out and see the whales before I head to Cape Town.

Hope you all had good turkey . . . I’m just giving thanks over my Steer burger for all kinds of things.

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4 Comments »

  1. MT said

    Howzit, grannym!

    Wow, it’s a hot one here in S. Ontario! Humidex is 39C – kinda freaky for Thanksgiving Monday. Just checked your weather on the south coast and looks like you are much cooler and cloudy. Hope the rain has stopped so you can enjoy those ocean views.

    Can picture the location of the Tsitsikamma Lodge at Storms River. It was the old Pine View Motel – have stopped there several times – didn’t know it had burned and been rebuilt. Have also driven the Bloukrans several times – dizzying just thinking about it! Can you imagine what the drive from P.E. to CapeTown was like (and how long it took) when that was the main road? Good you took the scenic route, though. You miss so much if you just stick to the relatively-new N2. There is so much to do along that stretch of coast, it was smart of you to have your own wheels for that part of the trip.

    Your monkey poo story made me laugh. They are such cheeky, messy, destructive little critters – but so cute! Looking forward to the report on the whale-watching. Haven’t done that myself – yet. Take care! MT

  2. Brian said

    Hello at last. I’m just catching up with you after the last three weeks of impossible busy-ness. After Oster-House being slow for so long, they are now popping, and I was working 10 – 13 hour days for quite a stretch. So yesterday and today I had the chance to read up to date with your blog. Very glad, of course, you didn’t yield to the temptation to pack it all in and come home early. Looking back on my life, there are very few things I regret doing, but a whole lot of things I regret not doing.

    Really impressed with your photos. Best I’ve seen you do, and certainly testament to the wonderful wildlife you have been privileged to see. Though I will admit that a couple of the skyline ones with the big acacia (?) tree were my favourites.

    Mary Ellen and I just went out to a fancy hotel restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner today. Just didn’t have the time and energy to host a dinner as we have in previous years. Oddly, we had the place all to ourselves, so it was very quiet and once we got used to it, really very enjoyable.

    Love you,
    Brian

    *** The skyline photos were borrowed (most of them), as were some of the others, so that may account for the better photography. I had said in my previous blogs that I was borrowing, so maybe you missed that one. But I do think some of my photos are better, though so many taken on the run with a camera that takes forever to focus, so with wildlife I can get a whole bunch of empty frames, because they’ve moved.
    The days I couldn’t get anything downloaded, or any shots taken, I used some of the other volunteers’ photos as they already had many downloaded from cameras that didn’t need to install special drivers and stuff.
    Glad things are slowing down to a reasonable pace for you though.
    Love you, and give my love to Mary Ellen too.

  3. Kayleigh said

    The cafe sounds amazing! How I’d love to spend hours in there with the birds!

    *** It’s a whole huge park, with a cafe at one end. It was really great. So hope you guys can make a trip like this someday. ***

    Mum invited Dad to Thanksgiving dinner so we all had Thanksgiving together over there on Sunday. Tons of turkey, carrots and squash, dressing, etc… if you feel too much like you missed out we’ll all have another Thanksgiving when you return – who couldn’t eat more turkey? 🙂

    *** I’m glad Dad got to get turkey dinner and some company too. Say ‘Hi’ to your Mom for me. She seems like a really nice lady, and she did raise you, so she’s done something right, eh? I’m afraid I’ll be hot onto Christmas prep when I get back, but thanks for the turkey offer anyway.

  4. Eli Jakeman said

    OK, I understand you don’t wanna bring me back a hyena or spider, but how about a spider monkey??
    I’d be just like Davina, but less trouble!
    Bwahahahahahahahaha

    *** Be nice!! No one said that about you when you were that age, and believe me . . . . . Love ya, ****

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