Monday, 26 May 2014

My Bird of Prey route?

A recent road trip took us along South Africa's West Coast, through Saldahna, Paternoster and Lambert's Bay, then up the N7 stopping in Clanwilliam and Vanrhynsdorp before turning east through Calvinia, Williston, Carnarvon and then south through Loxton and down to Beaufort West.  We travelled deep into South Africa's heartland, the vast, arid and hauntingly beautiful expanses of the Great Karoo, an area of 400,000 square kilometres (which is larger than Germany). 

We visited the West Coast, Rocherpan and Karoo National Park's which are spectacular, but one of the highlights of the trip was the amazing bird of prey sightings en route.  These included jackal buzzard, forest buzzard, pale-chanting goshawk, black-shouldered kite, rock kestrel, greater kestrel and the black-breasted snake eagle, most chilling on telephone-poles, taking in the views.

The Karoo economy has a lot to do with sheep but in recent times game farming and tourism has increased rapidly.  The little towns, scattered infrequently across possibly one of the quietest areas on the planet, are full of character (and characters).  Coffee and roosterkoek (chunks of bread dough cooked over coals)  at 'Die Muishuis' in Vanrhynsdorp, lunch at 'The Williston Mall' or a walk around Calvinia, there's plenty to see and do and it won't take long to discover the spirit of the land and it's people.  Even if it's just sitting, sipping a sundowner, watching the blades of a windmill go round and round.
Die Muishuis

The Williston Mall

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