Addo Elephant Park: two eyes, a tusk and a yawning lion

Yesterday I drove down to Port Elizabeth to collect Kate at the airport with the thought of an afternoon game drive through Addo Elephant Park on the way home to Grahamstown.  We have a SA National Parks Wild Card subscription which gives you free entry for a year and so it’s a real incentive to get into a park if you are near one.

We drove into the southern section of the park from the N2 through the Mathyolweni Gate and exited halfway up the Park near Nanaga.  There’s was plenty to see in the late afternoon light.  We got really close to some very relaxed elephants, saw lots of buffalo, many, many warthogs and then came across a very sleepy lioness.

The beauty of owning a Pentax is that all of your old lenses will work even on the newest body.  Yesterday’s pictures were taken using my old manual Tokina SD 70-210.  It was a real pleasure to work with it again and for my fingers to rekindle their memories.

Back to Featherstone Kloof for the flowers

We went back to Featherstone Kloof yesterday to see the King Proteas and all the other winter flowers.  We have had a warm sunny spell lately and so lots of flowers are blossoming in the grasslands and fynbos.  It was a real mix.  There’s this year’s Proteas with the most amazing coral pink shades, the winter leaves fallen in the forest, and last year’s Protea and Oldenburgia flowers all dried up and shrivelled into intricate patterns.  The strong warm wind made for pleasant walking but it made the photography tricky.

The Round of Featherstone Kloof

This is our favourite weekend walk.  Direct from the front door is a 14 km hike that starts by crossing the Grahamstown bypass and then goes up over the grasslands of Mountain Drive before dropping down ‘heartbreak hill’ and into Featherstone Kloof . Then it’s along the valley, across the stream, through some woodland and bush before the steep haul up the other side and back into the grassland and fresh flowers.

Last Sunday we walked through a very large patch of burned veld from the bush fires a week or two earlier.  There were plenty of new flowers coming through and we saw sugar birds on the King Proteas – which is a bit unusual.  It’s always a bit of a slog back up and over Mountain Drive but the thought of a cold Windhoek in the fridge at home can, just possibly, urge you on.

My verdict: a good round on a sunny winter’s day.