Knysna, to Addo, cold, snow, cats and an elephant or two
The last day at Knysna was cold and wet, a very big cold front came through and clamped down so the Thursday was spent fairly sedentary. Tracey and Lee-Anne had wanted to spend some time in Knysna proper so Mike and I took charge of the children and went to the heads (and got blown away) and then met the ladies for coffee. The next day we left early for Addo. We drove up the N2, over the Van Staadens River Bridge and then stopped off at the Storms River Bridge to take some photos. On route we noted that it had snowed on the Outeniqua peaks.
From Storms river we drove to Humansdorp, and then to Addo. This part of the trip was very depressing with the large amount of Prickly Pear (Opuntia species). Native to Mexico this plant has become a huge problem in South Africa. Leaves falling off root where they fall. Rapidly a forest grows killing a lot of the local vegetation. There were areas where there was more pear than anything else. I have seen problem areas before in the Karroo but this was very bad, by far the worst that I have ever seen. Invaders are a problem and we noted them in the Outeniquas as well where pines were very problematic on the slopes and Wattles along the rivers. Once at Addo we surprised the girls with a trip to the Daniells Cheetah Breeding Programme, a very good initiative near Kirkwood. Here they keep cats for breeding and apparently re-establish wild cats through SA. We took a tour of the place and saw Serval, Caracoul, Cheetah (the girls got to pet one) and then the best, two Lion cubs. The girls (and all of us) enjoyed petting and playing with these animals. They were the size of staffordshire terriers and playful as kittens.
From Daniells we headed to our B and B on a Kirkwood orange farm, a lovely little place, and headed to Addo for the last few hours of the day. Addo is a very different game reserve. Most people are used to viewing animals in the bushveld. This is nothing like it. Low trees, most being spekboom (Portulacaria afra) a very dense succulent. Not easy viewing place but we were lucky, within 20 minutes we came accross a herd of approximately 15 elephants right next to the road. Further along we saw loads of Kudu, a loan hyena and then a large bull eelphant. It was a very good trip into the park.
After Addo we went back to the B and B, had a light supper and then went to bed. It was cold and warm beds and tea were welcomed. The next mornignw as lovely and sunny, unlike the windy overcast day before. I found a swarm of Vanessa cardui (The Painted Lady) feeding and sunning themselves in the flower beds and took a few pictures before packing up again and heading to Hogsback.