The final part of the trip was much less about birding and game watching, and more a bit of a road trip and city break. Given the biodiversity and wealth of wildlife in South Africa, it was impossible to get away from great birds, and I couldn't resist the odd stop here and there.
After leaving Hluhluwe, we headed for Harrismith where I'd spent 3 months back in 2008. This took us not too far away from the forest board walk in Eshowe, so we stopped there to break up the journey. Unfortunately we were there mid-morning on a hot day, with some sort of school event making a racket nearby, so needless to say it wasn't at it's best. Highlights included Narina trogon, Lemon dove and Chorister robin chat.
|Chorister robin chat being skulky|
|Lemon dove in very dim light under the thick canopy|
After a pretty long drive, with only an always disappointing Wimpy burger for relief, we were grateful to be arriving in Harrismith with a few hours of daylight left. Plans were made with Michael and Kate (with whom we were staying) to head out to Clarens for dinner, which would take us through Golden Gate NP, a really spectacular place around sunset, especially on the plains where large numbers of antelope gather in late evening
|Golden Gate NP is named after the glorious golden colour of the rock outcrops|
|Large numbers of antelope like these springbok and blesbok gather on the plains at dusk|
After a lovely meal, we decided that we would stay in Harrismith a second night, so as to give ourselves a day to do some walking in the Drakensberg the next day. The plan was to drive up to the Sentinel car park, and try and walk up to Mont aux Sources plateau. Unfortunately, the Micra let us down (or my courage did), and I couldn't get it up the extremely rugged track to the car park. Luckily the tarmac lasted far enough to get to the Witsieshoek Hotel, where the hotel manager puts out bones to feed the Lammergeier. They had already been fed when we arrived, but the manager kindly agreed to put more bones out, whilst we got stuck in to some apple crumble in the hotel restaurant. The birds arrived so quickly I had to dash out and abandon mine, but they did give stunning views, better than any pudding!
|Lammergeier being mobbed by White-necked raven|
|And this young Lanner dropped by, before getting mobbed by a Black-shouldered kite|
|Southern bald ibis|
The next day we were in for a long and somewhat monotonous drive across the Karoo, stopping for the night in an amazing little hamlet called Nieu Bethesda.
|African Hoopoe on the lawn of the water tower we stayed in at Nieu Bethesda|
|Blue cranes in the Karoo|
|Buff-streaked chat, Eastern Cape|
|Southern Right Whale, De Hoop|
|Cape Sugarbird in the Capefold mountains|
|Agulhas long-billed lark, near De Hoop|
|African black oystercatcher, De Hoop|
|Capped wheatear, near De Hoop|
|Grey-winged francolin, De Hoop|
|White-throated swallows, near De Hoop|
|Kittlitz's plover, Groot Braksrivier|
|African penguin, Betty's Bay|
|Cape Batis, Kirstenbosch gardens|
|African paradise flycatcher, Kirstenbosch gardens|
|Water dikkop, Strandfontein Sewage works|