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De Hoop Nature Reserve - Ocean House Part Three

Part III

sunny 85 °F

Hiking in the morning and a boat ride in the afternoon, it's hard to imagine that there is so much to do here because I think I am in the middle of nowhere. Also as I have explained the warm weather and minimal wind that we have experienced is not common this time of the year and in fact the weather is changing tomorrow, so in anticipation of that change our host has scheduled this boat outing today while the weather is great.
I am excited to go on this little excursion because they told us that there will be many birds.
Back up into the big Land Rover for the drive across the reserve to the lake, along the way see ostrich, the rare bontebok , Cape mountain zebra and some eland. Cape Leopards are not really common here, in fact I think they are more of an urban legend, Calvin insists the do exist and have been seen on hidden cameras. But because they are so rare the animals here within the reserve are very relaxed, As we drive by they hardly take note of us and continue to graze and stroll along the open fields.
We arrive at the lake and find a rickety dock with a small pontoon boat with a canopy. Calvin, Vusi, Clive, Tee, Allan and I cast off for our adventure on the water. Many birds and ducks in and around the lake, Calvin and Vusi are great spotters and I try to catch them in my camera, I have been looking forward to shooting the birds and hope i get a couple good shots. It's very peaceful and the wind is blowing a little bit. We travel across to the other side but the water is very shallow and we have to hang out a bit farther from the opposite shore line that is covered with pink flamingos and pelicans. The pelicans remind me of home and the brown Florida pelicans I love so much, but they are much bigger. Someone spots an eagle (I think it is Vusi), on top of a tree pretty far away and in an instant all the birds are disturbed and the flock takes off in flight. Allan and I try our best to capture the scene. ( yes, pictures coming when I get a stronger internet connection).
It's peaceful on the lake and we now start to drift with the motor off and the gin and tonics poured. We talk about all things and listen to Vusi tell us about where he is from in Zimbabwe. He is a tall and gentle man who is soft spoken. He is Matabele and the regime in Zim have not treated them well to say the least so those that survived have tried to make a life in other places while maintaining their homes or farms as well. His oldest son runs his farm with over 100 cows, which is a sign of wealth in these parts. I could listen to Vusi all day and I am sure he has many stories to tell. Maybe next trip!
Meanwhile back to the Ocean House for a little rest before dinner. It's exciting to think about what chef Jose' has prepared for us tonight.

Posted by Lauriesam 19:51 Archived in South Africa Tagged #offthebeatenpath #southafrica #oceanhouse #dehoopnaturereserve #hospitalityatitsbest

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