Wakkerstroom, but that’s actually a sunset.
‘Wakkers’ is a lovely little dorp in the high grasslands above the Drakensberg escarpment. The town has its quota of interesting mense. Early Sunday morning I was waiting to go on our drive when a sleek dark Jaguar sedan eased up the road very slowly. When he drew level with me outside the Inn the tinted window wound down and the driver peered at me intently. He looked of an age so I asked him ala 1965 Springbok Radio Squad Cars “Are you prowling the empty streets at night?” He gave me a long look and said mysteriously “I’m on a mission” and wafted off. Obviously undercover.
Maybe the mystery Celtic house was his abode?
One of those thirteen Celtic Commandments is “Semblance Of Evil Allow Not Near Thee”. Ri-ight!
Wakkers has a large wetland area which is fairly well-preserved. These areas are scarce as they’re usually drained and ploughed, so Wakkers is a special refuge and has become a famous birding spot.
We stayed in the Country Inn, which apparently has been bought by HuntEssentials, who have a big game farm outside town. That might account for all the dead beasts on the walls.
My highlight this weekend was a mammal, not a nyoni for once! Two otters frolicking in the water at 4pm on Friday and Saturday afternoons. I think they were spotted-necked. They were swimming and diving and baljaaring. Every now and then they would hold their heads high and shake them. Once one kept its head above water for a minute or so while it ate something. Their tails were flattened vertically like an eel’s – the main reason I thought they were spotted-necked as I think clawless’ tails are round – are they? The last time I saw otter was in the Okavango Delta at Oddballs Palm Island Luxury Lodge (which isn’t).
We didn’t see the special birds, it was windy a lot of the time. Next time . . .
We saw lots of other good birds anyway. Blue korhaan was my best, as they dived under a graspol and ‘disappeared.’
We had two excellent guides. David Nkosi who knew his way around the distrik, and Mike Spain who knew the full text of Monty Python’s King Arthur sketch! We scanned the lake and the forest but no watery tart proffered us no sword . . .
word wakker – wake up; literally, ‘become awake’
dorp – village
mense – people
nyoni – bird
graspol – tuft of grass
baljaaring – frolicking
distrik – district
Seeing this pic below, Jon Taylor asked: “What were we searching for?”
I suggested: “our lost youth?”
Taylor sighed: “Need a Hubble telescope to spot that phenomenon receding at the speed of light.” (Me; There’d be lots of red-shift, I guess)
wetland hide pic by M vZyl in Getaway – thanks