Lo-ong time since I’d been to the famous vlei, and last time was just a day visit. The cottage looked newly-refurbished with a very smart fridge in the kitchenette, good linen, good shower and a neat little deck and braai area. Very comfortable. More so as I didn’t need any of the kitchen kit – the friendly man at the camp’s Spoonbill restaurant offered to cook for me. What do you do best? I asked. Mutton curry and rice, I saw your ND numberplate, he said. Then he delivered it early to my cottage about fifty metres away. I’m doing room service as you’re my only customer!

The microwave blitz’d it piping hot when I was ready and I sat and watched Crested Francolin and Swainson’s Spurfowl with young crossing the lawn to find a perch for the night. Bonus was a White-throated Robin Chat.

Knob-billed and White-faced Duck, Jacana with young, Anhinga, Goliath Heron, Spoonbill, Sacred Ibis, Black Heron, Little Rush Warbler, Coot, Moorhen with young, many others. I should stop being lazy and do lists. A real treat to me was seeing ten Black Herons in one little pond. As they flew off their feet looked very orange, not yellow, so I checked, but it was only their feet, so Black Herons they were. To confirm, they then treated me to repeated exhibitions of their canopy fishing technique.

The river was flowing well after good rains and at the pipes under the roads which have unfortunately been built across the vlei in places, swarms of barbels faced upstream and noisily tussled as they gulped at anything floating downstream. Pictures didn’t come out well, I needed a polarised filter to see past the surface.

Steenbok, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebees, Slender Mongoose and others seen, but the birds are the star attraction. I checked out the campsite as I’m sure I’ll go back once I have my canopy camper. Soon!


PS: Lost my cellphone scenic pics so only have my little Canon SX620hs pics of birds from the hide and from the road.

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