Monday, 2 October 2017

The Garden Route to Knysna


Leaving Cape Town we set off along what is known as the Garden Route. New leaves on the trees and flowers were bursting forth daily as we travelled.






Erythrina - in South Africa they call this a Coral Tree, but I know it as a Flame Tree
Bauhinia purpurea - orchid tree, butterfly tree 
Leucospermum cordifolium - pincushion protea
I didn't realise that there are so many different proteas, and that they come in many different guises. In South Africa this exotic shrub grows wild.


As daylight faded we took a trip on a paddle steamer down Knysna's romantic sea lagoon - on board we enjoyed a local fish dish accompanied by lots of freshly cooked spicey African vegetables and watched the sun slip away
 Our stay in the area was in a quaint old colonial style hotel called 'The Wilderness'

There were clues on the hotel walls in the form of old posters along with black and white photographs as to how vacations must have been during the 1920s.  They showed people hunting with rangers, trekking through dense undergrowth in forests with giant trees, or climbing up rugged mountains with ponies and porters.
Trees not dissimilar to this 37 metres tall, 800 year old Yellowwood Tree growing in one of South Africa's last primeval forests nearby. 
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Every year the southern right whales migrate from their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica to the warmer sheltered bays of this South Western Cape coast where they spend up to five months of the year. The coastal waters teem with these giant mammals, mating, calving and rearing their young, and giving spectacular displays of their elegant water acrobatics.
Weighing in at about 60 tons and estimated to live as long as a 100 years, the southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) has become a major tourist attraction along this part of the South African coast. 
My images of these great whales were hopeless - I was not quick enough to catch them breaching - this is a mother and her young one basking. Basking is a huge problem for the southern right whale as they get mowed down and killed by large ships - guidance has now been issued to mariners to avoid waters where they are known to be at certain times of the year.
 It's Spring, and the dexterous male weaver bird builds an intricate ball shaped nest. Once completed, the female inspects it, and then deconstructs it ruthlessly if she deems it to be unsatisfactory.
Our journey now returns us to Cape Town via the Stellenbosch wine region. 

37 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos of South Africa. Photograping whales is very difficult indeed. I once tried in Canada,I only had photos of the sea. They jump to unexpected fast up and down again.

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    1. I have tried in Canada too - in Nova Scotia. Lots of sea photos here too with fuzzy whale tales and big black blobs etc,

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  2. It is so interesting to see that South Africa has all the same bright flowering trees as we do in Queensland, many of them introduced from other places. We call it flame tree here also. The ride b paddle steamer on a lagoon sounds lovely, particularly with dinner served along the way. The weaver birds are certainly intriguing too. I am enjoying your look at South Africa very much.

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    1. It is the first time that I have ever seen a weaver birds nest - what a clever little bird he is, you would think that his partner would be more grateful♡

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  3. What a wonderful holiday. I love those weaver birds nests and those flowers! Everything is just beautiful.

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    1. The flowers, the birdlife, and the landscapes were very exotic.

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  4. So beautiful. I always thought we'd make it to Africa some day, we've been to Egypt, but it's beginning to look like we won't.

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  5. Hello Rosemary, We hear so much about the politics of South Africa that it is nice to be reminded of its scenic and natural beauties.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - natural beauties were seen throughout all of our journeys.

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  6. Beautiful flowers, they just about jump off the screen!

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  7. So stunning, the trees, flowers, birds - you captured everything so beautifully Rosemary. That poster is really neat - love the cockatoos(?) and wish I still looked like that in a swimsuit, haha!
    As for whales, didn't get great pix in Hawaii but fabulous ones in Antarctica where the whales breached within yards of our Zodiac boats and looked us right in the eye!
    Thanks for sharing these pix - looking forward to viewing the wineries of Stellenbosch - I've enjoyed some great SA wines.
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. I envy you your good whale photos Mary - I am just not quick enough, mainly I think, because I am too absorbed in watching them; however, I would have loved to caught them just once.
      Hope all is going well with your revamp - I don't like having jobs done in and around the house, but it is great when everything is completed and done.

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  8. It seems you have been traveling too. Your pictures are fascinating. I have never been to that part of the world.

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    1. It was a first for me Janey - and Springtime too.

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  9. Beautiful scenery,exotic plant life, sunshine and heat. Very jealous :o)

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    1. Spring is a lovely time around the world wherever you go - the warmth from the sun was just the right temperature for me as I don't like it too hot.

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  10. The flowers of South Africa are so vibrant and unusual in shape. Some of them grow well in our climate too. I especially like the beautiful varieties of Protea. Lovely sunset photo.!

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    1. Flowers originating from South Africa are now grown all around the world - when we visited Maderia much of their plantlife originated from South Africa.

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  11. The Garden Route is well named. The flowers look so fresh and beautiful.

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    1. Spring was just opening in her fullness - two weeks earlier and we probably would have missed many of the flowers.

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  12. Great flowers and whales.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  13. Dear Rosemary - Your photos show that the exotic flowers are shining with energy from inside and the 800 year old Yellowwood Tree looks almost divine. Sunset cruise with delicious meals would be one of the pleasures of a trip. The beautiful sunset seen from the hotel looks promising the next day’s trip.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - it was lovely getting two springs in one year - the blossom was a delight to see.

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  14. Dearest Rosemary,
    Trying to catch up with bloggers after two short trips away...
    Nothing as exotic as your trip but nevertheless, a nature adventure on our bikes!
    Oh, we too were in awe about those many different Protea flowers. It is a very special export flower for South Africa.
    You must have felt frustrated for not being able to capture those elegant giants in the water... A great opportunity for seeing them!
    Thanks for sharing with us again your many stops and adventures.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - glad that you have enjoyed a trip away on your bikes - you must have returned home feeling very energised and fit.

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  15. These photos are awesome.
    Hugs

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    1. It was lovely to be able to enjoy two Springs this year.

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  16. Apologies I have lots of catching up to do. It must have been amazing taking a trip on the paddle steamer as the sun set and then to see the whales. It must have been such a special moment. I found that it was a struggle taking pictures of dolphins and I was missing out on the joy of just observing them. Sarah x

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    1. You have hit the nail on the head - most of the joy of seeing them is simply watching and not taking photos.

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