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Our South African Holiday

Thursday 15th January 2015

DUNGBEETLE RIVER LODGE, COLCHESTER,
RIVER CRUISE ON THE SUNDAYS RIVER
and dinner at The Grunters Pub and Grub, Sundays River Mouth

Still at the Dungbeetle River Lodge we awoke early to bright sunshine, everything was so still and quiet, and so very peaceful. Went down to breakfast at 8.00 am shortly after the smell of freshly baked bread wafted up to our balcony. Freshly baked warm bread for breakfast is delicious with strawberry jam home made mango juice smoothie compliment the cooked breakfast wonderfully.
Our river cruise wasn't until 3.00 pm so we decided to have a lazy morning and spend it in the sunshine on the balcony watching the leisure boats as they travelled along the river just below the Lodge.
With having such a nice breakfast we missed lunchand just 'chilled' out. When we saw the cruise boat coming along the river and approach the jetty at the bottom of the garden we walked down to meet it. It seemed we were the only ones on this cruise, which was rather nice for us!
The boat took us up river and we were shown many of the birds who nest in the area such as the Red Bishop, Weaver Bird, Cormerants, Grey Heron and Egret along with many ducks and other small birds that I've forgotten the names of. There is Mullet in the river and they are locally known as 'skippers' because they regulary jump from the water. They were fascinating to watch but almost impossible to photograph because they jumped from any where in the river and by the time you moved the camera to where they were they were gone underwater again. I think Stuart managed to get many pictures of water splashing, but only one with the end of a tail in it, I managed nothing!
After we'd seen the Red Bishops in the reed beds the boat turned around and we travelled down river on the other side seeing a Giant Kingfisher perched on a branch looking for fish to dive for. This bird is apparently the only Kingfisher who can't hover, so they spot their prey and dive into the water for it.
Further down we were shown another kind of Heron (I think) that looks a bit like a Penguin and only comes out at night. We saw them in the branches close to the river edge where they stay during the day. They were very hard to spot because the colour of their plumage was almost identical to that of the trees they were in.
A Goliath Heron, which was huge was standing on the bank a little lower down, which when flew off had an enormous wing span. It flew a couple of hundred yards above the tree tops then landed on the very top of one forming a silouette with the sky - what a beautiful sight, and how it managed to perch on the very top branches without them bending we are not quite sure.
Quite often a Sea Eagle can be seen in the area, but we were not lucky enough to have that experience today.
Along the side of the Sundays River are huge sand dunes, some covered in vegetation some not. These sand dunes are the largest dunes in the southern hemisphere.
Further along the river the boat pulled up onto the sand and anchored to allow us to walk the dunes. This I declined because soft sand and my bad ankle are a definate 'no, no'. Stuart however, walked with the Captain to the top of them, which Stuart said was not easy because it was one step forward and half a step back each time you moved. They were very high and the two men were like dots on the horizon when they reached the top. Stuart took photographs and said from the top there were even more sand dunes over the other side, quite an expance of them.
Once back on the boat we cruised back along the river and were dropped off on the jetty at the bottom of the Dungbeetle River Lodge garden. A quick freshen up then down the road to the Grunters Pub for something to eat before returning to our room.

 
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