Tag Archives: flamingo

Exploring the Paardevlei Nature Walk in Somerset West (2016-08-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 14 AUG 2016

National Womens Day rolled around, which of course meant no work (it is an official South African public holiday after all) and thus, given the good weather, a chance to get out of the house and do a little bit of exploring.

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Seeing as Chantelle had yet to stroll around the Paardevlei Nature Walk area in Paardevlei, Somerset West, I suggested that the four of us head out that way to do a spot of flamingo watching while getting some fresh air – an idea which both she and the girls were instantly onboard for!

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With Spring just around the corner, a lot of wild flowers are now starting to bloom, with the end result being of course a more colourful than usual spectacle on show.

Sadly though, the flamingos were content to stay on the far side of the dam where we couldn’t get a decent look at them, but luckily there was still more than enough active bird life in among the reeds to entertain us – turning both Chantelle and I into somewhat amateur bird watchers for a wee bit!

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Hairy worms were also in abundance, and the girls took great pleasure in pointing them out!

Amazingly, the little ones did a lot better this time around than the first time I did the walk with just the two of them, meaning that we made it further down the path – though of course it did eventually get too much for them resulting in piggyback rides for most of the trail back to the car.

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As you can tell from the pictures, it really was a beautiful day to be out and about in nature, and pleasingly, Chantelle quite liked this little gem of a walk that the girls and I discovered – meaning that I’m pretty sure we’ll be heading out this way more than just a few times in the Spring and Summer months to come!

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(I have written about the Paardevlei area before, but just in case you haven’t caught those, the usual suspects in terms of related links can be found at the bottom of this post again)

Related Link: Paardevlei | Paardevlei History

Doing the Paardevlei Nature Walk around the Vlei (2016-06-16) Photo Gallery 17 JUN 2016

With the breakfast pancakes made, a little bit of gardening done and dusted, a small bit of DIY under the belt, and the shopping mission now complete, I decided to continue our Youth Day 2016 public holiday by taking Jessica and Emily out for a walk about Paardevlei in Somerset West/Strand – something I myself was quite eager to do seeing as I haven’t yet strolled around the vlei either!

The historic Paardevlei site is in an interesting transition phase at the moment, slowly transforming itself from its industrial roots (a long time AECI dynamite factory complex) into a modern mix of small business and residential units (and an ultra modern hospital for good measure!), using its beautiful Herbert Baker and Francis Massey buildings (which date back to the late 1890s) and consequential design guides, as well as the natural beauty that comes from the relatively recently rehabilitated vlei (Paardevlei, from where the precinct takes it name), to potentially become a much sought after destination in the area.

With beautiful walkways lined with all manner of sculpture art, Paardevlei has a little Nature Walk section, the entrance to which can be found right next to the Cheetah Outreach Center. There are a lot of future plans for this nature walk of course, but for now, you have a small trail that runs around the vlei, dotted with seating areas and great views of the diverse bird life that populates the area.

A nice surprise is the large flock of flamingos that call the vlei home, and the girls and I rather enjoyed spending some time just sitting and watching these big birds go about their business in the water. Naturally, Jessica and Emily were very firm in the fact that there was no way we were going to walk the whole way around the vlei, so I had to make do with just part of the trail done!

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Oh, and the art sculptures are for the most part pretty interesting too!

Related Link: Paardevlei | Paardevlei History

Giraffe House and Wild Clover (2015-08-08) Photo Gallery 13 AUG 2015

Taking advantage of the stretch of good weather we had been enjoying for the last big, Saturday saw me abandon Chantelle with her work and the need to sort out the baking/braai room, and head out with the girls to the middle of nowhere, corner of the R304 and R101 to be precise.

This is of course the location of The Giraffe House wildlife awareness centre, and where we happened to be meeting up with Michelle and little Logan for a fun day out looking, touching and feeding the animals!

IMG_20150808_115800 michelle oosthuizen at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

(Naturally, the moment Michelle arrived I pretty much lost Jessica, with her absolutely refusing to let go of Michelle’s hand for more than 30 seconds at any point in time!)

Thanks to the earlier spell of wet weather, everything was pretty slushy and muddy, but regardless (or perhaps because) of this, the kids thoroughly enjoyed a day out in the sun, seeing the various animals (Gerry the giraffe was, as expected, a big hit), feeding the farmyard goats and ponies, taking in the entertaining reptile show, and of course clambering all over the central jungle gym!

IMG_20150808_105049 jessica lotter at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

(Pleasingly, unlike the last time I found myself there, I walked away without having a tarantula clamber all over my face!)

In case you aren’t familiar with The Giraffe House, I grabbed this off from their website:

“At The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness centre we provide easy access to some of Africa’s wonderful wildlife and bird species. Focusing on African wildlife, Giraffe House aims to provide a place for people to enjoy the outdoors, whilst experiencing and learning about animals and why they are special.

Most of the animals at Giraffe House form part of our wildlife education program. The giraffe, for instance, is the tallest land animal on earth, eland is the biggest antelope, the blue duiker the smallest antelope and ostrich the biggest bird. We are also proudly South African by having our national animal, the springbok and national bird, the blue crane bird forming part of our team.”

It certainly is a varied selection of animals housed, that’s for sure. Jackals, servals, flamingos, snakes, bat-eared foxes, goats, ponies, chickens, crocodiles, warthogs, springbok, zebra, blue cranes, eland, giraffe, duikers, ostriches, monkeys… well, you get the picture.

IMG_20150808_110449 emily lotter at the giraffe house wildlife awareness centre

In other words, more than enough going on to keep the little ones entertained! :)

(Oh, a nice touch that I forgot to mention. On entry each child gets handed a bucket full of food to feed the farmyard animals with – which Emily usually promptly trips with and spills half out all over the floor. Judging from the amount of feed lying all over the place, this is a relatively common occurrence though…)

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At the end of what was a good outing, we opted to head down the road to Wild Clover, in order to meet up with Damen who had just finished his archery session at their field.

This was the first time I’ve ever been to the wine farm / brewery / restaurant / archery field / model aircraft flying strip / farmyard animals / accommodation establishment that is Wild Clover – and I have to say, I was seriously impressed.

Extremely kid friendly in terms of a great outside play area, the restaurant features both a great indoor and outdoor space, and quite frankly, it really has everything that makes for a ‘lekker kuierplek’.

(In other words, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back again!)

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(I ordered a pizza to share with the girls. Happily, they turned out not to want much, meaning that I ate most of it. Oh, and it was quite a treat to watch a couple of guys flying their model aircraft about. One sometimes forgets just how big they actually are!)

Related Link: The Giraffe House | Wild Clover

Birds Paradise in Robertson (2015-07-08) Photo Gallery 19 JUL 2015

With Montagu our home for a week, every day was an adventure out and about in the Robertson, Ashton, Barrydaly, Montagu area. Our first real outing was to Birds Paradise, an exotic bird breeding operation in Robertson, one which does so well that they’ve even opened quite an impressive visitors centre, featuring a restaurant, kids play area, crocodile pit, and views of quite a large number of different animal and bird species!

IMG_20150708_121449 craig lotter and jessica at birds paradise exotic bird breeder in robertson

We headed out nice and early, arriving in time for a nice breakfast (on the premises) before grabbing our entrance tickets and heading in to see the birds.

And birds they have by the dozens.

Exotic birds from literally all over the world can be found here, and it is a absolute explosion of colour and squawks. However, these guys are bird breeders, meaning that birds are kept in breeding pairs in relatively small cages, bare to allow for easier capturing of the birds.

Honestly, it is not something that I could really enjoy at all, seeing as I am very much against the keeping of birds as pets in the first place. (Plus, I’ve been to the fantastic dome aviary that is Birds of Eden before – once you’ve been there, you can never really look at birds in cages ever again!)

IMG_20150708_115349 green bird at birds paradise exotic bird breeder in robertson

Still, the girls were entertained by all the colours on display, the tame owl in the curio shop was a hit, there was a massive variety of animals and birds to see, and Jessica was particularly excited to take her very first photo – using my phone, and pictured below:

IMG_20150708_115118 jessica lotter's very first photo

And of course, the play area was a great way for them to burn off all the energy following our stroll amongst all the birds.

IMG_20150708_125907 emily lotter on trampoline

Needless to say, such a large variety of things to see made for quite a bit of photos on the morning!

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Related Link: Route 62 Birds Paradise