Today, our group woke up at around sunrise to head for our first breakfast at Storms River Bridge Rest Camp. We had arranged to have breakfast in the instructor’s cabin with the food that we bought the day before. After waiting for our instructors to pick us up, we realized that they were also waiting for us to walk. We started to make our way to them when Dan pulled up and drove us the rest of the way. We ate our breakfast, and observed the wildlife on the costal front from the decking of the cabin. After breakfast, Dan gave us our first lecture on forest birds. We learned a lot about the South African forest, as well as the different species of birds that exist in it.
After the lecture, we headed off for a beautiful hike in the forest. It was a perfect day for a hike as the sun was shining and the slight breeze kept us all cool. We followed the Storms River “Mouth Trail” through the beautiful forest. Along the way, we listened and watched for wildlife. We got our first sighting of a Knysna tauraco and then spent quite a while watching a group of dassies (rock hyrax) sunning themselves on tree branches. We crossed a suspension bridge and once on the other side decided that it would be a good idea to hike four miles to the lookout point at the top of the mountain. To say the least, we all got enough exercise to make up for the two days of sitting in the airports. The view at the top of the mountain was well worth it, as we were able to see whales off in the distance in the ocean. As our group was absorbing the view, a crowned eagle had circled around right above us. Even Dan said “I even got a little excited over that”. We took our last photos before heading back down the mountain, observing more lizards, geckos and bird species. Although the trip down the hill was a lot easier, we were not any less sweaty, which called for a feet dip in the Indian Ocean to cool off (or in Lenka’s case, a complete polar dip).
We headed back for lunch where we had made sandwiches, chips and lots of desert. We ate so much food, that even Janine had said “I am so full, I’m going to start rolling down things”. We washed our plates (of course) and then headed out with Dan to observe the marine life after the tide had gone out. We found sea urchins, starfish, sea anemones and much more. We learned lots about the different organisms, but left to make supper when the tide came in. On the marine note, Nikki has a joke for you: ‘What do you call a group of mussels?’ Send us your answers…
We made delicious chilli for supper, and headed back to our cabins for the night.
Some of the wildlife we saw today…dassies and Knysna tauraco (where is the Knysna tauraco?)
On our hike…at the beginning we crossed a suspension bridge and then walked to the viewing point at the top of the mountain (that is our camp site at the bottom), followed by an exhausted group of hikers resting on another suspension bridge after coming down from the viewing point on the way back .
A quick dip in the Indian Ocean to wash off all the sweat from the Hike.
That’s all for now, Megan Wynn!