Compiled by Bertus Potgieter
For the month of March we will shift our focus from game drives and walks to boat cruises. These are still excursions which focus around the natural environment but yet they seem to receive slightly less attention and “glamour” than their land – based counterparts do.
Imagine this for a second. It’s a crisp, early morning, and after a delicious cup of coffee you’re on the back of a game- viewing vehicle making your way down towards the river. Once you get to the river and onto the boat you are in a completely different “world”, your skipper gives you a short briefing and you set sail (figuratively speaking). Whilst you are on the water you’re seeing all the animals from a different perspective. You are now looking up from your low angle in the boat and all the “Big Game” animals appear to be so much larger than usual as they tower above you and bend over to have a refreshing drink. Think about how stunning it is being able to get up close and personal with elephants drinking water from the river (or even having a swim in the river).
For every bird lover or budding ornithologist out there, the amount of bird life in and around the Pongola River is rivalled by few other places in our country. From
little Pied Kingfishers hovering above the water eyeing out their next meal before rapidly diving down to fish it out of its hiding place, to the majestic Fish Eagle perching on her tree and letting out that quintessential African call of hers which reverberates through and across the valley.
While sipping up a cup of coffee or tea and enjoying a rusk or muffin on the boat with the cool breeze gently “tugging” at your jersey, all of a sudden out pops a big curious hippo bull next to the boat, just letting you know of his presence! You once again realise how on the grander scale of nature we are but a link in the chain.
After a three hour excursion you slowly start heading back and you realise that you have just experienced the splendour of nature again but just in a slightly different way.
Greetings from the Reserve and her whole team (aquatic and terrestrial).