Tag Archives: Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp

Summertide Diary: Departing Wilderness

22 December 2020

Our last morning in Wilderness and one final chance to take a walk through the camp – even if it was drizzling slightly it’s amazing to still find so much new to see!

As we start our drive to our next destination, the sun finally puts in an appearance, inviting us to pull to the side of the road and enjoy the view over Swartvlei, the largest of the lakes in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park.

A view over Swartvlei from a lay-by along the N2-highway

If you’d like to read more about the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park, please have a look at this special feature about it that we published a while ago.

Summertide Diary: Exploring Wilderness and surrounds

21 December 2020

It pays to be out early in South Africa’s wild places, and the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park is no exception. Even when the sky is still heavy with rain and the sun nowhere to be seen.

After breakfast we felt like exploring a little further afield, and so headed to the Woodville indigenous forest a few kilometers away from Ebb-and-Flow. We explored the wet forest, marveled at the enormous Outeniqua Yellowwood that rules over it and kept a lookout for birds and other creatures trying to hide from us, until we could stand the pestering mosquitoes no more!

From Woodville we extended our joy ride to Rondevlei and the Swartvlei beach, and then had a quick look around the holiday town of Sedgefield, of which I have many happy childhood memories, before heading back to camp.

Just being outside at Wilderness was such balm for the soul. You don’t always have to be out chasing the “hairy and scary” animals for which Africa is famous to enjoy yourself in our wild places…

More frog hunting before bed-time resulted in these photographs of Raucous Toads:

If you’d like to read more about the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park, please have a look at this special feature about it that we published a while ago.

Greater Red Musk Shrew

Crocidura flavescens

One of the real highlights of our visit to the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park was an encounter with a rarely seen small mammal: a Greater Red Musk Shrew.

Although it is tiny, weighing only about 30g, the Greater Red Musk Shrew is one of the biggest members of the shrew-family occurring in South Africa. We found the shrew next to a reed bed along the Touw River – typical habitat for the species, although they do occasionally venture into gardens and houses. Greater Red Musk Shrews are insectivores, feeding on a wide range of insects, worms and other invertebrates, and like other shrews have a relatively enormous appetite needing to consume at least half its own weight on a daily basis.

These cute creatures are mostly nocturnal, so we count ourselves very lucky seeing one in daylight (although heavily overcast) and out in the open. By day they hide in grass-nests built slightly above ground level in dense grass cover.

Females give birth to up to 7 young after a gestation of only a month, mainly in the summer months. The babies follow their mother around from 6 days old by forming a “train” nose-to-tail with their siblings. Like other shrews they live extremely fast-paced lives – the young are weaned at only 3 weeks old, reaching sexual maturity when they’re 2-3 months old and then have a life expectancy of maximum 18 months!

The IUCN considers the Greater Red Musk Shrew to be of least concern in conservation terms. It is almost endemic to South Africa, occurring all along our coast from Namaqualand to Maputaland and into extreme southern Mozambique and also along the Drakensberg through Lesotho and eSwatini to the escarpment in Mpumalanga.

Joubert photographing the Greater Red Musk Shrew at Wilderness

Summertide Diary: Arriving at Wilderness

20 December 2020 (cont.)

Even though we arrived at the Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park under heavy skies, there was no reason to be gloomy. There’s no doubt that the Garden Route is one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, no matter the weather.

There’s no containing our enthusiasm for exploring a destination once we’ve arrived and not even the threat of a downpour was going to keep us indoors while the expansive Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp beckoned outside our log cabin, however comfortable it may be.

By now you probably know that we have a propensity to extend our explorations into the hours of darkness. Most of the camps in our national parks are safe to do just that and if you apply some common sense rules like walking with closed shoes you’re likely to be handsomely rewarded with some unusual encounters, like these we had on our first night at Ebb-and-Flow.

If you’d like to read more about the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park, please have a look at this special feature about it that we published a while ago.

 

Summertide Rambles 20 December 2020

It’s the fifth day of our 2020 Summertide Ramble, and we’ve moved again – this time about 200km due east to the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park, where our cosy log cottage in the Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp has a lovely (if overcast and rather chilly at the moment) view over the wetlands of the Serpentine River just before its confluence with the Touw River.

Wilderness (Garden Route National Park)

South Africa’s Garden Route is a 300km stretch of diverse and exceptionally scenic coastline between Mossel Bay in the west and the Storms River in the east, sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains and the Indian Ocean. The process of protecting the Garden Route from exploitation and human encroachment has been a long one, and is still ongoing. From the 1960’s various small pieces of the area east of the small holiday town of Wilderness received formal protection, culminating in these being amalgamated into the newly proclaimed Wilderness National Park in 1987 and the years thereafter. In March 2009, the erstwhile Wilderness National Park became an integral part of the expanded Garden Route National Park (covering a total of over 1,500km²), when it was joined with the Knysna National Lake Area and Tsitsikamma National Park through the proclamation of enormous tracts of state-owned land joining them.

The Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park is centered on South Africa’s very own “Lakes District”. The original area encompassed by the Park straddles six lakes (Groenvlei, Bo-Langvlei, Langvlei, Rondevlei, Swartvlei and Island Lake), the Wilderness Lagoon, Serpentine and Touw Rivers, indigenous forests, and both rocky and sandy beaches along the coastline.

Before the Wilderness National Park was proclaimed, the area where the Garden Route National Park’s Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp is situated today was the Ebb-and-Flow Nature Reserve (administered by the George municipality and today Ebb-and-Flow North) and the private Siesta Caravan Park (today Ebb-and-Flow South).

Birdwatchers and photographers are in for a treat when visiting any of the three hides next to the lakes in the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Parks. We had time to visit two of them in December – Malachite (on Langvlei) and Rondevlei, and could easily have spent all day at either.

Given the amazing diversity of habitats in the park, it is no surprise that the Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park abounds with a wide variety of birdspecies, and while the area doesn’t support much in the way of large mammals apart from shy bushbuck, bushpigs and very seldomly seen leopards, it does give visitors the opportunity to walk around unhindered looking for the smaller fry.

Ebb-and-Flow Rest Camp is the Wilderness section’s main visitor node. Here there are accommodation and two expansive camping areas for overnight guests, a newly opened picnic area for day visitors, and canoes for hire to explore the Touw and Serpentine Rivers. A network of walking trails of varying length traverse the area, many of them starting at or near Ebb-and-Flow. The Park also has several beaches for sun-seekers and bathers. Privately-run accommodation establishments and camping sites, shops, restaurants, fuel stations and more are available in the nearby towns of Wilderness and Sedgefield.

The Wilderness section of the Garden Route National Park is easily accessible along the N2 highway running from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, and is just a few minutes’ drive from the airport at George. We recently spent three nights camping in the lovely Ebb-and-Flow North camp, the fifth stop on our 2017 summer holidays in eight of South Africa’s national parks.

Our 2017 in pictures

Looking back at the places we stayed at during another year of enjoying South Africa’s beautiful wild places.

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More time for R&R at Ebb&Flow

We had another day of relaxing exploration around Ebb-and-Flow in the Garden Route National Park.

 

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If you enjoy de Wets Wild as much as we enjoy sharing our love for South Africa’s wild places and their denizens with you, please vote for us in the 2017 South African Blog Awards.

We’ve entered the categories for “Best Travel Blog” and “Best Environmental Blog”, and you are allowed to vote for us in both. Clicking on the badge below will bring you to the voting site. After voting, you’ll receive an e-mail requiring you to click on a link to confirm your votes.

Thank you very much for your support!

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The Garden Route National Park has it all!

From mountains to beaches, with lakes, rivers and forests in between – the Garden Route National Park has it all!

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If you enjoy de Wets Wild as much as we enjoy sharing our love for South Africa’s wild places and their denizens with you, please vote for us in the 2017 South African Blog Awards.

We’ve entered the categories for “Best Travel Blog” and “Best Environmental Blog”, and you are allowed to vote for us in both. Clicking on the badge below will bring you to the voting site. After voting, you’ll receive an e-mail requiring you to click on a link to confirm your votes.

Thank you very much for your support!

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Here we are at Ebb-and-Flow

We’ve moved on along our December holiday route again, and this time we’re camping at Ebb-and-Flow in the Garden Route National Park. We can’t imagine very many more idyllic camping grounds than this one. Just look at the view from our tent!

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If you enjoy de Wets Wild as much as we enjoy sharing our love for South Africa’s wild places and their denizens with you, please vote for us in the 2017 South African Blog Awards.

We’ve entered the categories for “Best Travel Blog” and “Best Environmental Blog”, and you are allowed to vote for us in both. Clicking on the badge below will bring you to the voting site. After voting, you’ll receive an e-mail requiring you to click on a link to confirm your votes.

Thank you very much for your support!

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