It’s our last morning. We’re in a small quiet coastal village called Scarborough on the Cape Peninsula. The skies are blue, the wind is soft and the ocean a deep turquoise blue. Sea gulls and cormorant dot the rocks and beach. Tiny sea snails, limpets, mussles and other sea life hide in the tidal pools. Marine life is a whole other world that needs our tender care. That is our new friend Tina’s love as she rallies her neighbors to take care of their beaches. She lives and works from a lovely cottage overlooking the Indian Ocean just north of Durban.
I’m sitting outside with my muesli, yogurt and fruit, because inside there are smelly clothes, piles of brochures, unfinished shortbread and electronic devices scattered across the cottage in preparation for the final sorting… toss or pack.
The birds are chirping… what an aray of birds there are here. Every where we go there are birds… little jittery ones, brightly colored ones, ground birds with short beaks, long curvy beaks and then of course the birds of prey. From the small Kestrels to the large eagles. This morning as I said, “good-bye” to a small yellow and black bird I’ve seen both mornings here I promised her that I’d do all I could to assure her survival.
Yesterday we had lunch (overlooking the ocean here in Cape Town) with Toni a true vegan and avid animal rights activist. Her mission is education, focusing on recent studies that clearly indicate (what you and I both knew in our hearts) the link between childhood animal cruelty to adult human violence.
A local dog just came to visit. A large yellow lab. Russ shared the almost empty yogurt container with him which with wagging tail he licked clean before moving on. In Swellendam where we stayed in a tiny clapboard cabin with a parafin lamp a yellow tabby wanted to curl up with us.
Right next to us Eland (largest buck) graze and Guinea Fowl forgage for food. A huge fence separates the village from the National Reserve. One Guinea flew between the top two strands ruffling her feathers a bit, the second made it right over the top, while the third started calling frantically running up and down the fence till she finally found a spot to squeeze under the wire. How many animals are separated or kept from reaching the food or water they need by fences? Many. Fencing off the natural habitat of the elephants has caused havoc in some areas.
While driving through the Western Cape we were pleasantly surprised to see Blue Crane (South Africa’s national bird) along the way in the fields and by water holes. My favorite is the Crowned Crane which we saw up close so marvelously at Tony’s Birds of Eden.
I’m super excited to go home to sort through the wealth of information, photos and video clips and get the support rolling for the fine people and projects we visited, but… it is so hard to leave. It has been such a gift to be here in my homeland.
Besides slipping through on a quick stop over at the airport, it has been 50 years since I was in Cape Town where I was born and enjoyed the first five years in the shadows of Table Mountain and on the white sandy beaches of the west coast. Yes, it has been quite an emotional ride.
Yesterday we took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. What a view! Some puffy clouds that floated in an out made it all the more of a high.
Almost a much as staring into the eyes of the injured lioness who half scared me to death as I realized her amazing strength and power. Visiting with Jurg and Karen who devote their lives to saving caged wild cats was a true highlight. These beautiful cats, like the white lion and leopard are such powerful creatures hunted relentlessly for their skins. Canned hunting (the hunting of tame lions) continues to be a real money maker, and sadly enjoyed.
It’s time to get packing! Stay tuned as our whole tour will be posted in much greateer detail with photos, videos and stories. Thanks for following.