27 April 2012 – cape town to nottingham road
Our friends, Adam Riley and Felicity Fryer, were due to tie the knot over the long weekend and we were obviously going to be there to share in their special day. Needless to say, because it was a long weekend and the wedding was in the Kwazulu Natal Midlands, we took the opportunity to plan to stay on for a few more days to meet up with other friends and explore the area a bit.
Catching the 9am flight out of Cape Town, we landed in Durban just after 11am and were soon making our way across to collect our hire car. We had initially just hired a VW Polo, but because Avis did not have any of that category available, they upgraded us to a Toyota Corolla with a boot as opposed to a hatchback. It was perhaps fortuitous that this happened as we were travelling with a lot of luggage (as we normally do!!) and a hatchback might have provided some issues with fitting everything into it. However, with the Corolla only having a 1300cc engine, it was certainly not built for the hilly conditions of the KZN Midlands and, on many occasions, it felt like we were going nowhere when we were climbing the hills even although my foot was flat on the pedal! We also wondered how VW fould feel to hear that a Toyota was considered an upgrade…:)
Eventually getting away from the airport at about noon, we headed towards Pietermaritzburg where we planned to pop in at Adam’s house to look for the Kwazulu Dwarf Chameleons in his garden. We couldn’t waste the entire day without at least chasing down some biodiversity…:)
Arriving there, we were greeted by Crystal Brook and Cuan Rush of Rockjumper Birding Tours who were working in the office, even although it was a public holiday. We set about looking for the chameleon, initially in the front garden, but eventually moved to the back after not finding one there. Fortunately, Margaret’s sharp eyes eventually spotted one and our first lifer was in the bag! We spent the next little while photographing the animal in various poses as it entertained us and just enjoyed the feeling of our first lifer. We also managed to get a new damselfly in the garden, a Smoky Spreadwing, so it was certainly a worthwhile stop…
By now, hunger pangs were starting to set in, so we bid our farewells and headed off in search of lunch. After refueling ourselves, we continued our drive to our final destination, Nottingham Road. This is a quaint little village in the Midlands and we were based on a farm about 8km from the town at Kildare Cottages. The cottages, themselves, were spacious and clean and had absolutely everything that we needed right down to satellite TV – it was just like being at home! It had been a long day of travelling, so we just relaxed there and waited for some of the other wedding guests who were also staying there, many of them friends of ours, to arrive. Dinner was at a local restaurant with John and Greta Graham and then it was time to hit the sack and catch up on some sleep.