B is for Beautiful
By Riaan Vermeulen
The base of operation: Jo Anne’s B cottage in the West Coast National Park.
The mission: To see how many animals and birds in the visitor’s guide we could tick.
The team: Two adults and two kids.
Jo Anne’s Beach cottage, a hideaway for eight people near Churchhaven, now has a baby version. The B cottage sleeps four and is also only a few minutes’ walk from the lagoon. We got our first quick tick within minutes of arriving, a pair of African black oystercatchers.
From the cottage verandah we had a spectacular view of the lagoon, with the kids running down every so often to check on something they had spotted through the binoculars. I was happy to tend the fire and asked for frequent updates from the intrepid explorers.
We were up before daybreak to continue the mission and get photographic evidence. During breakfast spurfowl and yellow weavers had us jumping for cameras even before the second round of coffee, while a rock kestrel was observing us from the neighbouring cottage.
For some of the other animals on the list we had to take a drive. Four small sharp eyes missed nothing and we even stopped for a dungbeetle and a small padloper tortoise crossing the road. The outing took us to the Langebaan side of the park. At the Seeberg viewpoint we tried to see if we could spot our home base. Immediately below us a herd of eland was grazing, unaware that their box had been ticked. Convinced we had put in a good day’s work, we once again retired to our comfortable accommodation, opting for candles and fire in the spirit of adventure.
On the way home I asked for a comprehensive mission report. Jo Anne’s B cottage got a big thumbs-up and the spurfowl were the biggest hit due to their fearless pursuit of photo opportunities. Almost all the boxes were ticked, to my shock even the Cape cobra. Upon further debriefing, and an honesty check, the troops reported that certain animals and birds were ticked because they had been spotted in Wild magazine.
Jo Anne’s B cottage, in the West Coast National Park near Langebaan, is fully equipped self-catering for four people. Solar panels supply basic lighting at night, but there are no plug points. The fridge, geyser and stove are gas operated.
Rates from R1,690 a night for the cottage
Conservation fees During flower season R77 an adult, R39 a child, otherwise R55 an adult, R28 a child. Wild Card members free.
Contact SANParks Central Reservations 012-428-9111, www.sanparks.org
Source: Wild Magazine