Walk along the Eland’s River in Boston

David Clulow and friends walked along the river in August. He wrote this account:

Leaving one’s vehicle at Elandsvlei, the restaurant and accomodation, known as “Boston T- Party”, a short walk brings one to the Elands river and the start of the excursion. The river is clean and flowing fast.  It is mid-morning, and a pleasant temperature. The well-prepared pathway through indigenous undergrowth, is close to the river.The pathway slowly rises above the river, improving the viewthe river is now below on the left, but the attention drifts to the scenery which is grandpassing the original Elandsdrift Homesteadin the distance appears the iNhlosane south, hills and ridgein the distance too, one can see the “Gramarye” Domain, home of the Wilsons, amongst the treesthe pathway ranges down to the pastures of a local farmer, wending its way alongside the edge.  Shortly after this we disturbed two young Reedbuck in the long grass. A bound,  and they were away. African Stonechats accompanied us, dancing ahead from one grass stalk to the nextpassing alongside the Basket Willows which line the banks, “The Willows” homestead appears between the branches, over the rivera flurry of Geese, both Egyptian and Spur-winged, greet our approachNow birding is in earnest, the Cape Wagtails flashing across the water. Mid-morning is not the most lively time for birds and animals. The spoor of Reedbuck and Duiker are thick on the ground. In early morning and towards evening they are out in numbers; so are the birds, and Grey Crowned Cranes are seen every evening here in the Stubble Maize fields. A week ago Blue Cranes were also regular visitors. Certain are both Red-eyed and Cape Turtle-Doves, Hadedah Ibis and the ever-present Long-crested Eagle, with piercing cry. The Black-shouldered Kite is also often at the river. In the more luxuriant grass on the other side of the river, where birders commonly check out the species, multiple varieties are heard or seen daily – Ruff, Flufftail, Bishops, Common Waxbills, Village or Cape Weavers, Black Duck, various Cisticolas, Shelduck, Black-headed Heron, Natal Spurfowl, African Spoonbill, Jackal Buzzard, Yellow-billed Kite and many more.

The farmer has fenced off a piece of land – a valuable wetland, left to do its work in storing and filtering the water.In the pastures again, a flock of Egyptian Geese and a few Spur-winged Geese too.The river banks alter and here they are well protected with grass on one bank and tall flag rushes on the otherin pools the river is an artist’s canvasthe rushes take over on both banksand to appreciate the man-made harm that occurs, the Basket and Weeping Willows, which are alien introductions many years ago, are not always to the river’s benefit – they fall and block the flow of the river.However, there are many lovely stretches to compensate.small forests of Leucosidea trees (Ouhout)

and before you know it, the bridge over the river at “Elvesida” and the delightful experience is over – but not to be forgotten. Sincere appreciation is expressed to Paddy and Sue Carr of “Netherby” farm, over whose land the walk takes place, for their permission to route the pathway over “Netherby”.  Guided walks take place on the last Friday of every month.  Call Sue Brighton to book 083 656 0979.  Cost R10 to local conservancy funds.  You can walk along this path at any time on your own from Boston T-Party.

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