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Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

SA Diversity Tour (25-28/02/2014) Day 41-44 Tsitsikamma

Part 2 – Tsitsikamma Waterfall Hike Trail

There is a 6km hike from the main camp passed the cave to the waterfall and is said to take three hours long. At the beginning of the trail there is a warning board which states that this trail is classified as “difficult” and I agree. If you are not fit, have a fear of heights and narrow paths and are not used to scrambling over huge boulders besides steep ascents and descents, THIS HIKE IS NOT FOR YOU!! 
This hike took us 3 hours there and just over 2 to get back but that was not because of the difficulty with the terrain but because of the sheer beauty and splendour of all there is to see along the way. By the time we got to the waterfall, rain was threatening so we made it back a bit faster. 
The trail first takes you through meadows skirting the shore with some fascinating rock formations along the way, not to mention the wild flowers.  
Not many were in bloom when we were there as it was already the end of summer.

The endless beckon of the sea against the rocks had us stopping time and time again to take pictures.
There are hundreds of small shallow stretches between the rock pools where on a hot day, it is heaven to stop and have a swim or at least cool your feet in them.

Huge bracket fungi grows on dead trees along the path through forest areas and the sea is glimpsed beyond the tangled mass of vines and other shrubs.

Ferns with unusual bugs on them and tree trunks covered with moss delay us for more pictures.

 Clearings where we glimpse the water again and beautiful bark of tree take up more minutes.

I know that the Woodlice (Isopoda) are found around our homes under rocks but I was not aware that they were found in sea water as well. Some rocks along the way were covered with them.

A great attraction for me are the tidal pools.

Not only is it the colours of the rocks but also the diversity of species found in them.
We finally reach the halfway mark which is a huge cave.
I got Gaelyn to stand in front of it in order to get some perspective of the height.
 Inside, the walls are tinged with green and very attractive.
Amongst the rocks on the outside I found the bones and skeleton of not only this sea bird but also of some small animal which I have not yet had identified. Was it something which lived in the cave and got caught by the tide I wonder?
 These are some of the rocks we had to scramble over and the colours in them area amazing. Gaelyn has been teaching me a bit about geology which I have always had an interest in but never time to learn about.
 Beautiful lichen in all kinds of colours are found everywhere.
Along the path we come across a dead branch stump which has been worn to a shiny brightness by thousands of feet passing over it through the years. To me it looked like the face of a smiling tortoise.
This is just one of the areas where the hike is steep and treacherous because of the roundness of the rocks as well as the dampness which makes them slippery. If you look carefully at the picture, you can see people near the top of the trail.
At last we reach the waterfall.
It is high and cascades down to the sea.
Although the day was cloudy, there were many people there taking pictures and some even taking a swim in the icy mountain waters.

It was time to head back and fast too as I did not want to get caught in the rain with our cameras.
 A quick stop for a picture of pretty mushrooms....
another few of the crashing waves.....

a beautiful piece of wood we missed earlier and we were back in camp before the storm. What a wonderful and exhilarating hike for me. It is one I would do every time I go back there

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