At the end of April, after a couple of days of rain, the weather cleared sufficiently to venture outdoors, and we decided to re-try the river ramble in Silvermine West. We had explored this path in March, after long months of no rain, when it had been disappointingly dry and dusty (Silvermine river ramble and Steenberg plateau). We hoped that there might in fact be a twinkling-tinkling river flowing down alongside the path this time ’round.
When we arrived at the parking area next to the entrance booms, the clouds seemed to be packing up for the day, and it looked promising, though there was definitely a chill in the air. We set off cheerfully along the well laid-out gravel footpath, leaping over large puddles from time to time.
We met a couple of walkers on their way back – they looked a little soggy, and told us that they had been caught in a downpour earlier. Though there wasn’t much evidence of that week’s rainfall in the level of the river, the almost-dry and merely-muddy riverbed did not deter any of the dogs we encountered. They leapt excitedly left and right off the path, skidding down muddy slopes and splashing in the puddles in that adorable way of toddlers in brightly coloured gumboots who insist on jumping – splish-splash! – into each puddle along the way, oblivious to the insistent calls and reprimands of their parents.
An hour later, we had reached the lovely and tranquil Silvermine reservoir, and circled this along the wooden boardwalk until we came to our favourite picnic site.
We were joined, almost immediately, by a family of spurfowl (or Cape Francolin) that I had photographed on previous occasions. They were surprisingly tame… and undoubtedly eyeing the apple I was munching. They indicated, by emitting funny little cheeps and chirrups, that a bit of fruit would be most welcome. Approaching ever more closely until they stood right next to me, they waited for a little crumb to fall down… when it did, they pounced on it with a flash of beaks.
Suddenly, we became aware that the skies were clouding over and that there was rain on the way once more, so we quickly packed our rucksack and followed the familiar river ramble route down to our car. A misty and damp rain began to fall, and just as we reached the car and scrambled inside, the clouds emptied their heavy load of rain, rain and more rain.
On our way home, we stopped at the Barnyard Farmstall in Tokai, which used to be one of our favourite rustic places to have breakfast on a weekend morning. There was spicy butternut soup on the lunch menu, with some chunks of freshly baked farm bread. Aaahh, just perfect for a chilly day like this.
Afterwards, as blue patches of sky had emerged once more, we moseyed on over to the play-park and mini-farm/petting zoo area, to say hello to the geese, the ducks, the chickens, the pigs, the sheep, the goats, and a large turkey. It’s a great place for kids to get to know farm animals in a safe environment.