Report by Libby Deysel

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The first day of Spring and what a perfect day it was for a leisurely hike in Cumberland Nature Reserve. 12 hikers met at the honesty box - Sue Rowley, Peter Comrie, Heather Anderson, Carolee Thompson, Gill Plummer, Rhona Lang, Penny Purchase, Ken Bidgood, Sue Bidgood, Libby Deysel and two visitors - Christine Harris and Carol Lucas.

We hiked along the edge of the gorge and up the new zigzag path to the Kranz. After a short tea break at a view site overlooking the river, we walked across the top of the kranz to see a rather large house or lodge (?) perched on the edge of part of the gorge. We returned to the picnic site for lunch and a rest. Some members decided not to continue hiking after lunch whilst the rest of us proceeded to the other side of the reserve to explore the horseshoe trail. This trail was a shortish loop down to and along the river and we had to climb a small ladder up to higher ground. Before returning to the cars, Rhona, Christine and Libby hiked a short distance to the Point - a lovely shady area overlooking the gorge and a perfect spot for sundowners if we had carried the wine and snacks with us!!

Whilst on the recce of the reserve we had spotted very close to the path, 9 giraffe including 2 young, one being very small. This time we saw only 5 including the 2 youngsters. We had a good viewing of a kudu quite close to the path. We also had sightings of a Hornbill and a Fish Eagle, Zebra and Impala. Sadly there were two carcasses, one being outside the reserve with a bird of prey enjoying his Sunday evening dinner. Thankfully there were no sightings of the python which apparently lives in the reserve - I would have been the first to sky dive into the river.

Libby Deysel (Hike Leader)