There was much to see and appreciate in Africa. We enjoyed a couple of nights at the Wakkerstroom Country Wetlands B&B. As usual, we arrived late, after a short flight followed by another long and tiring drive with South African fast food for dinner. Before showing us to our rooms, the very European South African proprietors introduced themselves and the facility setup. Our hostess kept referring to the “Sheshays” in which some of us would stay. My muddled brain kept searching for an interpretation of sheshay. What in the world is that? Why don’t I know what a sheshay is? I think it was the next morning before I figured out that a sheshay is, in fact, a sheep shed that has been converted into private lodging suites, aka Sheep Shed.
Prying open sleep-bleary eyes the next morning, we marveled at our location in a lovely garden with wild-ish open space across a creek from the buildings (where sharp eyes picked out grazing deer), and early morning light shimmered off nearby Martin Reservoir. Breakfast offerings were as abundant as the on-site birding opportunities. Each morning we were treated to a cereal, porridge, and fresh fruit bar, plus cooked to order hot breakfast, and individually crafted cups of coffee.
From the B&B we explored winter grasslands that, again, looked remarkably like Southern Idaho—Owyhee County in particular. Cattle, sheep, goats, and horses were abundant, and we passed a couple of blesbok farms that raise game animals for hunting safaris—and for commercial game meat. We traveled backroads that lead to small bird sanctuaries in the midst of local farms, and to small villages, that according to our local guide have expanded rapidly during the past few years.
The housing stock was everything from windowless, mud huts to corrugated tin, with a few nicely tended adobe houses that had windows and architectural highlights.
In addition to the vast grasslands that we toured, we also visited the bird-rich wetlands of the town of Wakkerstroom, which gets its name from the Zulu term Uthaka, or lively, wide-awake stream—Wakkerstroom is Afrikaans for wide-awake stream.