Driving 16 kms up the narrow winding Akatarawa Road (the area is known affectionately as The Aka's) on Sunday the weather got more and more severe as we approached our destination of Staglands Wildlife Reserve. The plan was to lunch at the Cafe then have a leisurely trip around the reserve checking out all the birds and animals. I was amazed to find the large car park full to overflowing and wondered what all these people were doing here in the rain. Mind you, it wasn’t raining when we started our trip, so that was probably true for all the other visitors too. The reason for so many cars soon became obvious. Some lucky youngster was celebrating a birthday in a private room off the cafe. The place was jam packed with mums and toddlers, babes in arms, and a large assortment of pushchairs.
The log-cabin building houses the large cafe and is decorated in the “early settler” style. Stoneware jugs, brass and copper ornaments all add to the country look. The large vase of peacock tail feathers added a splash of colour to the room, and anyone with just a few dollars spare could purchase one or two to take home. There is a large fireplace constructed of local stones - in the depths of winter it would look great with a huge fire blazing in the grate.
A mounted stag head looked down on us as we pondered the lunch menu. I think his cousins may have lost their heads too as we noticed that the light fittings were made from intertwined antlers, most unusual and we had never seen the likes of this before. What to have for lunch? This is always a hard question to someone like me who has trouble making decisions. In the end the six of us put in orders for pancakes, paninis, toasted sandwiches, hot chips and coffee.
We enjoyed a long leisurely lunch while the rain kept pelting down. By mutual agreement we decided it would prudent not to walk around Staglands in such bad weather, there would be no fun at all in slipping and sliding in the mud. The rain had beaten us so we cut our losses, said our goodbyes and made our way home. These three Guinea fowl didn’t seem to mind being out and about in the rain though. They were pecking at all sorts of titbits in the grass.