S: South Africa & The 2010 World Cup
FC: South Africa & The 2010 World Cup
1: Lisbon, Portugal Matt and Sean arrive in Lisbon on June 24th and check into the Lisbon Lounge Hostel.
2: Lisbon, Portugal Matt and Sean find the party in Lisbon's Bairro Alto. Bairro Alto (or just Bairro) is the heart of Lisbon's youth culture and nightlife. Lisbon's punk, gay, heavy metal music, goth, hip hop and reggae scenes all have the Bairro as their home due to the number of clubs and bars dedicated to each of them. During daytime, the Bairro is a traditional district where older people shop for groceries, and the younger generations visit art galleries.
4: Johannesburg, South Africa The flight from Lisbon arrives in Johannesburg at 6:35am on June 26th (Matt's birthday). Jo'burg is the largest city in South Africa located in the Gauteng Province and has the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has a population of roughly 4 million in the municipal city and 10 million in the metro area. Matt and Sean arrive at Tako Seelman's guest house appropriately named "The Views", located in Mountain View.
5: Pilanesburg Game Reserve Instead of taking a nap and laying low until everyone else arrives, Matt and Sean venture off to Pilanesburg Game Reserve. The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is located in North West Province in South Africa, west of Pretoria. The park borders with the entertainment complex Sun City and has an area of 220 square miles. Within the first 5 minutes, they spot 2 huge rhinos.
7: Rustenburg Sean and Matt leave the wild animals for their first 2010 World Cup soccer (football) match showcasing USA vs. Ghana at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace (cap: 40,000). Ghana beats USA 2-1. Matt and Sean head back to Joburg for some sleep after a 22 hour 1st day of touring. Matt's birthday is a success.
8: Pilanesburg Game Reserve: Clockwise from Top Left: 1. A pelican perches near the Hippo Pond. 2. A jackal tears away at the carcass of a hippopotamus. 3. Sean did not read the rules of the game reserve that say "do not get out of your car under any circumstances". 4. Matt poses with the wildebeests. He also failed to read the park rules. 5. An old dock 6. Sunset in Pilanesburg
9: Johannesburg Jan Roll arrives early on the morning of June 27th and takes Sean's rental car out for a spin to check out some art and find out about match ticket sales. Tako's complicated, hilly driveway proves to be too much for the sleep deprived Jan, who spent a 12 hour connection delay in Accra, Ghana en route to South Africa.
10: Johannesburg Soccer City The boys all finally converge at JSC stadium (cap: 95,000) on June 27th and are ready for the Argentina vs. Mexico match.
11: The game is full of adventure, on and off the field. Top left: Sean and Jan scuffle with a stadium bathroom mop that Jan threw over the bathroom stall into Sean's face.... so Sean attempts retribution but has 1 full year from this day to full repay Jan. Bottom left: Beer lines were no picnic at the World Cup matches. Bottom right: Sean joins in on the vuvuzela craze.
12: Top right: The whole crew is assembled at the end of the game. Leif Roll, Jan Roll, Sean Moore, Dan Silverboard, Matt Anderson, John Wilmot, and Andrew Valsamis. At the end of the night, Argentina beats Mexico 3-1, Sean's face is full of germs, and Sean loses his wallet. Jan 2, Sean 0.
13: Soweto Tour South of Johannesburg is Soweto, a city developed as a township for black people under the apartheid system. Most of the struggle against apartheid was fought in and from Soweto. The name Soweto is an acronym, made up - in apartheid days from the first letters of the words “south western township”. Soweto is inhabited by over two million people, with homes ranging from extravagant mansions to makeshift shacks. Our guest house proprietor Tako (dressed as Freddy Kruger) gives us the 50 cent tour. Clockwise from top left: former nuclear reactors, shanty town homes, Freedom Charter Monument, Freedom Square in Kliptown.
15: Bottom: Hector Pieterson (1964 – 16 June 1976) became the subject of an iconic image of the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa when a news photograph of the dying Hector being carried by a fellow student while his sister ran next to them, was published around the world. He was killed at the age of 12 when the police opened fire on protesting students. His memorial stands there today.
16: Ellis Park Stadium Brazil plays Chile on June 28th at Ellis Park (cap: 60,000) with lots of pre-game hype from the Brazilian fans in the city streets. Dan still struggles with his vuvuzela, and luckily for us, surgery options exist next to the Good Hope Restaurant.
17: Ellis Park Stadium is a rugby and football stadium in the city of Johannesburg, It hosted the final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which was won by the country's national team, the Springboks (movie: Invictus). Brazil beats Chile 3-0. After the game, the boys enjoy some quality street meat and then head back to Tako's guest house to gear up for their 11:50am flight to Cape Town.
18: Cape Town The boys arrive in Cape Town on June 29th, pick up a diesel rental truck and head for the Hilcrest Manor guest house in the Tamboerskloof neighborhood near the city center. The Spain vs. Portugal game takes place that evening at 8pm at Green Point Stadium (cap: 68,000). Driving directions in this area will challenge the group over the next several days. Spain beats Portugal in their typical scoring fashion, 1-0.
21: Wednesday, June 30th in Cape Town Top: Photos taken from near our Cape Town guest house. Bottom: Photos taken near the Robben Island Ferry. We were scheduled to take the 3pm ferry to Robben Island, but all the day's tours were canceled due to high seas. Robben Island is of particular note as it was here that future President of South Africa and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela and future South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, alongside many other political prisoners, spent decades imprisoned during the apartheid era. Current South African President Jacob Zuma was also imprisoned there for ten years.
22: Sea Point We took a little drive along the coast from Cape Town to Hout Bay, passing through the coastal neighborhoods of Sea Point, Bantry Bay, Clifton Bay, and Camps Bay.
24: On our drive we came across a guy on the side of the road named Greg who was selling everything from zebra, cow, and crocodile skins to sprinkbok purses and buffalo skin belts. Directly behind him on the hill was a small kramat, a holy shrine of Islam. The holy men of Islam, or Auliyah, were originally brought to the Cape Colony as prisoners from Malaysia, India and Arabia by the Dutch settlers. Many of the Auliyah brought to the Cape Colony were noblemen. When they died they were laid to rest in kramats (or mazaars).
25: Hout Bay Hout Bay is a unique coastal town near Cape Town where we happened to catch a beautiful sunset behind the amphitheatre of mountains. It derives its name from the Afrikaans word Houtbaai meaning Wood Bay and was first made famous for its ample supply of good timber desperately required by the Dutch colony established in Table Bay in 1652. Very little of the original forests still exist today and Hout Bay has been transformed into a bustling little village with an estimated population of over 42000 people.
26: Camps Bay The boys park it in Camps Bay for dinner and drinks.
27: Coastal Drive from Cape Town to Gansbaai On the morning of July 1st, the whole crew sets out in 2 cars for a 3-4 hour drive along the coast heading eastward. Very few drives could possibly compare to the beauty of this coastline.
30: Kleinbaai Matt, John, and Sean elect to go cage diving with great white sharks, but their reservation is delayed several days due to high seas in the morning. Instead, they board a boat to go watch other divers and see many great whites.
31: The activity is focused near Dyer Island, and in particular a narrow channel between this and Geyser rock known as Shark Alley. Dyer island supports a large population of Cape Fur Seals which in turn attract large numbers of these deadly marine predators. Clockwise from Top left: 2 photos of great whites just feet away while leaning over the edge of the boat, a dorsal fin surfaces near the cage diver boat, a great white wrestles with the boat's styrofoam lure, an unsuspecting sea bird gets attacked.
32: Top right: Dyer Island and the Cape Fur Seals. Bottom right: We were incredibly lucky to snap this breaching great white on our way back to the dock. Not really... The sunset on bottom left, however, is very real.
33: Top left: Sean is attacked by a large sea gull, but he survives. Other photos: We successfully used these photos of post cards to embellish our shark watching trip with our other friends who elected to go for a drive in a dilapidated national park.
34: Dinners in Cape Town We enjoyed many great dinners in Cape Town, most of which were African game sampling adventures. We ate crocodile, kudu, ostrich, warthog, springbok, gemsbok, venison, nyala, impala, antelope, quail, and fowl. These photos are from our July 1st dinner.
36: Boulders Penguin Colony On our way to the Cape Point on July 2nd, we stop off to see the penguins and buy some African art. This is home to a growing colony of the vulnerable African Penguin. Wooden walkways allow visitors to view the penguins in their natural habitat.
37: Cape Point Cape Point is a promontory at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula, which is a mountainous and scenic landform that runs north-south for about thirty kilometers at the extreme southwestern tip of the African continent.
43: Bottom left and right: We spotted 4 wild monkeys at Cape Point.
44: Simons Town We proceed to find a local cafe in Simons Town, a small coastal village on the Cape Peninsula, where we watch the Holland vs. Brazil match. Holland upsets Brazil 2-1. Jan and Sean, in good tradition, find an animal statue to ride.
45: Back in Cape Town Time to go out and have some fun. What are Matt and Jan doing?
46: Table Mountain July 3rd is our last full day in Cape Town. We kick off the day with a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town. It is a significant tourist attraction, with many visitors using the cableway or hiking to the top. The mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park.
51: Above: We come across a tour group who is abseiling (aka: repelling) down the mountain. Right: Jan is not encumbered by ropes and abseiling gear because he decides to fly down to the base. We meet him later before the 4pm match.
54: Green Point Stadium in Cape Town Germany blows out Argentina with a 4-0 quarter final victory on Saturday, July 3rd.
56: Dinner at Mama Africa in Cape Town After the Germany defeat over Argentina, we walk over to Long Street to dine at Mama Africa, a famous restaurant known worldwide for its traditional African cuisine and wild game. Jan spontaneously decides to join the band and Sean takes a 5 minute break after a long day.
57: The drinks flow steadily at Mama Africa, and the whole group enjoys a a final dinner together. On the next day, John and Andrew will go home while Jan, Sean, Matt, Dan, and Leif will fly to Durban. Top left: Notice all the original artwork in the restaurant. Two thumbs up for Dan's beret. Bottom left: A fraction of the carnage. Bottom right: Someone in our group was not paying attention to the band.
58: The Last Supper
59: More good times in Cape Town. Top left and right: Long Street at night. Middle and bottom right: Our group is fond of candles stick holders. Bottom left: Not sure.
61: Durban, South Africa The remaining five fly to Durban on July 4th for a quick 2 day trip and check into the Garden Court Marine Parade hotel right on the beach. Durban is famous as the busiest port in South Africa and is also a major center of tourism because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. The city has a population of almost 3.5 million.
64: Right: Matty is featured here at one of our standby locations on the beach near our hotel, Joe Cool's. Bottom left: Senseless violence.
65: Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal After a 6 hour drive from Durban, we arrive at Mkuze Falls Game Lodge on July 6th where we will spend the next 2 days on safari. Each day has 2 safari drives, the first at 6am in the morning, and the second around 2pm in the afternoon. | Within the first 5 minutes of our very cold first morning safari on July 7th, we encounter a pride of 6 lions lounging around not far from the game lodge.
66: Mkuze Falls Morning Safari Drive on July 7th We get up at 5:30am for the first time on this vacation and are rewarded with a pride of lions as our first official animal sighting.
67: Right: Our tracker quickly spotted these lion paw tracks.
68: Left: The next animal we spot is a rare sighting - the cheetah. We are having some great luck on this drive. Above: Sean seems to be handling the pressure of the cheetah sighting a little better than Dan.
69: Bottom left: 3 Female nyalas
70: During our mid-safari picnic, we of course ask our ranger if we can hold the rifle and pose for pictures. He obliges.
71: Left: Our ranger shows us the rifle is loaded after we play.
72: Giraffes, warthogs, cheetahs, and "Jan Smoots" kept us on the lookout at all times.
73: Left: Back at the game lodge for lunch and a rest.
76: Mkuze Falls Afternoon Safari Drive on July 7th
77: Left: Elephant tracks... they can't be far.
81: Bottom right: Time to secure a perimeter and cover each other's backs.
82: Top left: The safari boys gather for the evening drive picnic by a pond where it is common to see the hippopotamus. We did not spot any hippos, but we did have a rare sighting of the "Jan Smoot" (top and bottom right).
83: Safaris make you thirsty.
84: We are now back at the Mkuze Falls Game Lodge where a 5 course meal awaits our return from the day's safari adventures. It is early to bed for all of us on this evening. No soccer match, no extra party, just sleep in preparation for the next day's 5:30am alarm.
86: Our Land Rover jeep comes upon another safari jeep surrounded by elephants. The elephants disappeared into the trees, so our ranger turned around and drove us to a nearby road where we might intersect with them. Within 10 minutes, we were surrounded by at least 15-20 elephants. Opposite page: The 1st bull (male) elephant we see emerges from the trees and appears to be chasing our jeep. | Mkuze Falls Morning Safari Drive on July 8th
89: Top right: African Buffalo Middle right: Giraffe Bottom right: Rhinoceros
92: The Lion Hunt As our luck would have it, our ranger spots a pride of lions in an open meadow who appear to be very focused. We drive up into the middle of the meadow and they barely take notice of us as they stealthily stalk potential prey. They are focused on a number of animals within close range, but most predominantly on a warthog ahead in the bush. The female lead lioness pounced on the warthog and we heard it squeal several times in its last breaths of air.
94: The male lion saunters by to be the first to collect on dinner. It is important to note that Sean took this photo with no zoom applied to his camera lens. The lion was about 5 feet away from our open, no-doors jeep while it strolled by. | Above is the female lion that actually stalked and killed the warthog. It is customary with protected African lions for the female to stalk and kill the prey and then allow the alpha male lion first rights to the meal.
96: Our safari is a huge success and we enjoy reliving it over lunch. We were given a "gift" experience in just the last 30 minutes of our final safari before our long drive back to Johannesburg. Thank you, Mkuze Falls Game Reserve.
97: We set off on our 5 hour scenic drive back to Johannesburg where Jan, Leif, and Dan have flights to catch on this evening, July 8th. Sean and Matt will fly out the next morning.
98: Zululand: The Battle of Bloed River One last stop at the site of the Battle of Bloed River. After the Voortrekkers had failed to negotiate with the Zulus the secession of land for settling and grazing, and had endured a number of catastrophic assaults, they assembled at the Ncome River for a decisive battle. On December 16, 1838, 464 Boers under the command of Andries Pretorius defeated more than 10,000 Zulu warriors. The monument at the Blood River, a fort of cast-bronze wagons, brings to life the terrible events of 1838, which meant the beginning of the end of the Zulu Kingdom. | Above: 3 wax bulls we purchased from local children at the battle site, which we left behind because they smelled like Bengay. | Above: Fires consumed the countryside for the entire drive back to Johannesburg.
99: Lisbon, Portugal Matt and Sean's last hurrah in Lisbon on July 9th. Never a direct flight when you buy with miles, but who's complaining.... | THE END... Until the next trip.