BC: DEPARTED | America | 22 NOV 2012
1: Johannesburg | South Africa | ARRIVED 19 NOV 2012 | We are all bubbling with anticipation during our 17 hour flight! First stop, Johannesburg. It is the most populous city in South Africa and the wealthiest province in South Africa. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills.
2: I can't believe it!! I am finally going to a place I have dreamed of ever since I was a child...a place where lions roam, where I will get to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat and a place where the ocean is full of amazing world renowned sea life. South Africa Here I Come!
3: MABULA GAME LODGE Mabula Game Reserve is a private game reserve situated in the Limpopo province of South Africa. It is about 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) and is about 47 km from Bela Bela (Warmbaths). It is home to an abundance of animal and bird life, including the ‘Big-5.'
5: Melissa Muller Houston, TX Jennifer Placek San Francisco, California Kimberly Larkin Austin, TX Terry Shackleford San Antonio, Texas | M e e t T H E C A S T
6: A BIG THANK YOU! | To Melissa for Organizing our Trip | To Melissa's Wonderful Family for Accommodating and Entertaining | Vivian Jacobs | Berle Muller | Grandma | Bobbie De Villiers | Melissa Muller
7: The Big 5 Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion, and Rhino The traditional grouping of ‘big 5’ animals were so-called by the big hunters of the last two centuries. These 5 mammals were considered the five most dangerous animals to hunt - primarily because they fought back! Africa's big-five were characterized as lethal adversaries, and their reputations as crafty animals, with strong instincts for survival grew. They had few natural enemies, were difficult to track and very dangerous . | AFRICAN SAFARI
8: ELEHANT ADVENTURES
11: Impala | Gemsbok | Red Hartebeest | Blesbok | Kudu | Blesbok | Waterbuck | Impala | Red Hartebeest | Kudu | Red Hartebeest | Kudu | Bushbok | Oh DEER! | Supper! | Gemsbok and Impala | Eland
16: Horseback Ride | Mabula Game Lodge
17: Experience Nature What an experience. To ride into the wild African bush. To feel the quiet, To feel the peace, To ride upon a horse and not startle, To be looked at with curious eyes and feel as though you are connected
20: MONKEY BUSINESS Oh, what a cute little monkey. I am so rude drinking this Amarula all by myself, I should offer him a drink. | Look who's laughing now
24: At many times during this trip did we find opportunities to face our fears! | Spitting Cobras... they may have gotten out of the cage, but just for a little bit, but don't worry, you have a full 30 min to get to the hospital before you die | Jackal, great sighting for a nighttime safari | Nighttime Safari Watch out for those bears!!!
25: ARBORATION | Umbrella | Amarulu | Baobab?
27: Hornbill | Bird Watching | Black-chested Snake Eagle | Ostrich | Blacksmith
32: Final Sunrise | Our safari fun has come to an end, goodbye for now Big Five and friends! We all are thankful for this experience and hopeful that this is onot our last time to lay eyes on this beautiful land.
35: Shanty Towns -By Air
37: Karoo The Great Karoo has an area of more than 400,000 square kilometers. From a geological point of view it has been a vast inland basin for most of the past 250 million years. At one stage the area was glaciated; the evidence for this is found in the widely-distributed Dwyka tillite. Later, at various times, there were great inland deltas, seas, lakes or swamps. Enormous deposits of coal formed and these are one of the pillars of the economy of South Africa today. Ancient reptiles and amphibians prospered in the wet forests and their remains have made the Karoo famous amongst palaeontologists. About 180 million years ago, volcanic activity took place on a titanic scale, which brought an end to a flourishing reptile evolution.
38: Cape Town is the second-most populated city in South Africa after Johannesburg, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its harbour as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, as well as for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is also Africa's most popular tourist destination. | CAPE TOWN
43: BONDI BEACH | shanty town (also called a squatter settlement) is a slum settlement (sometimes illegal or unauthorized) of plywood, corrugated metal, sheets of plastic, and cardboard boxes. Shanty towns, which are usually built on the periphery of cities, often do not have proper sanitation, water supply or aqueduct, electricity or telephone services. The largest shanty town in Africa is is Khayelitsha in Cape Town, South Africa has an estimated population of 406,779 (5,118.6 homes /sq mi: 19,585.5 people /sq mi). Around 70% of residents still live in shacks and one in three people has to walk 200 meters or further to access water. Around 53% of Khayelitsha's total working age population is employed. The five most common forms of employment are domestic work (19.4%), service work (15.2%), skilled manual labour (15.2%), unskilled manual labour (11%), and security services (10.4%). 89% of households in Khayelitsha are either moderately or severely food insecure.
46: Melissa's Moms House in Kidbrooke
47: From Beryl's Garden
48: Had a great visit with Melissa's mom and gran, such sweet and inviting lady's. We sipped tea and pretended to be proper during our stay. Listened to Kenny Rogers to our hearts content. I never did figure out if Beryl just loved Kenny that much or that was the only country music she owned. It was sweet either way! She fixed some amazing meals and entertained us, lots of fun. Her quilt collection soon became the envy of everyone of us, if only we had the room to stuff one in our luggage! Over 100 handmade and handstitched blankets, covers, quilts, just beautiful! She has a lovely garden that wanders behind, beside and in front of her house full of gorgeous flowers including many kids of protea. Just beautiful against the backdrop of the ocean. We set up our cameras for a final ocean sunset in Hermanus.
50: Hermanus Originally called Hermanuspietersfontein, but shortened as the name was too long for the postal service, also referred to as Village by the Sea, on the southern coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is famous for southern right whale watching during the southern winter and spring and is a popular retirement town. The southern right whale has made Hermanus, South Africa one of the world centers for whale watching. During the winter months (June to October), southern right whales come so close to the shoreline that visitors can watch them from the shore as well as from strategically placed hotels. Hermanus also has two boat–based whale watching operators. The town employs a "whale crier" (cf. town crier) to walk through the town announcing where whales have been seen.
52: Aunt Bobbie's House
53: View to the Right | View to the Left
54: Little memories from Aunt Bobbie's house including items from her and her late husbands travel and Melissa's father's box he carved out of wood
57: This is the bay that Hermanus is situated on. Also home to the Southern Right Whales during breeding and calving season. | Walker Bay
64: Southern right whales are large "baleen" whales. Adults are generally between 45 and 55 feet in length and can weigh up to 60 tons (120,000 lbs); females are larger than males. Calves are 13-15 feet in length at birth. Distinguishing features for right whales include a stocky body, generally black coloration (although some individuals have white patches on their undersides), no dorsal fin, a large head (about 1/4 of the body length), strongly bowed margin of the lower lip, and callosities (raised patches of roughened skin) on the head region. Two rows of long (less than 8 feet in length), dark baleen plates hang from the upper jaw, with about 225 plates on each side. The tail is broad, black, and deeply notched with a smooth trailing edge. The right whale's callosities appear white due to large colonies of cyamids (whale lice). One behavior unique to the southern right whale, known as sailing, is that of using their elevated flukes to catch the wind. It appears to be a form of play and is commonly seen off the coast of Argentina and South Africa. Hermanus has become known as a mecca for whale watching, during the southern hemisphere winter months (June - October) the Southern Right Whales migrate to the coastal waters of South Africa, with in excess of 100 whales known to be in the Hermanus area. Whilst in the area, the whales can be seen with their young as they come to Walker Bay to calve and mate. Many behaviors such as breaching, sailing, lobtailing, or spyhopping can be witnessed. | Southern Right Whales
68: You can't live in an awesome place like this and not have the coolest car ever!!
72: The Hornbill Ceramics, jewlery made by locals in townships of Hermanus
76: Cliff Path Fernkoff Nature Reserve With its extraordinary diversity of scenery, rocky coves, sandy beaches and secluded forest glades, the Cliff Path is unequaled anywhere. The conservation value of the coastal area has been recognized by its inclusion in a proclaimed nature reserve - a step taken not a moment too soon to protect this fragile ecosystem. The Cliff Path attracts thousands of whale-watchers every year for the best shore-based whale-watching in the world; but not only whale-watching may be enjoyed on the Cliff Path - it is also a nature-lover's paradise. It meanders for more than 1Okm from the New Harbour in the west to the mouth of the Klein River in the east. It takes you past famous fishing spots, whale-watching view points, multimillion rand homes and the original fishing harbour, now a museum and National Monument. It also winds through a fascinating diversity of vegetation types with an astonishing number of flowering plants to be seen.
79: Grotto Beach Popular Beach spot, beautiful sand and ocean. Our visit was not exactly a relaxing rest at the beach with the wind blowing sand in our face!
80: Visiting Lillian and Family
81: Many thanks to Lillian for sharing her family with us. We were able to drive out to her home and meet her children and grandchildren. They were all just as sweet and precious as could be. We felt the excitement from the kids as they met us "Americans." We brought candy with us, but what they really loved was our digital cameras and being able to see themselves right after taking a picture. One of the little girls is doing very well in school and was excited to show us her award for being a good student, a clock with her name and picture on it. Lillian's daughter has a new job in Cape Town and commutes the two hours by bus to work there. They are thankful for the opportunity even though she is away from her kids. Good to hear that things are looking up for their family.
82: Original Dutch Style Home | Homes along the shore in Hermanus
83: Great White | Shark Diving | Gansbaai
84: - Put boat in ocean | Shark Diving Step-by-Step Instruction Guide | - Load people on Boat and drive to sharks | - Load cages with people | - Bait the sharks with seal decoys | - Drag disgusting raw fish over people in cages and enjoy the show
89: Shark Diving, Check! We survived!!! What an experience! The Indian Ocean was beautiful, the sharks terrifying, the water absolutely freezing... overall an experience of a lifetime. We had about 8-10 great whites circling our area from a mother and her juvenile to a huge 12-14 ft shark. Most had huge scars or some evidence of a past fight. Our hands were so close to the sharks teeth as they bit our cage. It was a challenge keeping all of my extremities inside of the cage. Their little beady eyes were looking right into ours. It was terrifying, yet completely awesome all at the same time. The great whites definitely have my respect.
90: The Southern Most Tip | Cape Agulhas | South Africa
91: Cape Agulhas ("Cape of Needles") is a rocky headland in the Western Cape, South Africa. It is the geographic southern tip of Africa and the official dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. (The actual division between the ocean currents is, however, a different matter. The point where the Agulhas current meets the Benguela current fluctuates seasonally between Cape Agulhas and Cape Point.) Historically, the cape has been known to sailors as a major hazard on the traditional clipper route and is sometimes regarded as one of the great capes. It was most commonly known in English as Cape L'Agulhas until the 20th century. The town of L'Agulhas is located near to the cape. | Cape Agulhas
92: Cape Agulhas | South Africa
95: Shell Beach First stop on our walk on Cliff Path. The beach was covered in shells! A little challenging to walk on, but our feet sure were smooth afterwards!
96: Stony Point Penguin Colony The African Penguin, also known as the Black-footed Penguin is a species of penguin, confined to southern African waters. It is also widely known as the "Jackass" Penguin for its donkey-like bray, although several species of South American penguins produce the same sound. The African Penguin is found on the south-western coast of Africa, living in colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It is the only penguin species that breeds in Africa and its presence gave name to the Penguin Islands. When penguins molt, they are unable to forage as their new feathers are not waterproof yet; therefore they fast over the entire molting period, which in African Penguins takes about 20 days, we just happened to be here during this time and got to see them all on land. The average lifespan of an African Penguin is 10 to 27 years in the wild, and possibly longer in captivity. However, the African Penguin may often fall to predators. Their predators in the ocean include sharks, Cape Fur Seals and, on occasion, orcas. Land-based enemies include mongooses, genets, domestic cats, and the Kelp Gull which steals their eggs and newborn chicks. | South African Penguins
108: Harold Porter National Botanical Garden -lies in the heart of the Cape fynbos region - Located Between Gordon's Bay and Betty's Bay, the peaceful garden includes sweeping mountain slopes, deep gorges, and four vegetation types that occur naturally in the Overberg - afro montane forests, wetlands, coastal dunes and fynbos. It is a magical display of proteas, ericas and leucadendrons set amidst meandering nature trails that take one up mountains, down gorges and through gardens in which some 60 species of birds.
115: Stellenbosch | Stellenbosch South Africa The second-oldest and undoubtedly the most scenically attractive and historically preserved town in southern Africa. The name conjures up images as few other towns or cities can. History is reflected in the neo-Dutch, Georgian and modern-Victorian architecture that encompasses simple lines, fine detail and elegant proportions that bear witness to a proud and dignified heritage. The mild weather and unique terroir is ideal for wine-growing and the region has amassed many international awards over the years. The first Wine Route was established in 1971 and comprised 17 cellars; today the Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes boasts more than 200 members.
116: The over 300 year old majestic camphor trees and magnificent homestead and library bear testimony to Vergelegen's grandeur. Because of its world renowned handcrafted wines and extensive 300 year heritage, exquisite gardens and cuisine, this Estate is a popular destination for many visitors including heads of state and celebrities from all over the world. | Vergelegen
117: Vergelegen has been a gardener's paradise since the van der Stel era in the 1700's and today 17 exquisitely themed gardens are on display for visitors to enjoy.
118: Since 1700 and to this day, Vergelegen (meaning "situated far away"), has been crafted by some of the world's great explorers and visionaries, who each in their own way have helped shape Vergelegen to what it is today: a world-class Estate. While we personally are not world renowned explorers, we did our best while we were there! VAN DER STEL ERA: 1685 -1706 Vergelegen was most likely an outpost until early 1700 when the freehold land was granted to Willem Adriaan van der Stel, the new governor of the Cape. Willem was a true visionary who transformed an utter wilderness into a flourishing Estate to rival Europe's finest. Alas, in 1706, he was ordered to return to the Netherlands, resulting in the Estate's succession of ownership over the next century. LADY PHILLIPS ERA : 1917 - 1941 After Willem Adriaan van der Stel was forced to return to the Netherlands, Vergelegen went through a succession of owners until 1917 when Sir Lionel Phillips purchased the property for his wife Lady Florence Phillips, who transformed the dilapidated Estate into a floral and cultural treasure trove. BARLOW ERA : 1941 - 1987 After the deaths of Sir Lionel and Lady Phillips, Vergelegen and its contents were sold by auction to the Barlow Family in June 1941. Cynthia Barlow was as devoted to Vergelegen as Lady Phillips had been and maintained the Estate's tradition. ANGLO AMERICAN ERA : 1987 - TODAY When Anglo American purchased the property in 1987, extensive investments were made in viticulture and in restoring the Estate's historic core, with a view to sharing the Estate with visitors worldwide.
119: Delhem Delheim wine farm, situated on the slopes of the Simonsberg mountain near Stellenbosch in South Africa, is owned by wine industry legend 'Spatz' Sperling and his family, and has been producing internationally-acclaimed wines for sixty years. German hospitality is the order of the day at this beautiful property – and most of the people are related, so visitors can expect to be treated like family. Taste wines in the atmospheric 'Downstairs' wine cellar, and be taken on a cellar tour to see where the wines are made. Delheim’s restaurant offers a selection of dishes ranging from cheese platters to traditional German and South African fare. The original farm was founded in 1699 and today, Delheim still reflects the traditions and values of the Sperling family's commitment to quality.
122: A Room with a view | Cape Town
126: Rhodes Memorial - is a national landmark dedicated to Cecil John Rodes, Prime Minister of the Cape Colony after successfully establishing the De Beers Consolidate Mines in the late 1800s. He contributed to the development of the town and the fruit industry in the area through his own personal wealth. The eight lions were modeled upon those protecting Nelson column in Trafalgar Square and the dynamic 'Statue of Energy" is a tribute to his restless drive and determination at the foot of 49 steps (one for each year of his life).
130: Named th | CAPE of GOOD HOPE | Named the ‘Cape of Storms’ by Bartolomeu Dias in 1488; the ‘Point’ was treated with respect by sailors for centuries. By day, it was a navigational landmark and by night, and in fog, it was a menace beset by violent storms and dangerous rocks that over the centuries littered shipwrecks around the coastline.
131: Dias named the peninsula The Cape of Storms for its infamous weather, which sailors hold in absolute reverence today never mind the days before radar, satellite imagery, GPS and packet data. A decade later it was Vasco da Gama, another famed Portuguese explorer, who opened the new trading route to India and the East around Cape Point which was later renamed to The Cape of Good Hope because of hope the new route inspired. Today Cape Point, a World Heritage Site, and protected Nature Reserve is an area of vast natural beauty, world renown for it natural vegetation and rich bio-diversity.
133: Where Two Oceans Meet
135: Cape of Good Hope
136: 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 in the Republic of South Africa. Although these two rocky and beautiful capes are very well known, neither cape is actually the southernmost point in Africa; that is Cape Agulhas, approximately 90 miles to the east-southeast.
142: TABLETOP MOUNTAIN New7Natural Wonders of the World | FACTS - Table Mountain is named after its flat top - Orographic clouds often cover Table Mountain, sitting flat over the mountain top forming the commonly called ‘table cloth’- it is responsible for the lush vegetation found on the mountain - Its main face is approximately 3km from side to side. (9850ft) - It has extensive sandstone caves, the largest is Wynberg caves - Was previously known as Howrikwaggo, meaning sea mountain or mountain in the sea, by the original inhabitants of the cape - There are more than 350 walking tracks to the summit, or you can take the cableway that was built in 1929 -Table Mountain National Park , 60km (30miles), has around 2000 plant species and forms one of 6 floral kingdoms in the world. 70% of its plant species can't be found anywhere else in the world - One of the oldest mountains in the world and is the most popular tourist destinations of Cape Town, over 800 000 people/year - The Dassie is the most common animal, it looks like a guinea pig, however its closest living relatives is the elephant and sirenian - António de Saldanha was the first European to land in Table Bay. In 1503 he climbed the mountain and named it Taboa do Cabo (Portuguese for Table of the Cape).
143: Table Mountain is a South African icon and the only natural site on the planet to have a constellation of stars named after it – Mensa, meaning “the table.” The flat-topped mountain has withstood six million years of erosion and hosts the richest, yet smallest floral kingdom on earth with over 1,470 floral species. Table Mountain boasts numerous rare and endangered species. It is the most recognized site in Cape Town, the gateway to Africa, owing to its unique flat-topped peaks which reach 1,086 m above sea level.
146: CAMPS BAY just up the road from Clifton, is a long, sandy beach with palm trees and a fantastic promenade lined with trendy restaurants, cafés and cocktail bars. Here Cape Town's fashionable set mingle with visitors to the city against one of the most beautiful backdrops of Lion's Head and the 12 Apostles. The beach is very popular for sundowners and in hot weather it's a beach paradise. | Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town | From Camps Bay you can walk to GLEN BEACH - a small beach set in a little enclave and great for surfing - and MAIDEN’S COVE, which is very much a family beach just in front of the Glen Country Club. BAKOVEN BEACH gets a mention because of its natural beauty - big boulders, white sands and a gorgeous setting. But it’s smallish and zealously protected by territorial local residents.
147: Camps Bay Beach as you can see, our day at the beach was... well.. no day at the beach! With Gale Force Winds 30-50+ mph, we did not exactly get to sit and enjoy the view, however, our skin did benefit from the face peel. There is a silver lining in every cloud.
148: BONDI BEACH is one of Australia's most famous beaches and among the world's most well-known beaches. The beach is roughly a kilometer long and is located on the east coast of Australia and is a suburb of the city of Sydney.
150: Victoria Wharf | Situated at the foot of Table Mountain, within a stone’s throw from the Cape Town Stadium and in the heart of Cape Town’s working harbour, the V&A Waterfront offers the visitor an abundance of unforgettable experiences. Indoor shopping and entertainment venues seamlessly merge with ocean vistas and mountain views and the fresh sea breeze and warm African sun add zest to a cosmopolitan, vibrant atmosphere.
153: Our trip has been amazing!! The locals are as warm and nice as expected. We've been able to visit all of the places on our list and I got to see the Great Whites! Woohoo!! Now I can check that off the bucket list. I loved it so much here it was hard to leave, Coming home to these sweet babies though, was the most wonderful part!