Today I thought I would post some random scenes around South Africa. All of these pics have been taken by me, on the various trips we have taken around the country. Gerry is a fanatic mountain bike enthusiast (when the poor thing gets some time off work on the odd occasion :( ), and at one point I was doing bike races with him (this is surely testimony to my deep abiding love for him, as I am yet to be convinced of the "pleasure" aspect of this activity...). Because of the amazing diversity in terrain across SA, there are mountain bike races for all kinds of bikers, from the mud lovers to the climbers.
In addition to taking trips out for mountain bike races, we have taken many short breaks around the country, lugging all our gear on the roof of the Landy and strapping everything but the kitchen sink to the rest of the vehicle. Luckily, the cost of domestic cattle class flights are not too exorbitant, so it is possible to travel by air if the destination is too far to drive...
The picture above, was taken at the Bridal Veil Falls near a tiny little "dorp" (local Afrikaans language for a town), in the province of Mpumalanga, called Sabie. This area lies in the very heart of a truly enormous scale forrestation program, run by a big paper giant. It is very hilly (ok...by "hilly" I don't mean the preferred place of residence of your average hobbit...mountainy, but climbable on a mountain bike is more like it...), and one of the places locals and tourists alike like to go to because it is also quite close to the Kruger National Park. While it is hot and humid, and can rain in the blink of an eye, the area includes some spectacular sites such as God's Window, the Blyde River Canyon and the Sudwala Caves, Bourke's Luck Potholes and many sites of historic interest, such as Pilgrim's Rest, the Jock of the Bushveld Memorial, and...(in my humble gastronomic opinion...), Harrie's Pannekoek Shop in Graskop. Pannekoek is the Afrikaans word for pancake, and let me tell you, on a cold, rainy day in Mpumalanga, there is surely nothing better than eating Harrie's pancakes...there are gazillions of options for fillings and toppings, and together with the beautiful art that hangs on the walls, you may find that you never want to leave :)
The pic above was taken at the Cape Town Aquarium. This is the predator tank, which holds 2 million litres of water, and contains a bunch of different types of sharks. We went on a trip with Gerry who was attending a conference, while we went sight-seeing. The kids loved the tank, and we spent ages walking around and around, following the cruising sharks... If you are crazy enough, you can dive in the predator tank with the raggy's (ragged-tooth sharks), or if you are slightly saner, have a lovely Penguin encounter with the kids...
We have had many encounters with elephants, ranging from the east coast of South Africa, to the province of Mpumalanga. Elephants are of course plentiful in the Kruger National Park, as well as many other private and national game reserves, but there are also small independent conservation groups/owners, and these often allow up close interaction with the elephants, in order to pay the bills.... An elephant eats a truly enormous amount of food and keeping them healthy, protected and happy costs a fortune. The girls have ridden on ellies, and fed them and have developed a deep respect and love for these magnificent beasts. When we were in Hazyview, in Mpumalanga, we went on a elephant ride with Elephant Whispers. They care for and love these creatures and we had a wonderful experience....
The picture above was taken in the Golden Gate National Park , near a small town called Clarens, in the Free State. The picture is of a so called "Vulture Restaurant". Vultures are endangered, and the "restaurant" provides cattle carcasses for them to feed on in safety. Nearby, at Falcon Ridge, you can enjoy a wonderfully entertaining nature lecture, with the avid participation of two vultures called Chaos, and Hazard. The kids can also hold some birds of prey on their arms, and feed them bits of chicken (!).
Above is a picture , again of the Mpumalanga area, this time near the Mac-Mac falls.
The picture above was taken at Camps Bay in Cape Town. Cape Town can be a wonderful city to visit...it has countless natural attractions, and for those who like City life, lots of restaurants and shoppy type places to visit. I am not much of a fan of the city stuff, so mostly we go and do the nature thing. Among some of the absolute musts, include a trip up the Cable Car to the top of Table Mountain, a visit to Robben Island (where Mr Nelson Mandela spent a great deal of his life), a visit to the Kirstenbosch Gardens, the aquarium as mentioned, a visit to Boulders to see the penguins, and a visit to the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
The picture above, was taken en route to Clarens in the Free State. I loved the fact that it looks like a doggy, forever frozen in nature. The Golden Gate National Park, is amazing. The hiking is absolutely spectacular. The girls and Gerry and I went on several hikes over the years, and on each one we discovered something special. Clarens is a wonderful little town, unspoiled and welcoming. It is a very well known artists' town, with many galleries and shops specializing in art, from sculptures to paintings, to carpets...you name it. There is the most divine deli, called the Purple Onion...I am putting on weight just thinking about it......
The picture above was taken at the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town. Spectacularly beautiful!
The Picture above was taken in the area of Cathedral Peak in the Drakensberg. We usually stayed at the Cathedral Peak Hotel, which is in the very heart of the mountains. Again, hiking is spectacular and the peace and quiet incredible.
The whole of the Drakensberg Mountain range extends from north east to south west along about 1000kms. The Zulu name of the range means "Barrier of Spears", and it is a truly spectacular site from the air ( I once flew over the range after it had snowed quite heavily and luckily I had my camera in my handbag :) ), seeing the dragon-like crest of rock stretch heavenward.
I will occasionally do posts similar to the one for today...let me know if this is the kind of thing you visitors like to see... :)
And now....drum roll please...I think that this may be the first FO in knitting I have posted! You have all probably wondered if I can actually knit? These fingerless mittens were made for yours truly, but quickly hijacked my my oldest (who, just for the record...gasp!...doesn't like pink), who couldn't resist the allure of cashmere, silk and angora..... :) The pattern is by Karen Adams, and is called Glorious Cabled Mitts. I adapted the pattern a bit, and overall I was very happy with how they turned out. It's really well written...I had no trouble following it :)
And now, my dears I shall retire to bed...it's been quite a day...
Hopefully tomorrow will bring good light and some time stretching, so that I can do a tutorial on how to make the most adorable bobble edge you have ever seen... :)
Good night all