13 Mar 2019

Cape Town, South Africa 2019

This is so parochial to say, but it seems like Cape Town is at the end of the world. Yet when you get here, it is so cosmopolitan. I mean you can't get here in less than two days from the US.

 Having done heavy sightseeing both times previously we decided just to take it easy this time. We went to Greenmarket Square to see the outdoor stalls selling African art curios.
Nearby we visited a store, Tribal Trends, highly recommended by a friend and it blew us away. If you can imagine a high end African art home goods store, then this is it. Pretty much I don't shop, but this place is amazing.
The two of us had a fun "alone" dinner at Sevruga at V & A Waterfront. The area was hoping. It is so nice to have overnights where we can eat dinner in town and get a whole different vibe and feel for a place.
More Cape Town tomorrow.

10 Mar 2019

Addo Elephant Park

Addo Elephant Park is South Africa's third largest. Although a diverse wildlife conservation park, it is know for its 600 elephants that roam it along with the rest of the Big Five and many other animals.


The combination of ivory hunters and farmers not liking elephants, left only 11 local elephants before the Addo Elephant National Park started in 1931 to provide them a sanctuary. 

Dung beetles are beetles that feed partly or exclusively on feces. A dung beetle can bury dung 250 times heavier than itself in one night. Many dung beetles, known as rollers, roll dung into round balls, which are used as a food source or breeding chambers. TMI?

The King was resting along side the road.
The female antelope had no antlers and the male does. They need to be careful because the antlers do not grow back if damaged.

There were lots of ugly warthogs out today.

This zebra popped out to take a peak at us. So pretty.

 At the end  some rain started coming down. Allyn was prepared as usual.

08 Mar 2019

Durban, South Africa 2019

We are in Durban, the third largest city in South Africa. It's know for a cosmopolitan, multi-diverse society, and long elegant beaches with much surrounding beauty. It was a bit gray out today, but fun nevertheless.

Taking a helicopter to check things out, we were immediately impressed with the ocean, adjacent gold courses, and a world class soccer stadium built for the 2010 FIOFA World Cup.

Unfortunately it didn't take long to see Durban poverty, witnessing a huge shanty town from above.

The scenery was beautiful and educational. In the sticks are many small clusters of small Zulu compounds. By law polygamy for them is allowed. 


We landed on a plateau overlooking the Valley of 1000 Hills and enjoyed a bit of a picnic.

In the afternoon we visited uShaka a full blown marine park. The shopping was really nice in that it was quite local looking, clean and with many interesting stores.

Leave it to Allyn to photo-bombed a class photo.

07 Mar 2019

Hluhluwe Game Reserve, 2019

First stop in South  Africa was Richards Bay and we drove to Hluhluwe Game Reserve for a two-hour game drive. Given it was so short, it is surprising how many nice sightings we had.

Water buffalo were abundant today. Often they like relaxing in the mud and are good at it.      
This little tortoise guy likes to eat parasites in the water buffalo's rear end. When not disrupted, nature has a place to handle all needs.
These guys are part of a group of male impalas. Once a year about now there is a big fight and the victor goes off with the entire group of females. These guys are the losers.
it turns out that the white rhino is not white at all. Originally there was a mistranslation of the Dutch  word "wijd" meaning "wide" but was heard as "white"
There were several pretty birds along the way. The guide said it was his first sighting this year of the kingfisher.
The elephant photo was as good as we could. But it's an elephant so it makes the cut.
Giraffes are so beautiful and graceful. Did you know that both giraffes and humans have seven neck vertebrae? Theirs are over 10 inches though.
We saw one lion and that was tough as he was hiding behind the vegetation. Actually he was staying cool.
Warthogs are seriously ugly.

06 Mar 2019

Maputo, Mozambique 2019


Here we are today in Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique. Here is yet another city whose name until recently was unknown to me, yet it has 2.7MM people in its metropolitan area. I mean we are in Africa. This is the real deal.
The Central Railway Station is over 100 years old and generally recognized as one of the prettiest in the world and the most beautiful in Africa.
It was worth the tour just to watch the hubbub of local activity here.
The Central Market is another place that is always fun to visit to see how the locals live. It, too, was a delight. 
If you are interested in elephant fetuses you absolutely must run, not walk, to the  Maputo Museum of Natural History. They have real preserved fetuses to view from 3 weeks 22 months. 
Imagine this. in 1892 the Iron House was built to be the  to be the residence of the Governor General of Mozambique. It was designed by the famous Gustave Eiffel, (Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty fame).  Well it seems nobody told him it was hot here. It was impossible to use as a dwelling. It makes for a good tour stop though.
 Our final stop was at the obligatory crafts market. It was surprisingly lovely.