17 Mar 2019

Walvis Bay, Namibia 2019

Most African countries gained their independence by the 1960. Not so Namibia. 
South African apartheid laws were extended to Namibia and prevented black Namibians from having any political rights and most freedoms. South Africa’s plan was to exploit the mineral resources of Namibia by white South Africa.
It took 24 years of revolt and warfare with South Africa (1966- 1990) and almost 25,000 people dying before they achieved independence.
It has a population of about 2 million in a country that is twice the size of California.  Only Mongolia is less populous.
We enjoyed our day driving for miles and miles in a 4X4 to visit two lagoons. Along the way we saw miles of beautiful ocean.
 Seals are always cute.
 There are so many bird types out today. Here are some pelicans taking a swim.
Little egrets are actually a type of heron.
We even saw a grey heron.
Stopping for a picnic type snack in the middle of nowhere is always fun.
We drove and walked up and down gigantic sand dunes.
We even saw a real human skeleton in the sand.

The most beautiful birds today had to be the flamingos.

16 Mar 2019

Kolmanskop, Namibia 2019

Allyn and I visited a real ghost town today in southwest Africa,  Kolmanskop, Namibia. It is creepily quiet except for an occasional snake. 
Today was beautiful but winds and sand often blow at over 100 MPH here.
Although the Cape Town government turned down this barren, desolate region in 1885, some of the richest diamond deposits in the world were to be found in this area just a few years later.
In 1908, a railway employee shoveling drift sand from the tracks, found some interesting stones that turned out to be diamonds.
The diamonds were picked off the ground and the jars filled rapidly. One of the first discoveries was made just before nightfall, so prospecting continued long into the night, with the glimmer of stones identifiable by moonlight.
In 1912, the area produced 1 million carats or 11.7 per cent of the world’s total diamond production. 5 million karats of diamonds were extracted in the first six years of mining here.
100 years ago this is how they cooked, kept food cold, and dried clothes.
They had a bowling alley to add to their entertainment.
As usual the rich live better than the poor.The maximum population the community reached was 1,300. There was a time when Kolmanskop was the town with the highest per capita wealth in the world.
The town had the first X-ray machine in the southern hemisphere .Besiudes being used to diagnose medical issues,  It was also used to investigate and uncover any diamonds thefts.
By the early-’30s, the area was in decline. No diamonds means no town.
The last three families finally deserted the town in 1956.
Even though it is a natural park, the town is part of a 10,000 square mile forbidden area needing a visitor’s permit to visit. It is operated jointly by De Beers and the Namibian government. I guess they are afraid you might find and pick up some diamonds.

14 Mar 2019

Cape Town Ostrich Farm

It is a beautiful day in Cape Town today. Looking for something new to do we took a ride out of town to visit an ostrich farm.

On the way there we stopped for a photo of the South Africa's iconic landmark - Table Mountain.

No matter where you go in this city, you run into immense  poverty.

The ostrich brain is just the size of a marble.

For you shoppers, the way to tell real ostrich skin from fake is that the round things on the sking are bumpy, but part of the skin doesnt have the round things.
 Here are a few interesting ostrich facts. They:

*Are the world’s largest bird.
*Have three stomachs.
*Can kill a lion with one kick.
*Have eggs that are as big as 24 chicken eggs combined.
*Do not bury their heads in the sand. 
*Are the fast runners of any birds or other two-legged animals.
*Have the largest eye of any land animal. 

And one more fact you probably want/ need to know - Unlike all other living birds, the ostrich secretes urine separately from feces.

Everybody who plays scrabble knows that an emu is a word. Well, meet the emu.
I must confess that I had never heatrd of a weaver bird until today. These are their nests.

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.