South Africa

 

Jan 19 - Jan 24, 2009

 

     Cape Town     Hout Bay     Cape of Good Hope          Simon's Town    

     Calitzdorp     Oudtshroon     George     Hermanus     Gansbaai

 

Driving into Cape Town, my first look at Table Mountain!

I knew straight away this was a beautiful place to be!

 

 

Heading out to town my first night after a long day of flying and 

sorting out ripped bags at the airport and a few hours at the luggage shop

for replacement bags. I was ready for a night out!

We have horses at home. You know you are in a foreign country when you 

can ride an Ostrich! But, would I ever ride a real Ostrich? Hmm... 

Of course I would!

 

Cape Point Peninsula Tour - Chapman’s Peak Drive winds it way 

between Noordhoek and Hout Bay. Situated on the Atlantic Coast, 

at the south-western tip of South Africa, it is one of the most 

spectacular marine drives anywhere in the world.

This was by a shipwreck that we stopped at near Haut Bay. I had a great 

steak pie and picked up a very cool soapstone figurine called the thinker. 

This was a great house (castle) on a hill. That would definitely have 

enough rooms for all of my travel stuff I've brought home over the years!

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. It was beautiful. 

This was one of my first stops. It really is a fantastic place to visit. 

 

Eastern Cape Dwarf Cycad Encephalartos Friederici-Guilielmi

I Loved This Tree Founded in 1913 it is considered one of the worlds most 

beautiful gardens and unique growing only indigenous South African plants.

Two beautiful Spotted Eagle-Owls were resting in this 

Karee Tree (Rhus lancea ). I was right in front of them and they didn't budge. 

They barely opened their eyes. One of the smallest Eagle-Owls. 18" and 

weighs 1-2 pounds. 13" wingspan Its prey consists of small mammals, 

birds, insects and reptiles.

.   Spotted Eagle-owls do not avoid populated areas. They often hunt 

near roads. They mate for life and breed at one year. They make their 

nest on the ground and fly around 7 weeks. Their life span is about 

10 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity.

 

It was so scenic. I was taking pictures as we drove like crazy. 

 

This is outside the gift shop at the botanical garden. 

There are a lot of soapstone figurines and statues. 

This was one of the prettiest spots and views of the ocean with its 

rippling waves. Simon's Town has stunning views in the most beautiful 

environment of the Cape Peninsula. Nestled on False Bay

Boulders Penguin Colony - African Penguins or Spheniscus Demersus

Salt Glands adjacent to the skull enable them to avoid build up of

salts from feeding on fish and drinking salt water.  They expel salt 

through their nostrils and by flicking their beaks.

These penguins make their nests in the sand since they are unable to fly. 

Penguins have mostly one mate for life and mutual preening helps 

reinforce their bond.

After a year or two, baby blues moult and attain their distinct black 

and white coloring. Adults start to breed at about 4 years old.

The ecstatic display of the African Penguin typically involves 

males advertising their presence and territory by loud braying hence 

their previous name Jackass Penguins.

I loved the rock formations all around.

I wish I would have had time to go swimming. It looked like so much fun!

Next time I would take a kayak out there. You can kayak up to the 

rocks with the penguins to spend up close and personal time with them.

It really was magnificent but I have a real fascination with 

rock formations.

The African Penguin is the only one that breeds in Africa and is 

restricted to the coastlines and seas of Southern Africa. It's quite a 

site to see them in beautiful weather.

I love this guy. He looks like he is counting to ten in a 

game of Hide-n-Seek.

View of Haut Bay from Chapman's Peak Drive

Here I am at Cape Point. I could not begin to explain the 

wind that was there.

Again, rocks always catch my attention but I loved the sign...

Baboons are dangerous and attracted by food. 

They really were all over and you do have to be careful.

Here I am making my way up the mountain to the lighthouse. 

It was so crazy windy in some places you could not move. 

But who knew it would get so much worse?

I made it to the top and the view was amazing. You really 

could get knocked over by the  wind. I didn't stay up there 

very long as I had a long walk ahead of me to catch my bus.

This would make a perfect Coke ad! 

I passed him on the way down from the lighthouse.

This was walking back down towards the Cape of Good Hope which was 

across the other  side of the rocks! Oh, my. Just look at that! 

Now it looks so peaceful but... 

I was on my own and was  walking across the mountain (by myself) 

to meet the bus driver on the other side. I, of  course, was the only one 

doing the walk as they all drove.

The colors on the ground were amazing. There were actual points that 

were so windy I was pushed backwards. I had to sit so I would not fall 

over the ledge which was so steep it was frightening. I honestly 

questioned what I was doing so many times. 

Would you believe? The Rock Dassie is the African elephant’s 

closest living relative, in spite of the size  difference. This close 

evolutionary relationship is deduced from 

similarities in the structure of the feet and teeth. 

There were points I was afraid to step forward for fear of falling off

the ledge. I could not turn back as there would be nobody there for me. 

I finally came across the mountain and saw the car park below! 

I was so happy that I made it. Now I just had to climb down. 

I was literally being blown all over the place!

I made it down safe and sound. But I was really relieved. 

It was gorgeous but a bit scary.

The baboons were all over the road. 

This was so sweet giving love to the little one.

This little guy was really curious and wanted in!

He climbed all over us looking for a way in.

Baby Ostriches grown into...

I love the baby hair

Adult Ostriches... I love the way they have to sit.

The feet are funky but they can sure run fast!

Ostrich Foot/Claw/Paw/Toe

That is one unattractive toe!

Stopping to watch local sport

Great lighthouse I shot while driving passed

Great view of Table Mountain from my hotel

This is the Table Mountain Table Cloth

Bathroom sign with even more impressive toilet decor. The lobby loo's 

all had themes. There was Lou Rawls, Temptation room with sexy 

bodies on the walls, an authentic looking outhouse, the long drop 

with a steep view looking down at Cape Town and...

Stage Fright! You sit there with an audience all around you. 

Talk about being intimidated! It was really fun. 

People were always taking photos 

of the rooms. Quite a conversation piece! Great Hotel!

This was one of the elevators at Protea's Fire and Ice Hotel in Cape Town.

This was by far, one of my favorite stays... ever! I loved this place and it 

was a great location but the service was fantastic and unsurpassed! 

This is the other hotel elevator. This was a fabulous place to stay!!! 

The shower was in the bedroom and all glass. Very Unique!

www.proteahotels.com/fireandice 

Here is the hotel caughinroom for smokers. When you stand in the room 

and look up, you can see people looking down at you as if you 

were in a coffin.

 

 

Here is where my adventure really starts. This is a magnificent view 

once I picked up my rental car. I only got the car to ride an ostrich. 

I really did get the car just for that one activity. 

I'd have to drive for 5 hours to do it. But, in that same area 

I'd be able to do some caving and visit a wildlife reserve.

I was told to stop here at Ronnie's Sex Shop. Great fun inside.

Undies, bras, hats and various articles of clothing. 

Loved the display of world money. 

Several walls only had signatures and kind grafiti. 

 

 

Definitely a fun stop for a cold drink. I ran into a couple of girls that

had t-shirts that said crocodile dive. Well, that was what I was

on my way to do. I said I'd see them soon since they worked there. 

That was just not going to happen... that day.

This was the last thing I saw before the tail spin on the crazy road. 

My tire hit gravel I skidded out, flipped around traveling backwards 

into the wrong lane, hit gravel again and spun around the 

opposite direction, down into the ditch and...

Get the Full Exciting Story Here

Bang, right into the tree. In shock, I ran up to the side of the 

road praying for a passer-by. Drivers started stopping and I was 

rescued by  woman with a kind face! She took me back to her 

beautiful guesthouse Karoo Life and I stayed there for 

the night after being released by the ambulance and police.

Only hours later, the car company was dropping off a brand new car to 

me with a claim processing fee of $50. Go figure. I didn't think I'd get 

back in the car but there it  was. Was I really going to do this again? 

Opposite side of the road and opposite side of  the car. Well, if I wanted 

to ride and ostrich and do a croc dive, it was the only way.

Here is Jo and Constable Van Heerden. He took my police report.

We all had dinner and drinks later that night. I was still a mess so I called it 

a night early. I had to prepare for my drive the next day. Let me say that 

Calitzdorp is worth the stop. Read the whole crazy accident story. 

 

I was actually standing on ostrich eggs that were being 

incubated. Very cool holding an egg that would soon hatch while 

standing on its brothers & sisters.

These are the pros and they were fast!

Ride a bird at your own risk. I already risked my life getting there 

and if a car accident couldn't stop me then... 

They have to cover their heads to keep them calm before boarding. 

That would have been a warning sign for most people.

Now that I'm up here, how do I sit on him without killing him. 

It really did take a minute for me to get comfortable to do

 this to the bird. I felt rather guilty.

See how sweet and calm he is! 

I'm even petting him. No Problem...

This guy was running to try to keep up. He had to as I would have been 

bucked right off.  It is hard to see it in the picture, but we were 

moving like lightening.

Now, he looks calm doesn't he? But I was holding on 

to his wings for dear life.

This was so funny. I could not stop laughing. I was trying so hard not to fall off. 

The ostrich was so fast and I was just grabbing his wings with all my might!

There were so many birds around it was impossible not to run into them. 

Let me tell you, it is scary being on a bird out of control 

running into other nervous birds.

I was laughing hysterically by the time I got off the ostrich. 

Well, I had made it! Yeah!

So, as I'm driving away, I see this sign. It just made me laugh again.

 

 

 

 

 

Funny Looking Bush Pig and his name is actually Pig! He eat bulbs 

and  roots, reptiles, birds, eggs, insects, snakes and anything they can kill. 

Their canine teeth are razor sharp and they use them to full effect when 

attacked or wounded. They can inflict severe wounds but Pig is a tame 

creature from what I'm told. Pigs may be smarter than dolphins and 

"Pig" is a huge favorite amongst the staff.

Brothers Neo and Bash and just over 2-years old. I was one of the 

last tourists that would be allowed to spend time with these cheetahs. 

They are now at the breeding center and the staff are searching for their 

perfect mates. Cango Wildlife Ranch - A Must Visit in Oudtshroon South Africa

They were getting too big where it could become a potential danger. 

I was so fortunate! The ranch has many conservation and 

captive breeding programs.

I still remember Neo's tongue on my arm. He was so affectionate.

I just could no believe I was being licked by a mature male cheetah.

You can see how intense and passionate he was as he creased my skin 

with each lick.  They actually had to pull me away as they said he was so 

into it, that he could get out of control. I was very fortunate to have this experience. 

I remember looking down at him with my wrist in his mouth and 

I was mesmerized and in awe. It was truly a special moment.

Again, they were both moved to the breeding center shortly after I left.

Just look at his face!

As they say, "Remember Extinction is Forever!"

Tigers may be my favorite cat and definitely the most regal! 

I've been on tiger safaris in India but this was crazy! 

This is Namita and she was almost 18-months old.

This picture captures my experience of wow! This is amazing 

and I can't believe there is a resting tiger at the end of my hand 

while I stroke and pet it.

They had me squat on one knee in case I needed to make a quick escape.

When they told me that, it didn't faze me at all and I was only to happy to oblige.

No Caption Necessary...

Simply Phenomenal!

I still can't believe I was near laying with this tiger and then had my hand 

on her paw. Again, I was so fortunate. They also are too large for personal 

encounters and they were no longer allowed shortly after I left. I just made it. 

I have been told that there are 3-White Bengal Tiger Cubs that guests 

will be able to have encounters with.

Look at the size of his paw at only 18-months old! 

When she is full grown, her paw will be the size of a dinner plate!

Compared to my croc shots in Uganda, he has regular dental checkups.

 

Please note the crocodile swimming towards me behind the cage.

The ranch offers even more animal encounter experiences.

I will admit that the crocs were not as active as I would have normally liked. 

I was looking forward to the thrill of thrashing about and biting at my cage...

This crocodile dive is really unique and I only know of them being done at Cango.

These 3 crocs are between 9-13 feet or 3-4 meters. There were 2 females and 1 male.

At the same time, my car accident was the day before and I was still in 

shock from that and the fact I had to drive a couple of hours to get here and 

I had to face driving again in the rain when I left here so I was ok with 

calm for a while.

The girls said to splash around, slap the water and blow bubbles at the 

surface. I had  tempted fate enough with my car accident and decided 

slow, calm swimming would be  just great for today. I am sorry I didn't give 

it more of a go though.

What a cute baby! Josh was just 9 months old and shares his home 

with his brother Jordan.   Cango Wildlife Ranch - www.cango.co.za

These are young crocs but I love how they pile on one another.

I love their eyes.

They let me keep this female Burmese Python named Sally 

on me extra long. I'm really   comfortable with snakes and they 

said that she was so calm there was no reason to rush her off

of me. I enjoyed them slithering about and she was a beauty!

Male Albino Burmese Python named J.J.

They were both part of the snake encounter.

 

He must have been about 6-7 feet long.  They can easily reach 17 to 18 feet 

in length and reach weights of 200 pounds or more. It is possible for these 

snakes to reach 10-feet in length in their first 18 months. 

The largest recorded length was 26 feet.

He had a really big head. Burmese pythons, with their beautifully 

patterned skin, rapid growth rate, and generally docile disposition, 

may be best known as the large snake of choice among reptile owners.

A female would have 2 smaller markings where you see this males genitalia. 

Females lay  clutches of up to 100 eggs, which they incubate for two to three 

months. To keep their  eggs warm, they continually contract, 

or shiver, their muscles.

They kill by constriction, grasping a victim with their sharp teeth, 

coiling their bodies around the animal, and squeezing until it suffocates. 

They have stretchy ligaments in their jaws that allow them to swallow 

all their food whole.

The meerkat or Suricata is a small Omnivorous mammal and a 

member of the mongoose family.  It inhabits all parts of the Kalahari 

Desert in Botswana and South Africa. A group of meerkats is 

called a "mob", "gang" or "clan". 

Meerkats have an average life span of 12-14 years.

Their eyes have black patches around  them, deflecting the 

sun's glare. They weigh between 1.25 - 1.75 lbs. They are 

10 to 14 inches in length and their tail 7 to 10 inches is used for 

balance when standing upright.

Nile Monitor - 1.5 to 2 meters (4.5 to 6.5 feet) in length. 

They have muscular bodies, strong legs and powerful jaws.

Half-Masked Weaver – A common African bird well-known for the nest 

they build in branches overhanging rivers and ponds.

Cape Vulture - Native to South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana

7-10 Kilos / Lay 1 egg per year / Use the same nests for 

years / Eat Carrion and bone

Ring-Tailed Lemur from Madagascar

These lemurs purr like a cat when they are being groomed by one another

I have always wanted to visit Madagascar to see Lemurs in their 

natural habitat. It was amazing seeing them at Cango. They have a 

great variety of animals and they are so much healthier there than in zoos. 

It is all about the conservation and preservation!

According to African belief, the meerkat is known as the sun angel, as it 

protects villages  from the moon devil or the werewolf which attacks stray 

cattle or lone tribesmen.

Here I am on my way to George and had to pull over for this shot. 

It was amazing!

This was on my way from George to Hermanus. At this point I had my 

chauffer. It was a 5-hour drive and I just was too nervous to do it after 

my car accident only the day before. It only cost $75 so I was grateful. 

I was able to appreciate this sunset on the way.

I finally made it to my caged shark dive in Gansbaai. This is a Shy Shark.

They usually stay at the bottom of the ocean and do not move around a lot. 
They also coil themselves and cover their eyes with their tails when caught.

Hanging out in the shark dive cage. I went with White Shark Ecoventures. 

www.white-shark-diving.com

I was having so much fun hanging out, we got a crowd to join in although 

at this point we were pretty sure we would not see any sharks.

 

Ok, this is an awesome shot!

 

But this is even better! And people say I'm crazy. 

He actually pushed this Great-White away on the

nose with his hand as the shark dove up 

towards the guides arm.

Pretty Views were all over South Africa

A Night out on the Town

I went clubbing with a gal I met from Germany and had 

a lot of fun dancing that night.

Township Tour - We visited Langa, the oldest township in South Africa 

and Khayelitsha, the second largest township in South Africa. 

We also visited a bar or 'shebeen'.

This is inside one of the homes in the township. This is a bedroom 

that can be rented by the week or month for dollars a day.

This was a typical kitchen inside a home

Clippings inside the District 6 Museum recalling the  uprooting of the 

District Six community & history of forced removals. The apartheid government

 declared District Six a ‘white’ area in 1965.

The original community was made up of a vibrant mix

of individuals - freed slaves, merchants, artisans, laborers 

and immigrants.  Their forced removal threatened over a 

century of history and community life.

District Six named the Sixth Municipal District of 

Cape Town in 1867. The first to be 'resettled' were black 

South Africans, forcibly displaced in 1901. As the more 

prosperous moved away to the suburbs, the area 

became the neglected ward of Cape Town.

When it was declared a white area the life of the community 

was over. 60 000 people were forcibly removed to barren outlying 

areas aptly known as the Cape Flats, and their houses in 

District Six were flattened by bulldozers.

Here is the outside of a home

I asked the driver to stop as I saw a bunch of kids. 

I passed out bracelets and pencils and 

other gifts. I really enjoyed it and they were so appreciative. 

They had a lot of fun.

I just loved this shop front and fast food restaurant. It really was the 

only one I saw my  entire 5-week trip that was not in a 

South African Mall whcih had Subway.

Again, just a great shop front

A Beauty Shop

I thought these shots really captured the essence of the area

Daily life fixing up roofs

A typical street scene in Shanty town with pedestrians walking on dirt roads

The Shanties of Cape Town

Table Mountain Views are all over Cape Town

 

Statue of the Former President Louis Botha at the 

Union Buildings outside Parliment

Cape Town City Hall

I Loved the Side of this Building

Cape Town's Original Street Market

View from the Table Mountain Platform at the bottom 

where you catch the cable car

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway holds up to 65 passengers. 

The round shape allows for a 360 degree view as the floor spins 

during the min ascent. This is part of Table Mountain National Park

Just before I went up, they said it was not a good view so 

I'm so glad I took my chances. It was very clear and quite beautiful.

This is how quickly the view changes though. There is a thin sheet that 

appears on top of Table Mountain and they call that the Tablecloth. 

It comes and goes very quickly. 

The cables weigh 18 tons, they are 1,200 meters each

The rocks at the top of Table Mountain were my favorite to see. 

Magnificent Structures and shapes of all sizes and colors.

It was a bit un-nerving standing so close to the edge! 

Table Mountain is believed to be 6 times older than the Himalayas 

and 5 times older than the Rockies. (600 million years ago, the 

original base of this mountain had formed under the ocean)

But, just look at that view of Cape Town. Well-worth the bit of fear! 

The highest peak on the mountain is Maclear's Beacon at 1,085 meters. 

It takes less than 10 minutes to get to the peak by cable car. 

It travels 10 meters per second.

Again, more beautiful rocks

Africa's Big 5 - It was a pretty plastic placemat I found

This fantastic cloud formation slowly made its way onto the Lion's Head

Lion's Head just moments before the cloud arrived In the 17th century 

the peak was known as Leeuwen Kop (Lion's Head) by the Dutch, 

and Signal Hill was known as Leeuwen Staart (Lion's Tail)

The shape resembles a crouching lion or a sphinx when seen together

Lion's Head is a mountain located in Cape Town, between 

Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion's Head peaks at 669 m above sea level. 

It is the head of the Lion and part of the dramatic backdrop with Signal Hill.

It ended up looking just like a flying saucer!

Driving along the coast

The dramatic views of the mountain from the beaches of Cape Town

A Hospital With Table Mountain as the Back Drop. What a great place to recover.

 

 

Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront

South Africa is proud to boast four Nobel Peace Prize Laureates - 

Albert Lethuli, Desmond Tutu, F.W.De Klerk & Nelson Mandela

As I said, this was a great area to hang around. 

There was always something going on.

Another great view from the V&A Waterfront

V&A Amphitheatre hosts performances daily at 3:00 pm and summer 

evening concerts. I was there for an amazing local opera singer. 

Truly amazing and I don't like opera.

Inside the center of the mall you can stop for a body or foot massage 

or both. Well needed after walking through the huge complex!

I asked for the one restaurant to have fish and chips and everyone said 

"Ocean Basket" so I went. It was terrific and the service was amazing!

This is the Greenpoint stadium being built for the 2010 World Cup

I searched for 1 1/2 hours for the Greenpoint Market near the stadium. 

You could see others looking too. I picked up a couple of people in my 

taxi to try as a team. This nice guy from Germany and I decided to 

take a local bus to town to find the market.

It was a great experience getting on a local bus and witnessing a 

fight between the driver and a passenger having him thrown off the 

bus then beating it as we drove  off. Just routine. Anyway... Voila! 

We made it. I was very happy as it was my last day 

and I was prepared to shop! Which I did!

This was the hanging bridge at the V & A Waterfront 

(Victoria and Albert) Shopping Center I spent a lot of time there. 

Great shops, malls, nightlife, bars and people watching

There were performers each day in different areas of the waterfront.

I really loved these guys and they really appreciated the tip I left them

This was fabulous and I wanted to do it so badly but it was all kids 

and I was on my own, which usually does not stop me. 

This is what I did in New Zealand when I Zorbed.

 

The biggest difference was you could not see out as it was not a clear 

ball and they roll you down a hill. I had to put up a pic so scroll down...

 

This was so much fun! The thrown in a couple of buckets of warm water so 

you don't have your skin chafed/burned off from rubbing against dry plastic.

 

You swish around, roll to the top, fall to the bottom and back up and 

down again! What a hoot! Anyway, it was time for me to get on the plane 

and come back home! It was a very memorable 5-week trip to 

Uganda, Rwanda and South Africa!

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