Monday, June 29, 2015

An Adventure of a Lifetime, Part 1

My goodness! Where  does the time go? I can't believe that it's been so long since I last posted.

In May, Tom and I had a trip of a lifetime--a trip to South Africa!

Getting to South Africa is not an easy thing. We flew from Cincinnati to Paris to Amsterdam and then to Cape Town. The flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town alone was over 11 hours. Our flight to Paris was 8 hours and the one from Paris to Amsterdam was an hour and a half. We left our home around 2:30 pm on Saturday and arrived in Cape Town after 10pm on Sunday. Taking into account the change of time zones, we traveled for about 24  hours.

Before beginning our tour, we spent a few days with old friends in Stellenbosch, which is near Cape Town. We first met Piet and Petro more than 40 years ago when Tom was a graduate student in Florida and Piet was a postdoc in the same group. Since leaving Florida 39 years ago, we've only seen Piet twice and Petro once. Here are some photos from our time with them.

This is a view of mountains near Stellenbosch.

One of our excursions was to Stony Point to see some African penguins. What a thrill that was! They were so cute! Adult African penguins are only 24 to 27 inches tall.

Here is a beautiful view as we drove along the coast line.

There are lots of vineyards and wineries in South Africa.  Here is one we visited, Stellenrust.

Piet and Petro also took us to L'Agulhas, the southermost tip of Africa. This is where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

We also learned about (and experienced) "load shedding". In the US, we know this as a blackout. Everyday there are rotating blackouts in order to lower the demand on the power plant. Homes, businesses (unless they have a generator), and even traffic lights lose power for a couple of hours each day.  It's important to have candles, lanterns, and flashlights handy. I guess the only good thing is that the blackouts are scheduled and don't hit you by surprise.

After a delightful visit with Piet and Petro, they took us back to Cape Town to begin our tour.

Here is a view of the Cape Town harbor. Our hotel was nearby.

Can you believe I found this display of bobbin lace on display on the floor of our hotel? I doubt many people even stopped to look at it.

That evening we had an opening reception and dinner to meet our tour group. The next day we began our sightseeing with a boat trip to Robben Island to see the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned.

Mandela's cell was very small and spartan. His bed was a mat on the floor.

The next day we went to the Cape of Good Hope. Many people mistakenly believe the Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost point of Africa, but, as we learned earlier, the southernmost point is really at  L'Agulhas, 90 miles southeast.

Next we headed  to Boulder Beach to see more African penguins.

Then we took a driving tour of Cape Town ending up at Table Mountain, a flat-top mountain with an elevation of 3,558 feet. We took a cable car ride up to the top. Fog often covers the top of the mountain as was the case when we were there, so we were unable to see the spectacular views. 

The next morning we flew to Kruger National Park to begin our great adventure. Awaiting us at the  airport were land rovers, our transportation for the next four days.

Since this blog post is getting lengthy, I'll wait until my next posting to share some of the incredible things we saw.


Margaret said...

I'm so glad you are sharing your amazing trip with us. Wow! I can't imagine such a trip -- definitely a trip of a lifetime! As was your Australia trip for that matter. lol! I can't wait to see more!

Cathy B said...

Wow! What an awesome trip of a lifetime. The scenery thus far is gorgeous. Looking forward to your next report!

Susan said...

Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. The scenery is fabulous!

Marilyn said...

What a great time you must've had.
Thanks for sharing the pics, can't wait to see more.

Vickie said...

Oh wow! Oh wow! This is amazing. I am so glad you are sharing this amazing trip. Love it. Can't wait for the next! Thank you!

Edgar said...

What a super trip!!! - I'm sitting here positively green, but excited to read the next post!! Thanks!!!

Melody said...

What an amazing trip!!

Annette-California said...

What a dream trip! I am getting caught up on your beautiful posts. Had to start right here! NOT disappointed - lol! WOW! Africa!!!
love Annet