Mar 14 2013

There are a couple of small game parks within an hour’s drive of Durban with Rhinos, Giraffes, Hippos, Warthogs, Wildebeests, Lions and other game.
Here are a few pictures.

Mar 11 2013

Drakensberg 2013

Posted in ->Africa

The Central Drakensberg (Dragon’s Mountains) is 2.5 hours from Durban using the fast N3 motorway, but we ventured off on the winding R103, known as the Midlands Meander. Originally settled by British farmers, a mixture of very English craft shops, guest houses and speciality food markets line the road.
We spent 3 days in the Central Berg at the Inkosana Lodge staying in lovely Zulu style rondavels. The weather was great and we got in a couple of very nice day hikes at around 1500 metres in the shadows of Cathkin and Cathedral Peaks.

Nelson Mandela was captured here in 1962

Very Olde English pub on the Midlands Meander …

… a sample of its products

In this shed local women hand make the beautiful Tsonga shoes and bags

Zulu style rondavels at Inkosana Lodge …

… nicely decorated and with all mod cons

Dawn, day 1 – Cathkin Peak, Central Drakensberg

Hiking the Central Berg

One of many waterfalls

Day 1 sunset from Inkosana Lodge

Typical small Zulu farms and houses

Saturday is washing day

The original San bushmen left some wonderful cave paintings (c 2000bc)

Protea bushes growing under Cathedral Peak

Doreen falls …

… walking back …

… we saw many of these tree ferns

One of the baboons along the forest road

The sun rises over our rondavel

Sun breaks through the clouds over Inkosana Lodge

Mar 6 2013

The Cape has a Mediterranean climate, good for grapes, but dry and brown while we were there.  In contrast, sub-tropical Durban gets its rain in summer and is lush and green, almost jungle like.  Katie & Chantelle live in Umhlanga (pronounced “Oomm-shlunga”) which is 15 kilometres north of the city of Durban, in an apartment at the Gateway shopping centre the largest mall in the southern hemisphere.  It is a clean, modern and safe area and a nice beach with a 2.3 kilometre paved promenade is nearby.
The first weekend we drove 2 hours south to the Obiri George to stay in a log cabin built over a pond on a small game reserve at Lake Eland.  None of us wanted to try the bungee jumping or zip lines over the 1 kilometre wide George; could not even manage to cross the suspension bridge!

Umhlanga Rocks lighthouse with Durban in the background

Sundowners at the most upmarket colonial hotel with a view

1/4 mutton Bunny Chow – curry in a hollowed out loaf of bread

Obiri George – 4 kilometres long, 1 kilometre wide

We couldn’t even make it across the suspension bridge

Anyone for bungee jumping?

There is no chicken exit!

Katie and Chantelle braving the overhanging rock

Our log cabin over the water

Jeff making braai South African style …

… the end result

Mar 4 2013

Paternoster, about 2 hours drive north-west of Cape Town is a small, tranquil, fishing village on the Atlantic. These days it is occupied by classy white washed self-catering cottages, but the charm remains – no high rise, a few restaurants, one bar and one small shop.
On route we stopped at Darling, another wine producing town, to pick up a few bottles of the local whites to help wash down the lobsters, in season at Paternoster. There are strict rules regarding fishing and selling lobsters with a fine of $200 for each lobster plus confiscation of your vehicle if caught taking lobster out of Paternoster. Better eat them fresh right here then!
North of Paternoster is a conglomeration of fish factories and housing developments along the beaches, but the estuary of the Berg River was teaming with water birds. Fishermen were bringing in their catch of small fish which are dried in the sun. The West Coast National Park with lots of bird life lies to the south of and made a nice day trip.

Paternoster with its fishing boats

Some of the art work on the walls of our cottage

Jacobs Bay in the early morning fog

A homestead in the West Coast National Park, great fish lunch here

The shallow Langebaan Lagoon is home to an enormous number of birds

This part of the world is on turtle time

A sandy beach in the Langebaan Lagoon

Meals on wheels – home cooked lobsters delivered for $12 each

Flamingos and ducks feeding in estuary of the Berg River …

… and freshly caught fish hanging up to dry in the sun

Feb 28 2013

After picking up Katie & Chantelle at the Cape Town airport, we headed to Stellenbosch stopping at the 300 year old Vergelegen wine estate for picnic lunch.   This was a most magnificent meal of meats and salads with an excellent Sauvignon Blanc at a table under the camphor trees, planted in 1706, followed by wine tasting number 1 (except poor Jeff, driver).
Next day, we headed out a full day’s wine touring around Stellenbosch visiting 4 wineries and tasted 5 or 6 wines at each, picking up a few bottles to try later – a glorious day, beautiful sunny weather and some superb wines.  We love Stellembosch.
The third day highlight was a return to the Begrkelder Wine Bank where we’ve had a dozen Allesverloren 2007 Shiraz maturing since 2008.  Staff took us to the cellar, opened a bottle of our wine (from their stock, not ours) plus a 2009 Shiraz and a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon for comparison and told us if we couldn’t finish the 3 bottles to take them with us!  We were most impressed with our wine.  After, Katie and Chantelle asked if the Pinotage aged well – “Here take a bottle each of the 2007 and 2009 and see for yourselves” was the reply.  What a place, what an afternoon.

Typical Dutch Cape in the Vergelegen manor house (c1700)

Set for a picnic under the 300 yo camphor tree forest

Katie and Chantelle getting into it

Buskers on the streets in Stellenbosch

One of Stellenbosch’s lovely old Cape Dutch buildings

Don’t like Kudu burger? Then go for the Warthog

A beautiful old winery near Stellenbosch

Our baby – a dozen Allesverloren 2007 Shiraz stored in the Bergkelder Vinoteque …

… is developing quite nicely

Chanti & Katie put aside a case of the award winning Fleur du Cap 2009 Cab Sav

Feb 24 2013

This was our third time in the Mother City of South Africa, Cape Town. To recover from jet lag, we lazed around for 3 days in an apartment at Green Point within easy walking distance of the Waterfront and the City. The weather was perfect.
We looked forward to a glass of cold local wine while listening to live African music at the Waterfront in the evenings. But top of our do-list was lunch at the Biesmiellah Restaurant in Bo-Kaap (Malay Town) for a delicious Cape Malay Breedie made with fresh tomatoes and lamb, slowly cooked with spices.

Table Mountain from the V&A Waterfront on a fine afternoon

Dawn from our balcony at Green Point

The 1854 lighthouse along the promenade at Sea Point

A 200 year old restored town house in trendy De Waterkant

Cape Malay food in Bo-Kaap for lunch – so good we went twice

A street in Bo-Kaap – a great backdrop for the movie we saw being filmed

This life size ostrich is made entirely of small beads

African band playing great music at the Waterfront