Hippos, Hippos, Hippos, Nile Crocodile, Hippos

Tuesday January 20th ~ Travel day from Cape Town to Hluhluwe via St Lucia Estuary

Warning - look at the size of those teeth

Warning – look at the size of those teeth

On the move again today with a flight out of Cape Town to Durban, South Africa. Since his was a domestic (within the same country) flight, the post 9/11 security check-in rules were much more lax. We were not required to take off shoes, computers stayed inside our bags, and we were allowed to take our water bottles through security and on to the flight. Our new bus with our driver, Donald, was waiting for us after we collected our luggage.

Cape Town from the air

Cape Town from the air

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A day trip to Stellenbosch for wine and chocolate tastings

Monday January 19th ~ Stellenbosch, South Africa

Wine grapes on the vine

Wine grapes on the vine

A day trip to Stellenbosch was an optional add-on that we decided to do at the last-minute. Neither one of us are big drinkers, and certainly not wine experts, but an opportunity to see some more of the beautiful countryside swayed us to tag along.

Stellenbosch is just over 30 miles from Cape Town and is the second oldest European settlement in South Africa. Filled with pristine white washed Cape Dutch style buildings, it was a refreshing change from the harsh areas we had visited the day before.

Church and bells dating from 1840

Church and bells dating from 1840

The hilly terrain and mediterranean climate made this an ideal location for growing grapes, and with the fertile ground, a booming wine industry sprang up. In fact, the South African wine industry produces about 1,000,000,000 litres of wine annually!  Continue reading

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A visit to a witch doctor in Cape Town

Sunday, January 18th ~ Part 4, Langa, Cape Town, South Africa

Children are the same the world over when allowed to play.

Children are the same the world over when allowed to play.

As you have probably already figured out, between having a very busy schedule and limited Internet service this past week, I have gotten quite behind in my “on the fly” travel dialog. I know I promised to tell you about our visit to the local witch doctor, and I will get to that in a moment, but first…

I don’t want to leave the impression that all of the area is a barrio. It is not. However a good portion of it is sadly what we would consider deplorable conditions in which to live.

One part that did give me joy as well as fascinated me was seeing how many of the local people have used their ingenuity to create businesses for themselves out of very little. Here are a few pictures of local businesses that caught my eye.  Continue reading

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The faces of poverty in South Africa

Sunday January 17th ~ (part 3) Langa Township, Cape Town

This post is a continuation of our day spent in an extremely poor part of Cape Town. It was eye-opening, interesting, challenging, depressing, and energizing all at the same time.

Beautiful faces of Langa Township

Gorgeous smile

Gorgeous smile

Leaning out a window to see what we were doing

Leaning out a window to see what we were doing

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Langa Township, Cape Town ~ Extreme poverty – Is there a way out?

Sunday January 18th ~ (part 2) Langa Township, Cape Town

Front of the building - Community center

Front of the building – Community center

Earlier in the day we had been blessed with a fun cable car ride up to the top of Table mountain, magnificent views over the city of Cape Town, the joy of seeing several rock hyrax including cute babies, a walk through the colorful Malay Quarter, a stop at a castle built in the mid 1600’s and several more interesting and historical sites. If you want to check out our pictures covering this part, you can click here.

Our day was about to take a dramatic change.

We had a local guide (Shai) take us on a four-hour visit to the poorest part of Cape Town. Here is how the Gate 1 explained the optional tour on their website:  Continue reading

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Cape Town ~ From Table Mountain to Langa Township

Sunday January 18th ~ Cape Town, SA (part 1)

Young Rock Hyrax (closest living relative to the elephant!)

Young Rock Hyrax (closest living relative to the elephant!)

Today was an included half day tour of Cape Town and Table Mountain, that we followed up with an optional cultural immersion tour that took us to the extremely poor section of Langa Township.

We start our day with fingers crossed as we headed toward Table Mountain. The top of the mountain was sitting under a cloud blanket as we left the hotel. If it did not clear, we were faced with two obstacles – little or limited visibility from the top, or the higher probability was that the high winds were in place which forces the cable car to shut down.  Continue reading

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South Africa ~ Cape Peninsula Tour

Saturday January 17th ~ Cape Town and Cape Peninsula

Penguins!

African penguins!

We lugged our big cameras with long lenses along with us on this trip, hoping to capture some good pictures of the animals. Sadly, we went off and left the needed card reader in California, so those pictures are safely still residing in Tim’s camera. All the shops are closed up on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, but we are hoping to be able to purchase a replacement card reader on Monday.

There are a lot of pictures below, just not from the “good” camera.

We had a very heavy schedule with a lot to fit into the day. Here is a (not so) quick overview of where we went, things we saw and what we did, starting with a map of the area:  Continue reading

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