Trip to South Africa (June 2008)

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Centipede IMG_1697.jpg Fortunately, we didn’t notice this little five-inch critter greeting us until after we took our showers.1
Sunrise (Day 1) IMG_1700.jpg This is the beautiful view we awoke to each morning, right outside our room.2
Birdie IMG_1703_Cropped.jpg It’s nice to see different birds than what we’re used to.3
Wart Hog IMG_1707.jpg Even their dogs look different... Whoops, that’s a wart hog wandering around the grounds.4
Doppleganger IMG_1711.jpg Which one’s Chris?5
The Lodge IMG_1713.jpg They’re currently extending and refurbishing the lodge. All of that brick is new—it wasn’t there when we checked in.6
1 little, 2 little, 3 little Barbies IMG_1714.jpg Will the real Barb please stand up?!?7
The Gang IMG_1716.jpg They have these special platforms that help us climb in and out of the Land Rovers used for the safari.8
The Land Rover IMG_1936.jpg Our daily transport. Amazing handling, and more comfortable than it looks.9
Cool Plant #16 IMG_1717.jpg These guys grow everywhere. It’s cool how they just get taller every year.10
Female Nyala IMG_1719.jpg One of the antelope species found there. We also saw impala and kudu.11
Male Nyala IMG_1736.jpg He don’t look much like the ladies, but the ladies still dig ‘em.12
Zebra Crossing IMG_1722.jpg Basically wild donkeys, but with stylish speed stripes.13
Zebra Close-Up IMG_1728.jpg This specific species of zebra has black and brown stripes.14
Lonely Hippo IMG_1775.jpg One of the few Hippos at this reserve. He likes to keep to himself, but doesn’t mind the company of birds.15
Sunset (Day 1) IMG_1784.jpg A beautiful vista.16
Sunrise (Day 2) IMG_1791.jpg Peaceful.17
Cape Buffalo IMG_1794_Cropped.jpg A cape buffalo, just like on Wall Street. Only this one is on vacation.18
Impala Gals IMG_1798.jpg A herd of female impala.19
Impala Gals IMG_1800.jpg My actual view when not looking through the camera.20
Giraffes IMG_1809.jpg Giraffes are such beautiful, graceful, and quiet animals.21
Mmm Mmm Good! IMG_1817.jpg They eat the folliage in spite of the three-inch thorns!22
Fever Tree IMG_1822.jpg Beatiful trees, but covered in thorns.23
Vultures IMG_1837.jpg A bunch of buzzards buzzing around.24
Rhino IMG_1857.jpg Our first sighting of rhinos.25
Rhinos IMG_1862.jpg A pair of peaceful lawn mowers.26
Rhinos IMG_1866.jpg And another view.27
Dead Tree IMG_1880.jpg Elephants often knock over trees to gain access to the nutritious roots. Other animals cheer them on, since they gain easy access to the whole tree, too.28
George IMG_1888.jpg George is the name of the largest giraffe on the reserve, in honor of his namesake who holds the Guiness record for largest giraffe. Since George is old, his markings are much darker.29
Zebra Mug Shot IMG_1898.jpg Ain’t he handsome?30
Giraffe Mug Shot IMG_1901.jpg “Hey, I’m handsome, too!”31
Wart Hog IMG_1922.jpg A face only a mother could love. Aren’t they cute?32
Lizard IMG_1923.jpg A lizard guarding its nest.33
Mama and Baby IMG_1965.jpg A cute pair.34
Sunset (Day 2) IMG_1969.jpg Another gorgeous sky.35
Dinner IMG_1983.jpg Our group (sans Chris) at dinner.36
Sunrise (Day 3) IMG_1984.jpg Ahhhhh.37
Cape Buffalo (Back) IMG_1987.jpg For some reason, we alway seem to encounter the back end of the animals first...38
Cape Buffalo (Front) IMG_2005.jpg This time, however, we out-smarted them by taking another road around so we could see their fronts.39
Cape Buffalo IMG_2009.jpg They didn’t mind getting rather close to us.40
Cape Buffalo IMG_2016.jpg Dad and son.41
Vulture IMG_2020_Cropped.jpg A close up of a vulture.42
Elephants (First Encounter) IMG_2033.jpg Our first encounter with the reserve’s elephants. We couldn’t get particularly close.43
Elephants (First Encounter) IMG_2036.jpg We did get a decent font-end view, though.44
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2054.jpg The film, I Dreamed of Africa, was filmed on this reserve. We got to visit the movie set, which they use for weddings, etc.45
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2055.jpg The old house from the movie.47
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2058.jpg I love the thatched roof, which is very common throughout South Africa.48
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2060.jpg Nice wood-work inside the thatched house.49
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2062.jpg Barb by the mantle.50
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2063.jpg The cool looking, but deadly stairs.51
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2064.jpg More nice wood-work inside the thatched house.52
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2066.jpg The view out the font door.53
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2075.jpg A nice exterior shot of both houses. Notice the tree limb with the thorns.54
A Typical Tree IMG_2076.jpg Very large, sharp thorns on those trees! It doesn’t appear to stop any of the animals from eating the tree, though.55
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2079.jpg Nice flowering vine of some sort.56
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2080.jpg The front drive is lined with cactus trees.57
Cactus Trees IMG_2081.jpg It is interesting how these cactus look just like trees.58
I Dreamed of Africa IMG_2083.jpg The rounded side of the thatched house.59
Animals IMG_2084.jpg Here we have wildebeests, rhinos, and zebra traveling together. This is not unusual; the animals each eat a different part of the greenery.60
Male Nyala IMG_2089.jpg A nice shot of some male nyala.61
Rhino IMG_2092.jpg Another nice shot of a rhino.62
Wild Cat Rehabilitation Center IMG_2099.jpg We got to visit a rehabilitation center for wild cats. Here is pictured a Cerval cat.63
Wild Cat IMG_2101.jpg This is not a house cat! It is one of many wild cats that happen to look just like house cats. But they are not. Honest. It’s a African Wild Cat.64
Wild Cat IMG_2102.jpg Besides, have you ever seen a house cat with an attitude like this?65
Wild Cat IMG_2113.jpg A slighly larger species, a Caracal Cat.66
Hungary Cheetah IMG_2117.jpg A hungry cheetah waiting to get fed. Any volunteers?67
Cat Guide IMG_2121.jpg Our host, explaining the habits of various kinds of cats.68
Wild Cat IMG_2123.jpg Look who’s no longer hungry. (A Cerval Cat.)69
Feeding Cheetah IMG_2131.jpg The cheetah is eating his dinner. We volunteered to visit the cheetah for dessert...70
Dessert for Cheetah IMG_2134.jpg Apparently, cheetahs are really quite cowards. This one has been around humans enough that we could visit right there with him while he finished the leftovers.71
Cheetah Bath Time IMG_2143.jpg Bath Time!72
St. Lucia Estuary IMG_2157.jpg We took a side trip to the St. Lucia Estuary.73
St. Lucia Estuary IMG_2159.jpg What a beautiful day!74
St. Lucia Estuary IMG_2163_Cropped.jpg Our first croc sighting.75
St. Lucia Estuary IMG_2166.jpg And a pekingese striped curly woodpecker. Just kidding. Just another pretty bird.76
Goliath Heron IMG_2173.jpg This Goliath Heron (actual name) stood about three feet tall!77
St. Lucia Estuary IMG_2176.jpg This croc is waiting for the Goliath Heron to get a drink of water...78
St. Lucia Estuary IMG_2177.jpg The view from the boat as we were backing away.79
St. Lucia Estuary IMG_2181.jpg Another bird. Flying this time.80
St. Lucia Estuary IMG_2185.jpg This croc is cooling off by holding its mouth open.81
St. Lucia Hippos IMG_2220.jpg Our first hippo sighting at St. Lucia.82
St. Lucia Hippos IMG_2226.jpg The water isn’t as deep as it appears... Anyone up for a swim?83
St. Lucia Hippos IMG_2235.jpg These hippos got bored with us, and decided to move on.84
Little St. Lucia Hippo IMG_2250_Cropped.jpg We encountered a whole herd of hippos. Here’s a little one imitating an adult’s yawn.85
Big St. Lucia Hippo IMG_2253_Cropped.jpg Adults yawn to show dominance (just look at the teeth!).86
St. Lucia Birdies IMG_2256.jpg A purple heron and a kingfisher.87
St. Lucia Monkey IMG_2266.jpg What’s my brother doing in downtown St. Lucia?88
St. Lucia Beach IMG_2267.jpg Our fist encounter with the Indian Ocean.89
St. Lucia Beach IMG_2274.jpg Chris gets his feet wet.90
St. Lucia Beach IMG_2278_Edited.jpg One of Chris’ obligatory “artistic” shots.91
Back on the Reserve IMG_2283.jpg Another shot for the birds. This time an ibis.92
Reserve Elephants IMG_2302.jpg We finally found the elephants: Mom, baby, and aunt (back behind).93
Reserve Elephants IMG_2304.jpg Mom is a bit tichy, and begins to warn us off.94
Reserve Elephants IMG_2321.jpg Elephants advance while flapping their ears when annoyed. Mom is pushing us back at a good pace, but we refuse to leave.95
Reserve Elephants IMG_2335.jpg She finally gives up and gets back to eating.96
Reserve Elephants IMG_2340.jpg Mom even allows the little one (a four year old adolescent) to get close to us.97
Reserve Elephants IMG_2348.jpg Watch the “baby” eat. Lots.98
Un-Reserved Elephant IMG_2350.jpg I don’t have pictures because it happened so fast, but this little bugger got scared of us at one point, and Mom ended up charging us as a result. Armand, our guide, even stalled out the truck for more drama. It is quite exciting driving on these dirt roads with a multi-ton elephant running after you!99
Romantic Giraffes IMG_2355.jpg Ah, the romance of Africa. Since this is a family-friendly site, we can’t show you the next picture in this sequence...100
Eagle Eye IMG_2357.jpg A tawny eagle.101
Eagle Eye IMG_2357_Cropped.jpg The tawny eagle close up.102
Sunset (Day 6) IMG_2369.jpg Our last sunset at the reserve.103
Sunset (Day 6) IMG_2370.jpg Proof we were actually there.104
Sunset (Day 6) IMG_2371.jpg The whole gang.105
Table Mountain IMG_2376.jpg A view of Cape Town from the base of Table Mountain. We didn’t go up because it was too overcast.106
Table Mountain IMG_2379.jpg So overcast that the upper half of the mountain is in clouds.107
Seaside IMG_2384.jpg So we continue on the Red Bus Tour, around to a little village on the other side of Table Mountain.108
Something Fishy IMG_2385.jpg We eventually end up at the Two Oceans Aquarium on the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. Chris is apparently stuck in the Nemo tank.109
Wine Country IMG_2403.jpg The next day we visted wine country. This is manor house at Meerlust.110
Wine Country IMG_2406.jpg This winery, Fairview Estates, uses this goat tower as their logo.111
Wine Country IMG_2409.jpg It’s an easy life, being a logo.112
Table Mountain, Take II IMG_2412.jpg It looked clear when we started up Table Mountain, but a cloud rolled in before the cable car reached the top. A very unique view of sunny Cape Town below, though.113
Table Mountain, Take II IMG_2414.jpg The mist is clearing a little bit.114
Table Mountain, Take II IMG_2416.jpg We are really high up. Can you see the base where we launched from? And that tiny little cable car?115
Table Mountain, Take II IMG_2417.jpg The top station for the cable car.116
Table Mountain, Take II IMG_2418.jpg A neighboring mountain.117
Table Mountain, Take II IMG_2419.jpg Chris with Cape Town below him.118
The Cape of Good Hope IMG_2433.jpg Same day, but nicer weather out on the Cape of Good Hope.119
The Cape of Good Hope IMG_2436.jpg Chris begins his hike up the rocks.120
The Cape of Good Hope IMG_2437.jpg Barb’s summit.121
The Cape of Good Hope IMG_2440.jpg Much further up the rocks. Tricky climbing; going down was even more difficult.122
The Cape of Good Hope IMG_2443.jpg But the views are spectacular!123
The Cape of Good Hope IMG_2444.jpg But the views are spectacular!124
The Cape of Good Hope IMG_2459.jpg Chris didn’t make the summit; he just didn’t want to keep everyone else waiting... (Yeah, right!)125
The Cape of Good Hope IMG_2462.jpg Another great view on the way down.126
The Cape Butterfly IMG_2464.jpg One must always stop and smell the roses. Or, in this case, snap the butterflies.127
Cape Point IMG_2466.jpg Our next destination: the lighthouse at Cape Point.128
Cape Point IMG_2467.jpg Proof Barb was there.129
Cape Point IMG_2468.jpg Proof Chris was there.130
Cape Point IMG_2470.jpg Fantastic views from right below the lighthouse.131
Cape Point IMG_2477.jpg We are quite high up.132
Cape Point IMG_2479.jpg Birds nest on the cliffs.133
Cape Point IMG_2483.jpg There goes one now!134
Cape Point IMG_2485.jpg The view past Cape Point into False Bay.135
Cape Point IMG_2486.jpg I told you we were quite high up!136
Cape Point IMG_2487.jpg Another beautiful view.137
Cape Point IMG_2488.jpg Last look at the light house.138
Penguins IMG_2491.jpg Look, Mom, real penguins!139
Penguins IMG_2494.jpg “Look, Mom, real humans!”140
Penguins IMG_2496.jpg This seaside village is home to a penguin reserve.141
Penguins IMG_2497.jpg Some of the natives.142
Penguins IMG_2499.jpg They just dig nests in the sand.143
Penguins IMG_2505.jpg Birds gather just off shore.144
Penguins IMG_2507.jpg The lovely views the penguins get from their living rooms.145
Penguins IMG_2515.jpg Dad and Jr.146
Penguins IMG_2517.jpg A penguin innovator, who wanted more than just a nest in the sand.147
Penguins IMG_2518.jpg Home, sweet home. (Which was our next stop, too.)148