Arrival in Cape Town. Here is the view from our rented house in Camps Bay.
Camps Bay, Cape Town
Gondola, Table Mountain, Cape Town
Camps Bay beach
First day in South Africa, alone on the beach waiting for my family to arrive.
Sea watcher on Camps Bay
Camps Bay and the 12 Apostles
Driving through Cape Town to the airport to pick up Dana and Lily.
Townships on the way from the airport.
View from rental house in Camps Bay.
The view of Lions Head from our patio in Camps Bay.
Off to the Cape Town airport on Sunday morning to pick up Dana and Lily.
Driving across Cape Town to the airport to pick up Dana and Lily.
Welcome Dana and Lily to South Africa!
Long flight was it?
Dana and Lily's arrival and a view of our rented house in Camps Bay with Table Mountain in the background. You can see a gondola going up to the peak.
Lily with South African cousins.
Second cousins Michelle and Renee.
Renee took wonderful care of us in Cape Town.
Eric and Cyrus with Mom's cousin David Lotz.
Ezra lists this ping pong match with Renee's son Michael as one of his highlights of South Africa.
Group photo with Cape Town relatives.
Sleepy Dana suffering from jet lag.
Hanging out in the rental house in Camps Bay, Cape Town.
Just hanging out in the lounge of our rental house on Camps Bay.
Ezra and I had a nice jog to Clifton the second morning of our stay in Camps Bay.
Hout Bay (Afrikaans: Houtbaai, from the Dutch for "Wood Bay") is the name of a coastal suburb of Cape Town, South Africa with a mix of neighbourhoods from the very rich to the very poor. It lies in a valley on the Atlantic Seaboard of the Cape Peninsula and is twenty kilometres south of the Central Business District of Cape Town. The name Hout Bay can refer to the town, or the bay on which it is situated, or the whole valley.
Eric driving past Hout Bay .
Snapping pics at Hout Bay.
Slangkop Lighthouse at Kommetjie.
First large wild animal spotted on the way to Cape Point.
Ezra and Cyrus at Cape Point, the southernmost point of the Cape Peninsula.
Cape Point, Table Mountain National Park.
Lily gives a thumbs up to Cape Point.
Eric and me at Cape Point.
Eric and Cyrus at Cape Point.
Cousin Ghilraen and her third child Meelah
Eric and Ezra getting cuddly at Baffels Bay.
African penguin near Simon's Town.
The African Penguin is found on the south-western coast of Africa, living in colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It is also known as the Jackass Penguin for its donkey-like bray, although several species of South American penguins produce the same sound. It is the only penguin species that breeds in Africa and its presence gave name to the Penguin Islands.
African penguins at Boulders Beach. Boulders Beach is a tourist attraction, for the beach, swimming and the penguins. The penguins will allow people to approach them as close as a metre.
Of the 1.5-million African Penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th-century. African penguin populations, which breed in Namibia and South Africa, have declined by 95 percent since preindustrial times.
Mom, Lily and Dana checking out the penguins at Boulders Beach.
Larsen clan at the African penguin colony at Boulders Beach.
Penguin colony at Boulders Beach.
Happy that we got to see the only penguins in Africa.
Simon's Town (also unofficially called Simonstown; Afrikaans: Simonstad) is a village and a naval base in South Africa, near Cape Town. It is located on the shores of False Bay, on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. For more than two centuries it has been an important naval base and harbour (first for the Royal Navy and now the South African Navy). The town is named after Simon van der Stel, an early governor of the Cape Colony.
A yellow train zips past Simon's Town
A spectacular road, known as Chapman's Peak Drive, hugs the near-vertical face of the mountain from Hout Bay to Noordhoek. Hacked out of the face of the mountain between 1915 and 1922, the road was at the time regarded as a major feat of engineering.
Dana and Lily at sunset on the Chapman's Peak road.
Sunset near Hout Bay
Chapman's Peak road at sunset.
Last glimpse of the sun as it sink into the sea behind Hout Bay.
Approaching Camps Bay
Our fantastic huge rental house in Camps Bay.
The street in front of our rental house in Camps Bay
View of Cape Town and the Green Point Stadium built for the 2010 World Cup.
View from Signal Hill, Cape Town.
The Cape Town Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa is a newly built stadium that was used for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. During the planning stage it was known as the Green Point Stadium, which was the name of the previous stadium on the site, and this name was also used frequently during World Cup media coverage.
Lunch at the waterfront, Cape Town with cousin Renee and her children Michael and Hannah before we head off to Robben Island.
Waterfront, Cape Town.
Waterfront, Cape Town
Robben Island tour
On the ferry to Robben Island to learn about the apartheid days.
All cormorants are fish-eaters, dining on small eels, fish, and even water snakes. They dive from the surface, though many species make a characteristic half-jump as they dive, presumably to give themselves a more streamlined entry into the water. Under water they propel themselves with their feet. Some cormorant species have been found, using depth gauges, to dive to depths of as much as 45 metres.
After fishing, cormorants go ashore, and are frequently seen holding their wings out in the sun. All cormorants have preen gland secretions that are used ostensibly to keep the feathers waterproof. These cormorants were at Robben Island.
Robben Island is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 km west of the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for "seal island". Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km long north-south, and 1.9 km wide, with an area of 5.07 km². It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. It is of particular note as it was here that past President of South Africa and Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela and past South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, alongside many other political prisoners, spent decades imprisoned during the apartheid era. Among those political prisoners was current South African President Jacob Zuma who was imprisoned there for ten years.
Since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of mainly political prisoners. The Dutch settlers were the first to use Robben Island as a prison.
This man was our tour guide. He is also a former inmate of the prison on Robben Island where he spent seven years. He told us many stories of how life was for the inmates in a very balanced and seemingly forgiving manner.
Waiting to see Nelson Mandela's cell.
Nelson Mandela's jail cell.
The jail house.
Barbed wire on Robben Island.
Lions Head, Cape Town. Lion's Head is a mountain located in Cape Town, South Africa, between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion's Head peaks at 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park.
Entering the harbour at Cape Town as we return from Robben Island.
Giant white metal giraffes in port, Cape Town
Cape Town waterfront.
Cape Town harbour
Dinner at Renee's house. What a feast! Thanks for everything Renee!
The clouds are coming in over the sea. Looks like we are going to have rain today. A good day to do a wine tour in Stellenbosch.
A break in the rain in Stellenbosch, one of our few rainy days in South Africa. Stellenbosch is situated about 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Cape Town, along the banks of the Eerste Rivier. It is the second oldest European settlement in the province, after Cape Town. This is a typical Cape Dutch style house in Stellenbosch.
Cyrus learned about negotiating with souvenir sellers in Stellenbosch. If you become too friendly with the seller, you will pay more.
Stellenbosch - The town was founded in 1679 by the Governor of the Cape Colony, Simon van der Stel, who named it after himself —
Stellenbosch means "(van der) Stel's forest".
Doing a wine tasting in Stellenbosch. The Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek valleys form the Cape Winelands, the larger of the two main wine growing regions in South Africa. The South African wine industry produces about 1,000,000,000 litres of wine annually.
Township near Cape Town. In South Africa, the term township and location usually refers to the (often underdeveloped) urban living areas that, from the late 19th century until the end of Apartheid, were reserved for non-whites (principally black Africans and Coloureds, but also working-
class Indians). Townships were usually built on the periphery of towns and cities.
Township near Cape Town. Most South African towns and cities will have at least one township associated with them. Today they are often viewed as just one of the many suburbs that an urban area might have. Some old townships have seen rapid development since 1994, with, for instance, wealthy, and middle-income areas growing up in parts of Soweto, Chatsworth, etc.
Winters day view from our rental house in Camps Bay.
View from our patio in Camps Bay.
Rainbow in Camps Bay.
Magnificant view of beach at False Bay just north of Kalk Bay in Cape Town.
Mom's friend Linda made a big effort to track us down while we were eating breakfast and spend time with us in Kalk Bay. Thanks for everything Linda!
Kalk Bay which was full of antique and curiosity shops.
I bought a few trinkets from this rather drunk and smelly guy. His stuff was well-made though.
Kalk Bay harbour. Kalk Bay (Afrikaans: Kalkbaai) is a fishing village on the coast of False Bay, South Africa and is now a suburb of greater Cape Town. It lies in a beautiful setting, wedged between the ocean and sharply rising mountainous heights that are buttressed by crags of grey sandstone. A literal translation from the Dutch/Afrikaans name "Kalkbaai" is "Lime Bay".
Kalk Bay harbour
Unloading fish at Kalk's Bay harbour
Passing train at Kalk Bay.
Kalk Bay harbour.
Feeling dizzy at Kalk Bay harbour.
Eric is wondering where Cyrus and Neil are.
Hello Eric, Lily and Mom. Cyrus and I are over here taking photos.
entrance to Kalk Bay harbour
Friendly seal in Kalk Bay harbour.
Big waves don't impress Lily in Kalk Bay.
Kalk Bay harbour. We had lunch in the white restaurant building on the right where waves crashed against the window every few minutes.
Lunch in Kalk Bay. Waves crashed against the window every few minutes.
We ate in the harbour house restaurant at Kalk Bay.
Looking south down the Cape peninsula past Fish
Hoek from the restaurant in Kalk Bay.
Train passing by Kalk Bay. The railway from the central business district of Cape Town to Simon's Town passes through Kalk Bay and in some places the line is only metres from the water's edge.
Many people are killed at railway crossings every year in South Africa because the trains are surprisingly quiet and it's easy to walk along the tracks.
Heading up to Table mountain. The gondola rotated 360 degrees as it went up so everybody got to enjoy the view.
Sunshine at the top of Table Mountain.
Looking down from the summit of Table Mountain in Cape Town. The view is of Camps Bay where we stayed for a week.
Cyrus the giant on Table Mountain.
Cyrus taking a break atop Table Mountain, Cape Town.
Three wise men atop Table Mountain.
Mom enjoying the view of Robben Island from Table Mountain.
Hands up on Table Mountain.
It was chilly first thing in the morning on Table Mountain but then it warmed up later.
Four colourful Canadians atop Table Mountain want to give you a hug.
Some clouds rolling in atop Table Mountain.
View of Camps Bay, Lion Head and the Gondola base on the top of Table Mountain - July 1, 2011.
Nowhere to hide on Table Mountain.
Cape Town from atop Table Mountain.
I own this mountain.
I'm so strong. I'm going to lift up these clouds.
Cyrus contemplating Cape Town while Neil on the left hopes you can still see him.
Two young Canadian dudes stretch their legs on Table Mountain.
If you want to see the view of Cape Town you have to get past me first.
Cables for the old gondola.
The gondola ascending Table Mountain. Construction of the cableway was first started in 1926, and the cableway was officially opened in 1929. In 1997, the cableway was extensively upgraded, and new cars were introduced carrying 65 instead of 25 passengers. The new cars give a faster journey to the summit, and rotate through 360 degrees during the ascent or descent, giving a panoramic view over the city.
Two second-born dudes atop Table Mountain.
Descending from Table mountain.
The Greenpoint market is a great place to buy souvenirs in Cape Town.
Cyrus playing bongo in the Green Point market.
Dana, Lily and Ezra mixing it up with the locals in Cape Town.
Finally, some black people to photograph in South Africa. The second they stopped dancing they all rushed over and put their coats on. Cape Town.
The company garden in Cape Town. The reason for the founding of Cape Town was to grow vegetables for the ships and this park was where the original vegetable garden was started 400 years ago.
Ezra atop a WW1 cannon in Company garden, Cape Town.
Sunset feet wetting at Camps Bay July 1, 2011.
Camps Bay, Cape Town. Our last night in Camps Bay.
What's going on here?
Preppy boy in da hood on the beach at Camps Bay.
Mom gets here feet wet at Camps Bay, Cape Town July 1, 2011
Lily performing a magic spell at Camps Bay beach.
Look at that mussel!
Ezra turning into the Hulk on the beach at Camps Bay.
Camps Bay beach. Our last night in Camps Bay.
Leaving Camps Bay, Cape Town for Cape Agulhas. July 2, 2011
Leaving Camps Bay, Cape Town. July 2, 2011. Eric was our only driver during the month. He did a fantastic job getting us where we wanted to go without a single scratch on the van while driving on the left side of the road.
Driving to Cape Agulhas from Cape Town. There were so many fantastic views along this road but many of them were very difficult to photograph. Here is one that turned out well.
On the road to Cape Agulhas. Dana didn't have an internet connection yet so he just slept a lot in the van.
The route along the sea was spectacular.
Driving south to Cape Agulhas.
Driving along southern coast.
Picnic lunch at Fishhaven on the way to Cape Agulhas.
Picnic lunch at Fishhaven on the way to Cape Agulhas..
The hamlet of Fishhaven on the way to Cape Agulhas.
Driving to Cape Agulhas, the most southern part of Africa. We took a slower more scenic route which meant we had to complete the journey along dirt roads.
Driving to Cape Agulhas on a long dirt road.
Driving to Cape Agulhas
Driving to Cape Agulhas on a long long dirt road.
Driving to Cape Agulhas to visit the southernmost tip of Africa.
Dirt roads plus puddles equals a dirty car.
Cape Agulhas, the southern tip of Africa
The Larsen clan makes it to Cape Agulhas, the southern tip of Africa.
Yahoo! We arrived at the bottom of Africa!
The Cape Agulhas Lighthouse is situated at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. It was the third lighthouse to be built in South Africa, and the second-oldest still operating, after Green Point. It is located on the southern edge of the village of L'Agulhas, in the Agulhas National Park.
The lighthouse consists of a round tower, 27 metres (89 ft) high and painted red with a white band, attached to a keeper's house which now contains a museum and restaurant. The design of the building was inspired by the Pharos of Alexandria. The focal plane of the light is 31 metres (102 ft) above high water; the range of the 7.5 megacandela lantern is 30 nautical miles (56 km; 35 mi). It rotates, giving off one white flash every five seconds
Cape Agulhas lighthouse. The only reason for the founding of the village of Cape Agulhas was to support the lighthouse.
The pounding surf at Cape Agulhas.
Cape Agulhas lighthouse.
Cape Agulhas. Aloe plants bloom in winter.
Shipwreck of Japanese tuna ship on the beach near Cape Agulhas.
Not a bad final resting place for this graceful sea bird.
Our rental house in Cape Agulhas National park on the beach surrounded by water. We almost didn't stay here as we thought it was booked but a chance conversation with the park ranger led us to spending the night here. We were very fortunate and I was very pleased.
Our rental house at Cape Agulhas on the sea.
Celebrating a successful arrival at Cape Agulhas with a bottle of 10 year old wine from Stellenbosch and some Spanish cheese.
Our rental house at Cape Agulhas the southern tip of the continent. Hello Mom.
Our rental house at Cape Agulhas on the sea almost totally surrounded by rocky beach.
Our rental house at Cape Agulhas on the sea. Another rainbow!
Eric has the pot of gold under his hat.
Breakfast at the southern tip of Africa.
The Cape Agulhas Lighthouse is situated at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. It was the third lighthouse to be built in South Africa, and the second-oldest still operating, after Green Point. It is located on the southern edge of the village of L'Agulhas, in the Agulhas National Park
In 1847 the government agreed to fund the construction at a cost of £15,871; building work began in April of that year and was completed in December 1848, and the light was first lit on 1 March 1849. Originally it was fuelled by the tail-fat of sheep, but in 1905 an oil-burning lantern was installed. In March 1910 the lens was replaced with a first-order Fresnel lens. In 1929 the oil burner was replaced by a petroleum vapour burner, which was in turn replaced in 1936 by a four-kilowatt electric lamp powered by a diesel generator.
Ezra climbing up the lighthouse.
On the top of the Cape Agulhas lighthouse.
Cape Agulhas lighthouse looks exactly like what you imagine a lighthouse to look like. In 1968 the lighthouse was taken out of service, and the light moved to an aluminium tower, as it was discovered that the sandstone walls were crumbling due to excessive weathering. The building was declared a national monument in 1973 and is also a Western Cape provincial heritage site. Restoration and reconstruction was performed by the Bredasdorp Shipwreck Museum and the local council, and the lighthouse was recommissioned in 1988.
Struisbaai harbour near Cape Agulhas. We spend a little time wandering around the harbour.
Struisbaai harbour. Struisbaai is a coastal settlement in the Overberg region of South Africa's Western Cape province. The town is two hours South from Cape Town in the Cape Agulhas Local Municipality within the Overberg District, and four kilometers from the southernmost point of the African continent at Cape Agulhas.
Struisbaai harbour. The town is an old fishing village which for many years sported a beautiful natural harbour. Some development has taken place since then but Struisbaai is still relatively untouched by the rigours of over-development. Many fishermen still reside in this settlement but it is now known better for its leisure activities, which include fishing, horseriding, hiking, paintball, quadbiking and diving.
Struisbaai harbour and beach. There is some debate as to the origin of the name "Struisbaai". Some authorities believe that it means "straw bay", referring to the thatch roofs of the fishermen’s cottages here. Others claim the name is derived from the Dutch "struisvogel"/ Afrikaans "volstruis" - which translates as ostrich in English, apparently many of the local farmers kept these birds on their farms. According to legend however, Struisbaai is named for the size of its beach - an old Dutch word for "huge" which would not be surprising since Struisbaai does sport the longest natural beach in the Southern Hemisphere which stretches for a total of 14 kilometers.
Eric hanging out at Struisbaai harbour.
Heading north and driving across the Strandveld on the way to Mossel Bay.
Driving across the Strandveld.
Curious herd of ostriches
Curious herd of ostriches near Bredasdorp.
Cyrus and Ezra and some curious ostriches.
Tough girl and her pose of ostriches.
looking closely at an ostrich
This part of South African has so many shades of green.
Curious sheep in the Strandsveld.
The historical town of Elim, the oldest in the Strandsveld, was founded by Morovian missionaries in 1824 and even today is mostly inhabited by members of the Morovian church.
The historical town of Elim. Elim is a village on the Agulhas Plain in the Western Cape of South Africa. It was established in 1824 by German missionaries as a Moravian mission station. When selecting the location, the missionaries placed a high priority on the proximity of water and on terrain that was suitable for planting vines so that wine for communion could be produced. As well as preaching the Gospel, the missionaries taught the villagers a variety of trades and skills. Elim's thatchers continue to be renowned for their craftsmanship.
In front of the oldest working water wheel in South Africa.
We took a little tour of the historical town of Elim. The village is picturesque and has changed little over the years. It is filled with whitewashed cottages, fruit trees and fynbos. All the roads in the village lead to the thatch roofed church. The community, still mainly Moravian, consists of farmers, farm workers and artisans.
The totally white interior of the Monrovian church in Elim.
This was a strange ferry. It was powered by these three young men.
They attached themselves to a cable and then just walked forward which had the effect of slowly pulling the ferry across the river.
They never stopped smiling and cracking jokes with each other.
Crossing Rûens on the way to Mossel Bay.
Eric playing guitar in our colourful house in Dana Bay, near Mossel Bay.
Our most colourful guesthouse on this trip.
Our colourful rental accommodation in Dana Bay.
The Southern Cross! The southern sky is more beautiful than the northern (in my opinion) and you can see Milky Way more easily.
Our home in Dana Bay (the bottom suite).
Morning view from our terrace in Dana Bay (Mossel Bay).
Our guest house nicely accentuated with rainbow.
View from guesthouse in Dana Bay (Mossel Bay).
The concept of second breakfast was very popular with our group, especially Dana and Ezra who practiced the habit whenever possible. Here we are in Mossel Bay ordering a second breakfast. It soon started to rain.
Lily getting hydrated in Mossel Bay.
Bartolomeu Dias, a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so. He supposedly stopped in Mossel Bay en route. This is a replica of his ship in the museum in Mossel Bay.
Whale head bone.
The lighthouse in Mossel Bay.
Rainy weather in Mossel Bay didn't dampen our spirits as the rain didn't last too long and did give our dirty van a good wash..
Dinner in our colourful accommodation in Dana Bay.
Time to leave Dana Bay and head into the interior towards Oudtshoorn.
Driving to Oudtshoorn
The entrance was super kitschy but we enjoyed our visit to the Cango Wildlife Ranch nonetheless.
Madagascar Ring-tailed Lemurs. Found in the south western part of the island of Madagascar and on some small neighbouring islands, the Ring-tailed lemur with its distinctive ringed tail and huge staring eyes is threatened by habitat loss. Lemurs were often thought of as ghosts by early explorers to Madagascar due to their huge staring eyes, elusive behavior and the haunting sound that they make. These primates spend most of their time in trees and can usually be spotted in the early morning sitting in the sun with their arms spread out.
Our first stop in Oudtshoorn was the Cango Wildlife Ranch. Flamingo at a safari park at Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Mom and Eric looking a crocodiles at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Lion king at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
The emu has been resident in Australia for at least 80 million years and is this country’s largest bird, reaching a size of 1.9m and weighing in at 30 – 45kg. Due to the sheer size and weight of this bird it is unable to fly but is a fast runner reaching speeds of up to 65kmph for short bursts. It is also an expert swimmer.
Vulture at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Piles of baby crocodiles at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Cango Wildlife Ranch.
They fed the snakes already dead mice. I'm sure they would have preferred living mice.
Well-armored crocodile foot at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Old rhino skull at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Playful lion at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Rainbow lorikeet at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
crocodile hide at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Lily, Dana and Cyrus having a snack in the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Cheetahs can sprint at over 100km per hour for a distance of up to 400m. They only weigh in at 45kg with their streamline bodies designed for the chase. They will never be the holder of the heavyweight title, but these spotted African cats literally run away with the title of featherweight champion of the world!
Marabou Storks are often called the undertakers. They have a creepy undertaker look to them but they are also always the last bird to leave feeding on carrion. Even after the vultures have left it will carry on picking at the bones.
Marabou Stork. Found throughout most of tropical Africa, these huge and unmistakable storks can normally be found around carcasses and refuse dumps indulging in their scavenging ways. Although classified as scavengers, Marabou Storks also catch small reptiles and rodents and will eat just about any kind of animal, dead or alive. Standing 1.5m tall and weighing 9kg, this bird is one of the largest flying birds in the world with a wingspan approaching 2.9m.
A pair of red river hogs at the Cango Wildlife Ranch.
Ezra, Neil and Eric in the Cango Caves. The Cango Caves are located in Precambrian limestones at the foothills of the Swartberg range near the town of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The principal cave is one of the country's finest, best known and most popular tourist caves. Although the extensive system of tunnels and chambers go on for over four kilometers, only about a quarter of this is open to visitors, who may proceed into the cave only in groups supervised by a guide.
Neil and Ezra in the Cango Caves.
Cyrus makes his way through the Cango Caves.
Getting ready for bed in our cabin in Oudtshoorn.
One of our little cabins at the Karoo Soul Backpackers in Oudtshoorn.
Ostrich feather sellers in front of the Town Hall in Oudtshoorn.
Ostrich feather seller in Oudtshoorn. Oudtshoorn is a town in the Western Cape province in South Africa. With 80,336 inhabitants it is the largest town in the Little Karoo region. The town is home to the world's largest Ostrich population with a number of specialized ostrich breeding farms.
There seemed to be a lot of people hanging around in Oudtshoorn with not much to do.
views around Oudtshoorn
There had been lots of rain recently which means the snakes come out. This sign was posted at the entrance to the waterfall in the following photos.
Cyrus, Eric and Ezra at a waterfall along the Meiringspoort route near Oudtshoorn.
Waterfall along the scenic Meiringspoort near Oudtshoorn.
What the heck am I trying to photograph?
Snowy peaks after exiting the Meiringspoort canyon.
Snowy peaks crossing into the Great Karoo through Meiringspoort.
View in the Little Karoo that reminded me a little of Tuscany.
Makeshift settlement in the Great Karoo.
Entering the valley of Prince Albert.
Ostrich farm near Prince Albert.
No fracking! The village has many preserved Cape Dutch, Karoo and Victorian buildings, 13 of which are National Monuments.
The males posing in Prince Albert after lunch.
A slaughterhouse in Prince Albert
Long straight road in the Little Karoo.
The Swartberg Pass appeared to be closed but we decided to go for it anyways.
The spectacular Swartberg Pass runs through the Swartberg mountains (black mountain in Afrikaans) which are a mountain range that runs roughly east-west along the northern edge of the semi-arid area called the Little Karoo in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
Eric drove well although there were moments when we all wondered if we had made the right decision in ignoring the closure signs.
This little guy along the Swartberg Pass was soooo cute. I believe that it is a Cape Grysbok.
Cape Grysbok is a browser. It can apparently go without drinking water for long periods, gaining most of its requirements from its food. It is primarily nocturnal, though it may be seen during early morning and late evening during the southern winter.
Cyrus and Ezra and the Swartberg Pass.
Dana and Lily somewhere along the Swartberg Pass.
Swartberg Pass. The pass runs between Oudtshoorn in the south and Prince Albert in the north. The pass is not tarred and can be a little treacherous after rain, but offers spectacular views over the Little Karoo to the south and the Great Karoo to the north. The plant life along the pass is very interesting, many hundreds of species being found on the Swartberg
Dana trying to fly from the top of the Swartberg Pass.
Cyrus and Ezra high-fiving after reaching the summit of a hill next to the top of the Swartberg Pass.
View from Swartberg Pass.
Coming down from the Swartberg Pass.
Swartberg Pass. The Swartberg is amongst the best exposed fold mountain chains in the world, and the pass slices through magnificently scenic geological formations. The Swartberg pass was built between 1881 and 1888 by Thomas Bain, son of the famous Andrew Geddes Bain who built Bain's Kloof Pass and many more. The dry-stone retaining walls are still in place and almost 120 years old.
Heading back to Outdshoorn after crossing the Swartberg Pass. Our stop for the night was Wilderness so we had to drive fast.
Dana having a stretch at the end of a long day of sitting in the van.
One of our cabins in the National Park at Wilderness.
Pizza dinner in Wilderness as we were all too tired to cook dinner.
Pizza dinner in Wilderness.
Our cabins next to the Touws River in Wilderness.
Wilderness, Garden Route, South Africa
Getting ready to canoe on the Touws River.
Paddle fight on the Touws River at Wilderness.
Canoeing in Wilderness.
Canoeing on the Touws River at Wilderness.
Lily and Dana on the Touws River in Wilderness.
Calm moment canoeing on the Touws River
Walking to the waterfall along the Touws River at Wilderness.
At the waterfall on the Touws River in Wilderness National Park.
The waterfall on the Touws River at Wilderness.
Eric getting close to the edge on the Touw River
Returning from the waterfall in Wilderness National Park.
Heading home after a nice paddle and a visit to the waterfall.
Late afternoon visit to the spectacular beach at Wilderness.
Ezra and Cyrus on the beach at Wilderness.
The beach at Wilderness.
Neil and Eric share a moment on the beach at Wilderness.
Eric and his sons on the beach at Wilderness.
Cyrus and Neil on the beach at Wilderness.
Leaving footprints on the beach at Wilderness.
Everybody with sunglasses at the registration for the marathon in Knysna.
Proud artist with his tribute to Michael Jackson in Knysna.
The Heads at Knysna. The town is primarily built on the northern shore of a large warm-water estuary, fed by the Knysna River. The estuary opens to the ocean after passing between two large headlands. These are popularly known as "The Heads", and have become infamous due to the loss of boats and fishermen passing through their treacherous and unpredictable waters.
The Heads at Knysna.
Cyrus, Mom, Eric and Ezra at the Heads at Knysna.
Township near Knysna.
Magical forest at Knysna.
Larsen clan in the enchanted Knysna forest.
Can you spot Lily?
Forest at Knysna.
Setting ones sights high in the forest at Knysna.
Grocery shopping in Knysna.
Our wonderful new-age, spiritual, rustic accommodation hidden in the forest near Knysna.
Dinner in the Chi House, our cool accommodation for three days in Knysna. This was the home where the owners of the property lived. They were in the famous Grahamstown festival at this moment where they sold soaps and CDs. Unfortunately the festival of Grahamstown was something that we had to miss. Their home was rustic, woody and very comfortable.
Relaxing in the Chi house in Knysna.
Trying to connect to the internet (without success) in the Chi house in Knysna.
When I saw this bathroom I was dying to have a bath.
However when the water came out I wasn't so excited anymore. However, appearances can be deceiving and the was was actually clean but just dark with tannin. I had a wonderful bath after the marathon.
We were warned not to eat outside as the monkeys would come and steal our food. They did exactly that a few days later.
Breakfast at the most popular joint in town in Knysna.
The food was goooood. Look how much Cyrus is enjoying it.
Feeling strong near the beginning of the Knysna Forest marathon on July 9. There were 1500 participants in the full marathon and more than 6000 in the half-marathon.
The first part of the marathon goes uphill for 12km through the forest. After that the route opens up and there was more downhill. But that first 12km was not nice.
Knysna forest marathon.
Starting to feel tired in the Knysna forest marathon.
View along the route of the Knysna forest marathon.
Knysna forest marathon. This was the beginning of a massive drop in elevation that was killer on the knees.
After a long descent, we began a long ascent again. Who designed this route? It was a bloody hard marathon!
Here we joined up with the half marathoners who had much more energy than I did.
Running along the edge of the Knysna lagoon nearing the end of the marathon.
Tired and thirsty near the end of the Knysna forest marathon. I look worse that I felt though.
I finished in about 3:54 which is rather slow. It was a tough marathon with a lot of hills and I was out of shape. Didn't spot any of the elusive Knysna elephants but the scenery along the route and the joy of running through the forest was sublime.
Eric and Cyrus on the beach at Noetzie near Knysna.
The earliest maps call the area Noetziekamma. (Khoi-san word for dark water possibly referring to the tannins leaching into the river from indigenous forested banks).
On the beach at Noetzie.
Shantytown near Knysna.
Our groovy Chi house in Knysna was super cool.
Lily offered to make French toast for breakfast and we weren't about to turn down that offer.
We set the table so we could enjoy our french toast outside.
Look at all that delicious french toast! Thanks Lily!
It was such good French toast that it attracted the local monkeys who managed to steal some from off the the table to Lily's surprise. We had been warned about this however by the housekeeper but we didn't believe her.
I want more French toast!
Gotta get me some of that tasty French toast.
"You ain't gettin' any more of their French toast you rascally monkeys."
Guarding Lily from the marauding monkeys as she finishes her French toast breakfast.
Cyrus and Ezra missed out on the french toast as they were both mysteriously feeling very bad this morning. We never discovered what the reason was.
The coast near Knysna
Healthy lunch for Lily of French fries and cheese cake in Plettenberg Bay.
Cyrus and Ezra were not feeling well this morning for some unknown reason. They soon bounced back though.
Plettenberg Bay was originally named Bahia Formosa (beautiful bay) by early Portuguese explorers and lies on South Africa's Garden Route 210 km from Port Elizabeth and about 600 km from Cape Town.
Plettenberg Bay. Ezra is still not feeling well.
Can you spot the Canadian on this beach at Plettenberg Bay?
Along the Garden route on the way to Port Elizabeth.
First dinner with Uncle Hugh and his family in Red House near Port Elizabeth.
With Uncle Hugh on his 68th birthday and their pet cockatoo.
Early morning sunset over the Swartkops River. This is the view from my bedroom.
There are a lot of birds on the Swartkops River and the area on the other side of the river is a wildlife sanctuary.
The hardy aloe plants with the distinctive red flower are found all over South Africa. Lucky for us they bloom in winter.
The jetty in front of our house.
Eric demonstrating his sword play with Aydhen. Here we have Uncle Aldor and Uncle Hugh.
Hugh leading us on a little after-lunch walk near their property.
On the other side of the Swartkops river is a large nature reserve.
The quiet riverside village of Red House seems like a remnant of a South Africa from years gone past.
Eric and Aydhen walking along the railway tracks near our home in Red House, Port Elizabeth.
Train station sign in Red House.
Eric with Ghilraen's second child Indyha.
Lunch free for all at Uncle Hugh's place.
I think Soloh wanted to play cricket. He just stood there silently staring at me with his raised bat which creeped me out a little.
It was fantastic for Cyrus and Ezra to get to know their great-uncle Hugh.
We did a day trip Grahamstown where Kharys goes to university.
The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Grahamstown has the highest steeple in South Africa.
High Street in Grahamstown with its elegant 19th century buildings.
At the viewpoint in Grahamstown.
The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. George in Grahamstown.
Having lunch in Grahamstown.
Eric and Uncle Aldor in Grahamstown.
Grahamstown is home to Rhodes University and many other top schools. Grahamstown is considered by many to be the seat of culture and learning in South Africa.
Rhodes university in Grahamstown.
Rhodes University where our cousin Kharys is studying philosophy and literature.
Rhodes University in Grahamstown.
Aldor wanted to know why he couldn't pitch his tent here in the centre of Grahamstown.
Bloukrans River Bridge. The span is the third-highest bridge in the world and the highest in the southern hemisphere. Cyrus, Ezra and I jumped off.
Getting ready to head out onto the bridge before our bungee jump.
Leaping from the Bloukrans River Bridge.
Leaping from the Bloukrans River Bridge which at 216 metres is the highest commercial bungee jump in the world.
The first second is pure terror.
I relaxed after the first second of terror and really enjoyed the rest of the fall.
Time stretched out and the five second free-fall seemed to last an eternity.
I'm weightless and travelling at a high velocity!
Instead of lowering you down to the river below, which is much too far down to be practical or safe, they winch you back up to the bridge.
Here goes Ezra!
Colour coordinated Cyrus makes his jump.
With my brother Eric on one of the suspension bridges at Storms River. That's Dana in the background taking a photo.
Dana, Jutta and Lily at Storms River suspension bridge.
Looking for whales at Storms River.
I spotted two whales swimming by as we ate our lunch.
Cyrus, Dana, Lily and Aunt Jutta at Storms River.
Crashing waves at Storms River.
The wild coast near Storms River in the Tsitsikamma area.
View of Port Elizabeth.
South African Airlines
Dana and Meelah (Chaldea's youngest child) on the beach at Sardinia Bay near Port Elizabeth.
Walking towards Sardinia Bay with the Laue clan.
Walking towards Sardinia Bay on the coast near Port Elizabeth.
Chaldaea and Teegan.
This was the shell collecting place.
Practicing sword play with Aydhen (Ghilraen's eldest son) on the beach at Sardinia Bay.
The African Oystercatcher or African Black Oystercatcher, (Haematopus moquini) is a large wader which is a resident breeder on the rocky coasts and islands of southern Africa. This oystercatcher has a population of less than 5,000 adults.
Eric looking at shells at Sardinia Bay near Port Elizabeth.
I'd never seen so many shells on a beach before.
Yeah for Dana swimming in the Indian ocean in the middle of winter.
There is Lily swimming too.
Swimming in the Indian Ocean in the middle of winter! I'm heading out for a swim as everybody is coming back in to warm up.
Chaldea's son Soloh loves playing guns.
Time for some sand dune frisbee!
Is that a UFO?
The sand dune Frisbee team head back to the car.
The sand dunes at Sardinia Bay.
Huge sand dunes reach the sea at Sardinia Bay near Port Elizabeth.
Sand dunes have blocked the access road to the parking lot.
This is what happens when you build a road next to a sand dune that moves.
View from my room in our rented home in Red House.
Cyrus reading at Red House one morning.
The big pineapple located on the edge of Bathurst.
All sorts of pineapples for sale at the big pineapple at Bathurst.
Lunch in the sleepy village of Bathurst where our grandmother grew up. Its chief claim to fame is that it was the administrative centre for the 1820 British Settlers who were established in the district as a buffer between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa pastoralists who were migrating southwards and westwards along the coast.
Searching for our ancestors graves in Bathurst. Many of the original settler houses and other buildings have been preserved, and there remains much of the look and feel of an English village of the early 19th Century.
Searching for our ancestors graves in Bathurst outside St John's Anglican Church, the oldest unaltered Anglican church in South Africa. A sanctuary in the Frontier Wars of 1834, 1846 and 1851 for hundreds of Settlers. 1st service held on the 1st January 1838.
I love the colour that people paint their homes in South Africa.
Aloe plants bloom in the winter and provided a welcome splash of colour to the landscape.
Thanks for the reminder.
This day we went with Uncle Hugh to walk through a nature reserve and look for snares that people had laid to catch the small buck who inhabit the area.
Here is what a snare looks like. We recovered 16 snares in total from the bush.
Eric and Uncle Hugh
Cousin Alhyrian always had the best outfits for being in nature.
Dropping off the litter we had collected from the bush. There are a lot of squatters living in the nature reserve and they make a big mess.
With cousin Ghilraen's son Adhyn who I really enjoyed hanging out with.
With cousin Chaldaea who lives in Johannesburg.
Adhyn, Meelah and Lily
A great afternoon spent at Mom's cousin Hugh Allen's home. He was an interesting and expressive guy who welcomed us all with open arms and fed us well. He's the guy on the left.
Ezra had his hands full with these three wrestlers.
Uh oh. Ezra is not doing so well.
Can you breathe Ezra?
I've got a loose tooth and I'm determined to pull it out today.
Hooray! I knew I could pull it out if I wiggled it enough.
Cyrus was the master of the veggie sausages.
Lily and Meelah.
Neil and 3 year-old Meelah (cousin Ghilraen's youngest child).
Neil and 6 year-old Indhya (cousin Ghilraen's second child).
After the barbeque, there was still time to head into Port Elizabeth and hit a night club for some dancing. It was 17 year old Ezra's first time in a club.
Meelah, Soloh and Neil reading a book about Star Wars.
Hanging out at the Laue's house on the river in Red House.
The neighbour Brian has a boat and offered to take everyone on a Sunday afternoon trip on the river.
Taking the sun before heading out on our boat trip on the Swartkops river.
Boat trip on the Swartkop River. From left to right we have Brian (boat owner), Jutta, Mom, Cheryl, Dana and Ezra.
Alhyrian and Teegan cool off in river while Aldor looks on.
Neil and Eric cool off in the Swartkops River.
There goes Dana.
Chaldea with her baby Niemh.
Uncle Aldor having a stretch.
Off we go to look for animals in the park. We arrived in the mid afternoon and spent one night and all the next day in the park.
There is no shortage of elephants in the Addo Elephant park.
Finding skeletons in the park was a reminder that this was not an attraction at Disneyland. There are predators in the park and the animals are wild.
We saw a lot of kudu.
Red hartebeest and zebra
The plains zebra also known as the common zebra or Burchell's zebra, is the most common and geographically widespread species of zebra.
A mother zebra and her offspring.
When an elephant pees, it really pees!
The Larsen clan in Addo Elephant park. The sign on the left warns us to beware of lions.
Roughing it in Addo Elephant Park.
The view from the bedroom of our fantastic rental home for the night in the park.
We stayed in a fantastic house in Addo park which came with our own waterhole.
These birds were just waking up when we arrived early in the morning.
Kudu backlit with the rising sun.
A black headed heron in flight.
A black-headed heron stretching his neck as it walks.
The meerkat or suricate is a small mammal belonging to the mongoose family.
Something spooked this herd of elephants and they all ran away from the watering hole.
Young kudu bucks playfully locking horns.
Two kudus. The Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) is a woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa.
Baby elephants always remind me of big mice.
This randy ostrich started chasing this flirtatious female round and round hoping for some action. She definitely led him on at first and then ran away when he got excited. What a tease!
The horny male ostrich followed her up the road awhile before he lost interest and she disappeared into the brush. There were loads of warthogs in this area of the park.
Two warthogs. The common name comes from the four large wart-like protrusions found on the head of the warthog, which serve the purpose of defence when males fight as well as a fat reserve.
Sometimes we had to compete for window space to get our shots.
This elephant was not happy about these zebras being so close to his herd and he chased them away.
Don't look now but we are being followed.
Note my cousin Ghilraen taking a photo of us and not noticing all the elephants going behind her car.
We searched long and hard until we finally spotted this black rhino in the distance. This photo is taken from a long way away.
Time to leave the park and go home. Eric takes one final look over his shoulder.
Although you have to pass a smelly industrial area to reach Red House where my uncle and his family live, once you arrive you feel like you are in a special place.
Setting up the camera to take some group photos.
Family photo with the South African branch in Port Elizabeth. Their tradition is always to dress up for group photos.
With our cousins.
Leaving on a trip into the Groendal Wilderness Area near Port Elizabeth. We needed a ride to the starting point as we had to pass through an area with farmers who apparently didn't like tourists.
Heading out into the Groendal Wilderness Area which is the only legally-proclaimed wilderness in the Eastern Cape. It lies at the eastern extremity of the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, and its unspoilt state and rugged terrain, with a multitude of kloofs with flowing streams, provide a pristine wilderness area.
Eric and Kharys take a break.
The overhang where we spent the night was just 5 minutes away from here.
We spent the night sleeping under this overhang.
Cooking up dinner of rice and veggies.
Cyrus had a good ghost story that still gives me the creeps when I think about it.
Alhyrian and Neil tend the fire in preparation for making tea and dinner.
Cyrus took some fantastic photos of the southern sky. I think this photo of the Milky Way is his best.
Cyrus busies himself with getting the fire going while everybody else sleeps on.
Nothing like a morning jump into frigid mountain water to wake you up.
Heading back to civilization.
Climbing up a tree like the leopards do.
Saying goodbye to the Laues. Hope to see you all again soon!
Goodbye Uncle Hugh!
Heading west through the Little Karoo in the direction of Cape Town.
Stopping for a sandwich in the Little Karoo.
The R339 turned out to be a dirt road that took us over another spectacular pass as we headed back over the mountains to Knysna and the coast on our return trip.
We approached Knysna from the north this time crossing some very beautiful landscapes.
Back in Wilderness for our second to last night in South Africa. Cyrus offered to cook dinner and whipped up a fantastic pasta feast.
We spent the evening playing charades.
What the heck is he doing?
Eric and Mom enjoy the sunrise over the Touws river. This is the view from our balcony in the national park where we stayed.
With faces still full of sleep we begin our final big day of driving in South Africa as we head back to Cape Town.
How did you get that scar on your face Ezra?
Mom and Cyrus making breakfast.
Our last glorious beach view near Wilderness.
Goodbye to the Garden Route!
Everything seems okay in the back seat on our last big driving day in South Africa.
Eric managed to keep us all safe during all those hundreds of kilometres driving across the bottom of South Africa and back again.
The weather became colder, wetter and windier as we headed west towards Cape Town.
This is a strange church in Swellendam that has an eclectic mix of styles.
Heading west towards Cape Town.
As we approached Franschhoek the scenery got more and more dramatic. We had to cross these mountains to get there.
Strange cloud formations as we approached Franschhoek.
The valley of Franschhoek famous for its wine and beauty.
Franschhoek ("French Corner") is a small town in the Western Cape Province and one of the oldest towns of the Republic of South Africa. It is about 75 kilometres from Cape Town and has a population of 15,353.
Vineyards surround Franschhoek.
Three dudes looking good in Franschhoek.
Our last dinner in South Africa. We choose a French restaurant in Franschhoek.
I think Lily liked her food but was surprised by its appearance.
This was a beet root salad that Cyrus ordered. It was the strangest looking salad I've ever seen.
Cyrus with his pasta dish. He wasn't sure what to do with the glass of liquid in the middle.
Doing a wine tasting at Franschhoek.
So that is where Dana gets his ideas from.
The Franschhoek mountains are quite dramatic.
At the airport waiting for our flights to leave for home.