Photo Finale, Safari in Kruger National Park

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I Love These “Gentle Giants!”

The last two days in Kruger were just as exciting as the first four days!

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How many different species do you see in this photo?

We continued our game drives on our own, after two safaris with the rangers, one in Satara Camp at sunset; and, one in Letaba Camp at sunrise.

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They always make us laugh – just like Hakuna Matata

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Beautiful sunrise at Letaba Camp

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Do you see the Waterbuk saying, “Can I have some, please? Or, oh-oh, better get out of here!”

This was a rare sighting, and we were asked to log it in the rangers’ books to help with tracking of the fish eagles.

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“Good catch” – on the camera! We watched the eagle dive for the fish and bring it down to the ground, then to it’s nest – AMAZING!

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I can’t help it, but every time I look at their faces, I think of my cute golden retriever, Powder, and her face!

We went to an awesome museum in Letaba dedicated mostly to the Great Tuskers, but also, they had some other great displays, too.

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I’m 10!

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Some of these big guys live 50-60 years!

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The rangers in the SA parks are doing everything they can to protect their animals (we really appreciate that), although right now the Rhino is on the endangered list — yes, because of poachers!

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It’s not all a reflection!

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I wanted to share some more stunning photos and videos with my blog followers because they just never get old……and we were right there……. staring each other in the face! Yes, my parents and I, in awe, with our jaws dropping to the floor……but also, we were staring right in the eyes of the big game animals!

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Another – how many species can you get at one watering hole?

We saw four of the Big Five, all except the rhino, but we feel so fortunate to have seen so much wildlife in their natural habitat.  We all agreed that we would see the rhino the next time!

But hippos aren’t so bad…..

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Going on safari is an awesome experience!

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It was the best birthday yet, and my parents were so excited, because these BD clouds are just like the clouds that were in the sky in Colorado the day I was born

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One, two, or three? Repeat!

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Many of the restaurants had views like this to view the wildlife

It’s hard to believe we are more than half way through our RTW (around the world trip)!

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I’m lovin’ it!

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I feel very lucky to have this safari experience and RTW trip with my parents!

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Doing reconnaissance

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Two Sweeties!

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It says a lot, doesn’t it? You fill in the caption!

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Over 500 species of birds!

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This was actually our departure gate

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Good to the last drop! The elephants and giraffes were our last views right before we left Kruger National Park

The end again!  🙂

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Don’t get too far behind following my hdworldtrek posts! Let us know what you think, too, by writing to me under the “comments” section.

Look for more posts from your Junior WorldTrek Reporter

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I have named my newborn lion, “Kruger!” We bought a beautiful handmade African bracelet for her collar.

Keep Calm and Travel Around the World

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P.S.  Happy 10th Birthday, Makenna!

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Safari and Me, Part Three!

Did you know that there are no two giraffes or zebras who have the same prints, just like humans’ fingerprints?  Remember the zebras’ optical illusion I shared with you in the previous safari post? So, my birthday week and safari days continue…..

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Well, Hello Up There!

When giraffes are born, they fall about eight feet, since mama giraffe is so tall. Welcome to the world – BONK!

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These animals are absolutely gorgeous, and an adult’s torso was as high as the top of our car!

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IMG_6023 We went on two game drives, where a ranger points out animals along the ride.

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Edward, our Game Driver

We did one at sunset, and one at sunrise, too. For the sunset one, we used spotlights to look for the animals.

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These hyenas are no laughing matter!

They are easy to spot because of the reflection of the animals eyes.

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They look awfully cute, but……

Once you see the flashing of the eyes, we would stop and take a closer look, but not shine the spotlights directly in the animals’ eyes, as you will see below. IMG_5920

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These are the spotlights that we used to search for animals in the dark

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Wow, this really is Afrika!

I think the the animals knew it was a special day (my birthday) because they kept popping up all over the place.

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The lone wildebeest bull hangs out with big herds of impalas for protection. The impalas will warn him when a predator is approaching — pretty smart!

One time, we were just driving along the road when I saw something sticking up over the trees – giraffes!! IMG_6017 IMG_6011 Boy, how I love going on Safari, especially on my birthday! And we still have three more days left in Kruger National Park!

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Tremendous, Terrific Tuskers!

For the last two nights, we stayed in Letaba Camp.  Again we had a nice-style chalet, and had a chance to cook two braais! IMG_6239 IMG_6244

IMG_6226 I Remember I told you I love that sticky chicken, so we made it again, and we also made SMORES!

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Sticky chicken, garlic bread, and my Mom’s famous “Blue Bread” – Yummmm!

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Smores — Double Yummmmm!

The next morning, we went on a sunrise game drive with another Ranger.  Man, it was early — we had to get up at 4:30AM!

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It was early and cold and 5 AM

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I got a game animal sighting book for my birthday

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Bushback

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Can guess which animal made these tracks? If you said alligator, you are right!

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Sleeping hippos…..just so you know, hippos feel much safer in the water, than on land. You can approach hippos in the water and they won’t do anything; but, on land they will charge, according to Ranger Edward!

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The End 🙂

Look for more posts from your Junior WorldTrek Reporter IMG_6152 Keep Calm and Travel Around the World IMG_6166

Safari – the King of the Jungle, Again!

Roar!!!

Did I scare you?  Well, we were definitely scared out of our pajamas when we heard two lions roaring outside of our tent camp in Kruger National Park!  Read more below…….  🙂

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Mango jet in Jo-burg, as the locals call it.

Here is the background — We took a “Mango Airlines” flight to Johannesburg, and because of delays at the airport, we were later than we thought arriving to Kruger National Park.

It seemed as though we arrived late at night, or at least it was dark — but it was actually early, about 5:30pm.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to the camp called Satara, where we had reservations, because the park will not let anyone drive in the wild areas at night, for their own safety and the safety of the animals.

Instead of Satara Camp, we got to stay in a tent camp right at an entrance gate,  Orpen Gate……and boy are we glad we had to make this change!  We were just getting ready to go to the bathroom and brush our teeth when a sound made goosebumps pop out of our skin!

There were lions roaring right outside of the fence surrounding our tent!  So guess what?  We DID NOT walk in the dark to the camp bathroom to brush our teeth! LOL.

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YIKES! OMG!

Then, when we were settling down into bed, we heard a lot of rattling and banging right outside the front door!  Needless to say we did lose a little sleep since we could not see the fence that was protecting us from the animals, just 10 meters away!

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Can you see the big elephant tracks and the other smaller tracks too? That electric fence was right outside our tent!

In the morning, we found trash scattered around the trash can. Apparently, a honey badger and her friends liked the remains of our dinner!

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We are standing at the electric fence to take this picture!

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Check out the thousands of animal footprints!

In the early morning, On our way to our next camp, a dark shape darted across the road!  We had time to see that it was a leopard!  I could tell it was a leopard by the silver tip on its tail.  Unfortunately, we did not have time to snap a photo!

Have you heard of the Big Five?  The big five is a term originally used by hunters and it refers to five of the greatest wild animals of Africa, as well as the most dangerous to hunt.  They include the lion, elephant, African buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard.

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Would you mess with him/her?

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Or him/her?

These days it is not as much about hunting as it is about viewing these five beautiful animals.  One is considered privileged to view all these animals during a visit to the Kruger Park.  Man, are we lucky to have seen four of the five!  One will see many other exotic African animals like zebras, kudus, warthogs, giraffes, springbok, hippopotamus and many, many more!  So much more fun to come!

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The “Tuskers” tusks are usually uneven because one is the dominant one.

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 Impala

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After our stay the second night in our cool chalet at Satara Camp, we went to Oliphants Camp.

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Thatch Roof

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See how close the fence is to the guests’ chalets? Woo Hoo!

Each camp is different, and usually you see different animals in different locations, too.  They have sighting maps that change daily, up at all the camps, like the one I showed you in the Addo post.

We continued our drives in the game areas and saw dozens of animals.  Look at the warhogs–

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Who knew that warthogs grazed on their elbows?

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The night in Oliphants Camp was very awesome!

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The camp is high and looks over a river basin.  My Moms made a braai — with help from neighbors 🙂

They were very nice people, and guess what?   I met one of the South Afrikan Women’s National Chess Champions!

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She and her parents have traveled all over the world for her competitions.  Now she is in med school and may come to Northern CA for a residency!

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Did you know that tomorrow I turn 10? It is going to be really fun!  I continue on safari on my birthday!

We started my birthday with the birthday braai, and “Afrikan Crackers,” and presents.

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We had one of my favorites, BBQ chicken, but in SA, they call it “Sticky Chicken”

And BTW – in our family we celebrate a “birthday week”, so the celebration continues all week!  We are going for a sunset game drive with the Ranger for my birthday!

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Look for more safari posts from your Junior WorldTrek Reporter

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Keep Calm and Travel Around the World

Addo National Elephant Park – SAFARI in South Afrika! You might think it’s the best post yet!

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I couldn’t believe my eyes!

This is what you (and I) have been waiting for!

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Yes, you probably guessed it – we went on SAFARI !!!

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How incredibly beautiful!

We wanted to get a feel for seeing all of the incredible wildlife in South Africa before we go to Kruger National Park, so we made the trip from Plettenberg Bay up to Addo National Elephant Park for two days.

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And Magnificent!

This is my first safari video at my first sighting of elephants at a watering hole:

In Addo the elephants are protected from poaching for their ivory.

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Yes, we were really close to this Bull — in our car!

The rangers patrol in helicopters, planes, and high profile vehicles looking for illegal activity.

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And this guy, too! Woo Hoo!!!

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At one time, the elephant numbers were down to 11, and now there are over 500 elephants in the park!  YAY!

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These elephants have just finished a mud bath, which keeps them cool and protected from the sun.

What I like the most about elephants is that they are friendly giants.  They are large and social and beautiful!

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Mom helps her baby get covered in mud

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They typically hang out in herds of 5 or so to 50 – here we see a mom, dad, an adolescent and a (approx) three-year old and one-year old

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By going to the SA National Parks you support conservation of the beautiful animals and parks

The very first animals we saw when we went on our first game drive in our car were zebras…

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Zee what we saw! Check out the bird landing, too!

And more stripes!!!I

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Baby Zee and Me!

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S/he was very frisky and fun to watch

Then elephants…..

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We never got tired of seeing the elephants

Then kudu…..

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Magnificent Animal!

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As you can see, so many species live together in harmony

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And then there is the cycle of life, too 😦

Then red hartebeasts….

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Then black-backed jackals….

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Can you believe we are witnessing this so close!?

Ostriches and blue cranes….

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The amazing African buffalo….

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These African buffalo are massive

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Eland…. (picture in next post)

100’s of birds, and Springbok (in next post), and many, many more species…

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Do you see the jackal and bird in this picture?

And the very funny warthogs….

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More on these guys from Kruger, too!

All the animals would appear around every corner!

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As my Mom says, HOLY MOLY!

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Sunrise over the African plains and the place comes alive with wildlife

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Sunset, and the place comes wildly alive, too, with nocturnal wildlife

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This cob web was 6 feet wide – check out the center of the nest — it’s a condo!

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Gives you a perspective of the ‘great’ plains of Africa….check out the car and the animals in the distance

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You can see the different types of roads you drive on for game viewing

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We added some of our sightings to the Board

The next day, we were just driving along the road and then saw two snoozing lions, resting by the road!

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Here kitty, kitty. This lion is sleeping on his back and you can see his huge back paw in the air

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Check out this — you can clearly see how they confuse their predators. Are there one, two, or three zebras here?

Boy, going on safari is going to be quite fun! Much more animal fun to come!

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I drew this while waiting for dinner the first night — “The Big Five!”

Well that’s all for Addo, except that we saw tons of wild African animals — I hope you have enjoyed the amazing pictures and videos; plus, we did stay in this really fun chalet as you will see below:

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Look how close the electric fence is to the chalets. This is what separates us from the animals.

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The “Dung Beetle” is protected in SA. They are pretty rare, close to extinction. They move/roll elephant dung to a safe place, and bury a ball of feces 250 times it weight in one night.  They make a nest, lay their eggs, and they also eat the dung for the nutrients.

Stay tuned for more Safari treks from your Junior WorldTrek Reporter — because next, we are headed up to Kruger National Park – a national park in South Africa that isthe size of Israel – there is bound to be some really cool stuff!

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How about this for education!? Can you guess which animal belongs to the skulls?

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I loved, loved, loved all the wild animals in Australia and now Safari in South Africa

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Keep Calm and Travel Around the World

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Does it get any better? Safaris and then this kind of dessert after dinner!

Garden Route Part III – Plettenberg Bay and Robberg Island, South Africa

Hello, travel blog followers!

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Guess Who? 🙂

After we left the Wild Farm Backpacker, we went to a cool area called the “Map of Africa,” close to The Wild Farm.

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One river is salt water coming up from the ocean, and the other is fresh water coming down from the mountains we drove through the day before.

As you can see it is a geographic area that is naturally shaped into the continent of Africa.

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Also today, I will tell you about our time spent on Robberg Island.

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A beautiful historic church along the way, in St. George.

We left the Garden Route after a few hours of driving to find our hotel and we found Plettenberg Bay to be a magnificent town!

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Can you see the people on the beach in the distance?

After lunch, we went to Robberg Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area. Halfway through the hike, we met a group of people who had spotted a great white shark, and then guess what?

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See the dorsal fin, just sticking out of the water?

The great white shark appeared out of the murky water we saw its body and fin – it was awesome!  Normally, there would be tons of seals around, but I don’t think there would be any today, at least not with a shark on the loose!

A little farther through the hike I met two girls who joined us for the rest of the walk.

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I had fun talking with them and their families like to travel too!

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Here are some facts you might like to know about Robberg Island:

Like in the stone ages: Nelson Bay cave is an important middle and later Stone Age archaeological site. first occupied 12,000 years ago when the sea level dropped

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Grasslands stretch beyond the southern horizon during the last Ice Age when sea levels were lower and giant Cape horses, giant Buffalo and giant hartebeest used to graze here and they became extinct about 10,000 years ago.  There are several other caves and open sites with evidence of the stone age occupation on this peninsula.

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There are detailed interpretation facilities at the Nelson Cave, which are really interesting.

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After the hike, we went back to our hotel and had an awesome dinner.

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I had one of my favorites, lamb; and, my mom tried springbok, for the first time! The restaurant at the Beacon was fantastic!

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We were up to see the sunrise to look for whales and head to Addo National Elephant Park

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Look for more post from your Junior WorldTrek Reporter.

Keep Calm and Travel Around the World!

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On the Road Again, Good Bye to New Friends and Cape Town — “Backpackers” Along the Garden Route

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I loved the various look and feel from the views from Blouberg to Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak, Cape Town, South Africa

OMGoodness, look at everything we did in Cape Town South Afrika!  BTW, this is how Africa is spelled in Afrikaans, one of the 12 native languages!

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Do you remember what load-shedding is? We had it for 2.5 hours the night before we left; and, the morning we left, we had to wait for the elevators to start running to get our luggage down 11 floors!

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Thank you Anke, Tyl, and Boyson — for everything!  We can’t wait to see you again soon!   I’ll miss seeing your kittens and the golden retrievers we saw running on the beach every morning.

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The view from our 11th story condo, Cape Town

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We stayed on the 2nd floor of this complex

If you need a great place with ocean views, beach sports, easy access to Cape Town, and more (as you saw in my posts), then just contact me 🙂 and I can put you in touch with our good friends, Anke and Tyl.  

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Check out my new favorite drink — Iron Brew — a ZA original, it is awesome!

And now, we are on the road again, folks!

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This time, we are on the Garden Route which is partially along the ocean, and also, inland in the beautiful mountains, which you will see first.

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The name of the route is 62, and it is very famous in South Africa, like the USA’s Route 66.

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I really love old antique things

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We stopped for a picnic lunch at a winery on the way to Robertson. My parents said that the wine in South Africa is delicious, and normally what would be a $20 bottle or more in America, only costs $3 – 5  in South Africa!

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I enjoyed “backpackers,” or hostels, as they are called in America so much, that we all agreed we should try out a few more in South Africa.

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We stopped for a potty break and could hear the baboons screeching in the distance.

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On the way, we were amazed to see this Ostrich Farm — there were hundreds of them, and I have never seen an Ostrich this close — it was so cool!

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Do you see what I see?

I was amazed and I think you will be, too.  Take a look at this video:

The first night, we stayed in a hostel made out of a large house, which our hosts, Kevin and Linda live in, too.

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A great theme for our RTW trip, and life!

We had a great time making our dinner in the backpacker kitchen.

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The owners, Kevin and Linda, were very nice. We had a lot of fun talking to them with a fire after dinner.

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Our lovely room

Kevin and Linda had just completed a six-month camping (in a 4WD truck) all around Afrika!

I had a lot of fun sleeping on the top bunk.

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The next day we had a quick breakfast and set off again.

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We headed to a great town called “Wilderness.”  The name does not do it justice — it is a great and wild little town!   We headed to another backpacker/hostel called “The Wild Farm.”

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It is literally a farm, or used to be a dairy farm.

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The grandpa owner/farmer still lives on the property, and he and all his kids agreed to turn it into a very unique backpacker a few years ago.  It was so fun!

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Our humble abode in Wildnerness

There were cows right outside our cabin window!

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I had a blast on the top bunk again!

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Many backpacker have lots of fun activities, and almost all have braai facilities for guests to use.

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There was a really friendly cat who came right into our room, and three really cute dogs…… No surprise, but I loved it all!

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King Charles Cavalier – one of my favorite breeds! Other than Golden Retrievers, of course!

We had a morning meal and headed out along the Garden Route for our next adventure.

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Coffee, Tea and Me!

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On the road again, with more spectacular views!

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Look for more posts from your Junior WorldTrek Reporter

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Keep Calm and Travel Around the World

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Last Days in Cape Town

It was a somber day when we went to the District Six Museum. District Six is one of the neighborhoods where black and colored people lived in Cape Town.  Then, sadly, in the 1970’s, the apartheid regime decided that they should be separated from white people – sort of like segregation period in the United States.

The government forced over 60,000 people to relocate from their neighborhoods into an area called the flats.  This put everyone and their friends far from the city and it was very hard to do things like shop, get food, and to get to and from work, school and their church.  It was so sad!

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This was one of the displays at the museum.

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Here are many of the original street signs that were saved from the neighborhood. Everything was ordered to be destroyed, so it is very special that someone saved these.

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To lighten the mood, I asked if I could play the grand piano – of course I asked permission from the curator!

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After the museum we went to an area called Bo-Kaap or Cape Malay Quarter, which is the spiritual home of the Cape’s Muslim community.

 

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This is a very colorful neighborhood, on the slopes of Signal Hill, as you can see, with cobblestone streets and brightly colored homes.  I wanted to know more about the history, so I looked it up and learned that many of the residents are descendants of slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and other African countries who were brought to the Cape of Good Hope by the Dutch during the 16th and 17th centuries.  The slaves were called Cape Malays, which is not exactly true, because they all didn’t come from Malaysia, but the name stuck.

After Bo-Kaap, we went to a very large playground.

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I met some new friends who taught me a new game called 52 bunker – I will teach all of you kids how to play it when I get back to the States.

At the end of the day, we had an amazing American barbecue with our new friends and hosts, Anke and Tyl, plus 2 new additions… KITTENS! I had a lot of fun playing with those cute furballs!

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Kitty cats, Max and Lasse

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Anke and Tyl threw us a “welcome braai” and we hosted the farewell BBQ.  My parents made some of my favorite things. We had grilled lamb, chicken and lots of assorted vegetables, plus garlic bread and blue cheese bread. Most of all we had another wunderbar night with Anke Tyl!

Well I’m sorry to say, but that was the end of our day.

Look for more posts from your Junior WorldTrek Repoter

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Keep Calm and Travel Around the World