On Meeting Old Friends and Making New Ones
I can hardly grasp the idea that it has been almost twenty years - 20 years!!! - since I left South Africa on an adventure that took me to IBM in the United Kingdom, where I remained for seven years, before heading off to join DTCC, where I still am to this day. And over this time I was not very close to the folk I used to work with at Std Bank, but it was simply amazing to meet up with a number of them again at Jozi Gin, along with dear family and friends.
We drove down to Durban, where we met Garth & Glorianne for lunch - old friends of Tracy's from her days as a single girl!
Early the next morning, Mark and Jenny fetched us and off we set, heading into deepest, darkest Africa (well, Hluhluwe anyway) for 2 nights. An absolute treat for Tracy and myself. I had not been to the bush for what seemed like decades (only a year or two in reality). Tracy and I had both attended the Wilderness Leadership School here in our teens, in the same year.
The hazy view from the deck at Hilltops camp looking out over the camp with the hills folding away into the distance. Such a view never fails to be awe inspiring to me.
We bumped into a small pride of lions and this little one wanted some greenery in his diet, or was maybe just trying to get that bit of sinew out from between its teeth?
The photo isnt great, but the movement in it is indicative of the raw power of the beast
Not too long after that became across a couple of rhino wallowing lazily in a pool, only to be disturbed by a herd of ellies
From Durban we flew to Port Elizabeth to visit my Mom and brother Lee and we spent a few days there, taking my Mom out and about for short drives and the odd cup of tea. Had an absolutely wonderful time, but it was too short. Then it was down to Knysna, to stay with Rod and Ginge.
It isnt just the Big 5 animals that intrigue me - all living things do, as this toad (probably a Red Toad) hiding in a crevice in a tree used as a bridge over a stream. It was quite unperturbed by us using the bridge.
The following day we packed up and went to the Keurbooms Nature Reserve and took off up the river to Whiskey Creek - what a delight! Fantastic little paddle in some amazing pristine looking riverine forest with great big yellowwood trees festooned with spanish moss
After a night spent in a lovely wooden hut, we paddled back downriver
Some of the trees are big. This was the largest we found. That, at the base, is a normal sized adult human being!
The following day saw us going to Peter and Debbie in Plettenberg Bay. This part of the trip included a walk around Robberg. Here we are with the beach and bay as a backdrop
Robberg has some craggy slopes, crashing waves and some Cape Fur Seals
Looking back at the western suburbs
Again, the smaller things interested me. This little blighter, a striped field mouse, came out to nibble right at our feet.
After a delightful lunch, we drove to Nature's Valley via a magnificent pass with some seriously twisty turny roads and some calm, forested rivers
Next we drove off to Cape Town, via the Tradouw Pass, which presented us with some stunning views before we got onto the R62, the inland road to the Mother City.
But of course, we had to negotiate our way past some troops of baboons first.
By the time we got to Montagu, we needed a break and we rested with some coffee (me), rooibos (Tracy) and a decadent slice of cake with gorgeous view of blue sky and mountains
Tracy and Bridge are long time friends, I was meeting her for the first time.
Freda used to be a neighbour of Tracy's in Johannesburg. It was a good catch-up.
A lovely smile while waiting for lunch at Groot Constantia
A classical Cape Dutch house, Groot Constantia is the oldest wine estate in South Africa
Constantia Glen, however, is much younger, higher up the hill and with magnificent views of the mountain