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Africa 2022

CapeTown Krueger Victoria Falls

Sunday, July3: Cape Town
After our 15 hour flight, we made our disoriented arrival into Cape Town Saturday night and took a cab through the driving rain to the Table Top Hotel, a lovely hotel on the waterfront. Any plans we had made for the evening evaporated when we hit the bed.
Up and at 'em the next morning, we walked around the water front area, surprisingly cold and wet. The harbor is beautiful, with a view of Table Mountain, obscured by the clouds in the background. South Africa seems to love these giant frames at tourist spots, so here we are.

at Capetown Harbor

South Africa also has a number of strange sculptures. Mike is here in front of a giant rusted penguin with a scuba tank.

Giant Penguin

Here's another one. In front of our hotel.

Kathy with Seal Sculpture

Table Mountain viewed from the harbor after clearing up.

Table Mountain

The sun came out and the activity level jumped. This band was playing for tips. Amazing how many people will video them for minutes at a time, and not leave a single Rand in the hat. Not us!

Monday, July4: Cape of Good Hope Tour
After breakfast, we met our traveling companions for the next week or so. Very interesting bunch, 9 total. Before safari, the plan was to spend a few days touring the Cape Town area. Very well worth it. We started heading south toward the Cape of Good Hope. We met these hitchhikers on the way.

Caesarea Sign

At the tip of Africa. I wish we had paid more attention to the latitude when we were packing. The point where we are standing is about the same latitude as Columbia, SC. In the middle of winter.

Cape of Good Hope

Not much interesting about this picture except the baboon warning. Our guide told us to take it seriously. We told him not to worry. We take similar precautions in Washington, DC and Mar-a-Lago.

Baboon Warning

Gotta watch out for penguins too

Penguin Crossing

Here we are attending a session of the US Congress. Click play to see the wheels of democracy grind to a halt. Penguin Beach

Wait a minute. The House Minority Leader would like to make a statement.

Big seal debating whether it's worth it. The surf was pounding after the last few days of high winds.

Big Seal

Another Giant frame in South Africa. Looking out at the Atlantic.

Picnic Area on Table Mount

Not much to complain about at this place.

Big Seal

The millennial contingent of our group, Todd and Ashley, from Birmingham, AL, and determined DINK's, forever.

Big Seal

Riding the tram to the top of Table Mountain. Don't look down!

Baboon Warning

Our guide insisted on this pano. Mike is everywhere at once! How do he do that? Looking at the vista from Table Mountain.

Dopey pano

Another beautiful view from Table Mountain

Picnic Area on Table Mount

Sunset is an event at the 12 Apostles Hotel. Here is Kathy waiting for the big event.

12 Apostles Waiting for sunset.

Tuesday, July5: Wine Tour
The Dutch East India Company established a "refreshment station" on the Cape in 1652 whose sole purpose was to provide fresh food and water to the merchant ships rounding the cape. The first vineyard was planted in 1655, and the first wine bottled in 1659. The wine industry remained unsophisticated until 1680 with the arrival of the French Huguenots who brought their considerable viticultural skills. They settled in the area now known as Franschhoek (French Hook). This is the area we toured.

Our first stop in Franschhoek was a vineyard known as L'Ormarins. They seem to specialize in sparkling wine, so we had a few with some nice food.

At L'Ormarins

Here is 2/3 of the gang enjoying some bubbly. The woman in the red sweater was a military pilot, then a long-haul pilot for FedEx for decades. Very funny and interesting lady.

At L'Ormarins

Our second stop was Haute Cabriere which looks out over a beautiful valley cultivated with grapes, primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. What better place to put a giant frame.

Haute Cabriere

Why not?

Picture Frame

A demonstration of how to open a bottle of champagne with a saber.

Tuesday, July6: Last Day in Cape Town
Our last event in Cape Town was a Samosa folding class. We loaded up the van and headed to the Bo-Kaap district of Cape Town. It seems that in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Dutch imported slaves from Mozambique, Madagascar, Zanzibar and Indonesia. Today, a large number of people of Malaysian descent live in the Cape with their own unique “Cape Malay” food, culture and traditions. Many live in the Bo-Kaap district. In the apartheid days, the residents were not allowed to pain their houses any color but white. After apartheid fell, one resident said "f*%& that, I'm painting my house whatever color I want. Others followed suit, and now the neighborhood is a beautiful mosaic of colorful houses.

Painted Houses

We went to a woman's house who was of Malaysian descent and the descendant of slaves. She was a flight attendant for 20 years before retiring and becoming a professional caterer and teacher.

Samosa Teacher

Here are a couple of the ready, willing and able students. Mike was feeling a little under the weather, and was already into the Cipro.

Mike and Kathy

The finished product. A little rough looking, but very tasty.

Finished Samosas

A little Bon Voyage platter from the Twelve Apostles

Bon Voyage

Wednesday-Saturday, July6-9: Safari
Wednesday morning, we flew to Hoedspruit airport which abuts the Kapama Private Game Reserve. The Game Reserve is contiguous with the Krueger National Park. Our guide, Marness and tracker, Adolph are showing Kathy to our Jeep.

Loading into the jeep

Our lodge was fabulous. It was called Kapama Karula and was very posh. We each had a bungalow with a balcony overlooking the river. Here's Kathy looking right at home.

Kathy in the Lodge

Each room had a pool on the balcony. Monkeys were everywhere and very naughty; they would not hesitate to make themselves at home inside if you left windows or doors open.

Kathy in front of balcony

One night was outdoor dining night with lots of different South African meats and other dishes. The fires helped a little, but it was cold. Brrr.

Outdoor Dining

Each morning would begin with 6:30 drive into the bush. And it was cold! Each passenger got a hot water bottle and blanket to use until the sun came up and warmed things up rapidly.

Kathy bundled up

There were giraffes and zebras everywhere. They seemed utterly unconcerned that there were apex predators lurking everywhere. One morning we saw a stack of completely clean bones that Marness told had been a giraffe the day before.

Giraffe and Zebra

Lots of zebra babies around.

Zebra and baby

Kathy's personal favorite. Large prehistoric reptile.

Crocodile

A couple of hippos having some fun in the water. These things kill more humans than any other animal in Africa.

Hippos fighting

I learned a lot about hyenas in "The Lion King." Stay away.

Hyena

Kudus are one of the varieties of antelope in Africa. They can be identified by the stripes and by their complex curved horns. I believe that's a red-billed ox pecker on its side.

Kudu

Everybody loves a mongoose. These little cuties will attack and kill venomous snakes.

mongoose

The Cape Buffalo is a large beast. Their helmets would make a viking proud. They are vegetarian, but are very unpredictable, and unlike a hippo, will not warn you before they charge.

Cape Buffalo

Groups of Cape Buffalo always have the right-of-way.

Herd of buffalo

Drinking is not an easy task for a giraffe.

Giraffe drinking

Drinking is very easy humans, however, particularly when you guide and spotter set up a bar in the middle of each safari ride. Salud!

Marness and Adolph Bar

The friendliest bar in Africa

Mike and Kathy at Safari Bar

The 23 hours a day they aren't hunting, lions are the laziest animals in the jungle.

Lazy Lion

She looks pretty serious. We were having a staring contest. Not comforting to know that she could tear my head off with one swat.

Female Lion staring

A day in the life.

Judging by the bellies on these lions, they won't be doing a thing for the next few days.

Female Lion staring

Impalas were everywhere also, and bizarrely they traveled in all-boy herds and all-girl herds. Here, 2 dumb males are fighting over something. Maybe the termite mound there.

This pair LOVES Impalas. They have no problem dragging one up a tree for relaxed dining.

Leopard pair

Not a great picture, it was pitch black outside. This is one of 2 leopard cubs in a tree. Mom was probably out hunting. They were very concerned about the hyenas milling around underneath them waiting for one to fall.

Leopard in the tree

Observation deck overlooking a busy watering hole. Mike looking very safari-ish in his safari hat.

Observation Deck

Encountered a large herd of elephants roaming through, probably at least 40-50, leaving a trail of herbal destruction. They literally tear off huge branches with their trunks, strip them of bark and move on.

While the herd of elephants walked carefree by our jeep, one brave little warrior decided to confront us. Then had a change of heart.

Kathy in the middle of a herd.

Kathy with Elephants

This handsome pair was darted by poachers, had their horns cut off, then left for dead. They were rescued and returned to the wild when their horns re-grew. F*&^ing poachers.

Leopard in the tree

You can see the battle scars around his horns.

Leopard in the tree

A little sip of water after a hard day of grazing.

Leopard in the tree

The other members of our 9-person safari group, in their jeep.

Leopard in the tree

Lots of beautiful birds. This rather menacing fellow is an African Grey Hornbill.

Hornbill

This is why you need a spotter. He spotted this tiny little guy at 50 yards. Lilac-breasted roller.

Above the Falls

Monday, July 11. Victoria Falls
After saying goodbye to everyone, we flew to Johannesburg and stayed overnight in a swank hotel. The next morning we took a flight to Livingstone, Zambia and checked into the Royal Livingstone Hotel.

I guess they knew that it was our anniversary (or almost). Lovely gesture.

Anniversary Bed

The hotel is on the banks of the Zambezi River and is on a game reserve. These little guys were everywhere, this one was outside our front door.

Monkey

This was a completely ordinary scene at the Hotel. The Zambezi River is in the background. The falls are literally a hundred yards downstream.

Impala at the Pool

In the evening, we took a tour of the Zambezi above the falls on the African Princess. We had the private room in the Captain's Quarters. Here is Mike posing with the Captain and first mate.

Mike with Captain

Kathy preparing for a spectacular African Sunset.

Alligator

Kathy groovin' to some reggae.

Saw this bathing beauty along the shoreline

Alligator

Kathy took an action sequence of a hippo threatening.

Hippo Montage

Got an early start to visit Victoria Falls. We had a guide who explained that the rainbow is not visible after the morning because the light needs to be coming from the east. The most intense rainbow I've ever seen. The second rainbow above it is actually a reflection of the lower one. You can tell because the colors are reversed.

Falls with Rainbow

The falls are HUGE, twice as high as Niagara Falls and .5 kilometers wider. Water travels vertically upward from the bottom and soaks everything. Thank goodness we rented raincoats and sandals.

Falls with Rainbow

Above the falls. You really don't want to fall in here. Our guide asked us if it was true that people tried to go over Niagara Falls in barrels. We told him that it was true, and he said something suggesting that these people might not be too bright.

Above the Falls

We also have a picture of Kathy holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Kathy holding up bridge

The spray was intense and traveling straight up

M&K in raincoats

One last view of Victoria Falls. Breathtaking. Above the Falls

To close it out, Mike demonstrates his amazing lack of musical talent.